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Summer 2019

Summer Diaries: Reckitt Benckiser

July 17, 2019
- Suyash Singh

As a student of chemical engineering in IIT Roorkee, the options to get a core intern are very limited, Majority of the students do their third year internships in non-core domains (mostly software and data science) and are then placed in similar fields a year later. With such demotivating stats and me personally not trying enough to build interest in chemical engineering (which happens with most of us), I had no plans (or rather hopes) to get an on-campus internship in a core company. During my campus life, I was mostly involved in management profiles (including Convener, Thomso-2018), but during my 2nd year Summer break, I took a chance, or rather two, to explore chemical engineering. I did two internships, one in a management profile (Business operations in particular) and the second one in a paint manufacturing company. I got both these internship offers through LinkedIn. I suggest all sophomores to use this great platform as effectively as possible.

Making it there


So it was the latter internship which instigated me to pursuing Chemical Engineering as a career choice. But mostly, it was the prevalent hype of Reckitt Benckiser (RB), being a Day 1 Company that comes in the same slot as ITC, and of course the fancy stipend they offered, that I eventually applied for this company.

Criteria for applying:
Reckitt Benckiser (RB) opens for Chemical, P&I, Metallurgy and Biotechnology. For their internship program, they do a basic resume shortlisting (there is no CG cut-off but a 7.5+ CG with an overall decent resume seems to do the trick). The CG clearly stops playing any part after this, as there were interns with a CG of 7.8 to 9.2 from other IITs, mine being the lowest of them.

Group Discussions:
This is followed by a Group Discussion which usually involves discussion on new product development under already existing brands, presented to us in the form of a case challenge. A thorough reading of the presentation that they present before the GD, is preparation enough for the group discussion.

Tip: Reading time allotted before the GD starts is quite less, so just going through the keywords and understanding the deliverables expected out of the case given to us, helps to start first and perform better in the discussion.

Technical Round + HR:
The only other round after the GD is the personal interview; the interview is a mix of technical and HR. Some preparation on any particular core topic (branch related) does help in moving the discussion in the right direction. In my case the discussion moved to the detailed technical part of my previous internship (the one in a paint manufacturing company). There was also a long discussion about comparing my work experience as Thomso Convener and sitting here for an R&D intern. But just being truthful and portraying your learnings from each of your previous work experience helps to move the discussion to an encouraging and desired side. The HR part of the interview involves discussion on what your expectations from the company are. Some knowledge of RB’s brands can help you a lot here as well.


Profile and location:
Summer interns from various IITs are sent to the Gurgaon R&D facility. This is among the only 7 global R&D category centres for RB. It handles R&D for a 12.5 Billion GBP company, so trust me when I say this, working here does make a lot of difference!

Aim of the internship:
All interns are given live market relevant projects, which are categorised mainly into two parts: New Product Development (NPD) and Existing product development (EPD). We are given full freedom to lead the project in our own way and to use the R&D facilities necessary to shape our project. I personally got the opportunity to work on Lizol Floor Cleaner. My project involved formulating a Lizol with some given specifications according to the need in the South Asian Market and recent technological trends, globally. So, my project involved a lot of research as well as Lab work, making samples and trial batches of new Lizol formulation. Second phase of my project involved Cost Optimisation and new claim study which gave me an opportunity to interact with the marketing, regulatory and various other corporate teams of RB. This not only helped me to understand the origin of my project but also provided me with a broader business perspective of FMCG companies at a global level.

RB being an MNC (present in 60+ countries), it provides enormous opportunities to interact with RB employees across the globe if you need project related assistance. One of my co-interns got a project, which demanded connecting with RB employees from various teams in different countries, so he was mostly on US Skype calls late in the evening (that was an experience in itself!)

Work Culture:
If I compare it with my previous intern (the one in the business operations), nobody here was in a rush, and it’s quite contrasting to the picture I had in my mind of the corporate world. The best thing about RB has to be the people here. On the first day itself we had a pizza party with the senior leadership team of the company, who were really welcoming and interactive. The official work hours are 9AM- 5PM, 5 days a week and nobody expects you to stay or work beyond that (although you have the freedom to stay till late evening, as I did sometimes till 9pm), which is pretty comfortable, considering how much some other companies expect an intern to work. People are pretty relaxed and as long as you achieve your deliverables, nobody would put any pressure on you. If anything, there are days when it gets a little too relaxed and you have absolutely nothing to do as your batches are under study. RB has a future leadership program(FLP) through which they have been hiring engineers in the last few years, which means you will easily find a hierarchy of seniors from IITs which eases your opening up with the other senior members of the team.



The Place

One plus point of working in RB is that there’s a mess which serves awesome lunch. Just like in labs, RB experiments a lot with food too and we get so much variety to eat! (P.S: For Non-Veg lovers: We get Chicken every day, except on Tuesdays*) As about the city, Gurgaon is synonymous to pubs and fresh brewery at Sector 29 and Cyber Hub. RB was kind enough to provide us a 2 week hotel just outside the Sector 29 market, which compelled us to try every pub in the complex.

Summing Up

As a company, instead of just expecting you to do what you are told, RB expects the interns to challenge them and provide a fresh perspective to their approach and thoughts, and I’m glad my work was appreciated and recognized because of the off-stream approach I followed.

Overall, the experience at RB gave me a perspective of what R&D means in FMCG world, which I would term as ‘Business pro R&D’. After exploring diverse fields in 3 years of my college life, these 2 months’ experience at RB gave me a much needed direction to restructure my thoughts regarding my career, and to decide what’s best for me after graduation.

Few Tips for the Students interested:

  • Read about the brands under RB.

  • Brush up your core subjects a little before going for the interview.

  • Prepare the HR questions really well; you should have clarity of thought while answering those.

  • Once you get there, make the most of it by networking with people.