04 Aug 2016 21:16 IST

‘I learnt the right way of working’

Kellogg's Merlin Warehouse, Old Trafford, Manchester, London(Representative image)

A key lesson from my eight-week internship at Kelloggs was that it’s important to take ownership for one’s work

Summer placement is probably the most important event in a first-year MBA student’s life. It is the preceding period that makes most of the ‘busy MBA life’ stories. As if the regular schedule of attending lectures wasn’t hectic enough, club/committee selections and other extra-curricular engagements take up a lot of your time. Amidst all the hustle, one rarely gets time to sit back and think.

It was no different for me. Being a fresher, I barely had any idea about the kind of life that lay ahead for me. My inclination toward theatre and culture led me to become a part of the Cultural Committee and that was when I finally got the time to think about my life.

Clear objective

Upon introspection, I realised that it was not possible for me to do everything. To draw an analogy from one of my strategy lessons, it was important for me to have a clear objective. I analysed my capabilities and came up with the three pillars of my life — creativity, spontaneity and interpersonal interaction. Now I was reasonably sure that Sales and Marketing was the field for me. My affinity to marketing as a subject only cemented my decision.

During placement week, the Industry Interaction Cell organised group discussions, personal interviews, and industry deep-dive sessions to supplement our otherwise concept-based preparation. In retrospect, these proved to be pivotal. It was time for the pre-placement talks. Not only did Kellogg's give an amazing presentation, it also hosted a breakfast in college and brought along with it an air of ebullience. When I eventually got selected for Udaan, the eight-week internship programme at Kellogg's, I was on cloud nine!

Being entrepreneurial

The programme began with a two-day induction that exposed us to Kellogg’s brands and the company’s way of working. My project included the use of Social Listening and the 5Cs framework to identify new product opportunities and platforms for weight management. It was a great opportunity for me as I was working on a live, application-oriented project.

My mentors, Reena Singh and Sanjib Bose, guided and encouraged me throughout my time there. I had complete freedom in doing my work and yet, my progress was monitored lest I went off track. I constantly received constructive feedback. My progress was in sync with a very important observation from the induction – “A little ambiguity in direction is good”. The idea was to be entrepreneurial at work.

Vibrant culture

Culture is, perhaps, the best part about Kellogg's. The enthusiasm radiated in the office is infectious. People often went out of their way to help me. My fellow interns were my first resort to help solve my problems. Working together also meant a lot of fun. Learning didn't end inside the walls of the office and people from partner agencies were equally enthusiastic about my project and always ready to help. Additionally, I had access to software and webinars that would help me in my project.

Having received positive reviews from Kellogg’s, I must mention that my learning was not restricted to the tools I used. Be it the induction sessions, the session with the MD, informal chats with the directors, or discussions amongst the interns, everything was a learning. More than just the work, this internship exposed me to the right way of working. It was about taking ownership of one’s work, and learning that ‘the only boundaries are the ones we create for ourselves'.