'My Summer Internship - an enlightening and thrilling experience'
| November 22,2012 11:50 pm IST
Leaving for Nagpur I had the initial school boyish excited surrounding my Internship. This was a sector that I was completely unaware of and after some browsing on the internet I learnt that the opportunities in the education sector are many.
All of this recently acquired knowledge made me all the more eager to begin my internship and perform to my best of abilities and later, who knows might even bag a Pre Placement Offer.
I reached Nagpur early in the morning on the day of my reporting. I hired a cab to drop me to the place where I was allotted accommodation. Another reason for my being ecstatic was the extremely professional nature in which all the details about my date of joining and accommodation had been communicated. Nothing could have prepared me for what was about to come my way.
There I was, knocking persistently at the door of a ghastly flat. To my surprise, the door was answered by a sharply dressed gentleman whom I could guess was an intern himself. Nonetheless, I confirmed if I was at the right address and then entered. The next I know was me standing amidst thirteen other gentlemen dressed in formals with sweat marks developing all around their shirts while we exchanged pleasantries.
Nevertheless, not letting the recent developments bog down my spirits, I changed into formal clothing and headed out to my new office in the simmering heat that is characteristic of Nagpur. I reached the office and it didnt take me ten seconds to realise that these two months would not be a walk in the park.
Observations Indians blossom in Chaos
- Not a single person seemed to realize that we were interns and not students whove come for enrollment
- Everyone was busy
- No central cooling
- We were the only people in the entire office dressed in formal clothing
- Phones ringing
- People exchanging currency
- A kid (who later turned out to be a 19yr old) carrying tea/ coffee
The JOB: Push the product
No sooner than it was established that we are management interns we were given workplaces, two cubicles to seat thirteen of us. I tried gazing into the eyes of every other intern to see if there was any sign of a rebellion. I couldnt find any, all I saw was disbelief.
We were soon greeted by the VP of the company, a ICFAI-Hyderabad alumnus. He gave us the insight about the Industry, the SWOT, the PESTL, the background and everything one would find on the first few pages of a Harvard Case. After telling us about the organisational structure we were told about the importance of these two months for the company/institution. As we were being told about the companys achievements in the last couple of years and how unprecedented this feat was. We realised that the lot of us were nothing but cheap and skilled labour. The optimist that is me out of sheer competitiveness wanted to prove myself as a skilled labourer and work as hard as I possibly can and maybe teach them a thing or two. We were later given our respective projects.
My project at the company was basically to bring in students from most of the rural, underdeveloped regions of Vidarbha and even some parts of Chhattisgarh by utilising all the skills and techniques that I had gained so far.
The company is a relatively young enterprise and from what we observed, nearly all of its revenue depends on its marketing activities done during the months of April and May, owing to the fact that most students have just written their board exams. The fee of the residential program offered by The company was quite substantial, around 1.15 lakhs per student excluding boarding and lodging. Thus, one had to be very efficient in communicating the offering to the clients who, in this case were the students and of course, their parents. Also, the average family income of our target customers in the Vidarbha region, excluding Nagpur, was as low as 10000 per month. Thus, we had a herculean task in front of us - that of making sure that people from these low lying regions accept and then purchase our product which was nothing but education.
The Methodology/Techniques Devised
The above bending process diagram shows the basic methodology that we devised and followed to pull in more students and more so, to push our product.
Besides these we followed several traditional marketing/promotional activities like:
- Publishing the advertisement for the entrance/selection test on the local daily newspapers (Lok Satta, Nagpur Bhaskar)
- Advertising on the local news channel
- Door to door marketing
- Pasting posters of the upcoming events of the organization on Auto-Rickshaws but utilizing the well establishing marketing concept of the influencer.
Was I any good?
After putting to use the above mentioned process to use in all the territories assigned to me. I singlehandedly was able to convert on an average three prospective candidates to enrol per territory for the fully residential programme which, I was later told, was a huge feat in itself. At the end of my internship I realised how different the reality is and having a sound understanding of all the jargons and frameworks doesnt make one an able manager.
The company gives the best possible coaching available in the region. The reputation of the company is one of the best in the local marketplace. Its students have been placed in prestigious organizations and are still getting lucrative job offers. It is only in the admission time that all is not as it should be. The institute gets its sales force involved in certain tricks that are apparently deemed necessary to achieve profitability. These tricks involve calling and congratulating almost all the students appearing for the scholarship test and then offering each one of them some discount thereby creating a false sense of achievement among the students. Thus the end result of all this is that different students end up paying different fees for the same course. Moreover many students without an aptitude and genuine interest in the course end up enrolling. Students who are studious and are have an natural inclination towards the subjects offered by the course, but do not know about bargaining, sincerely pay the fees before the due dates. Thus, these students are in a way compelled to pay much higher fees than those who dilly-dally and are not sincere in paying the fees regularly.
Suggestions/ Recommendations: LOL quotient