Internship – A Teacher In Disguise!

Sudeshna Naskar
Mar 31, 2019   •  12 views

I was thrilled! My mind was bogged with anxiety and questions. I have both heard and read about the behaviour of people in the corporate. A lot of writers have penned down their ideas on corporate culture and organizational behaviour.

Stress is laid upon team work, interaction and diplomacy. It sounds pretty on paper but implementation proves to be difficult. You yourself have to go through the process of behaviour reengineering. After all, I am a fresher. My naivety mocked at me, looked at me indifferently.

Sudden unknown fear encroached me, made me restless, impatient, gesturing at me to run away. Frankly speaking, I was terrified with the thought of the ultimate encounter with the corporate. Although I was overjoyed when the HR of Feedback Business Consulting Services Pvt. Ltd, Delhi branch, selected me out of many, I had to go through a rigorous interview process. So when I cracked the interview, certainly I was on cloud nine.

Soon, those feelings became history when the D-day arrived, the day of my joining. I have this particular perception that those people who go to office are people with a sense of innate maturity, result driven attitude, efficient and with a flawless personality. Of course, that’s the reason why they must be hired. I lacked the mental readiness to yet to join a company.

I had got a basic question to be answered by myself, how I would survive! Industry is utterly different environment compared to academics. One has to deliver against all odds. Yes, I lacked confidence. I was panicky and so unsure of myself but another explorative part of me was constantly nagging me.

This part honestly confessed, ‘I know no fear. I am strong to take charge of whatever comes in my way. Let’s face it!’ Confused and dazed by mixed feelings, I had no other alternative but to join the company on the occasion of my assurance to start my internship.

After all the apprehensions, I appeared on the first day i.e. 5th of May, 2014 at the Delhi branch of Feedback Consulting. That was my first time in Delhi. I lost my way on the first day and its Delhi, mind it! Today, I still shiver at the thought.

Thanks to my early start from IIT, Delhi where my lodging was arranged, I reached before time. Filled with fear, perspiration and preoccupied with unnecessary thoughts, I strode into the office premise. The office is on the 2nd floor of the building which encompasses many other offices situated at different floors.

Need to thank the interior decorators who had created such marvellous designs that incredibly uplifted the aesthetic sense of the office. First impression is the last impression. I liked my office at once, at a single glance. I started feeling positive but I was nervous. That was my first small step towards corporate world.

I received warm greetings from the office inmates. I sat on a corner sofa and waited. It seemed to me never ending.

The HR manager arrived and smiled at me. She introduced herself and handed me with a non-disclosure agreement document. I flipped the pages and counted. It came around 20.

My job was to read and understand it carefully and lastly put a signature at the end. Mrs. Shilpi Sarkar, the HR manager, informed me about my project guide, Mr. K. Prakashchandra. He contacted me via teleconference and explained the tasks that I would need to perform.

My assignment was on ‘’Pressure-Sensitive adhesive’’. I was supposed to research on the varieties of Pressure-sensitive adhesive, its industrial applications, manufacturer of tapes and labels using Pressure-sensitive adhesive. I needed to understand the products of the industries and its end-users related to the pressure-sensitive adhesive. There are certain industries which solely manufacture pressure –sensitive adhesive viz. Avery Dennison. These industries would in turn supply their products to other tapes and label manufacturing industries. These industries would assemble the final product and supply those to the end-user viz. Automobiles, Pharmaceuticals, FMCG industries etc. Therefore, I required to research about the entire supply chain. I needed to visit these companies and enquire about their products viz. the quantity of the labels and tapes stock requirement per annum, quantity of the adhesive per annum, the percentage revenue coming from them, need gaps from suppliers’ side, percentage of the product supplied to the various end – users etc.

Research was followed by questionnaire development. I had to conduct field as well as telephonic interviews. Both of the methodologies have their own pros and cons. In telephonic method, company people were difficult to convince as they would be suspecting us as competitors. They would be very much reluctant to give away even simple information in regards to their products. Either I would be requesting them or I would be calling up their other branches for the information. In the field the company people would be convinced but they would not be available most of the time in spite of taking prior permission. Hence, the whole exercise would become futile.

That was the point of time when I used to get frustrated. It was the summer time in Delhi and the scorching rays of the sun would make matter worse.

Market research seemed to be quite challenging to me and little did I know about the ground reality that it’s not as fancy as it looks. Getting information out of people is a mammoth task. Tactics even fail there.

The only solution that remains is to skip the current company and move on to the next. So, it is primarily a trial and error method and there is no guarantee to success. One has to keep trying till the end. After calling some 50 companies, probably only 10 would respond. Conversion rate used to be very less.

My boss would never compromise when it comes to deadlines. He wanted all the data on time. Meeting deadlines was difficult as data collection used to be quite cumbersome especially when people were not ready to speak up about their companies’ product.

Dealing with all these challenges demanded sufficient patience and perseverance. But, yes, there is a limit to everything and especially when the weather had been so ruthless and merciless, people lose their sanity.

At one point of time, I had the idea of switching to other profiles or some other company. Initially I used to like my work but later on there was an utter person-job misfit. I felt that, that particular profile might not have been my area of expertise. I was not practically enjoying what I was doing. I was quite serious about my work though and especially I would be extra careful about the deadlines. My project guide was happy with my progress and appreciated me. But I personally felt something was missing. I was just doing things according to instructions not fruitfully.

Nevertheless, I got to learn the negotiation skills. This internship has helped me overcome my shyness and made me more confident in dealing with unknown people in a professional manner.

The transformation happened from being a shy, naïve, shaky personality to a more robust one. Although I learnt all these in a hard way, but at least I learnt something. I got to understand my strengths and areas of interest. I might not have enjoyed my internship to the fullest but it aided in invoking my thought process. I exactly know now what is needed to be done.

My mind is crystal clear, fearless and much more focused now.