Looking back at those two months: Summer Experience of an XLRI Student

 | July 31,2012 10:30 am IST

Summer internship is touted amongst one of the most important experiences that one can have in a B-school. Its significance is immense; the learning that one can get during the two months; the network that one can have access to; the first-hand corporate experience for the freshers as well as the first pay-cheques; and last but not the least, the possible chance of getting the coveted pre-placement offers.

Recently I participated in the summer internship process at TATA Motors. My base working location was at Mumbai but the nature of my job took me to quite a few places across Madhya Pradesh. It was an interesting experience.

The process kick-started with the formal induction program conducted at the Corporate Headquarters office. There was an ice-breaking session to start with; then a round of introduction. Then a few senior leaders from the top management delivered speeches mainly revolving around Ritabrata Chakrabarti  HRM(2011-13), XLRI Jamshedpurthe core values of TATA group, the business model of TATA Motors, the organization structure, the policies followed, the strict business ethics that TATA group has imbibed over the years. A well-made documentary delineating the evolution of the TATA group was shown to us as well. Overall, the 2-day program made us quite well-aware of the company we were getting into, for the next two months.

I came to know about my project details after the induction. It was about identifying the training needs of the sales and service managers at TATA Motors operating out of the western region. It would have needed extensive travelling across Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh so as to conduct detailed interviews with the employees and understand their training needs. I found the travelling part extremely refreshing as my previous work was mainly desk job in IT companies. Later my itinerary got curbed because another intern joined me in the project and it was decided she would take up the area offices in Maharashtra while I would travel to Madhya Pradesh.

I started visiting the dealerships in and around Mumbai and Thane to collect the required data. Travelling in the heat of April wouldnt have been a pleasant experience for some, but I absolutely fell in love with the Mumbai local trains and enjoyed visiting new places. The interviews that I conducted with the sales and service managers taught me a lot about the company. I was surprised to find the amount of knowledge that the employees had about the industry as a whole. I have no problem admitting that these people perhaps had much more management experience than some of the MBA students like us.

The second phase of my project took me to places like Pune, Raipur, Indore and Jabalpur. It was a great opportunity for me as I had to do plan the entire tour schedule, the interview appointments, arranging the itinerary. It was more like a business trip. I travelled by flights, trains as well as buses, woke up at different hotels, went to work at different offices and showrooms, and met a lot of people. Talking with them made me realize how important yet how neglected the HR domains are, in organizations. It was a stunning revelation that though they are well-defined policies in place, some of their execution is wanting. I was a bit apprehensive about the level of co-operation that I would get as I was no more than a summer intern, but was delighted by the amount of time the employees spent with me to let me know about their views and insights. I would like to thank them for this.

Looking back at the two months, I would say my project did not have the scope where I could apply the theoretical concepts that I had learnt in class. It was more of a practical exercise which was important in the sense that the company was looking ahead to make their workforce one of the most educated ones so as to compete with the global leaders of the industry. Overall, my summer internship was a fulfilling one with a fun-filled Mumbai life, travelling to new places and connecting with new people.