Interview: Kishore Kumar (2016 – 2020)

Please state your name and profile.

I am Kishore Kumar pursuing my final year in the Mechanical Engineering department. I did my internship at Lear Corporation as a Supply Chain Management Trainee.

What internships have you done before this one?

I have completed 2 internships and 1 In-Plant Training (IPT) apart from the aforementioned internship. My first internship dealt with fluid dynamics at an industrial level which involved analysis of performance curves both on and off-site. I did my IPT in RANE TRW in the power steering department and was like any other regular IPT.

In the summer of 2018, I did my internship in IIT Madras in the Applied Fluid Mechanics Department for a period of 6 weeks. Unlike the many others who decided to pursue research after their second year, I decided to gain considerable industrial exposure before choosing my subject of interest.

Please give some details about the selection process. What problems did you face during the interview?

The selection process consists of two rounds. The first one was a written aptitude test which saw two-thirds of the candidates move on to the next level. The questions were not difficult and practicing aptitude problems from usually recommended books such as Arun Sharma should see you off this round quite comfortably.

The second round was a Personal Interview round where the candidate had to face both the technical and HR representative in a single panel. The interviews went on for an average of 15 minutes and involved questions from previous internships and production engineering.

The HR representative seemed pretty dull and inactive throughout the interview and hence towards the end of my interview, I decided to address to him and convinced him as to why I would be suitable for the role that was offered. From what it appeared, any student with a decent technical background and confident communication skills made the cut.

Lear visited the campus for the first time last year. How was your preparation for the process?

The first thing that all applicants were able to find about Lear was that it was a Fortune 500 company and that got us all going. We realized they were recruiting only for Plant related roles and hence decided to strengthen our knowledge about manufacturing processes of automotive seats. A basic run-through of Manufacturing Technology and having a clear idea about your IPT is something I would strongly recommend as that’s exactly what Lear would be looking for.

How was the company’s work culture?

As I said, Lear stands at the 147th position in the Fortune’s list of top 500 companies and that is evidently seen in the work culture. As an intern, my work started at 9 AM and ended at 5 PM on most days. The employees strictly adhere to the timings as they don’t work more than what’s required. The employees are really friendly and help you out in issues in and outside the office. During the internship, the company didn’t mind us taking off days once the given work was done. Unlike software companies that concentrate on leisure time activities and have foosball tables and gymnasium facilities, Lear has a strict “work during work” policy. This was the only disadvantage I was able to point out in the otherwise very forward-thinking culture.

What role were you given in the company and what was the work structure?

The role offered to all the 3 selected candidates was supply chain management trainee in the Continuous Improvement department of the company. My project involved headcount optimization and line balancing of a given mechanical sub-system using lean manufacturing techniques such as Time Study and various Japanese concepts derived from the Toyota Production System. The work involved data collection from the shop floor on a real-time basis, and analyzing the trends to figure out the point of optimization. The next step was indeed really crucial which involved several deliberations with my mentor about the action plan which was then implemented.

I was able to reduce the expenditure of the company by over USD 20,000 per year.

What are the standout points they look for in a resume?

Since this is the first time they had come, we were not able to deduce a subset that Lear is looking for. Industrial exposure is one thing Lear is pretty keen on, and having an internship in Supply Chain Management would be the icing on the cake. However, it was pretty evident that CGPA wasn’t their area of interest as all the selected candidates belonged in the range 7 – 8. Positions of Responsibility (PoRs) are something that will not be asked for, however, it adds to your strength if you are able to prove that you are fit for the company by quoting your previous team experiences.

What skills helped you during your internship? What skills did you gain during the intern?

Since I was posted in the Mahindra World City branch of Chennai, it was convenient that I was well versed in Tamil, as most shop floor workers are not really comfortable with other languages. Working in teams inside college proves to be really useful in ways one wouldn’t expect. From delegating work to handling superiors and convincing them to go with the plan you proposed, team-playing skills are really important. One skill that you probably will learn in this internship is time management. As I said, the work given to an intern is not quite much and often, you’ll be able to work on your college commitments during office hours, which proved to be pretty crucial for me. Industrial exposure, handling different levels of personnel, and accepting that experience is greater than knowledge are a few other things I learned during this internship.

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