“There is no end to education” – What My College Made Me Believe In The Times Of Crisis!

Since the last two and a half months the entire human race is in a constant struggle to get back to the normal; if not at least embrace the new normal. People of all age groups are struggling to deal with the corona pandemic, including the young, who are also not untouched by the need to ‘virus-proof your future’. Read the story of Deepanshu Panwar, first year MBA student at FIIB, who in these times of crisis has seen the light inside the tunnel, and not just on the other side of it. 

It was a Friday when I received an email in my inbox regarding our college being shut down due to the lockdown. And by the end of the week, there were a bunch of  emails from the college Program Office regarding handy-preparations to be made  to ensure a smooth and effective transition towards online studies for our batch. I still remember that time vividly. In preparation for my online curriculum classes, I had gone through all the mails keenly and drawn up a timetable to keep track of submissions and evaluations. I was fully prepared to make the shift and continue my learning virtually. 

A few weeks later when I was kind of adjusting well to the online lectures, I received the news that my college had finally decided to shift the Corporate Internship Program virtual too. Though our faculty had repeatedly emphasised the possibility of this coming our way, it was still an “expect the unexpected” moment for me. The thought of one of the most awaited phases of my MBA journey, aka the Corporate Internship going remote due to the pandemic was nothing short of a shocker. In the blink of an eye, my whole “we’ll get through it!” motivation turned into a feeling of disappointment. 

But I believe the bigger challenge was on the shoulders of our college. After all, they had to make up for the lost learning opportunities while complying with the new safety protocols and adhering to the procedures addressed by the government. And that’s when the alacrity of our college surprised us all. The college was quick in rolling out its virtual internship contingency plan for the students. Now, it’s been two weeks into our virtual internship and honestly the real experience has been far more rewarding than what I had imagined.

I’ve got an opportunity to work with PayTM – Build for India as a Finance Research Analyst Intern, and honestly nothing seems very different in terms of real life work experience, except the fact that I’m not working in a traditional office environment. The best part is that my three batchmates were also lucky enough to get this opportunity with PayTM, making me feel that I’m not alone in battling this Corona-monster (pun intended). 

Here are some handy tips that I’d like to share which I’ve picked up during my transitioned virtual internship for staying ahead of the digital learning curve:

1.Show that you are open to communication 

It might be daunting sometimes to accept that you are not working together and probably haven’t met ever too, but always try to communicate in a clear manner with your team members. Don’t forget that virtual meetings are the best way to prove that you are a valuable team member. So speak up proactively to share your views and show that you’re up to take some additional responsibilities.

2.Follow the lead and learn

While you keep clear lines of communication with your team members, don’t forget to be precise with what your supervisor asked you to do. The last thing you want during a virtual internship is to hear from your supervisor that you missed an important point that led to a messy situation. So, always stand by the feedback of your supervisor and try to maintain transparency of work.

3.Seek honest guidance from faculty mentor

At times when you are feeling clueless and not in a position to knock your corporate mentor’s door time and again, remind yourself of the fact that you can always count on your faculty mentor. They can help you with genuine advice and you never know what else they can offer you from their treasure box of knowledge. 

4.Don’t be afraid to utilize your internet skills

Often students (interns) think about how they can contribute to the larger team goals and be the face of the achievers squad. The easiest way to do so is by talking confidently about your tech-savvy nature and straightforwardly ask whether you can be of any help in conducting research or organizing information online. There’s always a vacant space in the team and your manager always needs a faithful and responsible hand!

Apart from utilizing my skills to ensure that all the assigned work gets completed in an appreciable manner and applying my ability to take on the challenges no matter what, if there’s one thing that I’ve learnt and come to accept the most during this internship it is that there is no end to education. Even when you are doing the most basic works such as attending a zoom meeting or maintaining data in a spreadsheet, you are actually learning to be more accountable and take ownership of your work, which surely will add up to your potential as a future leader-manager. 

It’s actually been a great experience to have my corporate internship in a virtual manner as it has encouraged me to improve and refine myself. Now, I can proudly say that interning with PayTM has not only added one more professional experience to my resume but also made me a strong communicator, better problem solver, keen researcher, and most importantly, a self-motivated professional.