Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Summer Internship Process

The month of November, for your average top-of-the-line Indian b-school, is a busy one. And so it is here, at what an illustrious alumnus prefers to call the Jamshedpur Institute of Management. The junior batch gears up for the arduous, patience-testing, mentally tiring Summer Internship Process (SIP). Unmentionable words include Group Discussion, Slot 0, Personal Interview, sign-out, still-in-process, extended shortlists, offers, job loss and announcements. The senior batch comes together in a show of solidarity and dividing itself into four groups, helps in every way it can, ensuring that juniors are kept well-fed, entertained, informed and relaxed.

I salute each and every man and woman out there who stood through the process. There were, I know, moments of exhaustion, when you were simply sick of PIs with no positive result, watching batch mate after batch mate sign out with celebrations and cheers, happy for them but unable to suppress your anxiety at when you would be that one. I take my hat off to every signed-out batch mate who came to the holding area, sat there helping friends with a pecking order, suggesting tips for interviews, revising and refreshing their IR and marketing concepts, cheering them on, motivating them to give their best, serving refreshments, and simply being there for them. It would have been so easy to watch four movies back-to-back sitting in your rooms- but no, you were there. And that made all the difference.

One batch of one hundred and eighty seven students learnt that brilliant academics, an outstanding CV, the best pecking order possible, after consulting nearly every senior- nothing mattered really at the end of the day. What mattered was what you were made of- did you stand up to the occasion, or did you break? People who wouldn't have deemed themselves capable of it, sat days into the process, holding on, not quitting, giving all they could to every call, and learnt such a lot in the process. Not just about how to crack interviews, but how to motivate themselves and accept failure- two lessons for life that far outweigh a summer internship with any company.

A big thank you to every senior who helped untiringly, with suggestions, information, opinions, and cheering sessions. Thank you, all three teams who took care of the controls, the refreshments and the 'escorting' ;-) I for one couldn't have done it without you, and I'm sure every junior will agree.

Oh, there were bad patches, and some unfortunate attitudes, but what good does dwelling on them do? This SIP, I glimpsed- no, experienced- spirit, solidarity and generosity, and that leaves me light-hearted with a simple joy that the best 'sign-out offer' cannot give!


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