An Internship Experience at Agri-Tech Startup and how it converted to a PPO

PPOs are a major aspect for B-School students in securing a qualified and exclusive offer from companies that they wish to work for in the future. The idea to convert your Summer Internship into a full-fledged Placement Offer is not easy but not impossible too. This article provides a better glimpse of what one needs to keep in mind while looking to secure a PPO.

Agrigator, which is a seed-funded Agri-Tech Startup, is involved in Supply Chain and Logistics stream for providing a B2B Marketplace between the Producers and the Buyers. It was duly catering to HORECA outlets (Hotels, Restaurants, etc.) and FPIs by transporting food grains directly from Farmers and related sources, leading to a reduction in transaction costs, time, efforts, and simplifying the operations of such an unorganized system.

Keeping yourself in such a position, there are a few things that you can follow to slowly chart yourself and the learnings you receive in due course. Firstly, it is important to completely familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the concerned organization and the sector that it functions in. Usual ways include following Annual Reports, Sector-Specific News from verified sources, Online Government Resources and Databases, and interaction with Industry Experts and the employees of the organization themselves. This will build up a robust base for you to understand your line of work for your project

Next, you must continue to interact with your assigned mentor or individuals who work in the same fields/organization to also understand the core competency, relative competition, domain-specific business strategies, and business models. This will ensure you are now settled enough to understand the assigned problem statement for the project and the outcomes/metrics that will measure your performance for the same.

Post this, it is time to directly jump into your project and use your acquired knowledge and resources to design a flowchart of your activities to arrive at a solution. This will involve a preliminary plan to proceed, important parameters to focus upon, following up on previously devised industrial practices, framework analysis, and carefully constructed notes on emerging trends and developments in the industrial market.

To make things easier, communicate with various stakeholders and experts that provide a concise view on the strategic feasibility, implementation, and impacts that a step of approach creates to resolve different issues. Gradually, clarity evolves to choose the optimal way to proceed that provides or maximizes the utility of the defined outcome. Typical meetings or regular brainstorming of ideas can greatly reduce doubts and little hiccups that you encounter on the way. Therefore, don’t rush to obtaining a solution without confirmation and thorough research of facts to avoid last-minute crisis. These little things go a long way to ensure that your final presentation is well received by the majority of stakeholders that reflects the ways and values the company aligns itself to.

Last but not the least, be prepared with anticipated questions and doubts that you are likely to face regarding the work you have done, outcomes achieved and the notes on the Final Presentation you will present to the concerned officials. It is no wonder that your Presentation skills should be excellent with the concise textual matter but supporting visual reports and facts that enforce your views and looks to the proposed solutions concerning various scenarios.
Keep a cool mind and be confident. The rest is on your meticulous way to manage your time and efforts to the fullest.

Getting a PPO depends not only on how well you did, but how well you reflect your skills and knowledge to be part of the company!

About the Author:

Som Samantray, a Chemical Engineer by qualification has pursued MBA (Marketing and Data Analytics) from IIM Kashipur. He has been part of various student bodies like the Econs-Economics Club and TEDxIIMKashipur. He is a fresher and is an ardent reader of books and novels and a blogger. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

FPM Perspective-Qualitative reflections of a Quantitative Researcher

Being a civil engineer who pursued an MBA in Operations Management, followed by enrollment as an FPM student in the Operations Management area, I had always classified myself as a person who was more (or only) inclined towards quantitative research. I always recognized and was fascinated by the power of numbers.  

Then, in January 2018, We, a group of 15 research students, entered the qualitative research methods class. Some of us were excited about the qualitative aspect of research, and some were absolutely disinterested; I am ashamed to admit that I, then, belonged to the second category. I later realized that I had been keeping a blind eye towards the ‘dark’ aspect of numbers. I, in no way, wish to belittle the quantitative – orientation of research, but qualitative research is beautiful in its own way. The qualitative research articles, if well written, provide a vivid image of the phenomenon that leads the audience to discover deep meanings of human experiences.  

I now understand that a good researcher should learn about both paradigms. The qualitative and quantitative approaches have distinct and complementary strengths. Both come with a different set of challenges and require different skills to overcome those challenges. For example, as a qualitative researcher, I can always adopt a grounded perspective where I do not need to identify the dependent and independent, nor do I necessarily need to propose hypotheses. My primary responsibility as a  qualitative researcher is to capture individuals’ hidden meanings and explore the phenomena’  possibilities, but it is easier said than done. The experience is like deep-sea diving; we know we are looking for something, but we do not actually know what we are looking for.  

During this journey, I came to realize the beauty and power of text. Sometimes I can feel the ‘dryness’  associated with the numbers in quantitative articles because numbers in no way explain the human feelings that should have been captured. I now recognize and appreciate the mental and emotional strength of qualitative researchers because I believe that risks and concerns are more significant in qualitative research, mainly because of the researcher’s level of involvement with the research process and the participants.  

