InternXperience @Sony Pictures Networks India – by Titash Paul #27

In the summer of 2020, I interned at Sony Pictures Networks India. 

It was a whirlwind – two months of rigorous learning and engaging work in the middle of the pandemic – and an experience I would not trade for anything else. My journey to SPNI began roughly nine months ago, as part of the summer internship placement process at SCMHRD.

The preparation for the SPNI placement process mostly consisted of:

  • Reading up about the organization and the major trends in the Media & Entertainment industry
  • Being thorough with basic HR concepts and ongoing trends – think more corporate HR and practical applications
  • Being thorough (and I cannot stress this enough) with Every. Single. Word. on my CV.

Outside the interview room and in the actual interview, it was a completely different scenario.

I distinctly remember a senior placement coordinator calming me down and giving me a thumbs up – ‘You got this!’ – as I waited for the SPNI interview to start.

I was stressed, without a doubt – I had appeared for 3 other interviews for companies which are widely recognized as ‘dream companies’ by B-school students across the country. And, I had been rejected by all of them. I was not their dream candidate. 

But the SPNI interview confirmed that I was theirs. 

The group activity was essentially an on-the-spot pitch for a new innovative product that the group got 10 minutes to develop. As for the interview, the majority of my interview revolved around:

  • My previous work experience 
  • How I am translating the skills acquired during my work to HR
  • My interests and extracurriculars – did I see myself continuing to pursue them even alongside work? How had these shaped my personality and skills?

What stood out to me most was their focus on the candidate’s affinity for creative problem solving and on who the candidate is outside of the usual interview rigmarole that comprises academics and work. They were interested in candidates who could balance both, and once I figured this out, I was more confident in being a good cultural fit for the organization – even as a future intern. 

The overall internship experience at SPNI allowed me (cheesy alert) to Go Beyond! I was given ownership of my projects from day one. I worked on three different projects but by the end of the internship, I could see how each of these was connected to enhancing the employee experience in the organization. I could not have asked for a better introduction to the practical side of HR. I was pushed to explore various facets of Rewards & Benefits policies, Internal Communication & Employer Branding, and AI in HR via my projects through the course of my internship journey. With continuous support from my buddy, mentor, and the campus HR team, I was able to do justice to the projects and bring my creative flair to them.  

Here are the key learnings and takeaways from my internship:

  • Balance the employee and organization perspective in every recommendation you make as an HR
  • Take the time to connect with as many employees as possible, not just your buddy/guide and mentor
  • If you have multiple projects, understand their priority and approximate deadlines from the very beginning of your internship
  • Understand the expectations for the project/s, the deliverables and the final objective/s which your project/s is/are supposed to accomplish
  • Have discussions – with your batchmates and seniors to get a fresh perspective on your project
  • Set up a schedule that works for you – in a virtual WFH setup, you mustn’t get lost in the dizzying downward spiral of instant gratification via social media and entertainment platforms!
  • As part of your schedule – consider requesting your buddy/guide and your mentor to block some time every day for a quick progress check/daily huddle. It will keep you on track.
  • When it comes to your reviews – be concise and clear in whatever it is that you wish to communicate 
  • But, for discussions with your buddy/guide, mentor and other stakeholders – over-communicate, if you have to – it’s better than missing out a crucial piece of information because you did not ask

For me, the act of balancing academic and committee work during the first year at SCMHRD made things easier during the internship. I am not qualified to give advice, but if I had to it would be to take part in multiple case study competitions (even if these are not directly related to your specialization) and live projects – purely because they will enable you to pick up a plethora of diverse skills, including but not limited to data analysis, benchmarking, problem-solving, critical thinking, ideation, and presentation. 

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