Towards Rural Employment: My MBA Social Internship in Handicraft Sector

Chetna Mahajan, 2020 student of MBA-Marketing, FIIB

“Our experience with Student-interns from FIIB over years is exemplary. The interns display a systematic, pro-active and innovative approach to problem identification and solving.”
Satya Prakash, Project Director, IndhaCraft Literacy India

The whole idea of getting enrolled in a reputed B-School like FIIB to complete my masters evolved through this one word: Employment. “I mean that’s what we were taught throughout our adolescence which is true as well.” The first two months time-span here at FIIB “introduced me with a new term ‘experiential learning’ that undoubtedly changed my mindset and opened new doors of opportunities in my way to find employment.” 

Community as a Backbone

Continuing higher education to prosper one’s life targets seemed quite a possibility when “I found myself surrounded by faculty mentors who passed on new learning with every lecture, batchmates who never stepped back in helping each other even when the bond wasn’t very friendly as yet, seniors who happily extended their support from ‘you can borrow our past reports’ to ‘we can help you turn it into a good report’.” Community wasn’t more than a word with good definition until “I stepped in here where everyone carries different interest yet passionately helping each other to fulfil their life visions.” 

The Pathway of Life Target

Around the time when the 2020 batch was about to complete their 9 months at FIIB, Chetna was pretty aware of some targets she had to claim in order to achieve her longer life target. Tracking a perfect foundation to do her Social Internship Program was “the biggest target of all as I wanted to be a part of NGO that was actively working on offering employment to others in one way or another.” After thirty email notifications, fifteen application forms, and one satisfactory update, she finally fulfilled her dream of taking up her social internship at a place that did help others to earn a livelihood. 

Crafting a Livelihood

Handicrafts are not just a way to preserve India’s history and culture but practically the backbone of many artisans. “It is something that I wasn’t aware of until I got selected in Literacy India for my social internship.” Crafting beautiful artistic handicrafts is actually a way to earn a livelihood for many of the rural residents here in India but they’re unable to reach out to their potential clients due to the lack of quality marketing collaterals and advanced skill requirement of the modern era of marketing. 

As assigned by the corporate mentor, “I was responsible to conceptualize and create quality marketing collaterals and strategies that will help those artisans to display their work at exhibitions and in front of corporate clients.” This was the moment when everything seemed like a nicely weaved story to “help me reach my desired target by providing a way out to employment and happiness to set of people who are skillful but not tech-savvy.” Though the task assigned was not that simple, Chetna to up and went through every possible path to make things happen and provide the artisans with the smiles they deserved. 

“I studied the handicraft product range and did a thorough research of the products available in the market,” she says. To complete the assigned job, she not only brainstormed with her corporate mentor but also applied the lessons taught by her professors in the classroom. In her quest to design appealing marketing collaterals, she recalls “we as a team shifted our perspective from just designing to looking at things more comprehensively from the positioning, packaging, distribution, and pricing of different products,” which helped us garner the attention of many potential clients.