Aspect Ratio : Where Imagination meets Problem Solving

You are working with an Analytics company in the area of demand forecasting.

You have recently started working with a new client – a Tyre manufacturer who sells tyres for 2-wheelers in the original equipment (OE) market as well as in the Replacement market (Retail)

The following data represents retail sales of client’s brand Tyres in Pune city

 

Year Units sold
2008 40000
2009 52000
2010 58000
2011 54000
2012 48000

 

 

aspect-ratio-insideiim-casestudy

 

How would you go about building your forecast? This case study is not as simple as it looks. Go through Part  B here, Part C here, Part D here to know more. (There is an incentive to give your solution at the end of Part D – There is a PPI!)

 —————————————————————————

If working on things like the above case excites you, Aspect Ratio could be a great place to build your career.

Recently, InsideIIM.com tried to do an “Inside Aspect Ratio” 😛

InsideIIM.com is extremely excited to profile Aspect Ratio and help them get access to great talent among our users.

As soon as one enters the Aspect Ratio office one gets an extremely positive vibe.  This feeling was reinforced when one of the team members told us that there has been 0% attrition in the last 24 months. Wow. We work with a lot of small and mid-sized companies and start-ups. It is not normal.

 

 

office-aspect-ratio-insideiim

 

Aspect Ratio is an unique company that marries real-life context with the magic of data analysis.  It is not about modelling or your excel skills. It is about your ability to imagine. Can you solve a real-world problem looking at limited information available ? Or when there is too much information available? What will you do with the Big data?

Shivram Apte, an IIM Ahmedabad Alumnus (Class of 1999) has built Aspect Ratio over the last decade and has helped numerous clients telling them things about their business that they didn’t even know existed. Anjan Pal, the COO of Aspect Ratio is a Carnegie Mellon alumnus and has worked for many years with Johnson & Johnson Medical in the past. The two make a formidable team and are taking Aspect Ratio places.

One of the other striking features is the cohesiveness of the team. The bonding is very visible. It didn’t look like anyone was making an effort. It was free flowing and that is hard to build.

 

 

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There are some very interesting people in Team Aspect Ratio and we asked a few of them what makes Aspect Ratio different. Let’s meet some of them :

“One of my close friends was working at Aspect Ratio and he strongly recommended that I apply. However, it was actually my interview experience that sealed it. It was those 2 hours with Shivram that convinced me that I really want to work with this organization.  I think it is the people that make Aspect ratio so different.

In a big organization, you are constantly operating at a low frustration level. If you want to be in a place where your efforts are valued, Aspect Ratio is a great place. I can pitch ideas and argue strongly for them even if my immediate supervisor does not like it. I get to do big stuff here and I really value that.”

 

 

mohit-sharma-insideiim-aspect ratio

 

Mohit Sharma, IIT Bombay and has worked with PwC in the past

“There was a very cool and energetic vibe when Shivram visited us on campus. I was hooked.

I value freedom of expression over anything else and that is what I get at Aspect Ratio. I can say whatever I think.  It is a young team and a very informal setting. This setting helps me learn from people with experience here.  For e.g.  Learning how to structure a call and an interaction with a client and other such simple but very important skills.

This job needs imagination and I rate that over any other skills that may be needed.”

 

 

ektaa-sharma-insideiim-aspect ratio

 

– Ektaa Sharma, MBA from Pune University

“In my previous job, every time I’d go with a new idea it would be shot down even though my manager would like it simply because the organizational framework would not allow it. The main thing that attracted me to Aspect Ratio was that it was a small team. There is a bigger upside when you join a promising company during its inception. I can enter the CEO’s office anytime to discuss my ideas. More importantly, I get to implement them. I can see revenue impact of my contribution and it is great feeling to see results of your efforts. If you have worked earlier you will really value operational freedom. You literally own projects here. We don’t have set processes here (which can be a problem at times!) and that makes it fun. I also appreciate the culture of transparency at Aspect Ratio”

 

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– ASger Ali Masalawala, IIT Bombay and worked with Cognizant in the past.

“The interview process hooked. It had interesting questions and puzzles. I think it a great profile for a fresh MBA grad.

I am 6 months old in the organisation but am an integral part of a very interesting project. I interact directly with the Global Marketing head of our client (A famous MNC name). I don’t think one gets to interact with senior people so soon in their career anywhere else. And yes, my opinions matter.”

 

priyanka-insideiim-aspectratio

 

– Priyanka Hirwani, MBA in Finance from Symbiosis Pune

“Shivram came to campus without a PPT. He just solved a small forecasting problem on the board. It was so different. The interview didn’t feel like one. The process made me confident that I want to join this company.

