Raj Dandekar, a mechanical engineering graduate has done an internship at the Foods division(confectionery sector) at ITC Limited for a period of 2 months, during his final year of study. ITC is a conglomerate which needs no introduction. Here, he talks about the selection procedure, his project in the confectionery sector of ITC, his travels from Coimbatore to Haryana and what he learnt from the corporate environment at ITC. Read on to know more.
The Selection Procedure
Around 80 students from the campus were selected for the group discussion. After the group discussion, around 23 students were shortlisted for the final round of interviews. The interviews were divided into two parts – Technical and HR. In the technical round, I had to be absolutely clear about the projects I had mentioned in my resume and some basics of my branch of study. In the HR round, they asked me, “What if you get both ITC and HUL?” and I told them that ITC is an indian company and I want to create an impact in India! They liked my answer. One should be prepared to answer such questions. When you cleared both rounds, you get a chance to intern at ITC!
The office situated at the ITC head office in Bangalore was structurally expansive.The food in the canteen was really good. My day started at 8am with a cup of coffee with my friends. Research work would follow and go on till lunch, again with my friends. This was followed by another dose of research work in the afternoon. The evenings were generally spent in reporting to my guide. The day would finally end with several more cups of coffee and some wrap-up work, stretching it up to 7 or 8pm. It was almost 12 hours of work a day.
My guide was one of the best minds in the confectionery department. He was an achiever with high expectations. He assigned me the core work straight away. I learnt a lot from him during my internship, especially the way he dealt with vendors (more on that later).
“It brought me out of my comfort zone and led me to the place where magic happens!”
I worked at the confectionery segment of ITC. The confectionery sector primarily manufactures toffees and eclairs. The advantage of working in this sector was that I could have unlimited toffees, gums and candies throughout the day! The confectionery factories were majorly situated in Hyderabad and Chennai. I was in charge of a solar panel installation in one of the factories to reduce the dependence on coal based energy. It was completely oriented towards core mechanical engineering. ITC bestowed me with a lot of responsibility by making me work on a project which was important to them. It brought me out of my comfort zone and led me to the place where magic happens!
Apart from working in the head office, I also visited the factories in Hyderabad, Coimbatore and Haryana. Seeing the factory workers toiling day and night really humbles you! You also learn a lot from these people. I saw how toffees are manufactured from start to end. It was amazing.
I started researching on solar panels, right from the manufacturing of silicon wafers, to the CAD model of the solar panels with their size to energy analysis. I researched on the electrical details like wiring and assembly of large number of electronic components. It was a huge project similar to what a PhD student is expected to. But I loved it. It was amazing.I soon realized that corporate life is extremely different when compared to life in our campus. There wasn’t as much freedom as I thought I would enjoy. The guide is the boss and if he doesn’t like an idea, you can’t proceed with it. Of course, this may not be universal. You have to be a responsible person and always follow the chain of hierarchy.
“I should thank ITC for teaching me how to communicate effectively with a variety of people. This actually improved my overall persona.”
Dealing with vendors
I had to buy components from vendors for my project. It was a totally new experience for me. I had to take care of a lot of details. I had to ask about the detailed specifications and even request discounts. It was not easy initially and I had to learn and adapt. I had to make a lot of calls everyday and then follow up with them later in the day. I then had to set up meetings with these vendors, sometimes inviting them or by meeting them at their place. I learnt how to deal with the vendors by observing my guide. He was brilliant in all aspects, be it communication or persuasion. He had a dominating voice and would use it to deal with vendors amazingly. I should thank ITC for teaching me how to communicate effectively with a variety of people. This actually improved my overall persona.
Tractor ride at a factory in Haryana!
“I learnt the art of making a compelling presentation at ITC.”
The Final strike
The final strike is obviously, the presentation you have to give to a panel of managers explaining what you have done there. ITC had a midterm and an end term review. Everything ultimately depends on your presentation and how you deliver it. I made over a 100 drafts for the presentations! We even had mock presentations to improve the efficacy of our presentation. By the end, I learnt the art of making a compelling presentation at ITC.
One of the best things which happened to me at ITC was the friends I made in those two months. We are in touch and are very close even now! When I think about it, we became such good friends because of the support we provided each other during those months. Whenever someone had a bad day at work we used to sit, discuss and provide solutions. Whenever someone aced their day at work, we used to go out to celebrate. And Bangalore, no doubt is a great place to celebrate! We watched countless movies, visited several types of restaurants, amusement parks and even went on long drives by renting a zoomcar.
To go far, walk together!
“ITC gave me friends for a lifetime.”
The concluding message
I would say that ITC is definitely a place which brings you out of your comfort zone and makes you do things you never expected possible! It will throw challenges at you every step along your journey… It will also entrust you with a lot of responsibilities. It is a wholesome corporate life experience after which you will be able to decide if corporate environment is the one for you.
“It is a wholesome corporate life experience after which you will be able to decide if corporate environment is the one for you.”
Authors: Renganathan S (BT-CH ’20) & Hari Ramachandran (DD-MM ’20)