Wednesday, 13 November 2013

“Experience-ship” at eKutir!

A two-year stint at Northern Operating Services Private Limited, a subsidiary of Northern Trust Bank at Bangalore, and a year of PGDM at IMI Bhubaneswar, I realized that I would want to take up challenges in a contemporary social business sector. Despite having internship offers with other leading and bigger organizations, I chose to work with a relatively small yet meaningful business venture with an intention to think and experience beyond the conventional.

My two-month summer internship program with eKutir Rural Management Services Pvt. Ltd. was a challenging yet a smooth experience. I term it challenging for the reason that when I began the program, I did not have the slightest inkling about the nuances of the social business. I call it smooth because even though I as a novice in the field, I was never made to feel so. The continuous sharing of knowledge and information by my mentor ensured that I get to learn the business at the earliest and then deliver according to the objectives set for me.
The phase-I of the internship was carried out at the Bhubaneswar office under the direct supervision of the Managing Director of eKutir. The first month spent at the Bhubaneswar office was more of a self-learning experience where I was allowed to experiment with my work and stretch my limits with every passing day. Timely review of my work ensured that I was moving in the right direction. The office environment ensured utmost discipline among the co-workers and each one of us got his/her own space to implement the ideas with enough room for guidance from the Managing Director himself. Again, my co-worker from Denmark gave me a new insight to my existing perspective of the business. I was fortunate to get a global purview of the business and the seriousness with which the youth abroad considers the nature of the social business. With every passing day, my thinking was undergoing a paradigm shift only for the better.

The phase-II of my internship was carried out with the COO of eKutir, based out of his apartment in New Delhi. If the first month was more of a self-learning, the second month was equally demanding of my deliverables. My responsibilities were handed over to me within the first few days and then there was no looking back. This is where the concept of project management was utilized to carry out the assignments. I was simultaneously working on more than one assignment beginning from the development of the matrix till the creation of the SOPs. Each day came with a new challenge, and the challenges were dealt with utmost professionalism and discipline. The homely set-up of the apartment was not detrimental to my performance. Instead it gave me an entirely new work environment to come up with fresh ideas, incorporate those in the daily work and get them reviewed by the COO himself. A plethora of relatively small projects were accomplished within a span of 3-4 weeks spent in New Delhi. The involvement of experts in the projects made it even more exciting and challenging, that pushed me to the limits to deliver the best.

After spending eight weeks with eKutir, it would not be an exaggeration to proudly state that my summer internship program has bestowed on me a tremendous experience just the way I had expected. I found myself to be one of the privileged management students to have worked towards the branding of an organization. Almost all the aspects were covered, giving me a hands-on experience one of the most sought after aspect of business management. The inquisitiveness was justified when I first walked in to the Head Office at Bhubaneswar. With no knowledge about the industry and the operations, I chose to take a leap of faith and work towards meeting the objectives set by my mentor. Even though it sounded vague initially, I as determined to understand the operations and give in all that I have to deliver. Each day came with a new challenge and from being a novice, I gradually grew to be a thorough professional in the organization. I remember the first day at eKutir when I was clueless about the impact assessment matrix that I had to develop. And with constant help and feedback from my mentors, I was able to come up with the Inclusive Impact Index that would now be instrumental in the operations of the new subsidiary under the parentage of eKutir which will work for routing philanthrocapital investments to incubate, support, and accelerate different social businesses working with the Base of the Pyramid. I feel a sense of satisfaction for having streamlined the existing the procedures and procedure documents. The fact that it has created value for the organization justifies my efforts put in during the internship period.

I was fortunate to get a wide perspective of the organizations that are involved in the developmental programs targeted at enhancing the livelihoods of the poor with the help of technology. I was introduced to a few dynamic entrepreneurs and experts who have made a difference to me, both professionally and personally. I came across individuals who think uniquely and aim to bring about a positive change in the society with the help of the available resources and collaborations with the honchos. I am grateful to my co-interns who came in with varied experiences and expertise and, as a result I was able to imbibe the good they had to share. The program enhanced my time management skills but I would believe that there is always a room for improvement. I got umpteen opportunities to utilize my creative bent of mind in creating something new and bring fresh changes to the existing.

Needless to say, the Summer Internship Program at eKutir was an incredible experience for me that lead me to hone my skills, add a few more, and create considerable value for the organization!

Siladitya Sahoo
PGDM 2012-14

IMI Bhubaneswar

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