I am a fresher and an Analyst but I speak to clients directly. Moreover, the homework I do before every client interaction about the international market, the history, and the people is very satisfying”

 

supriya-insideiim-aspect-ratio

 

– Suprita Patil, MBA from Pune University

“It was the interview process that convinced me to join this company. There is responsibility on your shoulders as soon as you join and you can actually create impact. I interact with an entire country team. However, I must tell you that in such a set up you need to take initiative. There is no set learning procedure. This place allows you to do hands-on problem solving”

 

aditya-aspect-ratio-insideiim

 

– Aditya Singh Tomar, IIT Madras and worked with Synygy India in the past

“I was looking for a career switch and exploring some opportunities. It was the same time when I received a call from Anjan who wanted me to fly down to pune and have a conversation. I was interacting with clients as a part of my recruitment process which was quite unique. I immediately bought into the vision that Shivram and Anjan had for the company. In spite of having offers from some international e-commerce giants but still chose to work with Aspect Ratio.  I’m quite happy working with people who come with diverse competencies. Some people are good at analysis while some have in-depth industry knowledge.  We have close to 0% attrition rate for the last 2 years. I think you should join this company for the kind of projects we do. It is meaningful work and you will see direct impact. Also, you will like the culture.”

 

sushanth-aspect-ratio-insideiim

 

– Sushanth Boda, IIT Bombay and has worked with MarketRX in the past

If you think Aspect Ratio is the place for you, please apply here. Currently we are only looking for candidates with post-MBA work experience. Our offer for a PPI still stands for interesting solutions and approaches to the Case Study. It is NOT necessary to solve the case study to apply. (But, a good approach will definitely get you to the interview table without us looking at your resume till then.)

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Meet Marico’s Young Woman Leader – Roushni Agrawal – #The FMCGLife

Roushni Agrawal, MBA IIM Ahmedabad, is a Brand Manager at Marico, responsible for the hair oil brand, Hair & Care. In 2016, she was recognised by the Economic Times group as a Young Leader amongst the country’s professionals. In a short span of less than 2 years at Marico, she has kicked off some interesting new initiatives. We had a chat with her to gather a glimpse of her thoughts on her journey with Marico.

 

What are some of the new initiatives that you are spearheading at Marico?

At Marico, our endeavour is to make hair nourishment exciting for the millennial generation through youth-targeted brands such as Hair & Care.

With that as our long-term vision on the brand, we are challenging some of the existing category codes and conventions to make it more relevant to this TG. The disruption that we are looking to drive through this brand is both through an exciting product proposition, and an insight participating in the emergent cultural conversation of the millennial consumer.

 

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What does your typical day at Marico look like?

It tends to be quite varied really, which keeps it interesting for me. Part of the job is obviously to ensure that the execution of strategy is flawless. That requires keeping all the moving parts synchronised and communicating.

I like to meet with consumers directly. I think it is absolutely crucial for brand managers. Nothing like hearing it straight and simple from the consumers. Other than that, detailing our marketing campaigns, tracking the performance, analysing research data, ensuring that the strategy and implementation mirror each other. Keeping on your toes about it basically!

 

IMG_0012

 

You were chosen among a handful of professionals across India as an Economic Times Young Leader (ETYL). Tell us about your experience and why you think you made the final list.

Yes, so the Economic Times Group runs this program to encourage young professional leadership in the country. Being awarded this recognition is certainly both proud and humbling at the same time. 

I felt very encouraged, especially with the recognition of this award within Marico. The program was a great experience to hear from the business leaders of the country, but more importantly, a rare opportunity for me to share my thoughts with them and get their responses. I got to speak candidly with Harsh Mariwala (Chairman, Marico) and Saugata Gupta (MD & CEO, Marico) during the process. I also had a chance to interact with Noshir Kaka from McKinsey, and others during the felicitation ceremony.

I try to keep myself grounded about these things. I think it is a recognition of your potential, not your achievements. On my part, I intend to keep working to realise this potential. 

 

IMG_0061

 

What do you think makes IIM Ahmedabad one of India’s best b-schools today, after being around for so many decades? 

I believe there are mainly two aspects to this – the students and the faculty.

You learn so much from your peers over the course duration of two years. You grow personally and emotionally through the people around you. It’s a great mix of people and perspectives not just limited to the classroom but extending to the entire experience of living there. 

The faculty are industry stalwarts who teach you with a case study driven teaching methodology. I think that really makes all the difference. During a case study, you get a chance to put yourself in the shoes of business leaders who faced a challenge. It helps you learn about business, and also about your natural approach to business. When stuck in a real-life situation, you can actually revisit the relevant cases and their learnings.

 

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Lastly, please share one tip or success mantra for anyone considering a career in the FMCG sector or specifically in Marico.

I wouldn’t be able to give you a mantra specifically for FMCG or Marico. Follow your heart – that is one thing that I did when I chose Marketing. There is a lot of consumer understanding required to survive in marketing. It is what you are expected to decode as a marketer. If you feel strongly about it, you should go for it. Everything else can be developed!

