Young people nurture many desires in their hearts to build a prosperous career for themselves. They just wait for that perfect opportunity to learn the relevant skills and gain the right kind of experience working for a world-class company, which can give them a global experience.
Just to fulfil that desire in the youth of our country, Bajaj Auto has come up with an innovative summer internship programme for engineering and management students, called ‘Octane’. It gives opportunities to students in the top MBA and engineering colleges of India to undergo a two-month internship, wherein they get to be part of live projects in sales, marketing and the R&D department of the company. This gives them exposure to hands-on experience and learning.
For the ‘Octane’ programme, the Company targets only the top 15 b-schools of the country, such as the top-ranking IIMs, FMS, XLRI, SIBM, MDI, and so on. The programme is open to students studying in the first year of MBA courses.
Bajaj Auto conducts interviews and psychometric tests to evaluate and enrol students in the programme.
In addition, there is an ‘Off-Road’ campus challenge, which happens every year before the Octane programme starts. The ‘Off-Road’ challenge has two rounds, where MBA students have to make and present PPTs on marketing case challenges. The winners of this challenge are given cash prizes and some of them get the opportunity to be enrolled in the ‘Octane’ programme. The ‘Off road’ challenge is conducted in top management colleges of India, such as IIM- A, B, C, L, I, K, XLRI, FMS, IIFT, and so on.
“Creating future leadership pipeline for our business is the primary idea behind Octane. It allows us to experience and assess management graduates in the real world using live and impactful projects, thereby helping us target and select future leaders for our business”
For engineering students, the Company targets only the top IITs and NIT colleges in the country, as well as colleges, such as BITS Pilani and COEP that are equally reputed in the domain. Amongst the IITs, the Company does not go to all IITs, it only targets the old ones. For the enrolment of engineering students in the ‘Octane’ programme, students have to first give an online test, after which they are filtered, and the eligible ones go through interviews before being taken into the programme.
Only third-year engineering students are enrolled for the ‘Octane’ programme.
‘Octane’ was conceptualised by Ravi Kyran, president –HR, Bajaj Auto and his team. It was started in the year 2017 and the first batch of ‘Octane’ came in 2018. The programme is designed to give a great learning experience to the students. All the interns are put on live projects, which are aligned to the business. They are also given mentors, who are selected from within the organisation, from the respective department — R&D, engineering and sales & marketing.
Some international projects are also included in the programme. While last year, there were six international projects, this year there are nine. The list of the mentors and the projects given to interns are carefully reviewed by Kyran himself.
There is also a mid-review, which is done to give feedback and suggest corrections to the interns.
The summer internship programme helps the Company acquire and assess some of the best young talent in the country. “Creating future leadership pipeline for our business is the primary idea behind Octane. It allows us to experience and assess management graduates in the real world using live and impactful projects, thereby helping us target and select future leaders for our business,” says Kyran.
The two months of internship also involves direct interaction of interns with the senior leaders. Throughout the internship all the senior leaders are very much approachable to all the interns. The programme includes coffee sessions with some top leaders and a networking dinner at the end of the induction process. It also has a closing ceremony, where senior leaders and presidents of the Company —from HR, sales, marketing and R&D— are invited.
Last year, 48 management and 25 engineering students were enrolled into the programme, but this year the numbers have gone up slightly with 59 management and 47 engineering students.
There is a lot to gain for students who get enrolled in the Octane programme. The interns get access to real live projects, excellent mentors and top leaders.
“Interns who get the opportunity to get enrolled into this programme can experience what it takes to work and succeed in a competitive sales and marketing environment. Those who apply themselves, learn and execute can expect pre-placement offers (PPOs),” shares Kyran.
The students are given PPOs at the end of the programme. Last year the PPO conversion rate stood at 50 per cent for management and 64 per cent for engineering students. This year also the Company is targeting the same numbers or more .
The unique thing about this programme is that, PPO information is immediately given out to all the selected interns rather than keeping everyone in the dark for long.
Bajaj is able to attract the best talent in the country, as most of the campus hiring activity is done through the ‘Octane’ programme. It also acts as the perfect opportunity for students to be a part of a great learning experience, witness the culture of the Company and avail a chance to get directly hired by the world’s favourite Indian, Bajaj Auto.