A ‘tasty’ summer - Ayan Maitra, IIM Calcutta

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    “Good morning ladies and gentlemen, this is your flight captain speaking” announced the voice on the speaker. “Welcome on board Indigo flight 6E 319 from Mumbai to Kolkata. Our total flight time is going to be……..” the voice carried on as I leaned back on my seat and looked out one last time at the skyline of the city of dreams as I headed back to my hometown, Kolkata, for one more amazing year at my dream campus, IIM Calcutta.

    As the flight taxied down the runway I sat back and reflected on the 9 weeks that had just gone by, an experience that had left me feeling richer than ever before ( the pay cheques lining my account definitely helped there) and hungry for more ( chocolates).

    It all started months back with a notice from placecom intimating us about Mondlez coming on campus to deliver a pre placement talk. Having spoken to seniors and knowing about the free chocolates to be offered at the session, I lost no time in declaring to wingies (IIM C lingo for hostel wing mates) that I would be attending the session on behalf of the wing. An hour and half a dozen chocolates later I had already placed the company at the top of my mental list of firms I wanted to intern. Of course, the enthusiastic presenter (An IIM C alum no less), quality of projects offered and handsome stipend all helped the decision – but what can beat free chocolates?

    Come November and placement season was upon us. Months of preparation, endless rounds of CV reviews and mock GDPIs were going to be made or broken in those few days. Early morning on Day 1 I stood outside the Mondelez PI room being told by the rather pretty HR that my interview slot was up next. It wasn’t too long after that one of my panellist dressed in cool casuals came to invite me in. Ten minutes later, I was happily munching a bar of chocolate on my way back to the placement desk to inform them that I had been made an offer.

    Fast forward to April 2016, on a bright and sunny morning as I got down from my train at the Lower Parel Station to walk into the Mondelez office for the very first time to begin the 9 week fun filled journey of ‘iTatste 2016’ the Mondelez summer internship program. The first week of course was of course dedicated to a mandatory induction covering various functions – overview of various Mondelez product lines, functional areas and visits to the famed Thane factory and to retail markets. The week ended with us being given our project details and being allotted a guide and mentor who would be navigating us through the upcoming two months.

    Projects were handed out across different domains including – Sales, Marketing, Finance, HR, Supply Chain and Environmental Safety. I myself had a project in the field of marketing. Most marketing projects concentrated on a single brand with a clear objective ( help improve brand image, help popularize a brand in a particular segment etc).

    The best part of the company culture at Mondelez was definitely the openness with which the company operates. Interns work alongside their guides and mentors and are free to approach them for guidance whenever they need. We were also welcome to walk up to any of the employees on the floor and ask for guidance and were invariably accommodated. Project expectations were made clear right from very beginning and interns were expected to undergo timely reviews on all matters related to the project in order to make sure they were proceeding as expected. The HR team were also diligently keeping track of all interns’ progress and would regularly organize catch up sessions to ensure interns were not facing any difficulties. The level of ownership accorded to the interns in terms of how they would like to go about was another important facet of the internship experience. While we were supposed to follow broad guidelines the guides and mentors ensured and even insisted that we figure out our own solutions to problems. In fact by the end of the internship I had tried my hand at and done well at a lot of things that I would never have believed myself capable of a few short weeks back.

    By no means however is work the only important part of life at Mondelez. With interns coming in from several top campuses of the country making a bunch of friends from different campuses is one of the high points of the internship experience. Having fun a load of fun sitting in the intern room is as important a part of life as work is. The open and relaxed culture ensures that interns routinely discuss projects with each other and often add a lot of value to each other’s work also.

    A few things to need to be kept in mind in order to maximise your takeaway from the internship. First, the project’s effective duration is usually 7 weeks, excluding the induction and review time. Keeping a level head and planning in advance is therefore an absolute necessity. Second, it also helps to keep your guide updated about your progress at all times considering the fact that going off track is not a luxury people can generally afford. Third, do not be afraid of trying something new, you never know when you might figure out you are actually good at something you were terrified of. And finally, as they say in Mondelez, always ask yourself “Did I have fun?”

  • Can you throw some light on the CV points that can be worked upon post joining MBA , that would give me brownie points for organizations like Mondelez?

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