P&G – Gauri Paduthol

392 Views, Posted on: June 30, 2017

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“This is to confirm that your joining location is Mandideep” – a mail that, even though from P&G, doesn’t leave you bursting with excitement. Rather, you end up asking yourself, where on earth is Mandideep? The moment you realize that it is an industrial township on the outskirts of Bhopal, your newborn enthusiasm and hope to make this summer an indelible memory, sort of takes a dip. Being busy with your semester, you don’t give it a thought but when your annoying univ-interning friends (whom you are ‘not so secretly’ jealous of) start getting woollen clothes, you realize, hey, you won’t need wool – damn you won’t even need an umbrella, because it’s Bhopal in the worst three months you can spend there, with temperatures soaring as high as 45 degrees and rains starting after you leave.

Having been in Mumbai for so long and spending the previous summer in Bangalore (that city is love, btw), when you are told to spend your last summer as an undergraduate in a city with frequent dust storms, low humidity, and one-tenth the population density as Mumbai, it seemed like a jarring experience waiting to happen. Hey, the project might actually be enjoyable – that was the only thought that had a borderline comforting effect on this petulance..

But I must confess, it didn’t take more than a week for me to get out of this crotchety attitude and realize that it’s not so bad after all.

Let me give a brief backstory before getting to the meat of the matter. Procter and Gamble comes through PT cell to recruit interns right in the beginning of the internship season. Theirs was the first pre-internship presentation almost everyone attended and after knowing about their work (and ofc the stipend :P), it’s natural for one to at least fantasize (if not target) getting selected for that intern. After you apply, the first thing you have to clear is a psychometric test (P&G staunchly believes in recruiting people conforming with the organization’s ideology for progress regardless of their capabilities) followed by a not so difficult aptitude test. Then, the shortlisted candidates are interviewed (a resume based round followed by one or two HR interviews). So even though the seemingly never ending selection rounds kill your faith in the goodness of life, it’s all over in a weekend (the very first one that too). And if not that, seeing your name in the selection list certainly does the trick. So even though we weren’t that aware of what we were jumping into, we went through all the drama involved in a regular motivational movie- a dream, a slow but steady progress upwards, anxiety before the final challenge and a close cut win. (Nah..just kidding, we were just shit scared and then went straight to insanely happy)

So, for the first time, when we entered the industry early in the morning (ya, btw, the morning shift starts at 7 am, and bus leaves our place at 6, so it’s ‘wake up time’ at 5.30 … uh huh, take your time to digest that), the sheer size of the plant overwhelmed me! We were welcomed by a pleasant HR head who took us around before we met our (overly) cheerful guides. That’s when it struck me; there are a lot of happy faces around! Nobody seemed to be stressed, overworked or angry for that matter. Or at least it seemed so. Being the intern-newbies, we piqued the interests of almost everyone. Never have I ever sat alone on a canteen table, having lunch, scrolling on my phone without being joined by this guy from that department who had taken pity on me and decided to get to know me. So basically, everyone knows everyone- that’s how I understood P&G (which is also how P&G’s motto works, I later realized).

The work culture here has in-built leniency – you work whenever you want, with no checks, as long as you finish your work. This is the best (and the most challenging, I would say) part of the internship- the independence you are given in deciding the path you would choose to finish your project. Everybody helps, but nobody tells you how to do it, that’s for you to figure out. Projects assigned are live ones, which would have a significant impact on the company if completed. And if you are successful, you can say that P&G is making profit partly because of you (and that’s kinda cool).The best part, you get the entire stipend on the first day of your internship (being a day one FMCG, that lump sum they give you, sort of makes your day).

To be fair, this is a fine place to be except for the soaring temperatures. Well, it did start raining here last week and the weather has calmed down a little. It is now that I realize, the city of lakes is in fact beautiful in its own way. It might not be a well-developed city full of skyscrapers and a million people but it sure is neat and pretty (Bhopal is the second cleanest city in India according to a govt. survey, which was released a week before we reached here).  A vast expanse of plain land surrounded by places of historical importance and hill stations makes this a perfect place for all those road trips you planned, but never actually had. It sure is a very different menu compared to what you get in most places and there is more than enough here to keep you busy for two months.

 

Now that half of our internship period is over and with four more weeks to go, I wonder- any regrets? Well, I don’t think so. A perfect blend of crazy friends, an interesting project and peculiar place – sure, this summer has been remarkable. So here’s a sentence no one ever said, but I am pretty positive about: I am glad my joining location was Mandideep.

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