For most of us, the summer internship is probably the most coveted thing in a B-school of course, after the final placements. All the learnings, PORs, late-night hustles converge to one thing; to land upon the best possible internship offer. The importance of this summer internship was altogether more necessary for someone like me who hails from a research background with no actual corporate experience.
However, destiny had other plans and the pandemic made its best efforts to snatch away this experience. But amidst all the turmoil, OfBusiness orchestrated a work from home program so that we do not lose out on our Summer Internships. Before I take you through my journey at OfBusiness, let me give you a small brief about the organisation. Launched in January 2016 and based out of Gurugram, India, OfBusiness is a technology-driven financing platform for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It caters to a very niche segment and adds value to the businesses of SME’s by aggregating Raw Material and providing financing for the same while reducing their open market credit cost. In short, the essence of its business model is very eloquently expressed by Mr. Ashok Mohapatra, CEO, “OfBusiness provides financing to buy raw material from Ofbusiness.”
Albeit a start-up, the precision with which the induction was carried out was commendable. In a short span of three days, we were made adept with the working of different functional teams, business model, and the art of persuasion which comes very handy for a sales-driven company. It all seemed pretty overwhelming at the start but in time things started to make more sense. The motto was to make a lot of mistakes, make them faster, and learn from them even faster.
I was inducted into the Mumbai sales team under the tutelage of Mr. Avinash Pandey and Mr. Rahul Nayak. I am responsible to study the infrastructure sector in the Western Industrial Belt and consequently generate leads for BG lending. With the help of my team, especially Rahul Nayak, I was able to lay down a full course of action for the next 8 weeks. I studied the Western Industrial belt and segregated that into two regions: Maharashtra and Gujarat corridor. After that, I moved on with the state of Maharashtra, where I identified several departments associated with the infrastructural activities with the help of the Maharashtra Government directory. Then we arranged these departments based on their work volume and value to determine their primary creditworthiness with the help of our very own e-tender platform, BidAssist. Parallelly, I had numerous sessions to learn about financial products, financial and credit risk analysis and lead generation. I got introduced to a lot of financial and banking jargon which was previously alien to me. Concepts like Purchase financing, Fund Based limits, Non-Fund Based limits (Bank guarantee, Letter of Credits) became crystal clear in the process.
Then began the most important part of the internship: lead generation and cold calling. This was the most challenging part since I was working on a sector that was not explored at OfBusiness and I had to start from scratch but Rahul always pushed me to believe in the process that we have laid down. So, in the renewable energy domain, we focussed on the wind farm developers, solar EPC companies and small hydropower plant developers in Maharashtra. I gathered a healthy lead base and then performed a financial analysis of the companies to determine the stretch in the working capital cycle and to back these findings I even connected with the suppliers to determine the payment terms
Since then I have worked on four sub-sectors in the Energy department covering the renewable domain and the industrial utilities and in the process, I have made over 300 calls to clients and suppliers. Things seemed rough at times but my team always had my back. I would constantly share my experience with the team to improve my pitch so that I could make a better call the next time.
It would be too farfetched to say this right now but I have come a long way during these two months. I started off as a very shy guy but now I have gathered a lot of confidence and experience. In fact, this small stint has given me a lot of insights into the Energy sector and the confidence that I can replicate the same in any sector or domain. The journey is far from over and I still have to go a mile before I have my final break but the experience so far has been no less than a fairytale and, during this small time, I have had the opportunity to meet some amazing people in the process who have guided me on my journey so far. I also got the opportunity to work with the social media and design team on a few projects.
Like I said, there’s a lot of ground still left to cover but now I have the skills, confidence, and guidance to make it to the finish line.
Sunil Swain, Summer Intern, OfBusiness
Class of 2021 | IIM Kashipur