Turning a challenge into an opportunity – How FIIB is leveraging the possibilities of Virtual Internships

It is often said that the seeds of success are sown in difficult times, and right now, this whole crisis situation might have come across as an unprecedented sudden stop for everyone across the globe. But I genuinely feel that for individuals who have their vision clear; this is also a perfect time to become an example of hard work and perseverance.” – Prof. Arun Sangwan,
It is no secret that the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 has put the spanner in the wheels of many careers. Be it the students waiting to step on the first rung of their corporate career, or employees expecting to add more value to their current job roles, or companies planning for successful on-boarding and training their new hires. This summer is literally turning out to be a big checklist of ‘tasks of hold’ for everyone. 
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While for many corporates operating remotely is both a big challenge and the utmost need-of-the-hour, for institutions, on the other hand, successful passage of their students into the corporate world and convincing their corporate partners to not pull the plug on the interns and campus recruits is indeed a roller-coaster ride. Luckily, FIIB has been working dedicatedly towards ‘providing smooth career rides to its students’ and has been able to provide good internship opportunities to its students – that too within two weeks of the beginning of the lockdown. 
“A successful Corporate Internship Program is the key which is going to unlock numerous doors for your future achievements. A crucial part of your professional journey has just begun as momentarily you would be moving from your classroom benches to the cubicles and chambers of corporate. You have done well with your co-curricular and extra-curricular activities at the Institute; however, it’s time to implement these learnings in the field of your work.  Academic education may come with an expiration date but learning is a perpetual process.” Radhika Shrivastava, Executive Director -FIIB
How Did FIIB Make It Work Virtually?
Being a responsible and future-driven management institution, FIIB strives to find ways to bridge its students’ present with the future possibilities and provide them with the practical experiences that help them to become effective leader managers. Accordingly, in the lockdown situation where the students could not undertake in-company internships, FIIB quickly restructured its entire Corporate Internship Program for 2020 and turned it into a robust virtual corporate internship arrangement without compromising on students’ learning in any significant way. 
The management of FIIB is highly confident that with this new CIP structure the students will get an opportunity to learn from a global network of mentors and entrepreneurs without compromising on their usual 8-weeks job training. 
The new restructured virtual CIP at FIIB provides an immersive professional experience to its students and includes mentorship, virtual training, peer-to-peer feedback and certification. The students are getting a chance to learn on real-world projects with start-ups as well as companies from across the world and pitch relevant ideas & solutions to them. 
“I have opted for Finance as my MBA specialization and after successfully completing my Social Internship Program, I was eager to experience and learn the lessons and skills Corporate Internship would have in store for me. Unfortunately, the news of the pandemic came out and shattered my desire for learning meaningful functional and managerial skills from the finance corporate world leaders. Right when I was fretting and stressing about my future, Prof. Arun’s mail of ‘virtual internships are on the way!’ hit my inbox, and that brought back my smile and confidence.” – Jatin Nanda, freshman year student at FIIB
What has changed while transitioning to a remote-internship way?
From the past 24 years, every batch has experienced the 2 to 3-months job training aka CIP which is a cross-functional experience for them. But, things have changed rapidly in 2020 courtesy the global shutdown! This year is different for FIIB community, but what really matters to us more as a provider of delivering excellence to our student community is one question – Does the transition add up more value for the participants or limit their future scope brutally?
During the time when this CIP restructuring was being piloted, FIIB’s faculty and CMC cell brainstormed the pros and cons of moving virtual. All the design thinking and critical analysis that went into the brainstorming eventually tilted the balance in favour of the virtual internships. It came out clearly that it will give students a much more refined perspective and understanding of the corporate world and a highly time bound, multi-disciplinary and goal-oriented internship, thereby adding far more to the student’s future employability prospects. 
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“Diversity is the biggest game-changer in the hiring industry. And, being a student of MBA-HR, nothing can make more sense to me than learning from a wide range of global leaders, that too virtually. I mean who could imagine this to happen? Even in a total shutdown-crisis situation, we will still be getting a superior opportunity to learn what matters the most to us and our future aspirations. This restructured CIP approach of FIIB is nothing but a hope in despair to me. I am really thankful to my college for making this happen for the entire 2019-21 MBA batch.” – Bhavya Kalra, freshman year student at FIIB
The traditional CIP is more like a simulation of real workload and work culture. It helps in building on-the-job domain knowledge and improving technical, teamwork, decision making, social, interpersonal and communication skills. On the other hand, the extended Virtual CIP approach is a force multiplier in building an orientation among the students on how concepts are linked with the decision and strategy making in the corporate and how different scenarios are built and tackled. 
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