This is a continuing article in the MBA series. I got the opportunity to do my two months of mandatory summer internship project in one of the best organizations in agricultural machinery manufacturing. This article will discuss my summer internship journey during my MBA.
So, this is about the last months of my first year of an MBA. I got selected to do my international summer internship with Sonalika FAMAG SPA, a joint venture company between Sonalika tractors and FAMAG SPA of Algeria.
The Students were selected for different organizations where they will be doing their summer internship. I was chosen along with one of my classmates. The brand is the biggest market share holder of tractors in the Algerian market. We were tasked with creating a brand communication strategy for the company so that our brands stay visible and relevant to the target segment: farmers, construction workers, and builders.
- To briefly introduce the company: Sonalika Tractors is a brand owned by International Tractors Limited, a company based in India.
- It is a well-known brand for reliable and heavy tractors that can be used not just for agriculture but for different purposes like mining and construction activities.
- Sonalika had about 80 to 90% market share regarding tractors in Algeria. They are the biggest seller of not just tractors but also agricultural farming equipment.
- The company has an assembly plant in Algeria where different parts are brought in, and it would all come together to form a tractor.
Talking about Algeria is a country which is situated in the northern part of the African continent. The country is majorly divided into three parts in terms of geography. So the northern area of the country has a Mediterranean climate, and you can find agricultural activity in that part of the country. Coming to the middle and the southern part of the country, you will find deserts, and this is where the majority of mining and other activities happen, which require tractors and other equipment in some way or other.
Sonalika FAMAG SPA has been the leader in the country's tractor and farm equipment segment and has been doing so for the past many years (2-3 decades) in the country.
There are other international competitors like:
But Sonalika has been able to capture the market in the entirety, and a big reason behind that is that they are high on performance, value for money and are very reliable.
Coming back to the internship part, we were reporting directly to the National Business Head of the company, who was our super senior from the first batch of MBA-International Business from our college. We connected with him over Linkedin, and got us our first meeting with him. The first meeting experience was great. He explained what was to be done and what he expected from us as interns.
Though we had met him before in an online meeting, we were nervous as this was the first time we were meeting and talking to someone as important as him. His calm demeanour and clarity of thought were something I really admired.
At the end of the meeting, the plan for the week was set, and we were told to start by researching the company and the country in which it was conducting business. From then on, it was decided that at the end of each week we would be having a review meeting to showcase what has been done and the tasks for the next week will be given.
Our Internship went for about three months as opposed to what was planned earlier (2 months). I will be sharing the reason for that at the end of this article.
Some Important points that I gathered from the Sonalika Famag Spa internship are.
I am now talking about what I experienced from my Internship and the lessons that might resonate with the ones who are doing internships in the marketing domain.
My key learnings from the subject of the summer internship project over as follows:
- Marketing never ends- No matter how big your brand grows, you still need to ensure that you are at the top of everything. You cannot just sit and encash on the popularity of your massive market share, because competition may crop up and cut into your market share before you know it or do anything about it.
- ATL and BTL: There are a lot of activities done by businesses or companies in the field of marketing. These are primarily divided into two parts which are ATL and BTL. ATL stands for "above the line", and BTL stands for "below the line".
- So, in ATL, the activities are primarily generic in nature and are deployed to target a broader range of audiences, whereas, in the case of BTL, the activities are more specific and focused in nature and customized to cater for the particular needs of the customers.
- Keep on Improving: There is always scope for improvement even when you have reached 100% efficiency. This is necessary since many companies tend to loosen up their approach when they get the level of market domination.
- Knowledge enhancement: Before this Internship, I had no idea about the tractor industry and what type of products are involved in it. But now, not only do I know about the different segments of tractors but their different areas of applications, like tractors are also used in mining and desert areas, plus the different equipment that is used as add-ons on the tractors.
- Exposure: In our case, since it was an international internship, we got to learn about an entirely new country, its history, its demographics, and its geography of it. I was surprised to know that there is a country in the northern region of the African continent that has a strong french influence on it and has fantastic vineyards in the northern region and deserts in the lower parts. Such drastic change still amazes me. I hope to visit this nation sometime in future.
Now come to the end of this article and here are my 2 cents about the lesson I was going to share with you guys and the reason why we weren't able to complete the project on time.
So, in the first few weeks of the Internship, we were working really hard and were completing our tasks diligently. But as time passed, we started slacking at work as things became a little tough and our meetings with the business head became a fortnightly thing rather than weekly as he wasn't getting time to meet up. There came a time during the month of July when it was radio silence as we were not able to move ahead in the work and were just afraid to ask him for help rather than doing that we were trying things on our own.
Eventually, we connected, but this was the first time I saw him sad and disappointed. He said that he was angry and was let down by the lack of responsibility from our side. This all didn't really look good and it doesn't give a great impression about you to the other person. It makes you look like a lazy and irresponsible person who doesn't really prioritize the work assigned to them.
I felt really bad about how we handled the work and kept on delaying the work and not taking the issues head-on. After that, we worked hard day in, and day out to complete the project, it took us 1.5 months more than the actual completion date. In the starting, we were told that we will present our work to the chairman of the group, but the delay by us stripped us of that opportunity.
To this day, I feel bad about what happened. We did get our internship certificate but I feel like I don't deserve it.
Things you should keep in your during your Internship
- Please make sure that you complete your task on time rather than waiting and letting the work pile on one after another.
- If you are or if you feel like you are stuck and you cannot move forward make sure that you go ahead and have a conversation with your mentor or Boss.
- They will be happy to help but at the end of the day, you are the one who is supposed to do the job, who is supposed to complete the work and push hard for it.
- Your Internship is very important as it is the first step in your professional life and it gives you an idea/understanding of how things work in a professional setup, how to coordinate with people, and colleagues, how the corporate hierarchy works etc. And in some cases, your Internship can turn into a PPO (Pre Placement Offer).
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