 

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An IIM Kozhikode Alumnus’ Tryst With FMCG Sales – Marico – #TheFMCGLife

A FMCG Sales stint is often considered the foundation to become a future leader in the sector. We speak to Kunal Bhardwaj who has been into FMCG sales for over a decade, to give us his insight into the world of FMCG Sales. Kunal joined Marico in 2006 as a management trainee from IIM Kozhikode. From understanding the rural consumer and managing an acquisition to leading a company level sales transformation project, Kunal has done it all.

Tell us about the high points in your decade long FMCG Sales journey.

I always wanted to be in Sales. It helps that Marico empowers you with responsibilities early on in your career. During my first sales stint in Bihar, my supervisor and I came up with a new Go-To-Market model to reach rural consumers in Bihar, to combat the limitation of it being a media dark state. Under this model, we developed a project called ‘Project Vikas Daud’ which we prototyped in Bihar. It went on to be so successful that in the next one year it was rolled out all over the country! Moving on, when I was posted as an ASM in Bangalore, we came up with another project wherein the objective was to reduce the inventory stock at the distributor point.

The next big thing that I worked on was Post Acquisition Integration. Typically in a multinational company, such responsibilities are given to people who are very senior in the organization, but in my case, I was not just entrusted with the responsibility, but also given a lot of freedom to manage the transition.

 

How has Sales in FMCG changed over the last 10 years?

Earlier, sales used to be more about pushing stocks and pressurizing the retailers and wholesalers to sell more. Today, in the industry and especially in Marico, the biggest change is how technology is being used in sales. The entire sales tracking at a particular distributor point can be done at the click of a button. The salesman gets prompted on what order to pick up from the outlet based on its history and profile. Data and real-time communication form the basis of tactical inputs which are spent on the right channel for the right brand. Marico is at the forefront of this change. Earlier, Sales was considered to be a very physically demanding and not-so glamorous career choice. However, with changing times and the advent of technology & new channel such as Modern Trade and e-commerce, Sales too is changing its constitution as a function as it has become more scientific and analytical in its approach.

 

How does FMCG Sales and its strategies differ from region to region?

If you have done a stint in North, it would not necessarily mean you can fully leverage that experience in the other three regions. The kind of learning that one gets in terms of understanding the market and the consumer is significant. This is probably what makes FMCG sales even more exciting – your region of operation might change but the learning never stops. For example,  I am currently in the South, while East was where I started my career. In both the regions, the Go-To-Market is the same but the way both the markets operate and react is not the same. Markets in the east are not as high on overall development as markets in the south. East is less urbanized and more rural. Complexities differ from one zone to another and that’s the beauty of the FMCG sector.

1

As an ex-IIM Kozhikode Placement Committee member, how do you remember the placement season back in 2005-06?

Placement season gives you a first-hand experience of pressure, competitive intensity and stress. At that point in time, we were a relatively new IIM and the batch profile was high on work experience. These were by far the biggest challenges we faced as placement committee members. However, because of this unique batch profile where people with work experience were higher in number than the freshers, we were able to balance everyone out in terms of their profile fit and choice of companies.

 

Any experience that you particularly remember very fondly at Marico? What insights did you get?

The project that I did in Bihar helped me understand the nitty-gritty of business. We were facing a difficulty in reaching the end consumer in Bihar. It was a media dark state, especially in the rural areas. Normally, brands advertise themselves through traditional media vehicles like newspapers or TV.  However, this was not possible in rural Bihar. Electricity penetration and infrastructure being poor, coupled with high illiteracy made it immensely difficult for the brand to communicate to rural Bihar.

The idea was that if we are not able to reach the end consumers through media, perhaps we could reach out to them through the nearest retail outlet. We created a project around this theory, clearly refuting the Push-Pull business school learning, propagating that if you come up with an advertisement for a product it will create demand and the product will inevitably sell. We knew that the further we would reach and penetrate into the lower rung of the market, the greater would be the upswing in terms of growth. For me, this was the biggest learning on how to increase my direct reach to the end consumer in the most efficient manner. It is something which is still giving us results.

 

What would you tell an aspiring FMCG management trainee who is jittery about his rural sales stint?

Understanding Marico and the kind of structure its Management Trainee Program has, I don’t think rural sales stint is something that one should be apprehensive of. Yes, it is a tough task for people who have always lived in cities, but the fact is that this is where the consumption opportunity is and here’s where you will learn the most. For a trainee or a student who is aspiring for a CXO level position or wants to start his own business, it is important to know the ground reality well. This is the best and the only way to get a reality check. It will give you an accurate understanding of the Indian consumers’ psyche and insights into making your business grow despite all odds. For me, it is the physicality involved which is a challenge but the kind of knowledge that one can get is immense. It is an experience of a lifetime to be so close to the rural consumer.