If I am asked to clarify my stand regarding which type of researcher I would classify myself, I will find myself in a great dilemma. I would instead argue that one should appreciate the different values which are drawn out of the two different paradigms. A researcher who has familiarized himself with both the frameworks may develop a more profound intellectual capability. Reflecting on my learnings over the past years, I can conclude that I have developed more patience, and my inclination towards sheer objectivity has reduced. I have indeed developed slight but noticeable acceptance towards subjectivity and abstraction. I have grown to realize that there will always be things that can never be measured or analyzed quantitatively.  

Today, almost three years later, my qualitative exposure surely helps me reflect on the quantitative work better. 

About the author:

Taab Ahmad Samad is currently a Ph.D. Student (Operations Management) from IIM Kashipur. He is currently working in the field of crowdsourced logistics. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

Probable impact of US Elections on global supply chain post-Covid

As the entire world went into the first-ever lockdown of the century, all except the medical staff were confined to their homes. This ensured that everyone stays safe, but every sector of business went into a state of despicableness.

Reason? SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTION!

Such is the power of supply chain network especially in this era of Globalization! Any wrong decision can lead to a world full of chaos and violence.

Fortunately for us, the world leaders ensured there was enough supply of essentials required for survival. And now that Covid-19 vaccine shots are being administered, the hopes of Supply chain normalcy seem to be cropping up.

However, one major event that took place towards the fag end of 2020 that could potentially change the way International trade and supply chain worked until now was the U.S. Elections.

As I write this article, Joe Biden is the president-elect and what could it mean to the Supply chain?

During the Presidential debate, Joe Biden emphasized negotiating with the Pacific nations to restructure the international trading rules in order to reduce dependence on China. This would help other Asian & Arabian Countries to improve their economy as they would have the liberty to export more with limited competition from China.

Joe Biden is particularly wanting to support the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) so that the United Nations’ powers in terms of framing laws for international Supply Chain & International Trade are strengthened. The manufacturing sector in this region will see a boost as North American Countries are given incentives for Automobile manufacturing, especially that of Trucks & cars. With strong agricultural laws, the farmers will get access to the markets in all three countries.

Manufacturers in the US who offshore production and sell the products or services back in the US, have to pay a heart wrenching cumulative tax of 30.8%, to solve this issue. Biden’s policy focuses on local manufacturing, he promised to direct $400 billion in federal procurement towards manufacturing and emphasized on Made in America label.

The federal department many times in the past has claimed that manufacturing certain products is not feasible in America and that has given a huge market to other countries. Biden, while addressing this point, stressed using IT Technology to publish it on a specific website built for the same purpose. Once such requirements are posted on this website, tenders can try their hands on producing such products thus getting eligible for the 10% advance tax credit policy.

During almost all his campaign rallies, Biden mentioned the need to directly support small manufacturers, especially those headed by women, this would ensure the creation of jobs and keep the national per capita income increasing. Biden said he would direct $300 billion towards R&D of electric vehicle technology, 5G, Artificial Intelligence – this ensures procurement of parts required for the same and to ensure smooth supply chain, he promised to amend Custom laws and make it easier to buy.

He said & I quote “While medical supplies and equipment are our most pressing and urgent needs, US supply chain risks are not limited to these items. The US needs to close supply chain vulnerabilities across a range of critical products on which the US is dangerously dependent on foreign suppliers.” This prepares the U.S to be ready for a probable 2nd wave of Covid-19 & any kind of crisis in the future.

Biden spoke about how supply chains laws and the federal Government’s purchasing power can ensure smooth manufacturing of critical parts used in the United States’ defence systems. In this way, not just the end product but also the supply chain of manufacturers receives a boost. Biden mentioned the need to be environment friendly and has pledged to utilize the $500 Billion federal government spends on Zero Emission & 100% clean energy vehicles. This would again create more manufacturing & thus more jobs & thus a bigger growth in the US economy. He also mentioned he would bring in stricter laws that would govern the readiness of environment-friendly technologies in all infrastructure projects, thus, giving opportunities for renewable energy innovation & thus impacting supply chain networks.

All in all, most of Biden’s policies focus on reducing the dependence on China for products & supply chain services. This would only help America as they are moving towards becoming leaders in Mass production, Supply Chain services.

We’ll have to wait & watch how the American labour class reacts to this, since the labour costs are higher in America and the Chinese workforce is almost 5 times larger than in the U.S, the next 4 years is expected to witness intense geopolitical tensions. All the countries that are in Joe Biden’s good books might receive some goodies. In the Post Covid-19 era, America might overpower China on these lines & India must continue to maintain cordial relations with them by being diplomatic on issues & at the same time strive hard to increase in-house production of goods & services through schemes like Atmanirbhar Bharat.

Sumanth S (MBA Batch 2020–22)