Feel the Heat : Rohan’s unique Field internship experience at Wipro

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InternFeel ID: IF15034

Interview Pic - Candid

Q1) In which course are you presently enrolled? Please tell us something about yourself- your interests and areas of specialization.

I am currently pursuing my 2nd year in MBA (Majors in Marketing & Minors in Operations) from Goa Institute of Management (GIM). Prior to my MBA, I had done my B. Tech in Metallurgical & Materials Engineering from NIT Nagpur. Following that, I joined an automobile manufacturing company called Automotive Axles Ltd in Mysore, worked for a year there and decided to pursue MBA in Marketing.

Working in Sales for an FMCG organization has always been a passion for me. Hence, the MBA decision after gaining a year’s work experience. During my free time, I play drums and sing and also write. Here’s my LinkedIn profile link for more details.

Q2) Which internship did you opt for? Briefly describe the application process and eligibility with a few details like stipend, duration and location.

I was quite selective in applying for companies during my Summer Internship at campus. I wanted to apply for a sales role in an FMCG company. The first FMCG that came on campus was Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting (WCCLG) whose flagship brand happens to be Santoor. The location I was given was Bangalore. The stipend they offered was Rs 30,000 and the internship lasted for 2 months.

The college’s placement team was handling the process for all companies. The eligibility criteria for applying to WCCLG in particular was that one had to be a Marketing Majors student. There was a CV shortlisting done, after which there was a GD followed by a PI. At every stage, a certain no. of applicants were eliminated.

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Q3) Is this your first Internship? How did you come to know about the internship? Which channels of information (Internet/ Personal/Corporate contacts etc.) did you utilize?

I had done internships before but they were related to my Engineering background. My field internship experience at Wipro CCLG was my first Sales Internship during my MBA stint. The college’s placement team worked on bringing the companies to campus for summer internships.

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Q4) Let’s talk about how competitive the selection process is. What qualities of yours do you think helped you to have an edge in the selection process?

The competition was pretty high as it was the first FMCG on campus. Almost all the Marketing majors students had applied for it, i.e. about 120 people. Out of these, only 3 students ultimately got selected (I was one of them). I have been passionate about FMCG Sales since the inception and probably they could see that in me during the process. One important thing worth mentioning is that the final interview was a ‘Stress Interview’ which ran for about 45 minutes. All they were looking for was with how much ease you carry yourself. Don’t stress yourself throughout the process. The panellists can be sometimes rude to just check if you get nervous or not.

Q5) According to you, what are some common mistakes that you feel applicants should avoid in the internship application process?

I feel that many people try to showcase a lot of things on their profile and end up leaving the panellists confused. One must focus on what the company is exactly looking for. For example, for a sales role, try to show how in the past you have done some sort of field work, how you’re flexible working in any location etc. Just being yourself always helps because anything you fake is easily caught. It goes without saying – keep smiling now and then and reassure them that you are not nervous at all.

Q6)What kind of groundwork did you do post-selection and before beginning the internship?

After I got selected, the Vice President-Sales and the Head HR met me before leaving and told me that I should do some kind of Live Project related to Sales and build up on core concepts of marketing by reading Kotler and other business magazines. I managed to bag a Sales Live Project with Bisleri that helped me understand Sales in FMCG in a better way. It involved field work, going to the retail outlets that helped me prepare for the actual internship.

Internship Pic - Induction Day

Q7)Please give us a brief overview of your work. What was the best feature of the work ethic of the organization and the internship? What were your gains and takeaways?

WCCLG had recently tied up with BCG to carry out distribution expansion in certain chosen locations. In course of my field internship experience at Wipro CCLG, I was allotted Bangalore and my project demanded me to visit about 40 retail outlets physically every day (beat wise) and observe the presence of all the products of WCCLG and also to push the sales in low-order giving outlets by explaining the trade schemes. The task also included identifying new outlets in the area and adding them in the beat list for prospective sales, thereby increasing the distribution coverage. I covered about 3,000 outlets by the end of my project. In addition to this regular activity that I just mentioned, I was also expected to do a competitor analysis by comparing the distribution coverage of HUL, P&G, Dabur and the likes w.r.t that of WCCLG.

Reading the marketing concepts in book is one thing and applying them on field is another. I always wanted to see how the market visits, the so called ‘field work’ looked like. I wanted to know how trade schemes works, how a salesman convinces the retailer to stock his product etc. I learnt how an FMCG organization works broadly. I also got to see how salesforce management forms an important part in sales. Overall, it was an amazing learning experience.

Everyone in the organization was extremely helpful. I was given the freedom to call my reporting head at any point of time during the work and even after the work hours to discuss any issues or if I was stuck and needed some advice. Although being at a position as high as Regional Sales Manager, he was really very down to earth.

Q8) Let’s now talk about some negatives. What were the glitches and problems that came your way, which you think your juniors should be careful to avoid?

Well, initially it took me time to adjust to the hectic field work. Covering about 40 retail & wholesale outlets is not an easy task. But, having said that, I had to do it. I said to myself, “I’m living my passion. I’ve to do it. No matter what.” And soon I could see myself accustomed to the field work. On certain days, my visits were restricted to the slum areas and that might be a little difficult for certain people. So one has to enter prepared, since every day in FMCG Sales has got surprises for you – sometimes good, sometimes bad!

Q9) Were there any special events during the internships? (Events can be academics related like field trips, conferences, hackathons, meets etc. and also non-academic, relating to your hostel life and the like)

Not really. The internship was entirely field work and certain merchandising activity at the ‘star’ outlets used to happen once a while wherein my immediate boss, the Area Sales Manager used to involve me too.

Q10) What are your future plans and how much of an impact do you think this internship will have on it?

My plan since the beginning was to get into Sales of an FMCG organization, probably joining as a Management Trainee and growing into an Area Sales Manager following the growth chain. This internship would form a basis for the growth path that I have dreamt of.

Q11) Any advice for juniors that can help them in getting internships in future and for deriving the best learning experience out of it?

Well, just focus on what you really want to do in future and be clear about it before taking up the internship. In an MBA, the summer internship helps you realise your dream better.

Q12) Any views about this initiative of InternFeel, and how beneficial it would be? Any suggestions/feedback for improvement?

I was really happy when I came across InternFeel. I tried to look up on the internet before getting the internship for some similar help, but did not end up very successful. I felt the need for a proper platform which could behave like a database of all the interviews in a sorted manner, where one could filter whatever needed. Probably, that’s one area where InternFeel can start working on – adding more Filters like MBA (within MBA – Sales, Marketing, HR, Operations, Finance, and General), Engineering, etc.

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