 

 How important is leadership in the FMCG Sales domain? How does one hone this skill further?

In sales, you get to experience leadership at a very early stage. If you aim to be a leader in the long run, the exposure that FMCG Sales offers you is all-encompassing. It teaches you all that you need to know while running a business. A thought I always share with students whenever I get an opportunity to visit campuses is, it’s great to start your career with sales because of the kind of perspective that it helps you build. Post that, you can always look at building an operational expertise or work on developing your own business but nothing can substitute the contribution of a sales experience in building the foundation of a future leader.

 

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An IIM Bangalore Alum’s Journey With Marico – #TheFMCGLIfe

Eric Maisel, an American Psychotherapist, Author, Teacher and Coach once said, “We have enough experiences in a day to make art for a decade.”

What kind of experiences would a person have, who has worked with a company for over a decade? Well, they may or may not have the ability to turn their experiences into art, but surely their experiences elevate their work to the level of art. This week, we interview Avik Chatterjee who has been with Marico for over ten years.

Avik is an IIM Bangalore alumnus and currently working as a Group Product Head in Marico. This interview will give you a peek into everything you need to know about FMCG Life at Marico, covering his journey from Sales to Marketing and what all encompasses a transition from a Management Trainee to a Group Product Head in a span of ten years.

 

Avik photo4

 

Could you throw some light on the ‘Young Board’ (or the ‘Shadow Board’) – a unique initiative at Marico that you’re a part of?

The members of the young board give ideas to the actual board of the company with respect to two things. First, we work on ideas around new businesses that Marico could look at in the future. Second, we give inputs on how to enhance the culture at Marico – in terms of careers, challenging roles at work, experience with supervisors and everything which enhances the experience of working with Marico and making it a better place to work.  The whole idea stems from the fact that the board members are fairly senior and we, as shadow board members, being younger, can give a fresh perspective to both the issues at hand.

Largely, it is a cross-functional team of people that work together as a young board. So, for example, the board I’m a part of, has people from Manufacturing, R&D, Sales, International Business, etc. The idea is to have people with diverse experiences and expertise come together so that they bring different points of view to the table, resulting in ideas that are much richer.

It’s a new and creative way of working. Till date, what we’ve done is, we’ve given some ideas for new businesses and culture enhancement at Marico and prototyped these ideas. So, this is the value the organization derives from this concept. Once the ideas are prototyped, we figure out which of these work and finally scale them up. The Young Board is a small group of people who are actually empowered to bring about change through the kind of ideas they bring in and their ability to implement them.

 

In 2007 you joined Marico. 10 years later you lead Saffola Foods – one of Marico’s most recognizable food brands. How does it feel?

I joined Marico in 2007 and since then I have moved through two functions – first sales and now marketing. In marketing, I started off as a brand manager. In Marico, you are given responsibilities very early on. It may take you years to get the same opportunities in other organizations. Marico is structured to provide its members maximum growth professionally. I started handling the brand Saffola at an early stage in my career. Every stage is designed to challenge you and is an opportunity in itself. It, of course, comes with a lot of responsibilities but the best part is the freedom to take your own decisions, building and consolidating the brand and charting out how Marico should operate in the category in the future.

Avik Chatterjee-marico-insideiim

 

 

You cut your teeth in Sales before you switched to Marketing within Marico. How important is it for a brand manager to have sales experience? Do you think it has made you a better brand manager?

Even when I was interviewing on campus, I was very clear that I wanted to pursue sales and then move to marketing. The thing is that when you’re just getting out of a business school or any college, you don’t have a sense of how the business really operates. What sales does is, it lays it out there for you and helps you absorb the basics of the business. My sales experience at Marico holds a significant place in my professional journey as it helped me hone skills that I would later require during my stint as a brand manager. The work one does as a brand manager is also something that translates into business. If you don’t understand the basics of the business, you cannot plan or foresee upcoming trends as a brand manager. A sales stint helps you with these aspects and hence to become a better brand manager.

 

As per our data, an average b-school graduate switches and works in 3-4 organizations during a 10 year period. What made you stick with Marico for an entire decade?

Marico gives responsibilities to its members early on. At any point in your career at Marico, the role you would be given would be far richer in terms of responsibilities than what some of your peers in other organizations would be doing. The scope of the role that you have at Marico is far larger.  At an Indian multinational like Marico, the India business is the primary stakeholder in our brands, hence there are no brand guidelines or communication platforms handed over by a regional or global development center. The teams have a high level of autonomy and hence the responsibility to create and define brands, develop communication platforms from scratch and even roll them out through 360 degree campaign touch points.  The culture at Marico allows you to take your own decisions; you are encouraged to express your opinion to people, even those who are far more senior in the system. What this does is that it enhances the way you feel about yourself and your contribution to the company, the company’s growth and the brand that you are working on. All of this makes you feel like you are really valued in the whole setup. Also, since it is a highly meritocratic system, if you do well, you are bound to be recognized. As an organization, we are open, innovative & agile and a lot of the conceptualization and decision-making is inevitably done by people who are not so senior in the organization. This helps Marico move faster than companies that have a bureaucratic culture.

