Intern explains | What do you need for a government internship?

Intern explains | What do you need for a government internship?

Ankita Sutradhar takes us through her government internship experiences at Air India, Cottage Industries Corporation and India Today TV.

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Persistence helps you gain an internship with the government of India. (Ankita Sutradhar)
Persistence helps you gain an internship with the government of India. (Ankita Sutradhar)

A government organisation, especially in Indian evokes a lot of images – long queues of customers waiting, lackadaisical employees and piles of paperwork. But it’s 2017 and things have changed! Government organisations and ministries alike are changing the status quo and becoming efficient, even tweeting their way to success. Ankita Sutradhar, an MBA Marketing Student at the North Eastern Hill University (Shillong, Meghalaya) talks to Letsintern about her internship experience with PSUs and how it compares to a corporate experience.

An internship at CCIC, how did that come about? And what do you do there as an intern?

CCIC is the Central Cottage Industries Corporation of India, an undertaking of the Ministry of textiles and I work at their Cottage Emporium in Delhi. It is a winter internship I am doing as a part of my academic curriculum. While my main focus is on researching the customer satisfaction of the Cottage Emporium I engage in a variety of activities.

I promote the brand through sales associates as well as create brand collaterals for business associates. I also get to speak to them, the hotels and travel agents are the business associates for the cottage emporium. The marketing department is a new part of the emporium and started only in 2016, till then the buying department itself used to take care of the entire place. They are also venturing into E-commerce and I help the team in listing the products online as well as managing the catalogue online.

It sounds like any usual organisation, are there any challenges to this experience?

Of course, the biggest challenge is that there is no structure to the internship. As they usually don’t take interns they don’t have a set program and it is up to my initiative and persistence as to the work I can do.

There is a lot of work to be done and it is such a learning experience for me, right from understanding how franchising, exports, corporate sales works to the customer interfacing in the showroom.

I have realized it’s not easy to get approvals as any monetary decisions have to be approved by the Ministry itself which is still a bit of a time-consuming process. Then there is also the paperwork, everything and everyone needs to be accounted for!

You have also interned at Air India, another PSU. How was your experience there?

Air India was a completely different experience. I underwent the internship right after my 1st year of MBA during the holiday period. Air India calls it’s a trainee program and I was selected through a process after applying for it to a newspaper ad. They had a complete planned 20 days program under the Marketing and commercial department where I got to understand how each and every team in the airline works. It didn’t involve a lot of work but a lot of structure learning.

However, after those 20 days, I worked on a project for them where I did a price comparison of airlines and also a customer survey for them. This enabled me to understand the customer perception for the airline industry.

Coming to the corporate vs. government debate, you have also interned with India Today TV. How would you compare both the internships?

It’s a world of a difference; it could be because the industry is completely different. Media, especially Television is very fast paced and decisions are taken on the fly. I interned for 7 weeks in India Today TV in both HR and Marketing divisions. In HR, I was given the responsibility of onboarding new joinees as well as their verification. For marketing, I was put in charge of content comparison of different news channels in each time slot.

As a marketing student I felt there was a better learning curve in corporate organisation as it marketing activities were aggressive. At the PSUs, revenues were generated through a lot of cross-departmental orders so it wasn’t a matter of staying afloat! It all depends on your initiative and perseverance about the kind of work you get to do in an internship in a PSU. In my personal opinion, HR and Finance students would learn a lot at PSUs compared to Marketing students.

Finally, what are your future career plans? Will you be joining any PSU itself?

As an aspiring marketer, I would look for a corporate experience. At the initial stage, I would like to gain as much exposure and learning. I would certainly look for opportunities once at a middle executive level where I can contribute better to a government organisation.

Have you interned with any government ministry or organisation? Tell us about your experience here! You could consider taking up a government internship yourself, with the upcoming batch of summer internships in 2017.

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