A life-changing experience

Anubhav Das

Often, in search of meaningful opportunities while entering the professional skills market as a young graduate or at times while looking to shift industries after a few years of experience in a specific domain; we almost always look for a few common characteristics across sectors and professions. These include the probability of fast-track growth, hands-on experience with one-on-one mentorship, and industry-relevant compensation.

Perhaps, faced with a similar quandary after exiting my own start-up in the media domain after six years of effort to build it, I too toyed with multiple options over the better part of a few months, reluctant to take the plunge into a specific sector. However, with a penchant for scrolling through a lot of case studies or industry-specific newsletters on a daily basis, I happened to chance upon the advertisement for CEO for one Month at Adecco.

Through the gruelling 7-8 rounds spaced out throughout the span of a month to the final boot camp in Bengaluru, competing with over 19,000 participants to reach the final six; whet my appetite and indeed gave me hope that this experience would prove to be a bit different. My suspicions over the course of the two-day boot camp were resolved as I had the opportunity to interact with the Adecco team and the passion they had regarding not just the staffing industry but also the broader view of jobs in India. My happiness knew no bounds as I was declared the CEO for one Month, India.

I shadowed the country manager & managing director of the Adecco Group, India, Priyanshu Singh, and attended board meetings, executive committee discussions, weekly business reviews, monthly ops reviews, sales meets with clients, to name a few; providing fresh perspectives, understanding the HR industry in India and learning the functional operations of the company.

The internship was very impeccably structured to give me first-hand experience of how company leadership functions. I had the opportunity to interact with every department and learn how they function, the challenges they face and the strategic plans and innovations they are coming up within.

Different perspectives

I had a chance to travel across branches and learn the business, namely temporary staffing, professional staffing, permanent placement, career transition and talent development, outsourcing, consulting, onsite solutions, add value to business progression, strategic planning, efficient execution of processes and growth development. This ensured I have practical insights into the best Human Resource policies, tools, and procedures and ways of its functioning. Possibly, the best perk of the internship was being able to continuously bounce off ideas and at times, ask even basic queries not restricted to the industry.

The programme, having been structured in a format to provide unfiltered access to all the activities undertaken by Priyanshu, perhaps sums up the idea of experiential learning at its best. The general concept of experiential learning or learning through experience is ancient with Aristotle having written about it around 350 BC in the Nicomachean Ethics “for the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”

Being a firm believer in the theory which states that learning only has good effects when learners have the desire to absorb knowledge, the opportunity to reach out and ask every single member of the organisation for their insights, and establish a repertoire regarding their functional duties as well as ideas, is probably the closest to experiential learning I’ve come across in my career.

And looking at an enterprise through the lens of the top management, a key takeaway was learning to focus on the bigger picture while ensuring attention to the details. Working as a chief executive officer for one month helped me develop a holistic perspective of how the different departments, functions, and roles work cohesively as a whole, in alignment with the company’s goals and strategy. It helped me appreciate both the macro and micro perspectives and understand how essential they are to a firm’s success.

Those who are looking to understand the nuances of an industry before diving head first into it or just wishing to give a kick-start to their careers should try and approach the problem a bit creatively than stick to the run-of-the-mill aspects of the opportunity. The secret of making the most out of any internship lies in observing and learning from every person you get an opportunity to interact with. 

 

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A life-changing experience

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