One instance that comes to my mind that highlights the dynamic nature of Marico is, when I started working on the brand, I realized that the environment had changed significantly. There was this whole advent of olive oil and other premier oils from various countries which compromised what people perceived and said about Saffola. I remember that in the first 3-6 months, there was an opportunity to work on the entire business communication strategy which Saffola had been following over the past 50 years. We launched new variants to counter the effects of the competition in the market. Making changes in something as important as a communication strategy, so rapidly, was a significant change and a remarkable thing. Such changes take years to happen in other organizations but at Marico, people are very responsive to change and as a young brand manager you’re allowed to facilitate such changes.  

 

Any message for the Class of 2017 graduating in a few months?

A lot of students these days know which sector they want to work in and the kind of work they’ll enjoy more, which I think is great. It’s very important to know what it is that you want and find a job that you really like, instead of just ‘going with the flow’. The first few years of work life are the best in terms of getting a varied exposure and figuring out whether you want to pursue a particular sector or company for a longer period of time.

Embrace diverse challenges. Make the most of these early days of your work life which are the foundations of a happy and fulfilling career.

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Eric Maisel, an American Psychotherapist, Author, Teacher and Coach once said, “We have enough experiences in a day to make art for a decade.”

What kind of experiences would a person have, who has worked with a company for over a decade? Well, they may or may not have the ability to turn their experiences into art, but surely their experiences elevate their work to the level of art. This week, we interview Avik Chatterjee who has been with Marico for over ten years.

Avik is an IIM Bangalore alumnus and currently working as a Group Product Head in Marico. This interview will give you a peek into everything you need to know about FMCG Life at Marico, covering his journey from Sales to Marketing and what all encompasses a transition from a Management Trainee to a Group Product Head in a span of ten years.

 

Avik photo4

 

Could you throw some light on the ‘Young Board’ (or the ‘Shadow Board’) – a unique initiative at Marico that you’re a part of?

The members of the young board give ideas to the actual board of the company with respect to two things. First, we work on ideas around new businesses that Marico could look at in the future. Second, we give inputs on how to enhance the culture at Marico – in terms of careers, challenging roles at work, experience with supervisors and everything which enhances the experience of working with Marico and making it a better place to work.  The whole idea stems from the fact that the board members are fairly senior and we, as shadow board members, being younger, can give a fresh perspective to both the issues at hand.

Largely, it is a cross-functional team of people that work together as a young board. So, for example, the board I’m a part of, has people from Manufacturing, R&D, Sales, International Business, etc. The idea is to have people with diverse experiences and expertise come together so that they bring different points of view to the table, resulting in ideas that are much richer.

It’s a new and creative way of working. Till date, what we’ve done is, we’ve given some ideas for new businesses and culture enhancement at Marico and prototyped these ideas. So, this is the value the organization derives from this concept. Once the ideas are prototyped, we figure out which of these work and finally scale them up. The Young Board is a small group of people who are actually empowered to bring about change through the kind of ideas they bring in and their ability to implement them.

 

In 2007 you joined Marico. 10 years later you lead Saffola Foods – one of Marico’s most recognizable food brands. How does it feel?

I joined Marico in 2007 and since then I have moved through two functions – first sales and now marketing. In marketing, I started off as a brand manager. In Marico, you are given responsibilities very early on. It may take you years to get the same opportunities in other organizations. Marico is structured to provide its members maximum growth professionally. I started handling the brand Saffola at an early stage in my career. Every stage is designed to challenge you and is an opportunity in itself. It, of course, comes with a lot of responsibilities but the best part is the freedom to take your own decisions, building and consolidating the brand and charting out how Marico should operate in the category in the future.

Avik Chatterjee-marico-insideiim

 

 

You cut your teeth in Sales before you switched to Marketing within Marico. How important is it for a brand manager to have sales experience? Do you think it has made you a better brand manager?

Even when I was interviewing on campus, I was very clear that I wanted to pursue sales and then move to marketing. The thing is that when you’re just getting out of a business school or any college, you don’t have a sense of how the business really operates. What sales does is, it lays it out there for you and helps you absorb the basics of the business. My sales experience at Marico holds a significant place in my professional journey as it helped me hone skills that I would later require during my stint as a brand manager. The work one does as a brand manager is also something that translates into business. If you don’t understand the basics of the business, you cannot plan or foresee upcoming trends as a brand manager. A sales stint helps you with these aspects and hence to become a better brand manager.

