Hey! I am Anav Agrawal, a fourthie, and am pursuing a B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from IIT Bombay. I am currently interning at Marico Ltd. in the sales transformation team in a work from home mode of operation. I was born and brought up in Bhopal. During my stay at IITB, I explored lots of activities in the pursuit of discovering where my interest lies. I keep trying my hand at playing drums and swimming whenever I can. I also like to explore various things such as new music, trading, investing, fine arts, writing, and so on. All the memories and friends I made while doing all this make me miss Insti even more as I write this!
Coming to the point, I would say that the entire experience of an internship, right from the recruitment process to the work, which is very enriching in itself and helps a lot in personal development and maturity. Going through the entire process helps develop clarity about the interview process, corporate environment, and one’s inclination towards various fields as well. It should be taken seriously and positively owing to the impact it can have on personal development and career path.
In the end, don’t miss out on exploring your interests and making “memories of a lifetime” by getting bogged down by over-ambition and peer pressure. Keep scrolling to know how the journey turned out for me!
By the time I got done with my second year, I had completed a remote marketing management internship under a professor at IIM Lucknow and I had undergone business administration training at Reliance Jio, Bhopal. Right before the internship season started, I had been having the time of my life in the summers of 2019. I had been going for road trips, concerts and spent my time enjoying with friends as I was staying back in the Insti for my work at Mood Indigo, again doing what I liked!
The internship season always seemed a distant reality, which I didn’t want to accept. The truth finally struck me when the mails regarding the deadline for resume submission were sent out by the PT Cell, and I saw my friends working on their resumes seriously and seeking guidance from seniors. There wasn’t much time left for iterations and re-iterations when I started focussing on my resume, but thanks to my super supportive senior friends, I could make a fairly decent one-page non-core resume after 10-12 iterations.
I fastened the seat belt for what was going to be one adventurous roller coaster ride.
As my profile till then and my interests screamed, I wasn’t very inclined towards core electrical engineering. I did not have any special adulation for coding, to the extent that I didn’t even mention C++ in the technical skills section of my resume. So obviously, within a few days, I found myself practising for consulting case interviews. It was September now, and I had a good practice of HR questions and group discussions owing to all my previous interviews.
Getting into Marico!
The applications for Marico opened in late September. I got to know from my seniors and friends that it is a well-reputed company to work at. While trying to find seniors who had previously interned at Marico, I got to know that it is for the first time that Marico is recruiting directly from campus. So there were no precedents as to what preparation was necessary for the selection process.
The process started with a computer-based aptitude test. The questions did not require any industry knowledge as such and tested applicants on aptitude and speed of problem-solving.
The shortlisted candidates were then required to appear in an online psychometric test and then for the group discussion. This group discussion process was unanimously one of the most abstract GD processes to be held in the internship season. The topic for my group was “Red”. Yes, you read it right.
The candidates who made it through the group discussions had their first and final personal interview round. The interview lasted for about an hour andmostly involved discussion on the experiences, skills, and activities mentioned in my resume. It is always good to know about the company and develop an understanding to answer questions like “Why Marico” in a genuine manner.
Induction and the project
The company mentions “Bias for Action” as one of its key values. They lived up to it by adapting quickly to the changes imposed because of COVID-19. The internship started in WFH mode on 16th April itself, just within three weeks of communicating the preponement of the summer holidays to them.
Our laptops were configured with the software required to coordinate and carry out the work on the first day itself. The entire onboarding was done very professionally, with no significant hold-ups or delays. We were welcomed and introduced to the working of Marico by the respective heads of HR, Analytics, IT, and Sales. The environment was very warm and welcoming. I then got connected to my project guide and was briefed about my project. The project was in the sales transformation division and was quite interesting. I was required to revamp their target setting algorithm, which was used by the company to assign monthly sales targets to the retailers. I was given a blank slate and was given total freedom to think of all the factors I could, which can contribute to predicting the sales at a retailer level.
Marico follows a very flat hierarchy where all members are easily approachable. During the initial few days, I interacted with plenty of people to get an insight into the working of the company and explore all the aspects which could be relevant to my project. I had complete freedom to develop an understanding and then could arrive at a mathematical model to translate the insights to numbers. The project eventually involved working with a lot of data available from the past. Learning up the basics of statistics helped while coming up with the model for the new algorithm. The project involved regularly remaining in touch with my project guide and monthly reviews were conducted which are attended by very senior members at Marico. The interaction was always positive and encouraging.
Working from home took a hit on the bonding between interns over the informal chit-chatting in the office premises, but Marico conducted an informal escape room session to encourage interaction within the interns.
The experience I missed out on, working from home, other than free coffee, was developing an understanding of on-ground operations which otherwise is a very enriching experience when working in the sales transformation division of an FMCG company.
To sum it up, the journey is what matters the most. The fact that you come out with improved patience, sharper skills, and new friends should be enough to leave you happy and satisfied. I hope this article helps you in one way or another!