Internship Stories: Sushmita Nannuru, HUL


Hindustan Unilever Limited is a leading fast moving consumer goods company in India. It’s an offspring of  the global FMCG giant Unilever. HUL boasts of one of the best Supply Chains (SC) in the country. IITians are often recruited for positions in SC. Most of the higher rung SC managers happen to be from IITs. I had an IITM Chem Engg alumnus for a mentor.

I’d count HUL as one of the top 5 best things that ever happened to me. I don’t know how other organizations treat their summer interns but BLT Preppers (That’s what interns are called at HUL) get to work in best of conditions on job, are well supported and receive warm treatment off job too. This is especially so if you are based in a factory, which unfortunately was not my case – I had to confront the congested Mumbai roads and local trains almost on a daily basis.


Internship Experience


I was based in the Mumbai head office. Much against my initial apprehensions of being the only intern located in HO (which I perceived as a major downside since there were not many precedents for IIT interns being based in HO), I’m probably one of the few interns who travelled the most, by far. Mumbai->Daman->Delhi->Haridwar->Pondicherry and so on.

Clearing all misconceptions of the nature of a SC project, mine is hard-core heat transfer project in concept. But the execution part involves dealing with suppliers and getting things done. ”Getting things done” might include some collaborative work with consultants, getting machine parts built by suppliers or getting new machines installed by the contractor. Varies from project to project. In my case, I got to the do the first two and a bit of the last one too. But yeah, you get to make a contribution which _will_ have an impact on this giant of an organization.

This internship calls for all the skills one would have developed over years – academic, interpersonal, conversational and others. The grueling multi-stage selection process that I went through makes sense now.

Selection Process

Application – has a lot of HR based questions with limit on number of characters etc. Kinda painful to hinder the flow of speech given the open-ended nature of questions. What they look for in this app is your project-handling abilities, taking a challenge, how proactive you are etc.

GD –  A case study spanning for about half an hour. A very practical problem which involves a detailed analysis, discussion and a feasible conclusion to be reached.

Interview – Was all technical questions for me. But depending on the panel, it might include HR also.

CGPA at the end of 4th sem is definitely the most important point for getting shortlisted. But after that, it all depends on how one does in the subsequent stages.

I’ve been a part of various insti teams like Extramural Lectures, Placement team for 2 yrs, Saarang Spons and PR, Hostel secretary,  Shaastra etc. Yeah, I do mug in my free time. Trust me, if taken in a positive stride while maintaining a good balance with acads, all these activities can help one a lot over time. I realized it over the past month and a half.


Future Plans


While I still continue being uncertain about what I’d like to do for the rest of my life, HUL sure seems to be helping me test FMCG waters with their BLT Prep program. On a much broader note, I’d like to see myself in a role which is challenging and makes a difference to the organization.

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