 

As per our data, an average b-school graduate switches and works in 3-4 organizations during a 10 year period. What made you stick with Marico for an entire decade?

Marico gives responsibilities to its members early on. At any point in your career at Marico, the role you would be given would be far richer in terms of responsibilities than what some of your peers in other organizations would be doing. The scope of the role that you have at Marico is far larger.  At an Indian multinational like Marico, the India business is the primary stakeholder in our brands, hence there are no brand guidelines or communication platforms handed over by a regional or global development center. The teams have a high level of autonomy and hence the responsibility to create and define brands, develop communication platforms from scratch and even roll them out through 360 degree campaign touch points.  The culture at Marico allows you to take your own decisions; you are encouraged to express your opinion to people, even those who are far more senior in the system. What this does is that it enhances the way you feel about yourself and your contribution to the company, the company’s growth and the brand that you are working on. All of this makes you feel like you are really valued in the whole setup. Also, since it is a highly meritocratic system, if you do well, you are bound to be recognized. As an organization, we are open, innovative & agile and a lot of the conceptualization and decision-making is inevitably done by people who are not so senior in the organization. This helps Marico move faster than companies that have a bureaucratic culture.

One instance that comes to my mind that highlights the dynamic nature of Marico is, when I started working on the brand, I realized that the environment had changed significantly. There was this whole advent of olive oil and other premier oils from various countries which compromised what people perceived and said about Saffola. I remember that in the first 3-6 months, there was an opportunity to work on the entire business communication strategy which Saffola had been following over the past 50 years. We launched new variants to counter the effects of the competition in the market. Making changes in something as important as a communication strategy, so rapidly, was a significant change and a remarkable thing. Such changes take years to happen in other organizations but at Marico, people are very responsive to change and as a young brand manager you’re allowed to facilitate such changes.  

 

Any message for the Class of 2017 graduating in a few months?

A lot of students these days know which sector they want to work in and the kind of work they’ll enjoy more, which I think is great. It’s very important to know what it is that you want and find a job that you really like, instead of just ‘going with the flow’. The first few years of work life are the best in terms of getting a varied exposure and figuring out whether you want to pursue a particular sector or company for a longer period of time.

Embrace diverse challenges. Make the most of these early days of your work life which are the foundations of a happy and fulfilling career.

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Eric Maisel, an American Psychotherapist, Author, Teacher and Coach once said, “We have enough experiences in a day to make art for a decade.”

What kind of experiences would a person have, who has worked with a company for over a decade? Well, they may or may not have the ability to turn their experiences into art, but surely their experiences elevate their work to the level of art. This week, we interview Avik Chatterjee who has been with Marico for over ten years.

Avik is an IIM Bangalore alumnus and currently working as a Group Product Head in Marico. This interview will give you a peek into everything you need to know about FMCG Life at Marico, covering his journey from Sales to Marketing and what all encompasses a transition from a Management Trainee to a Group Product Head in a span of ten years.

 

Avik photo4

 

Could you throw some light on the ‘Young Board’ (or the ‘Shadow Board’) – a unique initiative at Marico that you’re a part of?

The members of the young board give ideas to the actual board of the company with respect to two things. First, we work on ideas around new businesses that Marico could look at in the future. Second, we give inputs on how to enhance the culture at Marico – in terms of careers, challenging roles at work, experience with supervisors and everything which enhances the experience of working with Marico and making it a better place to work.  The whole idea stems from the fact that the board members are fairly senior and we, as shadow board members, being younger, can give a fresh perspective to both the issues at hand.

Largely, it is a cross-functional team of people that work together as a young board. So, for example, the board I’m a part of, has people from Manufacturing, R&D, Sales, International Business, etc. The idea is to have people with diverse experiences and expertise come together so that they bring different points of view to the table, resulting in ideas that are much richer.

It’s a new and creative way of working. Till date, what we’ve done is, we’ve given some ideas for new businesses and culture enhancement at Marico and prototyped these ideas. So, this is the value the organization derives from this concept. Once the ideas are prototyped, we figure out which of these work and finally scale them up. The Young Board is a small group of people who are actually empowered to bring about change through the kind of ideas they bring in and their ability to implement them.

 

In 2007 you joined Marico. 10 years later you lead Saffola Foods – one of Marico’s most recognizable food brands. How does it feel?

I joined Marico in 2007 and since then I have moved through two functions – first sales and now marketing. In marketing, I started off as a brand manager. In Marico, you are given responsibilities very early on. It may take you years to get the same opportunities in other organizations. Marico is structured to provide its members maximum growth professionally. I started handling the brand Saffola at an early stage in my career. Every stage is designed to challenge you and is an opportunity in itself. It, of course, comes with a lot of responsibilities but the best part is the freedom to take your own decisions, building and consolidating the brand and charting out how Marico should operate in the category in the future.

