Kartik Sangani, a 4th-year Chemical Engineering student interned at AB InBev, the leading beer manufacturers, who are on the top of the global beer market now. He talks about how he got this internship with pure passion for mathematics and analytics, with little background knowledge in the field. He recounts his best moments from a trip to Goa to parties every weekend during his 8-week internship at Ab-InBev Growth Analytics Center in Bangalore. Read on to know more about the company culture (which he claims is more like a multi-national start-up) and his intriguing projects in Analytics.
The ‘Why’ of It
I had a passion for mathematics and I wanted to try something new. I was inclined towards analytics and operations. AB InBev (Henceforth shortened to ABI) gave me a good opportunity with a proper mix of both these areas.
Securing the spot
ABI came to insti. I applied and was selected to take the interview based on my resume. We had three rounds of interviews. The first one was HR and the other two were technical. I told them frankly that I had no prior experience in analytics, but had a great deal of passion for mathematics. The first interview clicked well. I had good responses to questions like – “Tell me about yourself?” They prioritized my passion towards the field and my zeal to learn something new, over my exposure and knowledge of the field. I was able to pitch my PORs effectively and make them realize that I was capable of learning new things in a short period. I was the Placement Coordinator, QMS Coordinator and the Tech Sec of my hostel, all of which demanded steep learning curves. I also supported my passion towards mathematics with details of math competitions I had won. I struck out as honest and passionate.
Setting Up the Stage
The great thing about ABI is they don’t expect you to come with any former background. I told them about my lack of exposure in analytics based on which they developed a plan for me. They gave me a choice of either to start a new project or involve in an ongoing one. I chose the latter. They devoted two weeks to train me after which I had to take responsibility for the full project. So, for the first two weeks, they trained me by providing me with resources to learn from and then clarifying my doubts.
The Course Connection
I did a course from Bio Tech department called Data Structures and Algorithms. This came in handy because I could learn Python and get an idea about Data Structures. This gave me a good head start.
The First Act
After the training, I got my first project and a time frame of 2 weeks along with it. ABI wanted me to analyse their points of connection (POCs). These are places where ABI can sell beer. I had to analyze various physical variables mined from several internal and external data sources. The external data sources were from Facebook, Twitter, Google and FourSquare. Based on this I had come up with a cluster of similar POCs in USA and Thailand. They were traditionally framing their business strategies intuitively based on previous experiences. I made these decisions data driven.
I requested international exposure for my next project and was thus assigned to their Global Sponsorship Team. This team was based in Europe and USA. I had to identify 90 influential events that could be sponsored by ABI in the upcoming three months. It was interesting nonetheless demanding. The internship period was 8 weeks and this project ended by the 6th week, leaving me with 2 more weeks for another endeavor.
The Finishing Stroke
I was given a choice of either to proceed with the current project and take it forward or get a broader idea of all the work that goes on in ABI. I chose the former because I was involved in the project. We had to categorize the events into 8 categories and mapped these to the branches of ABI. We used a lot of text analysis, mining data from Facebook and Twitter to gauge consumer preferences and opinions of our brands. We had to come up with brand level associations for each of the event categories to address the question – “Which of our brands should be associated and marketed at each event?”
The good thing about ABI is, they put you out of your comfort zone, but don’t leave you there. They will guide you and help you succeed. On the first day, I told them that I don’t enjoy coding. The obvious course of action would have been to put me in a project that didn’t demand heavy coding. But that didn’t stop them from giving me two projects that demanded a high level of coding. Had it not been for that audacious decision, I wouldn’t have learnt that much coding.
Also, they place a lot of responsibility on interns. I didn’t expect this. The work I was doing was similar to that done by a full-time employee. There was complete transparency and I wasn’t restricted any information, just because I was an intern. I was handed the reins to projects which had a sincere impact on their business. I recently came to know that a sponsorship event which I had suggested was carried out in Belgium. When a company places such a responsibility on you and when the stakes are high enough to affect their business, you learn to take responsibility and work hard.
Lending a Helping Hand
ABI was always assistive and supportive of interns. Each intern was allotted an individual work within a team. There was a proper structure with at least 15 people to help you out at any point of time. I was assisted by my mentor Mr. Madhur and my buddies Mr. Suraj and Miss Amritha. There was no strict hierarchy on who would help you with which issues. Approachability was never a concern at ABI. Especially during the first 2 weeks of my training, I learnt extensively from them. They contributed 20 to 30% of my first project. But during my second project, they decided to entrust me with the responsibility and I stepped up. They helped me validate the results after I had completed the work.
The Multi National Start-up
The working environment at ABI was as friendly as that of a start-up. It was more like a multi-national start-up! The India Office CEO used sit right next to me and even shared lunch with me. We talked about a lot of gen stuff. He gave us career advice and cared enough to sincerely help us become better data scientists. All this has made me consider ABI as a potential career option.
I learnt a lot of analytics and coding. But more than that I learnt work-life balance. ABI is a company which works only for 5 days a week despite anything. The servers don’t let you work during weekends. They ensure that their employees get to spend sufficient time with their families. They believe in providing their employees a convivial environment both at work and outside work. I’ve realized that people tend to work better and not just while away time in such circumstances.
I had some of the best fun in my life during this internship. I just had an amazing time.
There was this time when our team had a meeting with the Vice President. My buddy and mentor could not make it and that left me representing our team all alone. I got to interact personally with the VP. It was probably the best moment of my internship. This incident reinforced the confidence they had in me.
It Ain’t All Work
I had some of the best fun in my life during this internship. I just had an amazing time. I’ve talked to my co-interns who have done internships at several good companies. I won’t comment on the learning aspects but I am pretty sure that they never had as much fun as they did here. They threw a party every fortnight. We also went on a trip to Goa where we had some un-recountable fun. We used to spend the weekends roaming around Bangalore and attending parties with my mentor and buddy. And when our internship got over we threw them a party. It was just amazing!
Authors: Renganathan S (BT-CH ’20) & Hari Ramachandran (DD-MM ’20)
This article is a part of the series – The Intern Guru. To get regular updates of our work, follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/chennai36.