The Summers of 2018 is a miniseries about the various categories of roles offered by companies for summer internships. The author talked to interns from Consulting, Finance, Marketing, General Management, Product Management, Operations and International Intern roles to understand a bit more about their work life. The articles are meant to give the reader a glimpse into the life of an intern, and maybe help the reader understand their own fit in that particular role. This article, the fifth in the series of seven, describes the life of a general management intern.
Contributed By: Chandrashekhar Muramalla
Edited By: J K Varshika
GENERAL MANAGEMENT IN ADITYA BIRLA GROUP
The Aditya Birla Group Graduate Internship Program offers interns a wide variety of roles and immense exposure to a number of different companies under the ABG umbrella. Being a 41-billion-dollar conglomerate, ABG consists of a diverse array of companies ranging from apparels to insurance to cement. Roles are assigned based on the domain interest of the intern, and the availability and requirement of the individual companies. I was put in the E-Commerce division of Pantaloons and was based off Mumbai.
The internship kicked off with a fun stand-up comedy show by Saurabh Pant followed by a formal networking dinner where we got to meet the who’s who of all the group companies. The week that followed was no less happening. The Pantaloons interns were tasked with understanding the complete front-end operations in the stores, right from cashiering and doing the work of a fashion assistant to understanding the inventory management system in the store. Stepping into the shoes of a fashion assistant and understanding their routines and activities was an eye-opening experience. We learnt about how the employees followed the standard operating procedures efficiently, and how the store managers encouraged this behaviour through various activities and morale boosting exercises.
The main body of the internship started from week 2. Our short stints in the store made us look at Pantaloons in a new light. Armed with a picture of the ground realities in the store, we were eager to put our new-found knowledge to use in our projects. But once we were introduced to the backend systems, we were stumped again! The next week was spent on understanding the various systems and processes of Pantaloons, including supply chain and marketing. Meanwhile, we were also asked to start working on the individual projects. The three interns at Pantaloons got 3 completely different projects. One of them got a project managing a store and increasing its revenue, another in market research for the kid’s segment and building consumer profiles, and I was put in the Ecommerce department, and was given a marketing/strategy project.
The team I worked with was extremely helpful and knowledgeable. I was assigned mentors to help me out through the project. They were really fun people to work with and we quickly became good friends. Their insights about the business helped me immensely in my project. Though I was an intern, I was treated as a regular employee, and was expected to perform like a regular employee. I felt immense pride when my suggestions were actually incorporated into the pages of the Pantaloons E-com website. I found good use of marketing theory and consumer behaviour in my project and learnt a lot about digital marketing in the process.
Since General Management Companies aren’t exactly known for the generous number of PPOs they give out, the best course of action was to focus on learning as much as possible, and as many things as possible. My manager continuously pushed me to actively seek out people from various departments and understand as much as I could about the business as a whole in the short amount of time I had. This gave me an opportunity to understand both Pantaloons and its competition in some depth.
An internship at ABG is almost as much about the people you meet as the learning you get from the projects. Half of the interns posted in Mumbai were given accommodation in the same building. This made most weekends, and many weekdays, a lot of fun. Meeting so many amazing and fun people from top colleges all over India does make you see life in a new light. Making quite a few good friends along the way, I feel I exploited my internship to the fullest, both in terms of learning, and making a significant and lasting contribution to the company. And the final party hosted by the HR team, on the last day of our internship, was nothing short of epic. None of the interns wanted to leave their companies. There were tears all around. Tears of both happiness, of pride from their successful projects, and sadness, from having to move away from their dear friends. The two months in ABG were well spent.
Stay tuned for some more internship gyan! Read part four here – http://b-heard.in/2014/the-summers-of-2018-prodman/