12 Mar 2015 20:34 IST

Learning from a stint in FMCG

I absorbed much more than I could have learnt sitting in a classroom or in an air-conditioned office

It was a hot morning in Kolkata as my friends and I made our way through the mad traffic, switching from a taxi to a rickshaw and then walking — all to get to the main office of the company we were to intern at. This was our first day and we reported at the reception, all starry-eyed and looking forward to working for Emami, that was growing rapidly in the ever-dynamic FMCG sector. I had heard about the induction process from friends and seniors. We entered the briefing room, not really expecting much, because all the stories included boring presentations, charts and unending form-filling procedures. In here were students from other institutes, all as lost yet as excited as we were.

Senior people from the marketing team addressed us. The sessions were very interactive and helped us learn a lot about the organisation. The HR and formalities part was surprisingly short, like a filler between some other good sessions. Thus the two days of induction went by, and we were kept engaged and interested throughout.

Before I knew it, the two months were over.

Post-induction, I reported to the Pune branch, for that is where I was to spend the next two months. I started off with studying and understanding the company’s sales structure, followed by the range of products and sales patterns. I also studied the market offers and sales team’s incentive plans. All of this happened in one day, because the second day onwards, I was in ‘the field’.

Field Work

Basically I was doing the rounds in the market with the sales executives and staff, understanding what the Pune market was like and what kind of marketing activities could be planned in the city.

Then came the most interesting part of my internship — the planning, mapping, briefing, monitoring and measuring of ‘Below the Line’ (BTL) activities for my product.

As the marketing intern on site, I was responsible for seven instances of four different BTL activities in and around Pune district. Handling all these activities was a difficult yet exciting. I got all the help I needed from the sales team and could depend on them for assistance with activity material disbursement, route planning etc, I was traversing a large area from dawn to dusk. Before I knew it, though, the two months were over.


When I sat down to recap my experience, after my final presentation and formalities were done, I realised that amid all the excitement, running around and work, I had learnt a lot.

Much more than I could have learnt sitting in a classroom or in a comfortable air-conditioned office.

Kartik Athavale is a final year student at SIBM, Bangalore. He interned at Emami Ltd in April-May 2013.