17 Jun 2020 22:14 IST

Virtually perfect!

HUL’s Employer Brand Team must be credited for delivering a holistic online internship experience

This summer, I had the opportunity to be a part of the Unilever Leadership Internship Programme (ULIP 2020) as a finance intern. On March 15, 2020, two weeks before I was scheduled to begin my internship, I received a mail from the Employer Brand Team stating that the internship would be virtual until further notice.

It was an overwhelming situation. The world was battling the spread of a pandemic, and abundant precaution was the need of the hour. However, a virtual internship also meant that I would be missing out on a fantastic office experience, bonding with fellow interns and, a glimpse into the work-life culture at HUL. But HUL stayed true to its promise of delivering a holistic internship experience, albeit virtually.

Nutrition portfolio

The interns were given business-critical projects and were encouraged to bring in new perspectives. I was assigned to work with the GSK Integration Team, the same day that the HUL-GSK merger was completed. My project was revenue management for their new nutrition portfolio of Horlicks and Boost. Though the project was challenging, it provided an excellent opportunity to learn and make an impact. My project was not only limited to analysing data but understanding the nutrition category landscape, consumer behaviour, brand positioning and business strategy. I interacted with both the brand and finance teams and observed how the different functions collaborated.

Every intern had a dedicated tutor to guide us on a daily basis, a buddy for informal support and, a senior coach for career guidance. WhatsApp conversations and daily calls with my team ensured that I was progressing on the right track. During my mid and final review, I was given an opportunity to present my findings to senior executives and get their feedback. My recommendations were valued and listened to patiently, thus motivating me to excel in my tasks.

Weekly hackathons

From sending welcome hampers to conducting virtual familiarisation sessions; from holding weekly hackathons to organising a fun-filled virtual summer conclave; from having speaker sessions with top executives to weekly virtual hangouts for interns; the Employer Brand Team ensured that the signature HUL experience was intact.

In these tough times, my two months with HUL has helped me expand my knowledge and build confidence in my capabilities. This experience has been a personal milestone for me, and I am excited to see how the future unfolds.

(The writer is a student of the PGP 2019-21 batch at IIM Bangalore.)