Summer Diaries: My experience with ITC – Ruchika Asthana (HR)

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Summer Diaries: My experience with ITC – Ruchika Asthana (HR)

It all boils down to how much energy you exude in a room. Everyone is exhausted and everyone has similar CVs- the only way you can make yourself different is by being cheerful so that the panel wants to talk to you (not just the other way around). Keep smiling, and you will keep converting.

Where did you do your summer internship?

I interned with ITC Ltd, Foods Division located in Bangalore. My project included factory visits so covered factories in Uluberia (West Bengal), Mallur (Karnataka) and Hossur (Karnataka).


What was the role offered?

The role offered was that of a Management Intern, under the OD (Organization Development) team of ITC Ltd, Foods Division. I had two projects- one involved listing the functional capability enhancement program and the other was on designing a capsule induction program for all executives joining Foods Division, weekly.


Tell us about the GD and interview process of the company.

GD: This involved a case study where we had to rank 6 characters from the case study, based on how ethical they are. ITC is known for emphasizing righteousness, and so expected the same from the students. We had to form a consensus by the strength of our arguments, without resorting to majority voting or show of hands. GD ran for around 30-40 minutes. There were 8 students present per round, while there were 2 members in panel.

Interview: Behaviourial Questions:

Family background

  • Why HR? Why jump from marketing to HR?
  • You have stayed in Mumbai all your life and have no prior work experience, how will you fit in a factory role?
  • What was the lowest moment of your life? How did you recover?
  • You seem to have a very sound love for science, why the jump to MBA?
  • Interview: CV-based Questions:
  • Talk about the project for which you won Mumbai Science Exhibition.
  • How many people, apart from you, got awards for the Science Olympiad that year? How was the experience?
  • Which project in XLRI did you love the most? Why?

Interview: Technical Questions:

  • Favorite subject?
  • Favorite topic in OB?
  • Which motivation theory would you apply to trace your recovery from the lowest moment in your life you mentioned previously?
  • What are the limitations of your OB Project? List 3-4 areas of improvements.


What was your approach for preparing for the process? Any specific preparation you did for this company?

All my preparation involved understanding the goals of the company I was sitting for, apart from the normal revision of OB and Law subjects. Specifically for ITC, a tip that might be useful is this: ITC emphasizes its core values, hence vehemently stick to the most ethical solution. Allow no space for any ambiguity regarding case studies around bribes or cheating of any sort. They expect a black and white answer here.


Tell us about the internship project you worked on. (Describe in timeline/stages)

Designing a capsule induction program: This project involved revamping the induction program for lateral hires that join ITC Foods every Wednesday at Bangalore Head Office. The entire project was divided into 3 parts:

Primary and Secondary Research: Initially referring 28 papers to gather understanding about the main objectives of an induction program, I did a literature review. Interviews were conducted of over 31 employees across locations and levels, to understand the objectives of revamping the current induction plan at ITC. Benchmarking was done to understand the elements under each objective. With this the first phase of internship concluded.

Designing Induction Plan and preparing content: Once the objectives were defined, work was done on preparing content. These elements were designed to satisfy each objective. Also, an induction schedule was made.

Implementation of revamped Induction Plan: Finally, the project was piloted on the 7th of June, with a batch of 14 lateral hires participating in it.

Designing a functional capability enhancement program: Unfortunately, this project was halted after the initial 20 days since my team wanted me to focus solely on the Induction Program since the need for immediacy there was greater. I had started the interviews at factory locations to understand the job expectations by interviewing the Manufacturing executives as well as their bosses and/or sub-ordinates to get a 360-degree view of the job role. Based on this, I prepared a Workbook that included all the activities that was necessary for a Manufacturing Executive to be completed, within 30 days of joining.


Tell us about the pre-internship and post-internship processes (homework you had to do before the official internship period, orientation process and PPO opportunities)

Pre-internship: ITC sent us a book, per person selected from the SIP (6 of us in HR) and asked us to write a book review of all 6 books. Each book had a dominant theme (Efficiency from ‘The Goal’, Analytical Thinking from ‘Predictably Irrational’, etc.)

Post-internship: ITC asked us to submit a 20 page document highlighting our internship experience.


What was your key learning from the internship period?

Self-Belief: For a fresher, it is a daunting task entering the workforce with a multi-national where your mistakes could be out tehre in the open for 5000+ people (Strength of ITC Foods) to see. However, I gained the confidence required when the organization asked me to pilot the project, before I left which conveyed to me that my work was meaningful.

Nothing in XLRI is an individual effort: The number of people who I called during benchmarking from XL, and who gave me their valuable time by entertaining my questions was a huge number. Yet, thanks to the XLRI tag, I managed getting help from all quarters- even my seniors who discussed their internship project with me if they were similar and guided me.


What were the key challenges that you faced during your internship?

Lack of time from managers: At the organization, you were left to your own devices since the senior management is busy and don’t have time to answer your every question. Such an opportunity called for greater tenacity from us interns, and more insightful research before asking your manager for time.


How relevant were the concepts taught in the classroom to the situations and pre-requisites of your internship?

No relevance for my particular project.


How effective was the internship in terms of helping you make a choice about your career?

I definitely had an interest in the FMCG industry before my internship, and my internship experience has helped to cement that interest favourably.


Would you like to work for the same organisation if given a chance?

Yes, I would.


Do you have past work-experience? If yes, did you find any significant change during your summer internship?

I don’t have past work experience.


How did you like the work culture of the company? (Mention the contribution of your mentor/other employees of the company during the execution of your project)

I thought that ITC could incorporate a better work-life balance due to the long working hours expected from both interns and managers in terms of time. However, they are more than willing to offer other comforts such as comfortable living arrangements, best travel facilities, etc. in terms of monetary resources.


Share a memorable incident from your summer internship.

I was very nervous before my mid-report presentation and my mentor walked in when I was rehearsing my starting monologue. He saw the nervousness on my face and instead of asking me to relax, told me that if such nervousness generally leads to better preparation, so he advised me stay that way till the presentation ended. That broke the ice in the room considerably.


What suggestions/advice (specific preparation strategy) would you advise to juniors?

They are looking for a cheerful personality, so keep a smile on your face at all times. They commented on the fact that I wished them a good evening at 1 am before my first interview and wished them good morning at 4 am before my second interview- and were happy to know that I considered 2 hours of sleep as refreshing.

Ask a question about the company which is intelligent and relevant, even the panel asks you this repeatedly.

It all boils down to how much energy you exude in a room. Everyone is exhausted and everyone has similar CVs- the only way you can make yourself different is by being cheerful so that the panel wants to talk to you (not just the other way around). Keep smiling, and you will keep converting.

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