What is the biggest nightmare for fresh engineering graduates who wants to pursue their masters after gaining a work experience of 1-2 years? – Getting a job in their field of study without a BOND
Having graduated from a top private engineering college in Chennai, I was looking for job openings in my field of study. As I was planning to pursue my masters a year later, I was looking for solid work experience of 10-12 months. However, getting a good job was not the toughest of tasks. The task was to find a job opening which didn’t demand a BOND to work for ‘x’ years and were willing to let go of me in a year.
In pursuit of ‘such’ job, I got offers from many organizations including couple of automobiles companies, and one of the best engineering and research institutes of India for a Junior Research Fellowship. But in both the offers, I had a sign an agreement to work for 5 & 3 years respectively. I sent out my resume to numerous companies clearly stating my desire to work only for a year. Just when I was losing hope of landing myself a “Short Stint Job”, I stuck GOLD.
Energy Alternatives India (EAI) – India’s leading renewable energy consultants approached me. After couple of rigorous interview sessions, Mr. Narasimhan (Narsi – that’s how he is referred to as) – Director and Co-Founder of EAI, invited me to join his firm for an internship of 3 months. He said if I proved myself in this internship, I could continue to work there till the time I went for my masters. Those words were like music to my ears and without thinking twice I joined EAI.
The first couple of months I was given the opportunity to try my hands on various domains – Management, Product Management, Sales, Research on Solar Energy, Wind Energy, Biomass to name a few. It was during this time that, a world-renowned Pharmaceutical Organizations approached EAI for biomass consultancy. And boom – I was put on this assignment. Over a meeting with Narsi, I was told that my internship would be extended to a full time job. The only condition that was set forth – I needed to complete the assignment before leaving.
The next 6 months made me realize that work was not all about a 9-5 job. I realized that jobs are actually fun. It was like going to college – learn something new every day, encounter problems, find solution to these problems, meet deadlines and clear exams (Presentation to the Client on the work done). The best of this assignment however was – Travel.
In the course of 6 months of this assignment I happened to Rajahmundry, Eluru, Guntur, Vijayawada, Bhimavaram, Jodhpur, Ratangarh, Saradarsher, Delhi, Sonipat, Nabha, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Patiala, Gurgaon. That’s 15 cities over the course of 7 trips in 6 months.
As much as I hated early morning flight – Such amazing scenery were worth waking up early for
This is what I worked on – Biomass Briquettes
Being the small firm EAI is, we didn’t have a logistical department or travel agents, who helped us plan our travel. Right from deciding which flight to take, to decide how we would reach a city for a meeting which didn’t have a railway station or had bus services 2 days in a week – it was OUR responsibility. By “OUR” I mean “US” – me and my colleague Vijay. Vijay and I were the ones who were assigned this assignment. During the course of this project, we both developed a special rapport with each other. We were like the Batman and Robin, or Forest and Bubba from Forest Gump or even Jordan and Pippen for Chicago Bulls. Without each other’s back we would not have been able to complete the assignment.
Different Sizes of Biomass Briquettes
A typical briquette manufacturing unit
Coming back to travel. Travel meant meeting new people of different culture and varied dialect. These trips involved interacting with various biomass vendors, engineering and procurement teams of client, visiting paper mills and edible oil manufacturing units. This assignment also involved a lot of challenges in terms of the approach I had to adopt while talking to various people, convince them on numerous aspects and at the same time learning the tactics of extracting information from people which they might not be forth coming with.
And we never forgot to have fun
Back at our office, the working environment was always relaxed. The work force was 16, which made us to get to know each other well. Even though we were only 16, we were capable enough to do the work of 30. All of knew what we had to do, we knew our deadlines; but that did not stop us from having a fun time at work. But there was one thing that made EAI stand out compared to other organization – since we were a small team, there was no hierarchy. No hierarchy meant we had the access to connect and interact with the top management of some of the biggest organizations of India and sometimes even the world. With such access, came huge responsibility. But we weren’t those who were going to shy away from the responsibility. All of us were up for the challenge.
With the assignment I was assigned, completed and my departure for my masters materializing, it was time to say adios to EAI. 10 months at EAI was just the thing I wanted – a short work experience, enough to enlighten me as to how work life is, to teach me many new things like working in a team, working individually and taking responsibility. I am glad my first job was at EAI.
At a time when companies are looking for candidates with work experience and asking to sign bond, it is surreal to come across an organization like EAI and a person like Narsi, who are open to giving fresh graduates and post graduates an opportunity to work and experience the corporate world. All they expect from one is – BE SMART, BE RESPONSIBLE, BE DEDICATED.
All thanks to the folks at EAI, who made this rather small journey a memorable one.