My TISSTORY: My First “REAL WORLD” HR Experience
3rd July, 2017.
The day was here. The first day of “fieldwork internship.” This semester I was to work with Godrej for my fieldwork. As I reached the office, a wave of excitement and nostalgia hit me.
Nostalgia, because I was back to office after about six months, and excitement because this was my first real world HR experience.
After reading the above lines, many of you, I am sure, have confused looks on your faces. How does one intern in the middle of an ongoing semester of a two-year full-time course? And what is fieldwork internship?
The answer to the second question lies somewhat in the first question.
Fieldwork internship, a concept unique to the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, is an internship with an organization during the semester. How does this work?
Every semester, for two days in a week, we are supposed to work on a project/projects with an organization allocated to us by the institute. These can be in any sector, ranging from conglomerates to banks to FMCGs. Every semester, we are allocated organizations in different sectors, which gives us an overview of multiple sectors by the time we graduate.
Through this article, I would like to share my experience as a fieldwork intern with Godrej Industries. Godrej is an approximately 120-year-old group headquartered in Mumbai and has multiple businesses in diverse areas such as chemicals, manufacturing, animal feed, and consumer products. To be given an opportunity to work with an organization of this magnitude was overwhelming, to say the least.
Sure, I was a little nervous. But a few days in the organization and it felt like routine, though in a good way. There was a lot to learn outside of text books and research papers. My project was related to diversity and inclusion for leadership hiring, through which I was able to get an overview about careers of women in organizations and the issues they faced. I also learnt about hiring and retaining issues that the organization faces in general.
My fieldwork mentors were very approachable and helped me as required, while providing feedback regularly. Adding to experience in the organization, I had meaningful discussions with my faculty mentor at TISS, who guided us at every stage during the internship. Through my project I was able to learn about hiring in real life situations, a lot of which can be linked to what we learn in classrooms.
Also, apart from my project, I interacted with other people in the HR department and learnt about the various processes and policies the organization has.
Interacting with people outside the HR team was also a meaningful experience, learning about the supply chain, operations, strategy and various other functions.
One more important aspect of fieldwork is the peer learning.
I had four of my friends from TISS working with me in Godrej. All of us worked on different projects, and interacting with one another helped us learn about HR area. Similarly, discussing about the projects with my other batch mates gave us an insight into the HR issues and challenges in other sectors.
All in all, it was a great learning experience.
A stint with an organization while learning is great way to leverage the knowledge that you gain in classrooms. Such a stint also provides ample networking opportunities, something which is crucial for management graduates. Last, for someone who has no or very little corporate experience, a fieldwork internship is a great way to get the “look” and “feel” of an organization.
About the Author:
Shaival Chatwani is currently pursuing masters in Human Resource Management and Labour Relations from Tata Institute of Social Sciences Mumbai.
When going gets tough, he prefers listening to music or reading books.