Swarnim: My Professional profile: B.Tech Civil Engineering from Amity University, Noida. Currently pursuing PGDM from NMIMS Hyderabad. In order to remain abreast with the corporate world, I have done two projects with two different companies to gain practical experience.
Extra-curriculars: Ever since I was a child, I have taken active interests in a variety of extra-curricular competitions. I have keen interest in Model United Nations and quizzing. I have been a part of multiple national level competitions and have had the honour of securing a rank in most of them. You can take a look at my linkedin profile to get a list: http://in.linkedin.com/pub/swarnim-saxena/24/86/125
IF: Which internship you got the chance to take? What is it all about? Stipend, duration, place?
Swarnim: I had the pleasure of pursuing a summer internship at RJ Corp- Pepsi Division where I was involved in selling PepsiCo merchandise to small retailers. My internship was of 2 months and was confined to the East Delhi territory.
IF: How you came to know about the internship? To what all sources you kept yourself connected?
Swarnim: I asked my college placement committee to pursue the company to come to our college.
IF: Tell us on the procedure to apply for the internship. Who all are eligible to apply for this internship?
Swarnim: Students studying a management course are eligible for the internship. My internship happened through the college hence I cannot tell about procedure to apply through outside methods.
IF: What qualities of yours, you believe helped you in having an edge over the selection process? What key things you feel were looked for by the selectors?
Swarnim: I have been in some or the other sort of business ever since I was five years old. I used to make customized labels for my classmates and sell it to them while in class first. Progressing through different stages in life, I have always been involved in some or the other form of revenue making business. I believe this spirit of entrepreneurship got me the internship.
IF: What all preparations you did (academic/otherwise) after the results in view of the internship?
Swarnim: I studied the Indian beverage market, connected with people in the industry over linkedin and through my college’s alumni base. Went on my own to different retailers and learnt whatever I could about Pepsi, their delivery patterns, schemes available etc. In short, I tried to learn about the business from as many sources as possible.
IF: So Swarnim, could you please highlight us with what work/research project you carried out during the internship period? It’s application in near future and your work in it?
Swarnim: I did not do any research but I was involved in selling Pepsi to retailers. I was also involved in grievance redressal and providing information to the customer on the various merchandise, Pepsi had on offer. During my stint, I did come across certain anomalies and passed on my insights to the top management. Unfortunately, due to their confidential nature I can’t share them on this forum.
IF: What was the best thing about the work culture and the internship? What all things you liked there?
Swarnim: The open-door policy allowed me to talk to the Head of Sales and the Territory Development Manager, both senior ranking professionals and get my doubts cleared without any hassles. The team had a single focus determination in capturing the market and that was what I liked the most.
IF: What was the guidance provided by your guide? What all support you received from Pepsi’s administration.
Swarnim: The PSRs, customer executives and the TDM explained to me the intricacies of the business. They made sure I was completely aware of the business landscape and had thorough knowledge about the offers on the product before I pitched in to retailers. They also helped in understanding the fine points of making a sales pitch.
What problems you or your friends faced, regards to the internship, which your juniors may be able to avoid?
Swarnim: Well, as the depot from where I used to start my routes was in an under-developed area, transportation was a big issue. For, I didn’t have a personal vehicle, every day I had to stand 10-30 mins to get an auto-rickshaw. Again, w.r.t women, this transportation problem could be a hassle but if one has their own vehicle then there is no problem as the main road is a mere 2 km away from the depot.
IF: Have you done any internship/training before? It would help the readers if you could bring a comparison among your two different experiences.
Swarnim: During my engineering, I had the pleasure of doing internship at two prestigious organisations, namely Kolkata Metro and CSIR-Central Road Research Institute. As can be understood, my previous two internships were engineering based and technical in nature while my management internship focussed on sales and distribution.
All the three had field work.
Kolkata Metro’s site was quite far from my home and in the rural area of Noapara, 24 Parganas where I had to reach by travelling in a bus, local train and then in an auto-rickshaw.
IF: To which all people you would, like to thank in context of this internship?
Swarnim: The sales team at Pepsi, My parents, My friends Ananya Bijaya, Apoorba Bibeka, Gaurav Gupta, Lalit Barhate and Siddharth Gupta who encouraged me to take this internship and made sure I remained motivated throughout. Special thanks also go to my friend, Vatsala Singh.
IF: How much difference this period of 2 months made in your intellectual capabilities and mindset. In broad terms what are your gains from this?
Swarnim: Before this internship, my knowledge was theoretical to a large extent. Now, I have gained practical insights as well. I know how the market works and what all it requires to be in FMCG Sales.
IF: Advice for juniors? Which can help them in getting internships in their future college life and also advice for making the best out of it.
Swarnim: Choose the domain you want to be in. Take advice from your seniors, parents and friends but listen to your heart. “Suno Sabki. Karo Khud Ki.”
IF: What are your future plans after this internship and how much impact this internship will have on it?
Swarnim: I would like to pursue a career in sales as I believe a career in sales provides for a growth trajectory in the corporate world.
Swarnim: It is a very good initiative and should help out many students who are undecided about their future. I believe, people learn from experience. It is always better if the experience in question is on someone else.
IF: Swarnim it was so nice to know all about this. We agree you would have been busy with your academics. Even then you took out time for this. We thank you and wish you best of luck for all your future endeavors.
Swarnim: Not academics but MUNs, I am a keen participant in MUNs and just returned from chairing the League of Nations in BITSMUN Hyderabad ’14. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share my experience with your readers.
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