Having lived and worked in nearly 30 cities and towns across India, Ashima Chopra has always enjoyed learning something new, even as she is halfway through an MBA programme at MDI, Gurgaon.
The ‘freedom to do what you want’ caught her attention at Coca-Cola, as she was selected from the MDI campus for the Mantra internship programme. The two-month programme has B-school students work at Coca-Cola India, on their projects of choice.
“Whatever you are passionate about, you can do it,” Ashima says, beaming. As her internship has commenced, she has found the work culture to be “amazing.” As she soaks this culture in, she makes it a point to play table tennis, her favourite sport, at the end of a fun-filled day at work.
Burhanuddin Hakim spent a brief period at his family business in Pune before deciding to pursue an MBA degree at XLRI, Jamshedpur. Just a few weeks into the Mantra programme, one thing hasn’t escaped Burhanuddin’s attention. “There is pressure on everyone but the atmosphere is very light all around,” he says. Also, despite the hectic schedule, his mentor regularly takes out time for him.
Burhanuddin’s fellow student from the institution, Siddharth Shaury, has read several case studies about Coca-Cola in the classroom. Still, he has been amazed by the variety of things that the company has been doing to impact every level of society.
The biggest surprise for him has been the way Coca-Cola has conceived and executed the Ultra High Density Plantation (UHDP) technique for its Unnati projects. Under the Unnati programmes, Coca-Cola and its partners are working with farmers to improve yields from their farms with a fresh technique. After mango and orange farmers, the project is being executed for apple farmers too.
“I want to learn about every department at Coca-Cola, since I know that they take great care of employees,” Siddharth, who is part of the HR team, says.
He believes that more companies like Coca-Cola need to focus on sustainability issues, and have a problem-solving approach to address challenges faced by communities.
During the first week of their internship as the induction process was being carried out, the entire team of Mantra interns were told about the Fruit Circular Economy initiative of Coca-Cola India. Shikhar Nigam from IIM Calcutta listened eagerly as some of the facts of the programme were shared. One example was that Coca-Cola and its partners had committed to investing over Rs. 11,000 crores towards the initiative.
“It told me that the company has a long-term vision, since such detailed plans cannot be conceived and executed in a short period. It also showed me that Coca-Cola is looking to grow with its partners, and the entire ecosystem of farmers-processors-consumers-company will benefit with the right execution,” Shikhar said.
While he is enjoying the freedom of working on the project of his choice, he has also noticed that there is always someone to lend him a helping hand.
“It is the ’how to work’ that I want to learn well during my stint here. The process-oriented approach is something that will always be of help,” according to Shikhar.
Rohit Agarwal of MDI, Gurgaon too has found the work culture, in his own words, “amazing.”
The budding finance professional, who is trying his hand with the digital marketing team, is learning a lot in his new role. “The open culture was a pleasant surprise for me. They are allowing me to ideate and execute, and someone is always ready to help me,” Rohit said. He explained that everyone is being given an opportunity to make a difference.
“Fun is something very important at work. I can see it here,” he sums up.