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Rucha Walawalkar is a 3rd year Undergraduate pursuing a B.Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Material Science
P&G opened on Day 1 along with other FMCG companies. One advantage is that it opens for all B.Tech departments unlike ITC and HUL. Its internship purpose involved a psychometric test, an aptitude test with basic math, logic and reasoning followed by final round of interviews. Armed with some senior fundae and going through their website to know more about the company, I managed to get in with 6 other fellow batchies. One thing that struck me about the website was the emphasis laid on its Purpose, Values and Principles or PVPs. I remember wondering if it was actually inculcated in everyone in the company, if yes, how was it possible at every level. After getting in, I did get many insights about the same.
As I’d never looked at Supply-Chain as an intern option before getting selected into the interview round, I was worried whether I’d like it. I also knew it’d be technical too and being a non-core enthusiast, I was initially wary about the kind of work I’d get. Our on boarding took place in the Courtyard Marriott in April where they introduced us to the company’s history, structure, values, their expectations and brief explanation about our roles. We all were definitely awestruck by the sheer size and organization structure and yes, pretty excited about what was about to come.
Later, we were all given our project titles and were each assigned a buddy and a mentor. Our buddies and mentors made sure that our transitions were easy into the company’s way of life, getting to know people, processes, values and their culture.
My project is based in the Hyderabad plant on their Tide packing lines. The plant is located in Kottur, a 45 minute journey from the main city. P&G buses take care of our commute. The plant being one of the newest in India is one of the most advanced one and in its early stages. Our first week involved a lot of safety training, on boarding, introduction to the shop floor and the people working there. We were also explained our projects after which we got down to work. Being in a techno-managerial profile, I spent a lot of time on the plant’s shop floor getting to know the equipment and the end to end process of packing. Another very crucial slice of my work was the interaction with different people across different skill-sets. I had to go into details of the machines and the processes, and understand how they functioned. It’s a pretty logical, practical, understanding based project with stress on execution.
But enough of that, I’d like to share some of the best things I felt about P&G:
- Lack of hierarchy: Everyone in the organization shares the same benefits and perks and resources – be it food, transport, health care, leave, etc. which ensures a very healthy work environment and zero compromise on quality. Working together at common desks, eating together, travelling to and fro from plant together ensures a very open environment. As part of my work I have worked with some of their global leaders in Hyderabad, engineers across other plants in India and the world, and they have all treated me as one of their own. I remember an instance when I had pinged one of their Global leaders based in China asking for doubts about my project and he’d replied and helped me for half an hour despite that day being their national holiday. Everyone is treated with respect and every single person’s opinion and problem is taken just as seriously as if it were their own.
- The social network: You never know who you’ll sit with during meals and the conversations at the tables and in the bus have been half my source of learning. Discussions ranging from my project’s flow to what the Hyderabad plant setting up from scratch involved, to the kind of traffic while travelling to P&G’s Cairo plant, to trips across Brussels, China, Japan while being stationed there, rise and fall of P&G through the 1929 depression and the Cold War, to gossips like the plant manager’s favourite actor, everyday at meals are an enjoyable experience. We are always encouraged to sit with strangers and get to know them and it is indeed always something I have looked forward to.
- Working across skillsets: Never before have I worked with such a diverse group of people with such experience and skills. Everyone I talk to and work with has helped me pile on more knowledge and experience daily. There are technicians, operations, engineering, planning, HR team and many more people all best in their respective fields. I interact with them on a day-to-day basis to ensure an end-to-end understanding and execution of my project.
- Ownership: One of the most important traits expected in P&G employees is that every single person is expected to take ownership of their work. The project given to me is completely my own and for me to plan and execute as I wish. I take help and ask for resources but end of the day it’s me who’ll drive the progress of my work and me who’ll have to keep challenging myself to do better. That’s something that has helped to instill in me a sense of responsibility. It’s really a great opportunity to work on a live project and actually make an impact on the plant’s functioning.
- Hands-on technical experience: In IIT so far, the only practical understanding of my courses was sometimes in labs or projects I undertook. Here, in a month I have amassed quite a lot of knowledge of machines and chemicals and processes, their logics, their conditions, their working. I have studied conveyors and motors and pneumatics and worked with their settings. I am truly surprised by how much I have enjoyed it all. (Haan hum engineer banne ke layak hain!)
- Emphasis on values and processes: Values like safety, quality have been ingrained in us right from day 1. The need for and importance given to systematic processes, protocols, time management, communicating effectively, is the reason the company has such a brilliant culture and history and we’ve realized their importance and followed them to the letter through the internship. It’s also ensured that we use our entire time in the plant productively. A senior manager told us in the 1st week of our work, “Staying back and working regularly is a sign of not using your work hours productively and not managing time well. The challenge is to finish all your tasks in office times.” My day is completely filled with meets, plant floor work, packing office work, connecting with people worldwide. Rarely have I faced a situation where I was sitting idle. That’s one big take-back for me.
- Great expectations: P&G believes in challenging people at every role. They trust their employees with huge challenges right at their early stage and after that every role upward is an exponential challenge curve. I know people who within 4 years of joining the company have undertaken entire plant set-ups from scratch, who within 8 yrs in the company are Global leaders for entire technologies. Every technician is trained and expected to troubleshoot their line’s problems without having to go to their bosses. Everyone of us at our intern has been given near impossible projects or 2 simultaneous projects which in themselves are huge challenges. It helps bring out the best in people and it’s something I liked about P&G.
Apart from all these, all round development, fixed work hrs ensuring a good work life balance, 24*7 people approachability, focus on ethics and their day to day functioning is something that has been very striking to me.
My learning curve in my 2 months has been very steep. The shift from our usual IIT life to a disciplined one has also been remarkable. Productive use of time is a huge take-back for me. I have gained a lot from the knowledge and experience of all my seniors. My work getting evaluated regularly and mistakes being pointed out has also been a huge learning experience. I’d definitely recommend it for everyone who wants to utilize their internship months to the full.
The food here is amazing! Be it street food, restaurants, ice cream carts, street buggys, you’ll love every bit of it. The famous Hyderabadi biryanis, kebabs were a foodie’s delight! We roamed the ‘Top 10 places to visit in Hyderabad’ on weekends and after work. The company of my co interns and ISB interns from IITB made it even more enjoyable. It’s very hot in the summers so it’s advisable not to venture out in the afternoons. It’s also rained regularly since we arrived in May but it just drizzles making it manageable. Auto drivers try to fleece you so one needs to learn to bargain. Late night walks, frequent ice-cream cart visits, shopping in the old city, early morning hike to a forgotten lake, learning to communicate with auto drivers, cab drivers without knowing a word of what they were saying, using humour as a mechanism to tackle the hours in traffic and the driving sense here, playing pranks on people in malls, spending a night on a rooftop swimming pool in Radisson, tasting desserts at Sheraton, attending an office party in Novotel hotel,*yes all for free* were some of the unforgettable experiences we’ve had here. After Mumbai, Hyderabad is a tough city to adjust to but I feel we did a good job at it.