Internship Diaries: Season 1, Episode 6: D. V Shashikant (Maersk GSC)

My summer internship experience technically began as soon as I was recruited by Maersk Global Service Centre for summer placements. Being one of the students from the first batch of MBA Business Analytics, I felt like a mixed bag of emotions. On one end I felt enormous gratitude, relief and excitement to have been placed early into a behemoth like Maersk. On the other, I felt anxious and apprehensive, for I had no prior experience in analytics.

The big day finally arrived and we were given an induction session for a whole day where I realized the enormity of the organization and its operations. From the moment I entered the organization, everything was a smooth process and nowhere did I feel out of place or as an intern.

The next day I was introduced to my team which was under Business Finance. I was a part of the
team that handled the Sales, General and Administrative (SGNA in short) costs. My task was cut
out. After a separate induction session from the team, my project objective was defined.

Maersk spends around $2 Billion in travel cost for their employees. My project was to create an interactive, statistical model that takes into consideration, the data generated by the travelling employees, of the entire organization. The model would have to compare, contrast and highlight the areas where the company overshot their pre-allocated budget. Moreover, my model would also have to highlight and forecast travel costs that would occur in the future, given the current trend.

The icing on the cake was, if my project yielded accurate results, it would actually be implemented in their business.

All good things start small. Hence I started planning which tools would be used and how the output be displayed. After numerous discussions with my mentor, it was decided that the base of
the model would be built using advanced MS Excel functions like Pivot table and Power Pivot.

SQL and MS Access would be used for the creation of a solid backend database and Microsoft
Power Business Intelligence tool for visualization purpose. Forecasting/Predicting would be done on R programming language. However, the trickiest part was to integrate this model with the company’s current existing database and platform.

After several course correction meetings, weekly reviews, late nights, the model finally took shape which suited the company’s requirements and met their objectives with the required
accuracy.

My internship lasted 3 months. In this journey, I faced one of my biggest challenges in life. One where my mind stretched beyond its comfort zone. To be honest, I struggled terribly to meet my objective within the stipulated deadline but I learnt more than ever before. My team supported me at each and every step throughout the way and even the simplest and silliest of my questions were answered promptly. Nobody ever declined to help me and even if they did, they made it a point to get back to me later with the solution to my query.

At the end of 3 months, however, I was a mixed bag of emotions again. I was happy and proud of my work and the appreciation I received. The feeling doubled when I was awarded a Pre Placement Interview. And it knew no bounds when I was awarded the coveted pre placement
offer after clearing my interview, for my work and was also told my project was in implementation phase. However I was disappointed that such an experience has come to an end and 3 months had passed by in a flurry.

There are many takeaways I can give from my experience. However, I would only emphasize on
the most important:

1. Learn, learn and learn: I cannot emphasize more on this. One can never learn enough. Read
or study everything for the purpose of learning. Companies often prefer this trait over anything
else.
2. Ask the right questions: Never hesitate to ask anybody for anything no matter how small it
seems. It can actually cost you your internship. However, always ask the right questions as only
then you’ll get the answers that matter.
3. Do what you love and love what you do: You can never go wrong with the thing you love
doing. One may never get to do what they love but they can always try to love what they do. This
will make work not seem like work.
4. Always exceed expectations: Most importantly, always exceed the expectations set by the
organization. More often than not, this is another trait that highlights you’re willing to go the
extra mile, thus setting you apart from the crowd.

Summer Internship can be a nightmare or one of the most wonderful experiences of your life
depending on how you treat it. The choice is yours. Do you want to be a part of the sample or an
outlier?

Cheers !!!