Colgate-Palmolive : Smruti Mahapatra

From the day I learnt about the word ‘intern’, probably in my freshie year summers, I had few options in mind. As the year progressed, the process of self elimination of those options occurred and by the start of 3rd year, I had decided that I would focus on FMCGs. I made it to a major day-1 interview , but unfortunately, I didn’t clear it.

After a short and rough phase of sadness and random JAFs signing, I decided to take charge and get an intern for myself. I spoke to a few seniors and realized very few students have cracked such interns by themselves. I browsed through the career sections of major companies, and found that they hired mainly MBA interns. Considering the fact that I had zero personal contacts in this sector, I was left with only one option, apping. I mentally calculated the probability of me finding my dream intern and set out on my uncertain, unexplored journey.

The next 4 months were tough. My E-Cell manager tenure had shown me the magical powers of Linkedin, and that’s where I began from. I started sending about 100-200 requests per company, out of which about 20-30 would accept my request; 10 out of them would read the message I sent them. Around 5 would reply, out of which 4 were rejections and one, that one kind-hearted person would ask me to mail my resume. I must have done this for around 10-15 companies. Those were the days when I used to pick up random objects in my house, look at their parent company, and app to them. Finally, after what seemed an ordeal, I landed upon 2 amazing offers, PepsiCo and Colgate-Palmolive, coincidently on the same day. After careful thought and consideration of factors like location, work-profile and compensation, I accepted Colgate’s offer.

Accommodation & travel:
Sanand is around 35 kms from Ahmedabad. Since Colgate didn’t provide accommodation, my mentor helped me find a good and affordable PG in a centrally located area in Ahmedabad. The company bus picks and drops all the employees from their respective areas. My co-interns, (all of them were MBA students) being huge foodies, we end up at a new place every weekend and savour the delicacies. I’m not particularly fond of Gujarati food and the majorly “pure veg” environment in the city, but luckily a good number of hotels offer other cuisines and my tongue is spared of the sweet! 😛

Internship experience:
I’m working in the operations and supply chain department of Colgate’s plant at Sanand, which is one of the most technologically advanced plant of its kind in the country. Even after a month in the plant, I’m still fascinated by the huge machines and the level of sophistication with which they work. My project here is inventory management, which involves Excel and on-floor work in equal amounts.
My total work hours including travel are around 11 hrs per day, for 6 days a week. Being the only undergrad intern here, unlike the MBA interns who are mentored by only one person, I’m mentored by my managers and a few other senior employees as well, who ensure that my work is supervised and of practical use to the company. They also ensure that I am not facing any difficulty and are ready to help at any point. The work culture here is quite focussed and every employee is determined to give his best.
As an intern I get to interact with every member in the operations team, be it an associate working on the line for his/her suggestions for my work or the plant manager for discussing better ideas for improvement. The IIT tag increases expectations from everyone here and this just increases the thrill in accomplishing and implementing every assigned task.

This is my first intern, and it is turning out to be worth all the efforts I put in to get it. There has been loads of learning and fun till date, and I hope it continues till the time I’m here. Also, all those interested in the FMCG sector, do your research well, and talk to as many people you can for a well balanced perspective. I’ll make this statement at the cost of inviting the wrath of many, PT Cell is not the only option at hand! If you have your mind set on something, go ahead and get it. 🙂

4 years ago