13 Jul 2015 15:55 IST

What it takes to ‘rise’ to the challenge

Halfway through the PGDM course at IIM Shillong, my internship was a pleasant reality check

When I joined the Post Graduate Programme in Management, IIM Shillong, I was apprehensive of going back to the classroom again. I needn’t have worried, for, from the beginning, the practical orientation of classes and case discussions of real business problems turned abstract theoretical concepts into practical solutions. The real test of these lessons, however, began with my first day of summer internship.

Halfway through the PGDM course at IIM Shillong was my internship, that turned out to be a pleasant reality check on how far I’ve come since beginning my journey here. I interned with Mahindra Retail under the Group Management Cadre (GMC) programme and every day seemed to bring with it a new opportunity — either to apply what I had already learnt, or to learn something new.

Research

With the support of the team at Mahindra, I took up the challenge of defining a project that would add value to the company. My first task was research. From spending time on the shop floor to in-depth interviews and surveys, no stone was left unturned to ensure that my survey was thorough.

I was encouraged to sit in on meetings and given the freedom to approach anyone within the company to understand how things worked and what the goals of different departments were. The lessons in the classroom played a large role in quantifying and distilling all this information into relevant inputs.

Project

Based on the findings, then, my project really began. ‘Synergy’ is a word that keeps coming up in discussions of best practices in business. However, the reality of balancing interests of multiple stakeholders, meetings and multiple iterations to receive and incorporate feedback, was something completely different.

As the internship came to an end, the process of evaluation began — the highlight being the final presentation at the Mahindra Institute of Quality, Nashik. Looking back now, I can hardly believe that so much happened in such a short period of time.

Memorable internship

What was the best thing about the internship? The people I met and the friends I made. Whether it was fellow interns from other top B-schools or the more experienced mentors and colleagues I worked with, the time I spent with them taught me a lot. As a group, we interns even had the opportunity to interact with Anand Mahindra himself, apart from other top executives of the group.

Lunch and tea breaks, heading out after work, bonding over coffee, late nights chats, special dinners and trips to vineyards — the internship was a lot of fun. These two months gave me a taste of what I can achieve and how far I still need to go to complete my education and begin a fulfilling career in management.

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