The Tale of F-Day : Asim Khan

Disclaimer: This internship experience was not your usual one. There was no induction day, no fancy outings or goodies distribution. No long soporific ppts and videos about company’s vision mission or history. It was very unstructured. It was direct. On day 0 I was given a desk and a lot of work.
So, remove all your pre conceived notions before reading this. You have been warned.

Tick tok. Tik tok. tik tok. The alarm woke me up. It was 7 in the morning. I can’t remember last time I woke up this early. I didn’t know it was so dark even at 7 am. On my usual days I woke up at 8 45 am for my 9 am class(some skills which MBA teaches you). However, today was not an ordinary day after all one cannot afford to be late on first day of one’s summer Internship.

“I am lucky” I said to myself taking a metro ticket whilst my friends were literally hanging out in local train. With a share auto from metro station I reached my destination Godrej IT Park in Vikhroli Mumbai. The office was picturesque with two big gates leading to two blocks on either side.  I pressed 5 in the lift and reached what was going to be my home (not house but home) for next two months.

The flex said “Vision: to be the most loved market research company in the world”. I wondered what kind of vision is that. With color as blue as the sky the letter ‘n’ was written followed by white text, Nielsen welcomed me.
For those who don’t know Nielsen is a marketing research company which conduct and analyse surveys in almost all sector. I met my HR who gave me my id card. Engraved on card was written “consultant” as oppose to intern (a small yet powerful sign ow Nielsen treats their employees and interns)

Nielsen office is very open and I mean it literally There are about 500 employees and each of them have a similar desk. No special cabin for anyone (I mean literally my desk and Director’s desk is identical). This makes everyone at peer level vis-a-vis approachable. I can walk to anyone and ask them anything provided they are free.

I was introduced to the team individually, people seemed impressed when I told them I am pursuing MBA from NMIMS so an expectation was already set. Finally, I met my mentor which was a unique experience.

“So you just completed your first year?” Pravin asked. I replied with a firm Yes as an obedient student. “So, tell me what all things have you learned?”. I thought I will nail this question as I was prepared with an answer. I started blabbering “It has been great I have learned so many new things, Marketing models.”

“yeah yeah, that’s great now as long you are here forget them all”!

I was shocked. I thought he was joking but by the look on his face it was evident he wasn’t.

“Just unlearn whatever the school has taught you” he added. Can you imagine this my friends, in one statement he destroyed my best prepared answer.

“Your theories, This kolter model this Mcarthur 4P models doesn’t work in our world. You are understanding me?” Obviously, I was not. He added “At best, you carry the aesthetic acquired by you during your course.” I said, “aesthetic like?”

He turned back to his laptop and said, “like sleeping 4 hours”.

To cool my mind off I started wandering the office found a table tennis and a pool table for leisure and If your office doesn’t have coffee machines then It is really an office?

Oh btw, Did I mention we have 12 screens for news in morning and IPL in the night. Also, you have been warned the guards will throw you out of office by 8 30 pm.

Coming to the project. I was placed in Consumer Insights department where in a nutshell, we analysed the raw data to give insights to our clients.

I was asked to just go through this one excel data

I opened and found it fair long. How long? I asked myself the exact same question.

Just to check the no of rows I scrolled till the end and Screen popped up 2 lakh rows!

At that point, it started dawning on me that this is what real raw data looks like.

My mentor came to me and told me about the project and the deliverables. I was given full autonomy on how I wanted to present the data just it should look neat and clean.

I had lunch at a small canteen in the office itself and afternoon tea without which I cannot function. As time flew by I went through a lot of documents and ppts about my project.

The sunset was almost there, I looked at my watch, it stared me back with 18 45 display.

“I am leaving sir.” I told my mentor.

He broke out into laughter in fact so hard that even HR guys peeped in to see what joke I had said. After regaining his composure, he said “you don’t have to tell me every time when you are coming and going. As long as work is getting completed I don’t care.

And no sir from next time. Got it!”

I nodded and started leaving the premises.

In my bed after a long tiring day I wondered Automaticity. Raw data. Rewards for hard work. What else can one ask for in an internship?

I was not sure much of what I went through today but I was sure of one thing that Today I have embarked on a two-month roller coaster journey which is going to be nothing less than ordinary.

Alarm was set for 6 am but this time not because of any compulsion but a zeal to learn.

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