Summer Internship: Practical sides of the theoretical knowledge

 | November 22,2012 11:50 pm IST

It was early March and still I had not been placed in any company for my MIP. I was sad as most of my friends had already been selected for internship in good companies.

But suddenly, on the auspicious day of Holi the spirit of colours brought me the good news of my MIP. I was selected as a HR intern in an Indian based Company headquartered in Delhi. It was not a big named company and most of the people gave me an ignorant look whenever my companys name was enquired. Although I felt bad about the reaction of the people and that I could not make into a big name, the fact that I got an internship in my chosen field and that I will be able to spend the coming two months with my childhood friend who works in Delhi excited me.

The next few days rushed with end term examinations and assignment presentations inline. Finally the day came, 4th, April 2012, the day of my joining. Delhi was new to me but my company was in a upmarket area called Nehru Place. But the first appearance of my company did not impress me much. I have worked before in a top India based multinational and have been used to offices built in large campuses with swimming pools, gymnasiums and many more facilities. So, this company, sharing four floors of a multi-storeyed building with other companies did not match my expectations. But bigger surprises were yet to come.

Aparupa Bandyopadhyay PGDM 2011-2013 T.A. Pai Management Institute (TAPMI)I took the elevator and reached the 5th floor of the building where the reception was. The receptionist, a middle aged lady asked me for my confirmation letter and showed me the waiting lounge. She called up someone and after having a brief conversation asked me to report to the HR department in the 6th floor. The security guard was there who showed me the way. A shock was waiting for me as I entered the office. It was one moderately large room with twelve people working. To my great astonishment people there were not aware of my joining. No workstation or computer was set up for me. I waited for sometime in dismay and thereafter was asked to go and meet my mentor.

My mentor was a young lady who played the role of Manager, HR of the company. Her cubicle was in the 5th floor where some more HR personnel were also stationed. She gave me a warm welcome and asked me about my past work experience and my future plans. After knowing that I had prior IT experience she informed me of an ongoing HRIS project and whether I was interested in working in the same. At that time I did not had much idea about HRIS and I did let her know of it. She smiled and said she will explain it to me later and gave me an assignment of Competency Mapping to start with. She also consoled me that a computer will be assigned to me in a day or two. I thanked and left her cubicle. By now I have come to know that I was the only HR intern recruited by the company.

As I reached the 6th floor office, I saw my workstation was ready. I was happy but the bare table without the computer wiped off my smile. The person to whom I reported in the morning, Shyam introduced me to the rest of the people. As instructed by my mentor I requested him to guide me in the work assigned to me. Another surprise was waiting for me as he asked a peon for something and within a short time the peon came up with a dozen of big fat files to my desk. Coming from an IT company I had no prior experience of working with manual data and I looked at Shyam. He could guess my apprehension and said that the company had started 40 years back when there was no other option but maintaining data manually and over the years the same practice has continued. Recently the company was on the way of taking up a project on updating data from manual to online. In a nice way he said me that you have to refer the manual Personal Data Files and CVs to go along with your given task.

The next few days I went through numerous files going through CVs, designations and roles of employees working in different departments and making notes of the required data for my task. The work was not that challenging but I was happy as the computer was installed at my desk within two days as promised. The work timing of the company was from 9 am to 6 pm which was actually welcome for me after having an experience of sitting for 12-13 hours a day in my previous company.

After a few initial days of my joining my mentor used to call me frequently to inquire about my work progress and also discuss with me on different IT related topics. As my prior work specialization matched with the topics we discussed she liked talking to me on those. I too enjoyed it but what I missed to understand was that all over these days she was trying to gauge my IT interest and knowledge and after a week or so she came up with an opportunity for me to work in a live project.
It was that very HRIS project which she has mentioned to me on the very first day. She explained me what HRIS was and how I might help the team with my IT knowledge. By this time I have googled on HRIS and have also grown an interest in this career stream. I was more than happy to be a part of an ongoing live project. Moreover the project gave me an opportunity to learn HR related work and also kept on brushing up my previous work knowledge which was set aside for the last one year. Days passed and I got more and more involved in the project. My mentor called me for discussing various topics and valued my opinions.

One day post lunch I was working at my desk when suddenly I got a call from my manager asking me to come to the conference room. I immediately went there and surprising me she asked me to join her on the conference call with the client. I could not believe my ears. At this end it was only me and my manager who attended the call. Instead of calling any regular employee she gave me the opportunity, this behaviour of her gave me more enthusiasm and bonding to the project. I continued attending the calls which happened 3 days a week. The project was going fine and people were also happy with my work. I have also grown a good relationship with the rest of the people in the department. Slowly I was growing a likeness towards the company, its people and the work culture being practised there.

One day I came to know from my mentor that there will be a client visit and a workshop will be organized involving the clients and a few people from the HR and IT department. I expressed my eagerness to join the workshop. She said she will get back to me on this in a few days. I kept counting the days and just one day prior to the workshop she said that a special permission has been taken for me and I can attend two days of the workshop. I was very excited and thanked her for the opportunity. The two days of the workshop proved to be really helpful as I gained a good amount of practical knowledge of the carrier stream I aim to join within a year.