“Engineering students trump MBA candidates to win Samsung E.D.G.E.,” read the news headline. I couldn’t believe it! What looked like an impossible-to-win-but-let-me-try-it competition was now on my trophy shelf.
I’d never imagined we would win the Samsung E.D.G.E. competition (a campus programme to engage B-school and engineering students across India, with winners getting potential opportunities to work with Samsung).
I am a BTech student studying metallurgy and materials engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and my winning team presented a solution on leadership strategy in digital payments using a disruptive technology backbone built around Samsung’s mobile payment service, Samsung Pay. It was sweet victory as our undergraduate engineering team was up against students from top B-schools. We were overnight rock stars in our college and, for a brief moment, became the talking point in B-school campuses too.
As the euphoria wore off, we realised that we may not be eligible to intern with Samsung India. We were undergraduates, while internship opportunities existed for B-school graduates.
However, much to my joy, an internship offer for summer of 2017 was made and I joined the Samsung Pay team since our winning business case was on Leadership Strategy for Samsung Pay.
My teammates chose to take the technical route and joined Samsung R&D Institute India-Bangalore, Samsung’s biggest R&D facility outside Korea.
I arrived for my internship in Delhi on a hot May evening. I was excited. A Rajasthani who grew up in Bangalore, I was studying in Chennai for the last two years. I like exploring new cities. Add to that the opportunity to work at one of the global tech giants. What more could you ask for at 20!
After finishing the paper work, I was introduced to the Samsung Pay team. My guide Manasvi Vedhera turned out to be a brilliant mentor. By the second half on the first day, I felt very much at home.
I spent the first week understanding everything about Samsung Pay. As with a lot of interns, I was full of energy and ideas, but I soon realised that not all ideas are good. I would throw ideas at the Samsung Pay team and they’d explain why it had not been done or what the roadblocks were and how we could go about it. This learning was a remarkable experience and helped me develop my business acumen.
I spent a lot of time identifying new use cases. I also worked with colleagues across the globe to do feasibility checks for these use cases, both technical and business.
The Samsung Pay team did a fabulous job in accommodating a rookie like me. They were extremely friendly and cooperative. Few of the best memories I have with the team are from the elaborate lunches hosted by our director Sanjay Razdan. Age never felt like a barrier between me and my colleagues. I was engaged in the team’s ongoing projects to gain corporate experience and make me business ready.
I can now confidently say that I have a sound understanding of the payment scenario in India and across the globe. Through the internship, I had the opportunity to visit offices of popular Indian startups and MNCs, organise meetings, give presentations and attend mobile phone launches. All this has helped me become a much better professional.
I could relax too - there were several cool lounges where I could unwind.
Samsung also has some amazing facilities for its employees – a multi-cuisine cafeteria that serves Indian, continental as well as Korean food. I come from a prestigious yet government-run institution. Hostel food is good, but lunch in the office canteen was delicious.
One of the best memories I will take back from here is the Samsung Masterchef competition I took part in with my teammates. We cooked spring rolls which disappeared in the bellies of the audience, 3.142 microseconds after the judge praised its stuffing.
Even beyond these materialistic perks, the satisfaction of working on and for something touching millions of lives across the globe is beautiful.
I have loads of stories to tell my friends when I get back. One particular story that I would like to share is when I walked into a Samsung store with a date and told them I work at HO – the royal treatment that came next worked wonders!