Internship at TATA Steel taught me key ingredients of a successful marketing strategy”, says Tarun Kumar Chakraborty

Internship experience at TATA Steel by Tarun Kumar Chakraborty, Bengal Institute of Business Studies, Kolkata
Internships at TATA Steel are often given to offsprings of existing employees on a silver platter, however, kids of non-employees only get a silver lining. Me, a non-employee kid had to go through interview, after being recommended by an employee, and my only hope of sailing through was my active past performance in college. I thank Neptune, Jesus and all other deities known to man for having kept me motivated throughout my first year.
The overall experience throughout my internship was good as well as bad. So let’s talk about the bad experiences first and save the dessert for later. Talking, about bad experiences, a special mention should be made about one of my teammates. All that he did for these three months was complain! He even had an issue with the name of the project. Another special award must be given to the sun for being extra bright exactly on the days of my market survey and being cloudy on every other day.
Coming back to the dessert, the award for the best supporting role goes to my mentor. His feedback worked like a charm, but presenting in front of him is like playing minesweeper no matter what you do you will hit a mine.
To provide a synopsis of my project, we can begin with the name of the project, “Identification of Branding and Marketing activities in Jharkhand”. Trust me, it sounds simpler than it is. There were 5 stages in total.
Stage 1- Identification of the strategies by studying existing PPA (Product Promotion activities) and talking to dealers and customers of TATA Steel.
Stage 2- Finding out the faults in current PPA activities.
Stage 3- Providing recommendations on improvements on Stage 2 activities.
Stage 4- Recognizing activities that have been a complete failure, if any.
Stage 5- Formulate a turnaround strategy for all stage 4 strategies.
I was informed of the stages 3, 4 and 5 on the last week of my internship. This internship was a gift that kept on giving. To sum it all up, I had to visit over 200 dealers and customers of TATA Steel. There was this one scorching hot summer day which comes to my mind in which we had to cover all the dealers in an area of over 200 kilometers in diameter. This project was done across 24 villages and cities in Jharkhand.  I even visited competitors’ dealers and customers and tried to find out exactly what they have been doing to get under our skin. As a result, I received “Letter of Appreciation” for the same.
One particular incident that stands out during this internship was because of the amount of laugh we had on it. The scenario was that we had just asked a competitor’s dealer “Why don’t you sell TATA Steel products?” he replied, “I had given 5, 00,000 Rs (the dealership acquisition amount) to the distributor (who allots dealerships), he had kept the money for 2 months and then returned it back to me”. What that distributor had actually done was, due to some past feuds with the said dealer, he had put the money in a fixed deposit for 2 months and painted his house with interest money!
Key leaning from these months would be:
-A plan can never be concrete. You need something flexible when implementing it in real life. An outline however works just fine.
-We have to go out and face the market right now; the chair in office isn’t made of wood or leather but of achievements.
-The actual market place provides far better and detailed picture of existing market conditions than office data.
-Tertiary nodes of the company are of utmost importance because of their ability to sway customer opinion.
-There is a great deal of difference between sales promotion activities of urban, semi-urban and rural areas.
-Gained insights about the key ingredients of a successful marketing strategy.
-Acquired the ability of formulating turnaround strategies of dying PPA activities
My advice to MBA aspirants and others in this field would be
– To calm down! Concentrating too much only tunnels your vision. You will never be able to come up with a solution. Looking from a distance is the key!
– When you are at the bottom and you don’t feel that you can go any lower, that’s the best place you can be because now the only way you can go is up.
– Facing a tough competition is the best thing that can ever happen to you. A ship is safer at the docks but wasn’t built for it.

You will love reading: Internship at Edelman.  Must read article Internship at KinderGarden Pre School


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