Name of the organization. City.
Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) is an Indian consumer goods company based in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is owned by the Anglo-Dutch Company – Unilever. HUL’s products include foods, beverages, home and personal care products.
HUL was established in 1933 as Lever Brothers India Limited and it began an era of marketing branded Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG).
Duration of the internship.
21st October, 2013 to 29th November, 2013 (6 weeks). I interned for a period of 6 weeks, 5 days a week.
The office timings were 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. Although, depending on work you may get to leave early or might have to stay back a while longer (but, trust me, you wouldn’t mind).
How big was the office? Team strength?
The campus of Hindustan Unilever Limited, Mumbai is located in Andheri (East) near the Western Express Highway at Chakala (BD Sawant Marg), right opposite the Bisleri Factory. The campus is gargantuan, airy, beautiful and assorted. It’s quite easy to fall in love with this place in a rather short period of time.
The legal department in toto sums up to approximately twenty, inclusive of the paralegals. However, they are divided into five teams – Food, Home and Personal Care Products, Supply Chain, IPR and Water. I was working with the Supply Chain. It was a team of four.
I had sent my application, along with scanned copies of all my previous internship certificates, in the month of June. I received my acceptance sometime in the last week of August.
Accommodation: how, where, how was it?
Since my HUL internship lasted for a month and a half, I stayed for the first three weeks with family friends at Lokhandwala in Andheri West. It took me about 30 minutes (inclusive of the dreadful Bombay traffic) in an auto to office. In the latter half of my internship, I shifted to Hiranandani in Powai.
Although the distance either way is the same, the traffic certainly isn’t. Travel time was anywhere between 45 to 90 minutes one way.
I’d suggest looking for PG facilities nearby in order to cut out on the travel time. Also, you might not want to be stranded somewhere under the western express highway looking for an auto; or stuck in traffic during those awful office hours.
First impression. First day, formalities etc.
I’ll be honest. When I received my acceptance mail, the dress code column read: smart casuals. Yes, smart casuals. Initially, I thought this was an error but on re-confirming, I was wondering who wears smart casuals to office (except on Fridays).
On to the first day at work: I was mesmerized; not only by the attractive campus, but also by the self-effacing nature of the people working within this organization.
I reached the Hindustan Unilever Limited office 10 minutes prior to my reporting time. After having gotten issued a visitors pass, I was escorted in by one of the paralegals’. The legal department is seated on the 3rd Floor of Block B-1.
I was then introduced to my Line Manager (actually, in layman’s words, my boss). After a brief discussion about my interests, previous internships, etc., it was time to complete the formalities.
By the end of the day, I was handed over a laptop for all official purposes and I had successfully applied for a swipe card.
The swipe card is a necessity; without this, you might just feel handicapped. It takes about four working days to get the swipe card. Once you’ve gotten it, it is mandatory to attend the safety induction and the orientation on Code of Business Principles.
Pic from here. 🙂
Main tasks (in detail)
On my very first day, I was told that I would be working on three projects simultaneously throughout the six weeks of my training at HUL.
I was primarily assisting in title due diligence exercises of live and closed/defunct factories of Hindustan Unilever pan India. This included identifying the legal defects and working towards making the properties marketable.
This was something wholly novel and informative (and exciting), in comparison to my previous experiences, wherein I was mostly (or always) given research work.
I also assisted in ensuring various legal compliances at the factory level. This side of labour-law is far more interesting than the bare text.
I carried out extensive research and prepared reports on the ‘Horizontal and Vertical Restraints in Anti-Competitive Agreements’ with respect to buyer-supplier relationship with special emphasis on the European Commission’s policy on competition in relevant market.
Apart from these, I was handed over research work that varied from LPG import by private companies to impact of US Sanctions against Iran.
Work environment, people
Heard about ‘healthy-working-environment’? Safe, empowering, fruitful and satisfying; this is what probably creates the difference between working in any other company and working in Hindustan Unilever Limited.
The work environment is pretty chill. When I was interning, they were experimenting on ‘mobile-working’ which meant that no one had a fixed work station.
I’ve worked right from within the Ad-hoc room to the coffee-table stationed outside the legal department; I’ve done due-diligence listening to music.
The people at Unilever are accommodating and self-effacing. Everyone’s point of view matters, even if you are just an intern.
Also, I got lucky with the timing of my internship, as I witnessed Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever Global, address the employees and, the launch of the well-known #ProjectSunlight took place in my second last week (the pre-launch included flash-mobs within the campus).
The HUL campus is beautiful and picturesque.
The work environment is highly-productive and brings about the potential of growth. It’s stress-free. There was variety in the kind of work I was given and nothing was repetitive. My boss made constant efforts to make sure that I learnt something different.
The sweet dish in the food court for lunch every day was delicious (sorry, I couldn’t help my sweet tooth).
Annie, whose constant vivacity spread positivity and zeal on those few lazy days at work.
I’m pretty darn good with criticism, but for once I really have to think hard. I’m in awe.
Even the men at HUL turned out to get the ‘smart-casuals’ right!
What did you do to chill?
There is a Bru World Café, Kwality Walls, Knorr Demi Kitchen on ‘The Street’ within the campus apart from the food court. So, if I were to be having a dull day, I would be probably having a Chicken Mustard Sandwich at the food court. 😛
On my last day at office, my team bid me farewell at ‘The British Brewing Company’ (BBC) at Goregaon. I was also treated the next day at this restaurant called ‘The Barking Deer’ at Lower Parel (do try their onion rings!).
The internship at Hindustan Unilever Limited is without any consideration. However, the experience is thoroughly worth it.
Anything else you’d like to say
Six weeks flew by. And if it were for me, I would have loved to intern here longer.
Till date, whenever I go grocery shopping, my room-mate always complains that I’ve become brand conscious.
Once, I even convinced her to buy Lifebuoy over Dettol.
Which brings me to these words: ‘It’s hard to get in here, harder to leave.’