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Summer 2019

Summer Diaries: ITC Limited

July 30, 2019
- Shivani Singh

I spent my Summer’19 interning with ITC Ltd., a multi-business Indian enterprise. Having tried my hands on fields of research in chemical engineering at IISc Bangalore and management at IIM Ahmedabad, I was pretty sure that research was not something which could keep up my interest for a long enough time to pursue it as a career option.I wanted something which could be more tangible in terms of results of my efforts. Led by this motivation, I was very clear during the internship season of the companies I was going to apply for, consequently landing an internship in ITC Ltd.

Making it there:

About the program:

I was selected under ITC’s Summer Internship Programme- “Knowledge, Initiative & Talent Excellence Series” popularly known as KITES. The programme is specifically designed to provide the interns with a platform to learn, experience and manage real life business situations. The interns are recruited from the premier technical institutes of the country for a period of 8 weeks where their novel perspective to a business problem is utilised for extracting the best from them.

Application Process:

The application process started in early August when ITC came on campus through TPO for hiring summer interns. Last year the branches eligible were Chemical, Electrical, ECE, Mechanical and Production & Industrial. The complete process is summarized as under:

1. Online Application: Interested students are required to apply through an online portal where a form is required to be filled. The form essentially requires details from your resume and some essay type questions to be answered mentioning your goals and motivation to join ITC.

2. Shortlisting: Based on the form filled, a shortlist is issued for the psychometric test. The information that you fill in this form is reassessed at various stages from your personality test to the point then you actually join one of the divisions of ITC and serves as a medium for the company (and especially your guides and mentors) to know you.

3. Psychometric Test: This test is designed to evaluate your intelligence, personality and decision making skills through some situational questions. The aim is to check if you are a good fit for the company’s work environment or not. The rejection rate at this stage is negligible and you will pass through unless you decide to deliberately screw it up.

4. Group Discussion: The students selected from the psychometric test are divided in groups of 7-8 for the group discussion round. This stage of the selection procedure is designed to judge your people handling and convincing skills. The discussion revolves around solving a case which is given to you in hardcopy after you enter the room. The reading time given to you is about 5 minutes, hence, you need to be really quick in grasping the essence of the problem and coming up with logical arguments. The problems may range from discussing upcoming business strategy for a product or simply just discussing the best course of action after an accident. These case problems do not require any prior preparation but you are expected to be logically sound in your arguments and be able to convince your audience for the same. The number of students selected from a GD is not fixed and may range from 1-4 per GD.

5. Personal Interview: From around 68 students who participated in GD rounds last year, 20 students were selected for the final personal interview round. This is the last stage of the selection procedure and in my opinion the most interesting one, the reason you’ll get to know in the following paragraphs:

a. Technical Round: This round is aimed to test your technical competency with respect to your engineering knowledge but does not strictly sticks to the plan, it happens often that the HR would pop up a question related to your goals and plans, so be ready to keep jumping between these two domains in your mind. It starts with the interviewers asking you questions from your favourite subjects which you are asked to mention. Hence, it is advisable to prepare at least 2 subjects from your curriculum. The questions are from the very basics of the subject, so don’t worry if you are not a master in it. I prepared for Heat Transfer and was asked to derive the formula for ‘Log Mean Temperature Difference’, those who have studied must know this concept is fairly easy. The interviewer can also go into the details of your projects or internships mentioned in the resume, so do give a read to any reports that you might have made or in general the work that you might have done. Though this round is named as the technical round but the decision of you getting the internship or not is more or less finalised here only.

b. HR Round: This round is basically an interaction between the student and some senior officials from the company who are interested in knowing your interest in working with them. Again, don’t just expect HR questions in the interview. If the person is intrigued by some specific point in your resume, you can be taken into the technical realms of the business from this very moment which was the case with me. I was asked about the temperature profile of tobacco in processing and its importance in terms of the product quality. You are not expected to know everything when such questions may be thrown at you, what is important is the approach you take to understand and arrive at a solution.

