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As I’m typing this, I’m midway through my intern at P&G, Baddi plant. First things first, it’s a great internship that offers really challenging work, a lively work environment and genuinely nice co-workers (a lot of IIT grads, so the general culture feels a bit like home). Basically, if you’re one among the majority of people that don’t have any specific intern in mind, you should fight for landing this one. To all the impatient readers – you’ve read all you need to know and are free to go back to watching TVF re-runs on Youtube.
Getting the intern
As far as preparing for the internship season goes, the amount of dedicated effort I had put in was a grand total of zero. Generally speaking, if you’ve done decent work in whatever it is that you do, you stand a chance of getting a good intern. Taking fundae from seniors who have interned in places that you wish to can be helpful in certain instances. P&G, for instance, uses a PIE model to evaluate people: P-Performance, I-Image and E-Exposure, and they come to hire with some understanding of what attributes they are looking for under each section.[pullquote]P&G uses a PIE model to evaluate people: P-Performance, I-Image and E-Exposure, and they come to hire with some understanding of what attributes they are looking for under each section.[/pullquote] This information can be useful to fine-tune your CV and interviewing strategy, but then again it’s equally likely you’ll get along just fine without it.
The P&G selection procedure starts with an online psychometric test for all applicants. After filtering out the type of people they are looking for, they have a written aptitude test. Finally, the last stage is 2-3 interviews that are meant to gauge your decision making ability, ability to lead and organize a project. The interviews are rarely technical, because everything you need to know, you learn on the job.
What’s work like?
Broadly speaking, your work in P&G or any other FMCG for that matter will be that of a consultant. They typically have improvement projects, wherein you have to optimize a part of the supply chain by coming up with some innovative solutions. Basically, what they are looking for is someone with a fresh outlook to identify gaps in certain processes and bridge them. However, the sheer breadth of the company makes it impossible to know what function you would work in. Even within product supply, your work could be a varied as coming up with engineering solutions to improve a machine or crunching numbers to model production planning based on demand and other factors. The fact that anything you do is constrained by how it affects everything in the downstream and upstream supply chain makes most problems quite complex.
Living the good life
One of the great things about P&G is that they treat their interns just like its employees. This is good because they treat their employees exceedingly well. Flexibility of work hours, travel opportunities and general sops like staying in fancy hotels are a given during the internship. If you think some expenditure (on any equipment or a trip) is justified, you are rarely questioned about it – as long as you produce the results. The other advantage is access to global expertise within the company, which is a result of its massive scale. For my project, I’ve gotten inputs from P&G experts in Germany, Switzerland and Egypt among others.[pullquote]The other advantage is access to global expertise within the company, which is a result of its massive scale. For my project, I’ve gotten inputs from P&G experts in Germany, Switzerland and Egypt among others.[/pullquote] The fact that all these guys are so prompt with their responses and helpful is a testament to the culture of accessibility and openness here.
More about work
The one thing to note is the use of standard work processes across the company. It’s a massive challenge to ensure uniformity in an operation that stretches across continents. P&G uses proprietary tools and work processes to ensure this. While this means that you have to do a few redundant tasks like documentation and formatting from time to time or express things in specific ways, it’s very interesting to see how well-defined everything is. You must be doing something right if you’re the 2nd oldest company in the world and are present in 6 continents. The level of organization and detail should be of particular interest to insti people, given that everyone is an (aspiring) entrepreneur.
Getting down to business
Naturally, this rosy picture is only one side of the story. The best thing about P&G is also the thing that makes life quite hard – the fact that they treat you like an employee. Given the amount they invest in interns, it’s fairly clear that they aren’t fooling around – they expect impactful solutions and have an almost perfect record of executing their interns’ projects (sometimes during the course of your intern itself!).[pullquote]Given the amount they invest in interns, it’s fairly clear that they aren’t fooling around – they expect impactful solutions and have an almost perfect record of executing their interns’ projects (sometimes during the course of your intern itself!).[/pullquote] Being grilled in multiple reviews, tight deadlines and staying at the plant well post-working hours is all in a day’s work. You’ll probably spend more time on your project PPT than you have on the sum total of all PPTs that you ever made. However, the co-workers are great and go out of their way to make you comfortable and offer advice.
In conclusion, P&G offers a very meaningful, well planned and enriching internship- and it’s one that is intended to benefit both parties involved. Also, Chandigarh is a nice city – the roads are perpendicular and the girls are pretty. But Bombay is Bombay.
If you would like to share your internship stories on Insight’s Summer Blog, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read more (dis)similar internship stories written by IIT Bombay students over the years visit http://summerblog.insightiitb.org/.