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I am currently spending my summers at Flipkart – the e-commerce giant which, I am sure, needs no introduction. I hope this piece gives you a good peek into the nitty-gritties of being a summer intern at Flipkart – right from the selection to the work and life in Bangalore in general.
Flipkart has been a regular visitor for campus placements over the years, but this was the first occasion where they came to hire summer interns through the PT Cell, so nobody had an inkling of what the process would be. There were two profiles – tech and non-tech, and I’ll be shedding light on the non-tech profile. The selection process was pretty straightforward. There was a one hour aptitude test followed by a single round (two in some cases) of interviews for the shortlisted candidates. The interview was a mix of HR and resume based scenarios. Being a regular follower of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and having some insights into the e-commerce industry helped me cruise through the interview. In fact, I ended up asking a few questions to my interviewer towards the end about the future of e-commerce, comparisons with Alibaba et al. A cautionary note here to the readers – never ask questions that may put your interviewer on the backfoot. That may not work well for your chances of getting selected.
The Internship Experience
This year, Flipkart hired 20 odd interns from all the major IITs for their Graduate Trainee Internship Program. We were asked to fill out our priorities for the team of our preference, with choices including Corporate Finance, Supply Chain Management, Category Management, and were allotted our respective teams prior to joining. Most of Flipkart’s corporate offices are based in Koramangala, a suburb in Bangalore. They have a number of offices and different teams (read departments) sit out on different offices. I am a part of the Supply Chain Management team.
The induction was a fun-filled day which had more of fun-filled ice-breakers such as treasure hunts and less of the conventional ‘Gyaanbaazi’. We were introduced to our reporting managers and given work laptops, along with a brief overview of our projects. The first week marked getting familiarised with the team, developing an understanding of the project and facility visits. The very first time I visited the White Field warehouse, I was floored with the scale of operations of the whole facility. It is a true testament to the crazy hunger Indians are developing for online shopping.
[pullquote]The very first time I visited the White Field warehouse, I was floored with the scale of operations of the whole facility. It is a true testament to the crazy hunger Indians are developing for online shopping.[/pullquote]
The interns at Flipkart are treated just like regular employees. There is no formal dress code and the work timings are also flexible. I usually reach the office by 10:30 and leave by 7:30. One amusing fact about the work culture at Flipkart is that there are no cabins and has a free seating arrangement at the office. Also, interestingly, the names of meeting rooms on every floor of every office are named after a unique theme, like cartoon characters, names of famous rock bands, even cocktails etc. The people here, including even the senior most ones, are extremely approachable and always ready to help. There are regular ‘Flip-Out’s for each departments, wherein the topmost management (read the Bansals) and others do major announcements and share updates on major things in the pipeline.
Getting down to business, I am a part of the End-to-End Design Team which solves problems and drives initiatives covering the entire breadth of the Supply Chain and not specific to any leg. I worked on a major project and a minor project towards the latter part of the second half. The first project involved framework creation for the blueprint of processes in the Supply Chain Vertical (which is Ekart logistics). The first few weeks went into offline study of various referencing models in Operations Research like SCOR and APQC’s PCF. This was followed by researching about the practices used in leading companies which have highly mature supply chains like the major FMCGs, Automobile and Heavy Engineering companies, etc. Using this research, combined with an internal analysis of Flipkart’s requirements, I created a framework and shared my findings and recommendations for features required for the implementation of the drive benchmarked against industry standards. The second project involved analysis of bottlenecks in the End-to-End supply chain which hampers the occurrence of ‘Perfect Order’ – a term used to describe an order to delivery cycle which doesn’t encounter any hiccups, even in the case of return of the product by the customer.
The findings and recommendations made by the interns are respected, and in some cases, implemented right away.
Roti, Kapda aur Makaan
While Flipkart doesn’t provide its interns with accommodation, it gives a one-time allowance for travel and stay which is enough to live comfortably in a city like Bangalore. All the offices have cafeterias which serve meals, as well as have canteens. Apart from that, there is a plethora of eating options in and around Koramangala for all sorts of cuisines. The suburb is dotted with great restaurants and pubs for all budgets and is easily one of the most happening places to be in during weekends. Apart from that, the nightlife centres of Bangalore like Indira Nagar, MG Road etc. are also not very far from here. For adrenaline junkies and travel enthu junta, there are some great treks and hill stations like Coorg, Ooty etc. not far from the city.
If you have the slightest interest in management and what goes into making Flipkart the giant it is today, you’ll have a great learning curve here. The projects, for most of us, are challenging and you get to find friends in folks from other IITs. This gem is written on one of the walls – ‘You know you’re a flipster when everybody asks you for discount coupons on the website, but you don’t get any’ – which is sadly true.