11 Sep 2017 16:21 IST

Putting theory to practice at internships

Students of XIME write about their summer internship experience

As a part of the curriculum students have to undergo an eight-week internship programme after completing the first year of PGDM. Here are a few summer internship reports by the students of XIME, Bangalore:

 

Nishant Kakkar (RBI)

Students with prior work experience are sceptical about the value of an internship. What can we possibly learn in such a short period of time? Why is it compulsory, especially since mentors are likely to be busy with work and can’t guide us?

I got answers during my internship with the Reserve Bank of India. First of all, it gives us a taste of how firms work, what they expect from their employees and the prevailing work culture. During this period, one gets to appreciate the practical application of concepts learnt in class. Also, an internship shapes our work ethic and helps us get first-hand knowledge of the field or industry we are interested in.

The above stated concern about the unavailability of mentors given their busy schedule was proven wrong. If you have the zeal to learn and work hard mentors go the extra mile to help acquire the required skills. In conclusion, I can say that this has benefitted me immensely by helping me form expectations of my career.

 

Kamala Sundaresan (KPMG)

Summers are meant for sleeping in and holidaying in picturesque lands, aren’t they? Not so, if you have to cut your teeth in the corporate setting. For my summer internship, I was accepted at KPMG as part of their Governance Risk Compliance Services team. My time there has taught me much about my area of interest and the inner workings of a professional services organisation.

After the first few days, I was thrown into an internal audit and risk consultancy project, the deep end of the pool. I learnt how the organisation carries out testing of controls and analyses the effectiveness of financial and operational functions. Being a fresher, this was my first real-world corporate experience, which will prove valuable for my career ahead.

My biggest take-away, however, has been that it is all right to not know something. You are not expected to know everything; you are only expected to demonstrate an interest to learn. So, overall, my experience has taught me to be realistic, gather as much knowledge as possible and have fun along the way.

 

Raily Ghosh (VMware)

It was by a stroke of luck that I got selected for an internship with VMware. The team I got into works in the area of strategy and change management, which neatly aligned with my interests. A few days in, I realised that the company is one of the best places to work in. What drives VMware is the wonderful culture, at the heart of which are employee empowerment and individual accountability.

I was given complete ownership of a product that was being launched internally for the global customer operations division. It was a “people practices” product, being launched in India for over 450 people, with plans to scale up. The opportunity to drive a project of this scale allowed me to work in all major areas of management. I saw a campaign that I ideated and created come to life! The execution of the project helped me learn about the nuances of change management. I was also able to witness the direct measurable impact the product brought with it.

The experience, with its long hours at work, has helped me learn and grow — both as an individual and a professional.

 

Alpana Jumde (Infineon Technologies)

‘Hands on’ was the first term I heard as I entered my office on the first day of my internship. I only knew the dictionary definition of the phrase then but, as I continued the project for another two months, I understood the actual meaning, importance and learning this term beholds.

I worked for Learning and Development department, under core human resources functions. My project fell within the purview of system integration; I had to develop an e-learning module for the on boarding process of new managers. I had to capture all the processes, policies and cultural norms of the company and make the hire well-acquainted with them through e-learning.

The most interesting part of my project was that I had to cover all the processes and policies that come under the HR department. Being a fresher with an undergraduate degree in engineering, it was a great experience; I covered the whole spectrum of the HR operations. Besides this, I was also assigned the task of facilitating the various training programmes. This gave me the exposure to work in a corporate setting and understand team dynamics, coordination and task expectations.

I learned that there are always two components attached with your task: the ‘What’ and ‘How’ parts. The former includes what has to be done to accomplish the task and the latter includes the desired behaviour one needs to exhibit while performing the task. Both the components are equally important to excel in the corporate world.

This internship has strengthened my resume as well as my practical knowledge. It will also be useful in choosing my career path and area of expertise.

 

Shilpi Sinha (HDFC Bank)

Culture shock (noun): The feeling of disorientation experienced by someone when they are suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes.

That is what I felt when I joined HDFC Bank. As a fresher with no prior corporate experience, I was exposed to many things there that I had only learnt theoretically before. Learning about new products in an industry, giving the ‘perfect’ sales pitch, accepting harsh rejection gracefully, having to meet targets while trying to adjust in a new but wealthy locality with a modest stipend... all these helped in my overall development as a person who wants to make a career in this field.

Gathering the courage to approach the CFO of one of India’s biggest hospitals, Columbia Asia Hospital, and cracking a deal for them to start a relationship with HDFC Bank was the highlight of my journey as an intern. Saying that internships aren’t useful for one’s career is an unfounded notion. Not all internships are the same either, but once you rise above issues such as the stipend, working overtime, a lack of recognition, you can realise that all you have gained from this experience is actually more valuable than what you may have missed.

Pritha Das (Nagoya University of Commerce & Business)

Having heard so much about the history of Japan and learned about business practices and the high standards of quality that prevail in the Japanese industry, I was thrilled to be a part of the students exchange programme at Nagoya University of Commerce and Business.

The Global Leadership Programme emphasised on creating a global mindset and developing global leaders. It follows a participative approach. The classes focused primarily on individual and group discussions followed by presentations. The students took the lead role in the learning process. Groups were assigned and allotted a healthy amount of assignments. This gave me the experience of working with and adjusting to different group dynamics, and helped me become a better team player. The programme also demanded regular report submissions, presentations and group meetings. But this hard work coupled with fun took away the stress.

The programme was not all work and no play. As a part of an excursion, all the exchange students were taken to the UNESCO world heritage site of Shirakawa-go and the historical city of Takayama. The purpose was to gives us insight into traditional Japanese culture. Japan is a perfect blend of culture, tradition and modernity. Organisation, system and discipline are at the heart of their culture. Technology and automation go hand-in-hand with this culture.

This exchange programme had a positive impact on my personality. It broadened my horizon and I now feel confident to take up more challenges; I feel ready for a challenging career and life.

Sai Abhishek (NALCO)

I started my internship as a management trainee at NALCO. I was assigned to my corporate guide on the first day; I expected a stereotypical PSU employee telling me to do some boring homework. But, to my surprise, I was assigned directly to the deputy general manager of marketing.

Initially, I was asked to do a detailed study of the company and its background, which helped me later on for my project work. Then, my guide gave me the freedom to choose my topic of study, which would benefit the organisation. I chose to do a detailed study on ‘The key factors driving the prices in aluminium industry and possible ways to stabilise the price fluctuations’.Everyone was supportive of my choice.

At the same time, I started developing relations with various professionals in the industry, which is when I realised the importance of an internship.

I put everything I had learnt in my first year to complete this project. My guide greatly appreciated the final product and said, although he can’t give me a pre-placement offer since they are a government organisation, he’d give my application first preference. I was overjoyed when I heard this! I was also awarded a special appreciation certificate by the DGM himself.

Overall, it was great experience as I got to learn how a corporate works and it gave me a lot of practical knowledge about the industry.

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