Sirshendu Sengupta, IIM Bangalore - Summer Intern at Unilever, United Kingdom
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Sirshendu Sengupta is currently pursuing his Post Graduate Program from IIM Bangalore.
November 2015: Time for all 1st year students to get into business. Companies started coming from morning till night. Joyance of getting into Dream Company, sadness of rejection – all mingle in the same campus. Although it didn’t take many days to bring happiness in all faces. Everyone got placed. I got into FMCG giant – Unilever.
The summer internship interview was mostly based on the previous work experience, solving some practical use-cases as well as handling few HR-related questions. The case-based preparation for the consulting firms even comes handy while tackling this type of interview. Especially “Guesstimate” or “Profit and loss” types of cases are very useful in interviews with FMCG companies. Solving various cases with peers, preparing for different scenario-based and HR-related questions are definitely a success mantra. Personality also matters a lot. Being confident as well as calm even in a gruelling interview are important to get through. Knowing every points in the resume is essential as panellists can directly or indirectly ask questions based on that. In my case I had to experience all these types of scenarios to overcome the barrier.
April 2016: From 40o c to 2 o c, from chatters to tranquillity – that was how my internship started. Liverpool, a city famed for its football, Mersey river, the Beatles was the location of my two month internship stint. In the B- school days lot of times subjects of organizational behaviours are neglected by many students. But in professional world some of those lessons become really useful, especially in a period of couple of months, when you are in a country where the culture is so different from what one use to. I was bit apprehensive about what would be waiting for me before my first day at Unilever U.K. office. But when I reached the workplace, I experienced a warm welcome from my team and people around me.
With days passed by, I experienced lot of cultural difference in this part of the world. The people here are more soft-spoken with full of courtesy in words and action. The office gets filled by 9 a.m. and emptied by the time clock ticks 17:30 in every working day. Weather, football, travel – are the most common topics by which one can start conversation with most of the people here. Soccer is a huge craze in whole United Kingdom especially in England. Here people love their local team and almost emotionally attached to their club. So bit of knowledge in soccer helps. Also weather keeps on fluctuating all the time. So rain-proof jacket is a must to carry in check-in baggage while travelling to this part.
Now coming to the work, one gets hardly 5-6 weeks to complete the task and show his/ her potential to the leadership of the company. Time management and coordinating with people are very essential to get the work done within this constraint. Apart from usual project work one can also showcase their talent in involving with other project(s) or perform some various organizational tasks. In my case I reviewed my work with seniors at regular interval and coordinated with my colleague and seniors working here and around the world to make sure to have the deliverables ready within stipulated timeline.
Exploring the country is also really important if anyone gets a chance to intern overseas. I made full use of all the weekends by visiting various places around the length and breadth of United Kingdom. Scotland, Wales, London, and Manchester - all were in my checklist. More you travel you get chance to come across with many different people, various cultures. That helps in building the experience which can be invaluable in coming years.
It was certainly an awesome experience in the last two months. Vast array of memories has been created which will remain close to me for many days. Now it is time to come back to the country and get back to study for one more years. But surely the experience in this summer will be useful in years to come after IIMB.