Mind Over Matter Orientation Program


Before getting us to work in some of the harsh places in the country, ITC treated us well with a 2 days 5-star stay in its luxury collection hotel ITC Windsor in Bangalore. This orientation program was a stepping stone for us to transition from theoretical knowledge to a mindset for real business problems and technical tools to handle them. These 2 days had rigorous sessions scheduled to equip us with all the skills required for pursuing and emerging successful from the upcoming 2 months long internship. The orientation also gave us the opportunity to meet the interns selected from other institutes of the country and break the ice as this 2-day long event concluded with a cocktail party hosted by ITC for all the incoming interns.



With a diversified portfolio in FMCG, Paperboards, Hotels, Packaging, Agri-business and Information Technology, ITC offers a wide range of opportunities for the interns. The allotment procedure where the interns are selected to intern in one of the divisions of ITC is purely based on our past experience, internships and projects, and unfortunately we do not have a choice here. Surely, the KITES summer internship program is a platform to learn and experience working in a corporate environment but the projects allotted to the interns have serious business significance and hence, each intern is considered as an integral part of their company during this period. This is how KITES differs from any of the projects or internships that you might have done earlier (at least in my case).

The project brief was received around a month prior to the commencement of the internship. It was a detailed explanation of my project, the objectives, the deliverables expected and prior readings required. Guides and mentors were also allotted at this stage. My project was based on process optimisation and standardisation of encapsulated flavour used in cigarettes. It majorly involved risk assessment of product defects, analysis based on feasibility of solutions and identification of scope for improvements in the process in terms of time and money while maintaining product integrity. I was also required to design a tech-enabled traceability system for capsule manufacturing. The projects can be from any domains of production, engineering, process excellence and environment, health & safety. One can even expect project in the area of machine learning and artificial intelligence depending upon the requirements in the divisions.

The work culture at ITC was very different than what I had experienced in my past interns. Here I had the liberty to experiment anything new to solve the problems and deliver results. While I had the factory workers to help me throughout the project, I also had to take care that the production line is not getting affected in any way. It has been a characteristic of the KITES projects that they are a bit vague in their definition for the sake that the intern can find his/her own way forward without getting affected by the opinions or the work that has already been done in the area. This makes it challenging and interesting at the same time. The entire internship period was a bit bumpy for me where I had my lows when I was completely aimless as to where should I proceed, and my highs where I validated solutions and got results. This was also complemented with the pressure to complete the deliverables within the stipulated 8 weeks. Since, ITC has factories at various locations in India, you may also be required to travel to different plants to get insights from various technologies used there. In entirety, KITES internship is drafted to evaluate the intern in terms of his/her approach to solve a problem, technical intellect, people handling skills, professionalism and the extent to which the person is ready to go for getting resources relevant to your project. Though it may get frustrating at times, but the experience is truly worth it.

The locations that ITC offers are not quite pleasant, one can expect locations like Munger, Bhadrachalam, Kapurthala (which even I wasn’t aware of) where the only human interaction you have is with the people in the plant. Fortunately, my location was ITD (Indian Tobacco Division) Bangalore. Though, the factory was around 30 km from the main city (Koramangala to be precise) but I was able to spend my weekends in the city. The accommodation provided to us compensated the stress we brought back from work. It was a beautiful villa with a canopy of shady trees and serene open space.


Summing it up

KITES summer internship is all about extracting the best from the best! Your hard work, innovative viewpoint and unique technical solutions to business problems are the factors deciding your success in this endeavor. To say the least, you are groomed to become industry ready in these 2 months with all sorts of challenges thrown at you, be it dealing with vendors for negotiations or a particular technical glitch in the machine. Important to mention, if you are expecting a 9-5 desk job with no jerks and jolts, ITC is not a place for you. For the students aiming for ITC:

1. Be clear about your motivation to join ITC, this is what matters the most.
2. Glance through your core subjects a bit to prepare for the technical round.
3. Though not strictly required,but you can go through some problems asked in case interviews just to create a pace for solving them. (Do this only if you have time)
4. It’s better to read about some initiatives of ITC for the HR round, it’s always appreciable if you can back your motivation with some examples.
5. Through each and every stage of the selection procedure, be extremely confident!

That’s all you require to go through :)