Colleges

Internship with a difference

Students visiting the stalls at an exhibition of SHG products organised by Mahalir Thittam, Pudhuvazhvu project and PSG Institute of Management at the Institute campus in Coimbatore. Photo:K.Ananthan.  

While the common trend is of management students seeking business houses to complete internships in the confines of air-conditioned rooms, here is a group that will do real field work for six months to help someone else’s business develop and thrive.

Fifteen management students from three colleges in Coimbatore will become part of the “Internship for Management Students for Marketing of SHG Products” programme of the Tamil Nadu Corporation for Development for Women (TNCDW), to work with the SHG women to raise the level of their business.

According to the management faculty, housewives and destitute women of Self Help Groups will now be guided by management students to conduct the same business in a professional manner.

Five students each from PSG Institute of Management (PSGIM), SNS College of Technology, and KPR School of Business, have been selected to become part of the programme, which will be executed under the aegis of ‘Mahalir Thittam’, the district wing of TNCDW.

Officials of the ‘Mahalir Thittam’ say the programme is aimed at providing handholding to the SHGs for improving the quality of their businesses. This will not only facilitate better business opportunities for the women, but also create learning opportunities for students. And, in addition to the learning, they will get a monthly stipend of Rs.1,000.

The programme works this way — a group of five students will choose from one of the clusters that the government officials have identified for them to focus their work on — jute products, food products, readymade inner garments, fancy jewellery, and foot mats.

Each cluster will have a group of women who deal with that particular product. Students assigned to a cluster will spend a few hours every day, after class hours, at the work place of the SHG women. Their work can be in the form of scaling up production while reducing the cost, introducing quality control mechanisms, procurement, value addition, pricing, marketing and any other that they consider relevant to improving the business.

Each college has come up with an action plan after spending time with their respective SHG clusters. While students of PSGIM will focus on labelling, packaging and marketing of food products, students of SNS will promote jute bags. Students of KPR will focus on textile and textile products like saris, shirts and floor mats.

The teams are all eager to kick start their work once the semester examinations are over. They believe that this will be a win-win situation for all stakeholders.

As M. Yoganandh of KPR School of Business succinctly puts it, it is an opportunity for them to use all their innovative ideas and see them take shape without having to start a business of their own.

“These women are so receptive to our ideas that it encourages us to come up with more. There are no restrictions, that one can expect when doing an internship at a corporate. Our orientation towards the rural / destitute women in SHG and their products has changed and we have been successful in motivating a lot of our friends in buying their products. This internship programme will definitely bring about a change in their lives as well as ours,” he says on behalf of the group.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 1:28:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/education/college-and-university/Internship-with-a-difference/article15618299.ece

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