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City diaries: Life of an MBA intern in Mumbai

Last updated on: June 21, 2011 10:53 IST

City diaries: Life of an MBA intern in Mumbai

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Anjali Mangal, Rozelle Laha and Tendar Tsering

Hundreds of MBA students have just about left or are in the process of leaving Mumbai after having completed their brief summer internships. For most, this is their first and only close call with actual 'corporate' experience during the MBA.

While some faced issues of finding an apartment, others complained about travelling in the local trains in peak hour traffic and some missed home-cooked food. Yet, a lot of them confessed that they would like to come back and work in the city. Some of the pointers asked were these:

1. Mumbai as a place of work

While an increasing number of people who come to the city for work face trouble to get used to the fast life here, a lot others complain about higher price of accommodation, lack of privacy, and peak hour traffic to begin with.

Poluru Deepti of Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad faced problems of finding accommodation in Mumbai. "It is not easy to find a place to stay in this city. And when you do find a place, you have to share it with so many people -- there is no sense of privacy in Mumbai," she said.

Shardul Bahuguna of IIM Rohtak has a different take there, "Finding a place was not tough for me. I had worked in Mumbai between 2008 and 2010 and stayed with three other friends in an apartment. This time I did the same thing."

According to Charu Bhatnagar of the Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communication (SIMC), Pune, the peak hour traffic in local trains got the better of her. "I travelled from Mira Road to Churchgate everyday carrying my laptop which was a big hassle."

The interviews were conducted at various spots in Mumbai by Anjali Mangal, Rozelle Laha and Tendar Tsering.


Image: Commuters lean out of a train in Mumbai
Photographs: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters
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2. The work experience

It's not always easy to find your place in a new organisation. From finding the right senior, to meeting challenges and deadlines, your summer internship experience could either help you hone your skills for a full time job or simply leave you sulking with disappointment.

Himanshu Punjabi of SIMC Pune said she learnt a lot of new stuff from her internship. "The company I worked with was really good in terms of teaching me new things. I had seniors who were extremely helpful and they encouraged me to present ideas. They also recommended different ways in which I could make my work better."

Ujjwal Kumar Kejriwal of the National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), Mumbai said, "I had a great working experience as an intern in Mumbai. My project demanded that I work in multiple functions. The overall exercise gave me a better understanding of the job."

According to Ranjeet Pratap Singh of the Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), Delhi, "My internship was good because it showed how things worked practically. The knowledge I gained has been extremely helpful."

However, Nimisha Mishra of SIMC Pune is probably among the rare lot who is going back disappointed. "I did not learn as much as I hoped to. Seniors often treated me like a trainee and the others as if we did not know anything at all. At the end, I do not think I gained as much as I should have from this internship," she said.


Image: Ranjeet Pratap Singh
Photographs: PagalGuy.com
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3. Fruitful or not

That leaves us asking, whether the experience matched your expectations or were you in for a surprise. While most of them saw it as a challenge, others thought they were taken for granted.

Poluru Deepti of IIM Ahmedabad said, "I wanted to work as a consultant and the kind of training I received was really good. The office was really cool. I got to use the concepts I had learned in my classroom. I also got to learn new things about tool-designing. If given a chance, in the future too I would like to do consulting."

Shardul Bahuguna of IIM Rohtak too said that the internship helped. "In my b-school, I was taught to make straight questionnaires. While interning, I learned to frame better questions and in different formats."

Aarish Angrish of Amity Business School, Noida feels different. "The company I was hired for burdened us with extra work of filling up surveys which was not related to the summer project I was assigned. This extra work would not be a part of the internship report I have to submit to the college. It was as if the company was making us do some of their additional work that we had not signed up for," he said.

Photographs: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com
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4. Monetary gratification

Well, whether we agree or not, we all work for money. While interns should be prepared to work for free, we also met a few who were paid close to Rs 45,000 a month. Needless to say, some of them faced financial hassles trying to make two ends meet. Here's what they said.

"I was given a good stipend. Cannot complain," said Poluru Deepti.

Nimisha Mishra said that she was not paid anything, "I was expecting to be paid but nothing came. I had a problem managing my budget here."

According to Aarish Angrish, "I was paid some money but it was not enough. I had a tough time managing my food, stay and travel with the money. I had to borrow money from my parents."

Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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5. Spend, save or splurge

Using the hard earned stipend money wisely is a challenge. Since most of them are still in college, they tend to use it to pay off semester fees or clear their debts. Very few chose to spend it on a vacation.

Sandeep Duvvuru of NITIE Mumbai plans to use the stipend to clear a few debts he was carrying.

Ujjwal Kumar Kejriwal, Raveesh Pandhija and Anupam Prasad of NITIE plan use their stipend money to go on a trekking vacation.

Kailash Goel of TA Pai Management Institute, Manipal said, "I have got a meagre stipend. I am planning to use it to pay the hostel fees for second year at college."

Poluru Deepti of IIM Ahmedabad however said, "I am planning to travel to France in next few months and will use this money for it."

Photographs: Manoj Patil
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6. After hours

Internships can be a tiresome affair. Most of them go home only to eat or rest. Yet some of them were lucky to have found ways of recreation.

Ranjeet Pratap Singh worked for 13-14 hours every day and therefore did not get much time for leisure. "But whenever I managed to squeeze some time, I went out with friends."

Prayag of Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management, Delhi said, "My office was far from where I stayed so I got little time to do anything else. Whatever time I did get, I used to sleep it out."

Kailash Goel, for whom Mumbai is also hometown said, "My working hours were quite flexible and I got time for myself. It was a more of a vacation for me as I came back home after a long time."

Charu Bhtanagar of SIMC Pune said, "I have friends in Mumbai and whenever I got time, I went out with them."

Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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7. Final take

Mumbai may be the eternal city of dreams, but only for those who are willing to face these challenges on an every day level. And surprisingly, we found that many people would like to come back and work in the city for good. Reasons aplenty.

Aarish Angrish of Amity, Delhi said, "I loved the city as well as the kind of speed at which people work. I would definitely come back if I got a chance."

Said Charu Bhatnagar, "Of course, I would like to work in Mumbai. Mumbai is my hometown. If you compared Mumbai with other cities such as Delhi, it is a safer place. You don't need to carry Pepper Spray while going out. There are beaches, pubs and places to hang out here. When you go out you need friends, which I have here. Besides, people in Mumbai are very friendly."

Although Ranjeet Pratap Singh of FMS Delhi thinks that Mumbai is not his favourite city and it's not an exciting place as it seems to be, when asked, he said, he doesn't mind coming back. "Mumbai is not my favourite place to work for because I find the weather hot and humid, traffic to be chaotic and besides most things are very expensive. But then again, almost all the big companies in the country have their headquarters in the city and if I get a good opportunity I may have to come back to work in Mumbai."

Image: People get drenched by a large wave during high tide at Mumbai's seafront
Photographs: Arko Datta/Reuters
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