Avik Chatterjee-marico-insideiim

 

 

You cut your teeth in Sales before you switched to Marketing within Marico. How important is it for a brand manager to have sales experience? Do you think it has made you a better brand manager?

Even when I was interviewing on campus, I was very clear that I wanted to pursue sales and then move to marketing. The thing is that when you’re just getting out of a business school or any college, you don’t have a sense of how the business really operates. What sales does is, it lays it out there for you and helps you absorb the basics of the business. My sales experience at Marico holds a significant place in my professional journey as it helped me hone skills that I would later require during my stint as a brand manager. The work one does as a brand manager is also something that translates into business. If you don’t understand the basics of the business, you cannot plan or foresee upcoming trends as a brand manager. A sales stint helps you with these aspects and hence to become a better brand manager.

 

As per our data, an average b-school graduate switches and works in 3-4 organizations during a 10 year period. What made you stick with Marico for an entire decade?

Marico gives responsibilities to its members early on. At any point in your career at Marico, the role you would be given would be far richer in terms of responsibilities than what some of your peers in other organizations would be doing. The scope of the role that you have at Marico is far larger.  At an Indian multinational like Marico, the India business is the primary stakeholder in our brands, hence there are no brand guidelines or communication platforms handed over by a regional or global development center. The teams have a high level of autonomy and hence the responsibility to create and define brands, develop communication platforms from scratch and even roll them out through 360 degree campaign touch points.  The culture at Marico allows you to take your own decisions; you are encouraged to express your opinion to people, even those who are far more senior in the system. What this does is that it enhances the way you feel about yourself and your contribution to the company, the company’s growth and the brand that you are working on. All of this makes you feel like you are really valued in the whole setup. Also, since it is a highly meritocratic system, if you do well, you are bound to be recognized. As an organization, we are open, innovative & agile and a lot of the conceptualization and decision-making is inevitably done by people who are not so senior in the organization. This helps Marico move faster than companies that have a bureaucratic culture.

One instance that comes to my mind that highlights the dynamic nature of Marico is, when I started working on the brand, I realized that the environment had changed significantly. There was this whole advent of olive oil and other premier oils from various countries which compromised what people perceived and said about Saffola. I remember that in the first 3-6 months, there was an opportunity to work on the entire business communication strategy which Saffola had been following over the past 50 years. We launched new variants to counter the effects of the competition in the market. Making changes in something as important as a communication strategy, so rapidly, was a significant change and a remarkable thing. Such changes take years to happen in other organizations but at Marico, people are very responsive to change and as a young brand manager you’re allowed to facilitate such changes.  

 

Any message for the Class of 2017 graduating in a few months?

A lot of students these days know which sector they want to work in and the kind of work they’ll enjoy more, which I think is great. It’s very important to know what it is that you want and find a job that you really like, instead of just ‘going with the flow’. The first few years of work life are the best in terms of getting a varied exposure and figuring out whether you want to pursue a particular sector or company for a longer period of time.

Embrace diverse challenges. Make the most of these early days of your work life which are the foundations of a happy and fulfilling career.

Marico - Make a difference unit FINAL

Profile gravatar of InsideIIM Career Services

InsideIIM Career Services

Message Author


Message Author

Eric Maisel, an American Psychotherapist, Author, Teacher and Coach once said, “We have enough experiences in a day to make art for a decade.”

What kind of experiences would a person have, who has worked with a company for over a decade? Well, they may or may not have the ability to turn their experiences into art, but surely their experiences elevate their work to the level of art. This week, we interview Avik Chatterjee who has been with Marico for over ten years.

Avik is an IIM Bangalore alumnus and currently working as a Group Product Head in Marico. This interview will give you a peek into everything you need to know about FMCG Life at Marico, covering his journey from Sales to Marketing and what all encompasses a transition from a Management Trainee to a Group Product Head in a span of ten years.

 

Avik photo4

 

Could you throw some light on the ‘Young Board’ (or the ‘Shadow Board’) – a unique initiative at Marico that you’re a part of?

The members of the young board give ideas to the actual board of the company with respect to two things. First, we work on ideas around new businesses that Marico could look at in the future. Second, we give inputs on how to enhance the culture at Marico – in terms of careers, challenging roles at work, experience with supervisors and everything which enhances the experience of working with Marico and making it a better place to work.  The whole idea stems from the fact that the board members are fairly senior and we, as shadow board members, being younger, can give a fresh perspective to both the issues at hand.

Largely, it is a cross-functional team of people that work together as a young board. So, for example, the board I’m a part of, has people from Manufacturing, R&D, Sales, International Business, etc. The idea is to have people with diverse experiences and expertise come together so that they bring different points of view to the table, resulting in ideas that are much richer.

