INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France – Hrishikesh Baviskar

Hey! I am Hrishikesh Baviskar, a second-year undergraduate in Electrical Engineering. Although I’m majoring in Electrical Engineering, my interests lie in Consulting and Marketing. I am pursuing a summer research internship at INSEAD Business School, Fontainebleau Campus (remotely, of course) in the Marketing Department.

The journey and inspiration to apply for a non-core intern started from the Apping Session conducted by the Undergraduate Academic Council (self publi is the best publi :P). The session was divided into three parts; Core University, Non-Core Corporate, and Non-Core University. My initial disinterest in core Electrical coupled with the previous Management Minor course in Marketing that I pursued; pushed me to apply for a non-core intern. Ameya Mittal’s vlog of his internship experience at IIM Ahmedabad motivated me further to apply for a University intern over a corporate non-core intern.

Selection

After procrastinating over the entire Autumn semester and getting red flags from seniors stating that I’m already very late for the apping process, I started making a database of the professors in December. I was staying in the Insti itself for my winter intern at Briefkase (A Digital Marketing Agency). One evening, I was looking at INSEAD’s professor directory, and one of my wingmates saw my laptop screen and said: “Bhai aukat dekh ke apping kar le”. I am mentioning this incident because I want to convey to my juniors to not shy away from applying to foreign business schools even if you are in your second year and you think that you may be rejected because you don’t have a good enough skill-set. I spent the entire December collating the database of professors, making a new résumé, and extensively reviewing the cover letter. Finally, I started apping in January and sent emails to around ~80 professors from different business schools. Fast forward to the day when I received an email from a professor from INSEAD, I just had dinner and was going to my room, and I saw the email, and I jumped out of excitement. I hastily called Ameya and asked him what to do next, he had been my go-to person throughout the process <3. I then had a small telephonic interview with the professor in which he asked me a few questions about my winter intern on Digital Marketing and also about the various case-studies that I had participated in. The interview went well, and I received a confirmation email from him in some time. 

The only memory of my experience that I can convey through an image 🙁

Pre-Intern

I was assigned work on a pre-intern project because the professor wanted to test me and the project was the criteria for my selection for the intern at the campus, or else I would have to work remotely, (un)fortunately I’m working for the internship indeed remotely. I even had to miss quizzes (FYI these were surprise quizzes) to get my passport done in record 23 days :0 The pre-intern project involved studying various tweet patterns from verified Twitter accounts that attracted negative publicity and doing the qualitative analysis to find what caused the negative response from users. I was working really hard on the project because I wanted to go to INSEAD 😛 but alas! COVID-19 happened, and my intern was converted to a remote project.

The Work

Although I was a bit disappointed about losing an opportunity to stay at the beautiful campus in Fontainebleau, I was pretty excited about working on the project. As the summer vacation for IIT Bombay was preponed to April-May, I asked the professor if we could start the internship earlier, and thankfully the professor agreed. The topic of my research is Social Media Marketing and the project also has a co-guide from INSEAD, Singapore Campus.

The project is quite exciting as it involves analysis and then a further recommendation to firms based on the crisis. I had to learn to use a powerful software called Meltwater which has the data of all the tweets that are made from every Twitter account present. My further work involved collecting and analyzing the data on various parameters and metrics that were decided to judge the type of tweets made by 260+ firms. The firms included Interbrand’s 100 best global firms and a randomized selection of 100 firms from the Russel 3000 index of stocks, we also cherry-picked 60 firms from various sectors like healthcare, online learning platforms, video conferencing solutions, etc. which create an impact during the pandemic and help the people around the world. The analysis is about studying the change in the pattern and content of the tweets by these brands; pre and post; crisis and how the content of the tweets has affected the engagement with users in terms of retweets and likes garnered to the tweets. The project also demanded reading a lot of research papers about the response of various firms on Social Media in the times of a crisis. After we are done with the analysis, we would be formulating the study in the form of a research paper and are going to give recommendations to firms on what to include and what not to include in the tweets during a crisis.

Work From Home experience 

My primary motivation for pursuing a University intern in my second year summers was to get an experience of staying at another campus for at least 2 months. Unfortunately, I had to stay at home and remotely do the project, but the experience has been good so far. I regularly have meetings with the professor on Skype, and the screen-sharing feature is a life-saver in these times. The rest of the communication is done over emails and sometimes on LinkedIn as well; mainly when the professor is not reading my mails :P. Lastly, more than me, my family is unhappy with the WFH intern because they say that even though I’m home, I hardly come out of my laptop/mobile screen. In the end, however much we debate on having a complete online medium of education/learning, this lockdown has made me realize the importance and the beauty of physical teaching and how regular human interaction changes the entire perspective and enthusiasm for working over anything.

Ah! I’ve another memory (He is the coolest professor I’ve ever met)

Conclusion

In conclusion, I had some major takeaways from the entire experience:

  1. How to be patient (in the initial apping days).
  2. How to schedule the day properly befitting all meals, personal commitments, Mom’s scoldings, and above all, proper rest. 
  3. Balancing the things between appropriate social interaction (again, not in-person :P) and sufficient productivity can make things easy in these tough times.

A piece of advice that I’d like to give to the readers is that you should understand that there may be times during the apping process when you will not get any response from a majority of professors, but you have to keep going and take regular follow-ups from them (do not spam :P). Trust me, you would start receiving responses, maybe negative, but you will receive something. Don’t try to fit yourself into the Insti norms or do not fall prey to the usual trends. Sure, you’ll face times when you’d want to give up, but in the end, the experience is merely satisfying. I’d like to bid adieu and hope that you had fun reading this and had something to learn from this. If you have any further queries, do feel free to get in touch with me via Facebook.

All the best, and thank you for reading!!

1 month ago