With Summer internship at various MBA colleges about to kick-start, it is natural for the prospective interns to wonder about the key components recruiters consider to identify the right candidate. At this point, students are relatively new on the campus and mostly have limited hands-on experience and industry exposure so they tend to look at the selection process as a minefield and worry about the potential slip-ups. The tremendous significance given to internships combined with their inadequate knowledge on the subject, adds to the anxiety.
Career2NextOrbit team believes that understanding the recruiter psyche will better prepare students to land their desired internships and also pave the path for career growth in the future. So, to clear the air around summer internships and provide MBA students with cutting edge insights, our team interviewed the person best suited to answer the burning questions about the recruitment process, Mr. Pankaj K. Singh.
About Mr. Pankaj Kumar Singh: Pankaj Singh is the Global Solution Lead for Supply Chain at the India Global Centre of Excellence for the Bottling Investments Group at The Coca-Cola Company. He has over 17 years of diverse experience across industries, including automotive, manufacturing, services and CPG. He has been with the Coca-Cola Company for over 6 years and is responsible for designing, developing and supporting supply chain solutions for operational efficiencies and revenue generating capabilities for BIG and Franchise bottling operations in more than 20 countries and 5 Continents. He is a B.Tech from IIT KGP and MBA from IIFT.
Career2NextOrbit: Why does the industry look forward to recruiting interns? With different schools of thought, do you think it is a win-win proposition, or it is a mandate both sides adhere to?
Pankaj Singh: Industry looks forward to recruiting interns as they are looked upon as potential employees. It is a win-win proposition as it allows industry to evaluate the interns in an actual work environment and this makes the evaluation process more robust. For interns, this gives a real life work experience and also allows one to evaluate whether the company fits in with their personality profile.
Career2NextOrbit: What are the key expectations of the recruiters from the interns? Does it vary industry wise or function wise?
Pankaj Singh: The key traits that recruiters look for in the interns is their attitude and resourcefulness. Apart from the skill set, it’s the energy level and proclivity of the interns to learn new things that excite the recruiters.
Career2NextOrbit: How does the recruiter expectation change when they move to tier-2 or tier-3 B-Schools from tier-1?
Pankaj Singh: There is no real expectation change when the recruiters move to tier-2 or tier-3 B-schools as the energy level or attitude of an intern is not dependent on the B-School. However, the recruiters do tend to lower their expectations on the communication skill aspect of the interns.
Career2NextOrbit: With most of the summer internship processes starting immediately after 1st term, what plays more important role: Learning in 1st term, Communication Skills or Prior background?
Pankaj Singh: Generally, prior background helps if one is trying to get into the same industry. If not, then it’s the learning in the 1st term that would play the most important role.
Career2NextOrbit: How important it is for students to ensure a good summer internship? Also, when caught in a dilemma between a Good company, Average profile and Average company, good profile-what should they choose?
Pankaj Singh: Summer internship gives an opportunity to evaluate the function that he is going to do for next 30-40 years. It is a real chance for one to evaluate whether the career that one is going to choose excites him or her sufficiently. In this regard, one should look out for the profile rather than the company.
Career2NextOrbit: While a lot is talked about general employability skills, do you think there are some specific skill sets which help students in cracking Summer Internships?
Pankaj Singh: Candidates should learn a programming skill before summer internship. Generally, project guides have some work that they are not able to do few projects as they do not have access to programmers readily and in this context, if the interns have programming skill then they can do these type of projects and make a good impression within the company.
Career2NextOrbit: May you please explain programming skills a little more (perhaps giving an example-as this article is catering to B-School students)
Pankaj Singh: In today’s world, every function is getting disrupted by technology. From marketing to supply chain and even the staid finance is getting disrupted by technology. And as the physical and digital world converge management students should be able to understand and appreciate technology and its usage in their own function. Internship allows one to experiment with technology to create something new at a low cost which would allow students to appreciate the role of technology in their future careers.
Career2NextOrbit: Any last tip you would like to share with the students on the cusp of their Summer Internships.
Pankaj Singh: Summer internships give a chance to candidates to evaluate different functions. This should be utilized by interns to network within the company and evaluate at close quarters which function interests them the most.