17 Jul 2020 17:45 IST

Rewarding experience with application-based learning

Contributed to large-scale projects at Pidilite, successful pilot launch of the dealer's app

Summer internship is of huge importance in the life of a B school student. It provides a platform to apply your classroom learnings in a practical setting and get a bird's eye view of the operations within a company.

With the economy going for a toss because of the pandemic, I was sceptical of the internship even happening. However, Pidilite Industries Ltd did a commendable job by honouring their commitment and tailoring the internship module conforming to the requirements of a remote setup.

Acquiring new skills

Both my projects involved heavy networking and engagement with dealers, distributors, contractors and influencers. Market visits were replaced with cold calling in the 'new normal'. My experience while interacting with stakeholders at Pidilite and at Vedanta Resources, where I was leading a team of ten process-technicians, made me realize that quantitative metrics are merely just outcomes rather than being the whole process itself!

The challenge was to build long-lasting sustainable relationships by creating a win-win situation for all parties. If accomplished, the numbers would follow. The distribution system at Pidilite is unique and more or less resembles the hub-and-spoke model. The virtual field experience gave me an opportunity to connect with more than 100 stakeholders in the value chain and helped me understand the impact they are creating for Pidilite's business as a whole.

Interesting projects, immediate outcomes

While my first project was based on market sizing of an emerging brand in Pidilite's portfolio, my second assignment was completely different. I was part of a pilot launch of an app for Pidilite dealers. Both the projects gave me an opportunity to understand consumer sentiments, the rationale behind having certain preferences, and the importance of fostering relationships.

As a marketer, I also recognised the curcial need for empowering different, field-teams, to take critical decisions, in order to create an impact in the life of our stakeholders. Being able to transform the traditional consumer mindset to a digital-accepting mindset was a herculean task but it paid off, nevertheless.

It felt extremely satisfying to contribute in a successful pilot launch of the dealer's app, which will now be adopted by almost all dealers, within the Pidilite distribution network. Learning the nuances of Pidilite's business directly from the leadership team and getting to witness the immediate outcomes for my own projects, added great value to my internship experience overall.

At the end of my stint, doing justice to both of my projects within a span of six-seven weeks was very challenging but completely worth it. The learning was holistic and involved experimenting with and applying almost all aspects of my MBA training.

(The writer is currently pursuing his MBA at IIM Shillong. After graduating from VNIT Nagpur, he began his career with Vedanta Resources and gradually moved to the consulting domain with ZS Associates. He is a die-hard Manchester United fan and a Pink Floyd aficionado. His areas of interest include sales and marketing.)