Friday, April 30, 2010

The ultimate survival kit for any B-School internship season

DISCLAIMER : Any relevance with the real world is purely expected. Oh, and incidental too.

the intenship season now. Prayers are the order of the day. Lots of interns are well on their way to plotting ways of getting the coveted PPOs, while some others wish and pray that those other interns actually get their PPOs. Company executives are frantically finding out innovative "strategies" to "involve" the interns in the "working" of their organization.

So how do you survive these couple of "survey" filled, "e-mail sending SOS's desparately asking for help" filled months? Here's how.


Imagine you are doing your internship. You are at your best behaviour. All suited up. Facebook only for those couple of hours when your mentor is out having lunch/smoke. But, despite all your efforts asking seniors for solutions/ googling for answers/ begging people to take your surveys (I have taken all your surveys!! Please take mine!! Only couple of minutes. And 125 questions. ONLY!) , you have not been able to find out anything significant to present your mentor.

What do you do?


STEP 1 : The PPT. They say Porter is the father of strategy. I disagree. Bill Gates is. If not for this piece of software, your strategy would never work. You would actually have to ONLY talk your way out of every situation. For you non-talkers, that's a strict NO NO!!

Number of slides, very important. The mentor says "Keep it short and sweet". You make it a point to put in atleast 125 of them. That's the least. Anything more is a bonus.

What you put in those slides, not so much important. Very VERY secondary. Lot's of graphs, IMPORTANT. Quoting Wikipedia is akin to standing bare armed and naked in front of Hitler. You are begging to be killed on the spot. Instead, carefully take all the links quoted from wikipedia, and quote them. It's all the same.

STEP 2 : Keep in touch with your mentor. Frequently. You need to give him the impression that you are working really hard.

Bending the truth a bit doesn't hurt anyone. You say "I am currently interacting with the primary age group sample size, and am very close to getting answers to the primary research, through the various multilateral interactions and surveys", when you would actually be poking your friends on Facebook. And GTalking.

You non-talkers, better start learning such small small things. They go a big way to the success of your strategy.

STEP 3 : Use of "strategic" words. These are words that no one would ever understand, but will still nod as though they understood everything that you were saying.

Like "Eyjafjallajökull".

You : ...Sir, the porters five forces enhances the main point of this strategy to bring to the masses the core ideology of strategically accepting the phased inclusion of the product into the primary market.

Mentor : mmmmm....

You : And Eyjafjallajökull.

Mentor : Brilliant! Implement it immediately!

Particularly works well with mentors who are in very high positions.

Follow these steps very carefully. And I guarantee you, you will get your coveted PPOs, and live a life of constant Farmvilling, Mafia Warsing, IP messengering and all those other beautiful wonderful things that a B-school life has to offer in your second year.


Imagine you are this employee in this organization. You are doing your normal work. You have a complete routine set. Coffee breaks, one each in the morning and evening, for an hour each. Lunch break for an hour. Check the latest football/cricket news on the free internet provided to you by the office the rest of the time. Ah, things could not get any better.

Then, pandemonium. Crisis!! You are assigned an intern. Not just any intern. A B-school intern. You know, those strategizing types.

What do you do?


Step 1 : Assign a topic to your intern that would take yourself a million years to understand. And is of absolutely no significance to your company. And give them a deadline of one week to come up with an initial PoA. (Plan of Action. But make sure you say it as PoA only.)

You know for sure that the intern will enjoy and rest the first 6 days, and frantically ask their seniors/Google/take surveys on the final day before the deadline. But, it atleast takes them off your shoulders, and gives you the time to think of how you can use your swanky new Micromax mobile to mute your wife/girlfriend. And go "What the BEEP!".

Step 2 : This will happen during the week. The intern will come to you in-between to let u "know" that he/she is actually working on that non-existant project that you don't even remember the name.

Questions like "Should I do this or that?", "What should be the order of the PoA?" will come up very often.

Reply back by saying "You Decide. You're the boss of this project!!"

The intern will then think "Oh Wow! I've got a very entrepreneurial mentor! I'm sure to get my PPO!!" and will go back to his/her relaxing ways.

This step is very lengthy in terms of length of the internship. Usually this continues until all deadlines are met.

Step 3 : The final presentation. Intern comes to you a day before with a "draft" PPT. He/She shows it to you with full enthu, fully expecting a shower of praises on the "exciting and insightful" work put in this project (What was the name of it, again?).

Make sure you put in suggestions of your own, just to spice it up a bit.

"How about a porters five force model of the industry as a whole? It will give a holistic view of your project"

"Put a very effective exit strategy for your project. It could mean life or death for the organization!!"

Also, subtly send the message that a 125 slide PPT is required, minimum. Usually "Make it short and sweet" does the trick.

Step 4 : The final presentation. The day of the presentation. The whole management team has come. You are scared. Petrified even. I am going to miss my IPL streaming of the match on youtube today... NO SACHIN, you think. You tweet that thought even.

Wait for the right moment to let the management team know that your intern has finished with his/her presentation. Usually the time comes when one of those "strategic" words are spoken. Doesn't matter whether the intern has actually finished the presentation or not. You need to watch Sachin play.

Intern : ..... And Eyjafjallajökull.

You : Brilliant! Implement it immediately!

Intern : Contin.....

You : That will be all my friend!!

Wait for the reaction of the management team.

Huge thunderous applause : The intern gets a PPO.

Applause : The intern gets a PPI.

"Eh. I need to watch Sachin play!!" : Oops. Zilch. Nothing. "Hope you have great interviews elsewhere" you tell your intern. Or "We are in a hiring freeze strategy at the moment. Recession, you see".

There you go. Crisis averted. You get your free time, and the intern is "happy" with the "deep insights and thorough learning" that he/she got from this project. Both sides are happy.

So, this is the ultimate survival kit for you interns and mentors, during this tumultuous, rip roaring B-School internship season. Use it at your own discretion.


The Common Man | പ്രാരാബ്ധം said...

I owe you one man!!!!

Kartik said...

hehe... glad to help! ;)

Ankit Jena said...

"Hope you have great interviews elsewhere" - this line would seem very familiar to adi as it does to me :)

Pratyush said...

Absolutely Fantastic post!
I particularly empathize with the assigning a topic that the mentor does not understand either bit.. :)

Gurdit said...

Haha, a very entertaining read!

Jack Personified! said...

Nice one! Any tips on how to floor a PPO?:)

Nitu said...

Brilliantly written man. Captures the essence of the internship exercise succinctly ;)

Kartik Krishnamoorthy said...

Thanks all! :)

@Jack : Just use your Micromax mobile to switch on the TV in the boardroom, and make sure you have the latest Sachin's IPL match on, during your presentation. I'm sure that will evoke a "Eh! I need to watch Sachin play!!" response from the management team, thus throwing away any remote chance of you getting your PPO. :)

Yash said...

nothing more true!

sampada said...

anna! thanks for the tips :)

Kartik Krishnamoorthy said...

Sampada : Glad to help out. You'll need all the help you need once you start your internship!! :D