I am Amisha from the department of Chemical Engineering. Here’s a blog on what I learned and experienced during the internship drive of 2020. I have also tried to incorporate the tips and advice I received from my seniors that helped me get through. The first one of those tips is, “Listen to different perspectives and experiences but don’t make any of those perspectives a basis for defining your preparedness for the internships.” So, here’s presenting my perspective and experience of the internship drive:
During summers, I couldn’t get myself any relevant projects. Later, I did really struggle to complete the project section of my resume (which I eventually did by completing a few online Coursera projects). So yes, having a good summer project can help you with a few resume points but it's not absolutely necessary to have one.
For techno-managerial roles, I believe the best that one can do on the preparation front is hone our communication skills. I practiced and participated in several mock GD sessions and that really helped. The GD topics asked in the selection processes of FMCG firms are sometimes about a component of the supply chain function, for which you may skim through a few keywords like “stakeholders,” “frontline workers,” etc. Forming a group for preparing and conducting GD sessions might be beneficial. The resources on the SPO website and the AnC resources for GDs can help too.
Now, something that I learned from the internship drive is that even if you are targeting techno-managerial roles, having a backup plan is essential, and this is because:
- The number of such opportunities is very few and
- Luck does play a role in the shortlisting process
As for backup, I too spent a substantial amount of time in summers practicing a little bit of coding (geeksforgeeks/interviewbit) and preparing probability/puzzles (50 CP/Brainstellar/A practical guide to quantitative finance interviews).
Resume-making and filling up the forms for HUL/ITC.
Coming to the resume, a senior told me, “You should first prepare a story for yourself and make every point on your resume a component of that story.” You should be able to justify all the points on your resume well and explain all the “whys and hows.” You should be able to defend and answer why you chose to go for a particular project/PoR/profile. Resume-making took a lot of time; I had to go through several iterations before arriving at the final draft. It would be better if at least the first draft of the resume is ready early on.
For HUL and ITC, a form has to be filled up, which becomes the deciding factor in the shortlisting for the interviews. Behavioral questions are primarily asked in the form. Again, as in the resume, I tried making the answers for each question in the form connected and tried reflecting the answers as connected components of a single story.
During the internship drive, I was shortlisted for the interviews of P&G, HUL, and ITC and I got through in P&G and HUL.
P&G has a unique selection procedure, which I will describe later in the blog. As for HUL and ITC, brushing up on the concepts of Chemical Engineering (or ME/EE depending on your branch) is helpful. For Chemical, thermodynamics and fluids are the two major topics from which questions were asked. During the interviews, emphasis was put on the practical applicability of those concepts. The interviews also made me realize that all the points mentioned in the resume should be well understood. In my first interview with ITC, more than half of the interview revolved around one of the keywords that I had mentioned on my resume as part of a course project.
Also, something that I learned from my interview experience is that it is okay if you do not know the answer to a question, in which case you can either interact with the interviewer by asking for hints and cues or commit that you do not know. I was told by a senior who had himself been an interviewer for his firm several times that interviewers are perhaps not always looking for the right answer explicitly. They might be judging how well you handle pressure or how you behave in a situation where you do not know the answer.
Coming to the selection procedure of P&G. The selection process of P&G is unique, the candidates are selected on the basis of how well they can assimilate with the P&G culture. An online test (consisting of psychometric questions and aptitude questions) was conducted which was followed by a couple of interview rounds consisting of behavioral, situation-based questions. For the test, you may go through some online resources to get an idea of the pattern just before attempting the final test. My POR experiences helped me answer the situation-based questions in the interviews. I had the POR of an Assistant Coordinator at the SPO as a third-year POR and a few second-year PORS. I felt a consistency in the answers, promptness in response and an alignment with P&G’s values were points looked for in the candidates during the interviews.
For reference, I have listed the questions from the interviews that I can recall as of now in the drive link below:
On a concluding note, here’s the last bit of an opinion and perspective - prepare the best you can, make groups, take suggestions from your seniors/your friends, and practice a lot. However, there is almost always a luck factor associated with the selection procedure. So, do not stress yourself out. Keep the Faith. Do your work. Sometimes things fall in place, sometimes they don't. Believe in the process and keep going!
Edited By - Smriti