'Summer internship is about realising your career path'

 | November 22,2012 11:50 pm IST

When you are first told by the seniors that summer placement is the most happening part of your first year in the college, it leaves you wondering about the truthfulness of the statement and excited about the events. But then as you live through, or rather survive, the phase you realise that the statement is indeed true.

It starts with preparation of CVs, preparing for the hr and case based questions, and getting your suits tailored. You learn how to globe but not be identified as globing in your interview. For the one uninitiated to b-school lingo, globe is to garnish your answer with loads of management jargons like ROI and strategic shift when you know nothing about the matter in the question.

The initial plan (if there was one) was to get internship with either a FMCG firm (given my interest in marketing) or in an IT firm (where I would be able to utilise my previous work experience). But at the same time I was open to explore new career options. With the desire to carve a path different from the herd I applied for STAR TV. After a rather relaxed interview, which focussed majorly on my extra-curricular activities, I got selected. Incidentally, our college was the only campus in the country the company had visited and I was the only mba student to intern at Star TV Pvt. Ltd.

Anju Ekka Age  IIM Lucknow , specialization in Marketing & SystemsAfter the initial euphoria had settled in (and my friends had stopped teasing me as the STAR), I was facing two important questions, why was I the only person selected and what is an mba intern going to do in a media firm. With these apprehensions and the dream of meeting some of the stars during the shoots, I landed in Mumbai. My first day at office was majorly uneventful. I was briefed about my role and the expectations and the projects that were going on. The thing that I appreciated most was that I was not being forced into some project. Rather they gave me an option to work on a project of a new show where I would be able to contribute most.

As I began my work I realised that the culture at STAR was very different from the company I had previously worked for. A work culture where I wasnt forced to wear formals every morning , a place where creative ideas were welcomed, cubicles were colourful and personalised, with TV at every alternate desk, , glass wall conference rooms with bean bags. This was my work place and I loved every bit of my stay. But though the work place seemed cool there was no relaxation in terms of demands of the job. You have to be on your toes all the times and the deadlines were very stringent.

I was working for Life OK channel and specifically on a crime show called Savdhan India. The prime objective of my project was to devise strategies to increase the consumer engagement with the show and generate social awareness. My job was to analyse the pattern of TV viewers and understand the impact of various promotional campaigns on the viewership they generated with special focus on online promotions. During the process I got to meet some very interesting persons and got an insight into the whole process that goes behind creating a successful TV show. Its not about creating a story, hiring some stars and shooting a show. It takes lot more than that to make a show successful. Lots of research backed by hard data and analysis is done before even drafting a proposal for a new show.

Without divulging much detail about the firm and its strategies I would like to share one of the new ideas that were implemented during my stay. It involved setting up an IVR system which enabled people to call and record their story of how they took precaution in a crime situation. We selected the best calls and shared it on TV. The number of calls tremendously increased from 40 calls on the first day to 2760 calls within 7 days. This strategy was a grand success. In the voice records people have acknowledged that Savdhan India@11 has really helped them to be aware of their surroundings and also to protect themselves and their families from unwanted circumstances.

The best thing about my internship was that I was not in a routine job like the I-bankers (who had to spend sleepless nights on their desks crafting reports) or Marketers (roaming in the streets of Mumbai under scorching sun to grab the pulse of the consumer). I had freedom to be creative, got a glimpse of the glamour world (visited shoots of some of the hugely popular shows of Life OK and meet the stars) and the success of the ideas that I implemented and the appreciation that followed gave me great satisfaction. Of course staying in Mumbai was also an opportunity to hang out with friends at marine drive and juhu choupati.

Every day of those 2 months was filled with some enriching experience. Summer internship is basically about realising what career path you want to chose for yourself and whether or not you would be able to succeed in that particular field. For me it was about experiment. I experimented with a sector which might not be lucrative to many of my peers. And when I compared my internship experience with my previous work and the experiences shared by my friends, the most important lesson I learnt is that your job satisfaction doesnt depend on the money that you make or the big names that you can associate yourself with. Ultimately its about whether or not you are doing something that you actually enjoy doing and which gives that unique idiosyncratic sense of accomplishment.