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Pursuing MBA is on the minds of most of corporate aspirants . . . such as the nine of us—a bunch of fresh B School students from NMIMS and IIM Raipur. All of us come from different backgrounds—some of us are engineers, some used to be creative freelancers, some from commerce background and some of us have just the knowledge of Media—but we all had one strong similarity—we all wanted to make a mark in Sales & Marketing. We were told that one of the most important periods in the two years program going to be our internship. Having selected by ShepHertz, when we were about to embark on our 2-month journey little did we know the kind of experience and learnings we were going to gain.
1. Emotion is bigger than equation: With flies in our bellies and plans in our minds, we climbed the eleven floors that lead to ShepHertz. We expected our first day to be all formal and ‘orientational’. But on the contrary, we were welcomed with open arms. During the break in our induction session we all were standing in the balcony of the Gurgaon office . . . which gives one of the best sunset views by the way . . . we started feeling we belonged here. All the teams and everybody showed interest in where we came from, what we had done, what we came here for and in the process, we also learned bits and pieces of everyone who worked here. Excitement is the right word to define how we felt on our first day when we learnt about the products and solutions that ShepHertz offers to enterprises. We always thought that we would be bombarded with a lot of work that we wouldn’t understand and we would be expected meet the deadlines. But here we were, being made to feel at home, being a part of a family. This, in turn, made us to take up new initiatives and be a part of growth of the organization.
2. Strive for excellence: Our internship started with a few training sessions, acquainting us with deep dive information of the products and solutions. The best perk an intern can wish for is the freedom to work on their desired role. After the training sessions, once again we were presented with a chance to choose job profiles that best suited our interests and pursuits. Once we chose our desired profiles, we were briefed about how and what we are expected to contribute in the coming two months of our internship. Just before we were about to get settled at our workplaces, we were told that the CEO and Founder of ShepHertz, Siddhartha Chandurkar, is expecting to have a word with all of us. Not only it was quite a big deal for us to meet the CEO of the company on the very first day, but also, we were also a bit nervous. The session was relatively short, but laid the foundation of our internship period and eventually will help us with our career. One of his suggestions that is going to stay with us forever is, “Two months is a short time, but one thing that you should keep in your mind forever is that you must strive for excellence—completing a task is not the target, but giving your best to make it world class should be.” Coming directly from the CEO, it meant a great deal for us. We made up our mind to give our best.
3. Quickly learn from your mistakes and move on: Excellence is what we pursued for the next two months. Much to add to our surprises we all were given important and big tasks and on live projects instead of just carrying out daily mundane jobs and filling reports. When it came to sales, some of were expecting to just make cold calls to random organisations to check if they were interested in our offerings, but instead we were given complete freedom to come up with our own analysis of a completely untouched region—the market study, the pain points of enterprises in that region, presentations, and content. The first cut, obviously, wasn’t good enough—it had an unmistakable student-ish feel about it. Our mentor—EVP Sales, Daljeet Mehta—very politely explained those changes that would make our work look more on the professional lines. It took no longer than 3 weeks of mentoring and small daily discussions for us to come up with content and strategy that we could incorporate in our tactics to generate demand in new geographies and help the sales team with new ideas too. This was an exhilarating feeling—to have learnt from the perfect mentors and to strive for excellence keeping all the limitations in mind—and to have contributed in the organisation’s growth along with our personal growth.
4. Have a result oriented mindset: When it came to marketing, we were skeptic about the kind of work we would do but we were asked to come up with a completely fresh social media marketing plan, for starters, to re-brand all social platforms. Rather than starting from the scratch, we did a deep analysis of the past few years in all the platforms, the kind of audience who followed ShepHertz, the kind of graphics and content they preferred, the time of day when engagement was highest and the kind of campaigns worked well on each platform. Then came in the operational plan of our strategy that we implemented along with the help of marketing team and despite having low expectations, our campaigns did well. Our mentor, Siddhartha’s pragmatic and result oriented approach towards marketing made us appreciate the fact that Marketing is an art subject to constraints. Despite his busy schedule he took out time to ensure that we are making efforts in the right direction. Often, while discussing business he used to delve into what the expectations of industry from a b-school graduate are and other life lessons.
5. Team bonding is as necessary as meeting deadlines: Work apart, it was the fun we had in those two months that made our journey unforgettable. Be it cricket on weekends, fun activities on Fridays, or team lunches and dinners, we have every moment engraved in our hearts. Small in number but large at heart, the ShepHertz employees were very welcoming of us. The best part about the culture was that we could go to anybody in the organisation for help. They were open to our ideas and encouraged us to widen our horizon and be more creative.We could understand how the creation of synergy between people across all departments was driving the startup to scale at such a mammoth level.
The two months passed so quickly that we couldn’t even digest the fact that our tenure had come to an end. On our last day, the entire organisation came together to bid farewell to us, everybody who we worked with came forward to wish us luck to tell us that we had made a significant contribution in the organisation and most importantly, we had given our best in every task we were assigned with. Feeling a bit emotional, we all went on the balcony one last time . . . just to have that feel, to let it sink in and to watch the beautiful view of sunset. We all looked at each other, no one spoke a word, but everybody felt the same . . . everybody felt belonged here. Sky had already become crimson; the sun had almost set and we walked back hoping for a brighter future.
Writing Credits: Shreyash Kedia, Bhagath Saanu, Sripathi Prathyusha, Archana Dubey, Rutuja Patil, Naveen Kumar and Arun Sharma from IIM Raipur; Danish Iqubal and Kishan Velineni from NMIMS Mumbai.