The Tale of F-Day : Nausheen Shaikh

‘Discover’ing Yourself With Vodafone – Nausheen Shaikh, NMIMS.

I began my internship with Vodafone later than usual. Unlike most of my peers, who started their summer internships in the beginning to April, I was given a one week respite and spent the entire time relaxing, rejuvenating and trying to impersonate a sloth.

And I was largely successful.

Vodafone, as a company, is known to have a fantastic work culture. Prior to joining the organization, I got in touch with my seniors and this seemed to be the consensus all around. Vodafone was easily one of the best places to work at and if we didn’t strive to excel and get a PPO, we were definitely being a little idiotic.

So, on the first day of my induction, I walked in with the highest expectations. And Vodafone endeavoured to prove each and every one of them right.

Now, some people are the type who do in depth research of the company they are joining and learn up information such as the share price in the market of that particular company to what the alma mater of their line manager was.

Me? I’m a little more relaxed in my approach. I do my best to understand the gist of the company, but I prefer learning from them what they have to say about themselves. I believe that this provides a clearer picture of the company and what their ambitions are and what is important to them.

Vodafone seems to believe in the same. For them, the induction is based on providing a thorough understanding of what truly matters to the company and what they believe that we need to know to give our best in the short duration of our stint with the company.

Unlike a lot of companies that employ a lot of glitz and glamour with fancy trips and hotel stays, Vodafone likes to get down to brass tracks and equip you with as much as information as they can. And they do not shy away from answering the hard questions with an openness that candour that is frankly, unheard of. From the effects of the imminent Vodafone-Idea merger and the turmoil in the telecom industry, no question went unanswered and no question deemed unworthy.

As summer interns that are a part of Vodafone’s coveted Discover Program, more than 80 interns from various colleges and allocated to circle offices all across the country, we were made to understand the great importance and relevance that this program had to Vodafone’s recruitment strategy. We were the brightest young minds that they had chosen and a lot was expected from us, in terms of fresh ideas, dedication and hard work. We were expected to excel and Vodafone greatly desired our success and wanted to give out as many PPOs as they possibly could.

Despite geographical differences, all 80 of us were given a harmonious induction into the world of Vodafone through a scheduled induction process that employed both in-person talks by the who’s-who of the circle office and bigwigs from the corporate office that disseminated their knowledge through the medium of high-tech video conferences. We were also given the opportunity to question these leaders and glean as much knowledge as we could. This also ensured a fruitful discussion and rapport building within the interns.

Another rather unique thing about Vodafone is that unlike companies that hand out their projects immediately during the induction or even before the intern joins, Vodafone took at least 2 days after the induction process to give the project and its brief. The reasoning behind this is that Vodafone believes that interns need to understand the company before they focus on their projects rather than having just a one track mind. Which, I genuinely think is a great idea. Once we come to know our projects and the departments that we are going to work in, it becomes very easy to put on blinders and focus on information that is pertinent to that and ignore everything else.

Vodafone tries hard to avoid that. Throughout its induction, we could see that their endeavour was mostly to inculcate in its employees, the values that the company espouses. For Vodafone, customer centricity is what seemed to be predominant. Everything that Vodafone does is consumer-focussed. Whether they succeed or fail, the fact of the matter remains that their intentions were always aimed at doing the best and that is what every intern is expected to do.

For any aspiring B-School summer intern aspirant, this is what I have to say. Keep an open mind and be prepared to work very very hard.

Companies appreciate openness, adaptability and commitment more than anything. And as long as you try to keep that attitude when you go in and carry that forward in the future, your journey to that coveted PPO should be short and sweet.

Me? I’m currently hard at work trying to convert that dream to reality and live by these rules. So hopefully next time, you’ll hear from me as the new Management Trainee at Vodafone.

Fingers crossed!


Nausheen Shaikh

Vodafone Summer Intern

NMIMS, Mumbai

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