01 Dec 2017 20:10 IST

Summer of 2017: the months that zoomed by

Interning at CEAT was a roller-coaster ride dotted with many important lessons

Picture this: a hall dotted with paintings in the building of a globally-renowned conglomerate, where the crème de la crème of students of premier B-schools are seated. The men look sharp and dapper and the women are prim and proper. In all, the crowd is competitive yet collaborative This was what the summer internship induction process at RPG Enterprises looked like.

For a person who grew up in the era of constant changes, where people romanticised things, I was adequately realistic. I knew it would be no child’s play to compete with the finest managers in the making.

The two-day induction process at RPG House in Mumbai helped interns forge ties with each other , understand the company, and diffuse the competitive tension.

I must admit, my journey with CEAT was nothing short of a roller-coaster ride. I spent the first week getting acquainted with the company.

Starting journeys

After a taxi ride and a train journey , I found myself at the CEAT tyre production plant in Halol, Gujarat. . One moment I was completely fascinated by the rubber-transforms-into-tyre processes at the advanced production plant, and before I knew it, it was time to end this chunk — The Acquaintanceship, as I like to call it — of the two-month journey and move on to the next.

Learning lessons

As I entered the city of dreams, Mumbai, I also entered the next phase of the internship called Building Basics. It all started with me familiarising myself with the project. As the words ‘new product development’ stared at me through the computer screen, I remained clueless on my first official day .

The task assigned to me was data refinement and polishing. In simpler words — editing a presentation. Even as the girl in me with massive dreams screamed ‘we haven’t come here to do this!’, I remembered something my professor often said: ‘Small work with great love’. That was definitely my first learning: ‘If you think you are too big for small jobs, then perhaps you are too small for big jobs’.

As days passed, I started with project-related training. The project, which was as interesting in practise as it looked on paper, required us to do a lot of market research and mathematical analysis to make it a reality.

I like to call the next phase ‘ The Full Throttle.

Every cab ride, every bike ride, had me conducting a mini-interview with the driver/rider, who wondered why I was more interested in the tyres than the destination. For unbiased responses, while doing such field work, we don’t reveal our identities or claim to belong to a particular brand or product. Back at the office, the qualitative data was constantly converted into quantitative results. I left no stone unturned in my capacity to make sure that the project stayed in good shape. After all, the project was a reflection of my work over the past two months, so the sense of ownership came automatically.

Full circle

The next was the last one, and what I liked to call The Last Leg.

It was time to present my work to the senior management. I was nervous just before the presentation and my mind was imagining multiple post-presentation possibilities. No thanks to human tendency, the worst case scenario won. While this battle was raging in my head, I heard someone call out: “Neha, you are up next!”.

I got myself together and tried every confidence building exercise I knew. My rendezvous with the senior management was brilliant. The inputs and feedback from their valuable experience in the industry, is something I definitely took away with me. Here, I got my second lesson: ‘Learn from other’s experiences as well, not just your own’.

The results came out soon after and I featured in the list of the coveted Arjuna Awards competition, where interns from various colleges battled it out. . The final day of my two month stint ended on a fantastic note, with the Arjuna Awards ceremony taking place in the same hall that was dotted with paintings. The only difference: this time was there was a happy vibe.

Thus, my internship came to an end. It was ajourney full of crests and troughs but nothing short of fabulous. As I pen this account and reminisce, I grow more confident about the fact that the summer of 2017 gave me the experience of a lifetime which I will cherish forever.