MY FIRST INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE
Four years ago, on this day (30th April) I was almost midway through my two month internship with Sulekha.com in Chennai. But that day was also special because of it was my birthday. Being just an intern and not an employee on payroll, I didn’t think that they would notice or celebrate my birthday. But I was utterly surprised when the company ordered a cake for me and we had the regular ritual of cake cutting towards the evening. My then manager remarked, “Whatever it is, if you are in office on a birthday, it demands that we celebrate the day here.”
I remembered this line the last week, when there were very few people in my current office and it turned out to be my manager’s birthday. Despite the absence of regular folks who helped to get cakes for employees’ birthday and the many suggestions that we postpone the event for the next day, I made my own arrangements to get the cake delivered so that we could have the small celebration ritual; all because I remembered my birthday celebrated in a different office.
While internships are opportunities to learn the nuances of corporate life (the brainstorming sessions, PPT presentations, parties, dinners and niceties to be observed) especially if you are a fresher, they are also great places to explore your strengths and skills. One of the best aspects of an internship is that you can throw out any random idea at the team and the management and they will listen to you, if you show the enthusiasm, energy and drive. While helping them set up a new division, I enjoyed the freedom that they gave me to explore things, try new ideas, experience new methodologies, and much more. Though my role primarily covered market search and product roadmap design, we also got opportunities to cover business development and customer service aspects. Till date, it remains one of my few chances of interacting with customers directly while on a company project.
While on the job there, I also learned how important it is really to back your claims and suggestions with data so that people can be convinced more strongly. Being vocal and propagating your ideas/suggestions to others and trying to be persuasive are some of the other skills that I learned there.
The place had the right mix of fun and learning. It was probably my best two months ever in Chennai (yes, even in that sweltering heat of the summer months!). Having had a nice set of friends from the office, it was fun exploring the various eating joints nearby for daily lunch. Another of the experiences that I will always cherish is the opportunity that it gave me to act in one of their promotional videos.
More than all the fun and the learning, the first internship has shaped the way my career has turned up till now. Till before the internship, I was opting for a HR-kind of profile, but this experience changed the way I looked at opportunities in marketing and product development. And in some way, getting selected for this internship did very much influence and impact my career.