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Disclaimer: the internship experience at HUL is subject to various parameters like place of posting, category of production, profile, team, projects etc. If your internship does not turn out as awesome as mine, I am not to be blamed. I was probably the luckiest in the lot!
A brief introduction
I’m the only intern to be posted at Nasik, in a Kwality Walls factory (we also have two small Kissan jam and Knorr soup units here but ice cream remains the major production), and believe me, getting to work in a food factory, especially ice cream, is the best thing that can happen to you during an internship. Having 2-3 ice creams (sometimes shoots up to 6-7!) has become a daily routine, and on days that I don’t go back on time for dinner, I can always go to the Knorr tasting unit and have whichever soup I want. Oh, and I also get to try out the new variants that are yet to reach the market!
The company has given me an awesome hotel room with AC, wifi, LAN and TV all to myself, a cab comes to pick me up in the mornings and drops me back, the team here is amazing, most of them graduated from IITs only a few years back and I love the projects given to me. What more could one ask for?
[pullquote]It is completely okay if you cannot answer all the questions, they don’t even expect you to. Firing guesses is probably the worst thing that you can do in an interview because the person sitting across you will invariably know more than you do! [/pullquote]
HUL is one of the first five companies that come to campus for hiring interns. We had DB and GS come in on Day 0 (16th August) and all three FMCGs – HUL, P&G and ITC on Day 1. The results of these five companies were announced at the end of Day 1. So if you’re lucky enough to get shortlisted in all 5, you’ll find yourself giving back-to-back interviews and GDs for two continuous days, and know where you land before the day ends.
The selection process is pretty straightforward – one GD and two interviews – both of which are a mix of HR and tech. The only preparation I had done was spend a few hours the previous day preparing for the HR aspect of interviews and GDs although I would recommend you brush up your technical concepts as well. Even if you’re not asked questions based on them, that is sure to boost up your confidence. While HUL interviews are proclaimed to be the most technical of the three FMCGs that come to campus, I hadn’t found mine to be so (or else I wouldn’t have been here!).
I was asked 3-4 very basic questions on thermodynamics and fluid mechanics, and I was pretty blunt about the ones that I couldn’t answer. What they basically look for is your ability to grasp new concepts, the approach that you follow to answer the questions asked and your willingness to learn and work with a team. It is completely okay if you cannot answer all the questions, they don’t even expect you to. Firing guesses is probably the worst thing that you can do in an interview because the person sitting across you will invariably know more than you do!
In a nutshell, your interviews and GDs should be such that you enjoy the process; selection will follow 🙂
The journey begins
The internship started off with a 3-day induction (called FAM, short for familiarization) at the Head Office in Andheri at the end of which we were sent to our respective locations. These are three days where you get to meet brilliant people (I also refer to my co-interns here), a brief introduction to the company and its brands, some interesting sessions, a party night and a lot of fun games. All this ended on Friday evening and I reached Nasik on Saturday morning.
[pullquote]The result is a steep learning curve, you learn the practicality of things, the actual application of all the theory learnt in class and most importantly, people management.[/pullquote]
My first day at work was a Sunday (we have Saturdays off and Sundays working), which involved a boring one hour-long safety induction and then sitting idle in one place, smelling jams and ice creams but not being able to see or eat them and then being sent back early.
Generally, the projects given to interns are very similar to that of a consultant’s, specified technical problem statements that you’re expected to work on. My first two weeks were spent in understanding the projects and how they fit in the factory and key areas of improvement. The next 2-3 weeks were spent in analyzing how to resolve the problems identified and the remaining time in implementing my proposed solutions.
The experience so far
I think the best part about my work is that it is not a desk job. I have to move from one end of the factory to another, I work 12-14 hours a day of which a maximum of half an hour is spent on my laptop. The result is a steep learning curve, you learn the practicality of things, the actual application of all the theory learnt in class and most importantly, people management. That, I think, would be my biggest takeaway from this internship.
One good thing about HUL is that you’re given all the freedom to implement your proposals (provided they make sense!) and you’re in fact, supported by the team. I have a wonderful team here, incredibly helpful people. The company culture is such that you will most often than not find good, hardworking and helpful people, something that I believe is not very easy to find. The factory atmosphere is different, the entire team is sort of a close-knit family. The other day we went one of the manager’s home and cooked dinner all by ourselves!
Nasik is famous for its vineyards, and that is one place certainly worth visiting. I admit I haven’t had the time to explore the city a lot, working six days a week in a factory sort of drains your energy. But while I’m thoroughly enjoying myself here, I cannot wait to get back to insti and have hot chocolate at Brewberrys. Last year in insti awaits!
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