“You know Hannah I did an internship in a company and it was just so good, I did this and that and…” said my friend when we met after our Diwali vacations. That’s when the thought crossed my mind. Why don’t I try for an internship too? And so my search began and I applied for an internship with the communications team at Piramal Foundation, having absolutely no conviction of getting in.
Then, one day, I got an unexpected e-mail which went as follows – “Your choice to be in Communications is interesting — how it could influence the area of Development. We should meet and check how we can help each other grow”, said Mr. Raghavendra KN who was leading the Communications team. You could say that my experience as an intern was going to be like cooking for the first time. I would have to go through a carefully structured and yet innovative process of preparation, in order to get a delicious meal.
Being an introvert, lacking experience and being apprehensive about the work, culture and environment that I had pushed myself towards, I somehow gathered the courage and met with Mr. Raghavendra. I would have never imagined that the meeting would go so well and that I would be accepted as an intern. Thus began my journey at Piramal Foundation.
I had crossed the first hurdle. Now came the next challenge – getting to know the organisation. No matter where you work – corporates, NGOs, start-ups or Government organisations, it is of utmost importance to know and understand the field that you are in. experience must always be backed up by knowledge – knowledge about the company, knowledge about your work and knowledge about the industry or sector. Unfortunately, being a new kid on the block, I lacked all of the above. That’s when Ms. Deea, came to the rescue. She was the Communications Manager at Piramal Foundation and she helped in understanding the organisation and work culture. I quickly understood that it is important to be a people’s person and be able to work as a team. At Piramal Foundation, everyone worked in collaboration and every single member of the team, regardless of their position, helped me to familiarize myself with the Foundation’s work and ethos. Mr. Raghavendra gave me immense amount of input and guidance which helped me in effortlessly understanding everything about the organisation.
Now it was time to get working. I can confidently say that interning with the Piramal Foundation enabled me to understand some new and unique aspects of how an organization who specializes in the developmental sector really functions and how they are different from the corporate sector. One aspect that I discovered was that most NGOs and Foundations try to find solutions to solve the problems that are usually neglected or related to the people of lower strata group etc. And they try to innovate solutions that are sustainable and scalable to a larger demography and geography.
What did I learn as a Communications Intern?
As I worked with the team, my knowledge about the importance of communication and what sort of campaigns are undertaken by the communications team really grew. To be frank I actually thought that the communications team wouldn’t have that much of work to do but who knew that a communications team was an indispensable part of any organisation. They have to constantly communicate about whatever work was being done, regularly upload posts on social media, arrange and attend strategy meetings with crucial people such as, media partners, video partners, website partners, visit the locations where the initiatives are present and do reviews with the CEO to keep him abreast of all on goings.
I also got the opportunity to attend some official meetings with the communications team such as the Foundation website design meeting. I learned how a website works in terms of strategic placement of the right content, how design plays an important role in getting footfalls and how to work with partners in achieving all this in a time bound manner.
During my tenure at the Foundation, I was lucky enough to attend the Piramal Communications Meet 2018 which is the annual communications meet of the Piramal group. At this event, the Chairman of Piramal Group, Mr. Ajay Piramal addressed the entire organisation and updated everyone on the achievements of all the companies under Piramal Group. This was an extremely interesting event to be a part of as I learned a lot about the other divisions at Piramal Enterprises as well.
Adding to the list, I was a part of the Foundation’s blogsite review meeting as well. Here we discussed the new blog site of the Foundation which was under design at the time. I learned how to write a blog, how to make it interesting by adding images and videos and finally publish the blog.
Through my participation in these meetings, I could practically visualize all what I had learned at college and it helped me easily relate to what was being discussed in the meetings.
Through the course of my internship, I was reminded about some basic but very important habits like reading books and newspapers consistently and to be updated with current affairs around India and the world. But most importantly, to keep asking questions every time I didn’t understand something because one can only learn more by being inquisitive.
One of the major learnings from my experience at Piramal Foundation was discovering the work and office culture which is very contrasting to the college culture. I was exposed to the office culture which was very new to me and I didn’t know what to expect. After spending some time in the office, I became aware of how to be professional and also how to timely meet deadlines. I became acquainted with the fact that it is extremely crucial to be organized and professional while at work. Mr. Raghavendra also taught me the importance of detailing in anything that is done. Working in the office and observing the atmosphere here has definitely prepared me for a new lifestyle. By just observing the everyday events has taught me more about teamwork and how every member of the organization are extremely vital for achieving the goals of the organization.
After going through all this I received the joy and pride of completing my internship with the Foundation, topped with immense learning. Now I can confidently say that my moments with the Foundation would really benefit me in the future.
Here ends an amazing chapter of my life and I look forward to a new beginning!
Hannah is a student at SNDT College, Mumbai and is studying Mass Communication with Extended Studies. She loves singing, music and watching the latest shows on Netflix.