The coronavirus pandemic has had a negative effect on the job market in India and across the world. From pay cuts and layoffs to voluntary resignations, people are not only losing their jobs, there are several whose offers have been pulled back, and companies are even going through a hiring freeze. This includes campus selections and internships.
In such a situation, the Dean of IIT Delhi and several other marquee universities had put out a note requesting companies to value their commitment, as it would impact the careers of several students.
Despite this, Bengaluru-based ride hailing unicorn Ola is honouring its commitment and hiring interns and its full-time employment offers. While mobility is one of the worst hit sectors, with a drop of close to 77 percent in daily commute due to the pandemic, Ola intends to honour the internships. But what does this mean for the startup and the interns?
In a conversation with YourStory, Rohit Munjal, Head of HR at Ola, talks about the mobility startups plans, and what they intend to do.
Prior to joining Ola, Rohit was the HR Business Partner, GE Healthcare Services, IT and Process Excellence, and had worked with GE for three years. Prior to that he had worked at Mphasis and Infosys.
Edited excerpts from the interview:
YourStory (YS): How many people is Ola hiring as interns?
Rohit Munjal (RM): Ola is committed to honour all internships and full-time employment offers rolled out across campuses. We have virtually onboarded 38 candidates from prestigious MBA schools like IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, FMS, and XLRI among others as part of our internship programme, working across verticals like mobility, electric mobility, financial services, and international business.
Being a tech-first company, we are excited to welcome our first batch of virtual interns in these unprecedented times. The e-onboarding of interns is different from anything we have done in the past, and we are ensuring they experience the inherent culture and all aspects of working at Ola during their stint.
YS: Can you give us some details of the internship?
RM: While discussing with my team on how to plan this one of a kind, virtual internship programme, we decided we want to turn this crisis into a learning opportunity – for us as well as our interns. We recognise the fact that internship is part of the academic curriculum for most of the students, and that we are responsible for offering them a world-class experience in line with Ola Values.
We have been able to build a virtual internship model, seamlessly integrated with technology and driven by real time interactions with mentors, managers, and leaders.
The registration process for the interns took a digital route, and we installed Global Protection VPN for the students which sped up, and secured the onboarding process. We understand that being a full-time remote worker comes with unique challenges, especially for interns who are new to the company’s ecosystem.
We are planning fun and engaging activities for our interns to come together as a part of Ola’s community. They are part of daily team meetings, informal catch-ups and cross-functional team webinars, which maximises their learning opportunities as well.
All interns are connected across social platforms and some of them have in fact collaborated and performed at the weekly e-gathering for employees, TGIF@Ola as well.
YS: Why is Ola looking to hiring interns in such a scenario? Will the internship help Ola in any way?
RM: Campus hiring is an important aspect of talent acquisition at Ola, and we have many campus success stories of talent who joined fresh from campus and are now leading business units within the company in a very short span of time. One of our most popular products, Ola Auto, for example, was suggested by an intern.
We also understand that internships are a part of the academic curriculum for the students and a stepping stone to their corporate careers, and we do not want to deprive them of this opportunity due to the unprecedented situation that we are in.
At Ola, we resonate with the bold ambition, high energy and innovative problem-solving approach the students have. We believe in investing in these bright, young minds who are poised to solve for some of the most complex problems that impact our ecosystem.
YS: Will the interns be paid? And will some of them even have job offers after?
RM: Yes. The internship is a part of ‘Ola Campus Connect’ programme where students are hand-picked and onboarded from the best business and technology collages of the country. They get an opportunity to engage with the leadership teams and experience business as usual at Ola through a structured three-month programme.
Ola has employees who joined us fresh from campus as managers, and now they are leading verticals within Ola, in a very short span of time.
YS: Has Ola seen a significant jump in internship applications this year?
RM: Campus hiring is an important area of talent acquisition for us, and we have a dedicated programme called Ola Campus Connect, where we engage with the students throughout the year, internships being an important part of it.
Ola’s internship programme is comprehensively constructed for students to make a smooth transition from academic life to the workplace. They interact with the leadership, gain hands-on experience and insight into various business verticals and projects. They are encouraged to collaborate with cross-functional teams for a deeper understanding of business problems. This unique amalgamation garners attention from applicants from leading B-schools of the country.
Like previous years, Ola received an overwhelming response from aspirants across B-schools this year as well. Ola has extended its internship offers to students before the lockdown period commenced due to Covid-19. For some of these young candidates, this is their first corporate exposure. We want to ensure that the selected interns can maximise this opportunity to learn something more about themselves and the company.
YS: For which department is Ola hiring interns or across departments?
RM: All our interns are virtually working across various business verticals and geographies on live projects and problem statements with dedicated mentors who are guiding them.
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