It’s a new and creative way of working. Till date, what we’ve done is, we’ve given some ideas for new businesses and culture enhancement at Marico and prototyped these ideas. So, this is the value the organization derives from this concept. Once the ideas are prototyped, we figure out which of these work and finally scale them up. The Young Board is a small group of people who are actually empowered to bring about change through the kind of ideas they bring in and their ability to implement them.

 

In 2007 you joined Marico. 10 years later you lead Saffola Foods – one of Marico’s most recognizable food brands. How does it feel?

I joined Marico in 2007 and since then I have moved through two functions – first sales and now marketing. In marketing, I started off as a brand manager. In Marico, you are given responsibilities very early on. It may take you years to get the same opportunities in other organizations. Marico is structured to provide its members maximum growth professionally. I started handling the brand Saffola at an early stage in my career. Every stage is designed to challenge you and is an opportunity in itself. It, of course, comes with a lot of responsibilities but the best part is the freedom to take your own decisions, building and consolidating the brand and charting out how Marico should operate in the category in the future.

Avik Chatterjee-marico-insideiim

 

 

You cut your teeth in Sales before you switched to Marketing within Marico. How important is it for a brand manager to have sales experience? Do you think it has made you a better brand manager?

Even when I was interviewing on campus, I was very clear that I wanted to pursue sales and then move to marketing. The thing is that when you’re just getting out of a business school or any college, you don’t have a sense of how the business really operates. What sales does is, it lays it out there for you and helps you absorb the basics of the business. My sales experience at Marico holds a significant place in my professional journey as it helped me hone skills that I would later require during my stint as a brand manager. The work one does as a brand manager is also something that translates into business. If you don’t understand the basics of the business, you cannot plan or foresee upcoming trends as a brand manager. A sales stint helps you with these aspects and hence to become a better brand manager.

 

As per our data, an average b-school graduate switches and works in 3-4 organizations during a 10 year period. What made you stick with Marico for an entire decade?

Marico gives responsibilities to its members early on. At any point in your career at Marico, the role you would be given would be far richer in terms of responsibilities than what some of your peers in other organizations would be doing. The scope of the role that you have at Marico is far larger.  At an Indian multinational like Marico, the India business is the primary stakeholder in our brands, hence there are no brand guidelines or communication platforms handed over by a regional or global development center. The teams have a high level of autonomy and hence the responsibility to create and define brands, develop communication platforms from scratch and even roll them out through 360 degree campaign touch points.  The culture at Marico allows you to take your own decisions; you are encouraged to express your opinion to people, even those who are far more senior in the system. What this does is that it enhances the way you feel about yourself and your contribution to the company, the company’s growth and the brand that you are working on. All of this makes you feel like you are really valued in the whole setup. Also, since it is a highly meritocratic system, if you do well, you are bound to be recognized. As an organization, we are open, innovative & agile and a lot of the conceptualization and decision-making is inevitably done by people who are not so senior in the organization. This helps Marico move faster than companies that have a bureaucratic culture.

One instance that comes to my mind that highlights the dynamic nature of Marico is, when I started working on the brand, I realized that the environment had changed significantly. There was this whole advent of olive oil and other premier oils from various countries which compromised what people perceived and said about Saffola. I remember that in the first 3-6 months, there was an opportunity to work on the entire business communication strategy which Saffola had been following over the past 50 years. We launched new variants to counter the effects of the competition in the market. Making changes in something as important as a communication strategy, so rapidly, was a significant change and a remarkable thing. Such changes take years to happen in other organizations but at Marico, people are very responsive to change and as a young brand manager you’re allowed to facilitate such changes.  

 

Any message for the Class of 2017 graduating in a few months?

A lot of students these days know which sector they want to work in and the kind of work they’ll enjoy more, which I think is great. It’s very important to know what it is that you want and find a job that you really like, instead of just ‘going with the flow’. The first few years of work life are the best in terms of getting a varied exposure and figuring out whether you want to pursue a particular sector or company for a longer period of time.

Embrace diverse challenges. Make the most of these early days of your work life which are the foundations of a happy and fulfilling career.

Marico - Make a difference unit FINAL

Profile gravatar of InsideIIM Career Services

InsideIIM Career Services

Message Author


Message Author

Eric Maisel, an American Psychotherapist, Author, Teacher and Coach once said, “We have enough experiences in a day to make art for a decade.”

What kind of experiences would a person have, who has worked with a company for over a decade? Well, they may or may not have the ability to turn their experiences into art, but surely their experiences elevate their work to the level of art. This week, we interview Avik Chatterjee who has been with Marico for over ten years.

Avik is an IIM Bangalore alumnus and currently working as a Group Product Head in Marico. This interview will give you a peek into everything you need to know about FMCG Life at Marico, covering his journey from Sales to Marketing and what all encompasses a transition from a Management Trainee to a Group Product Head in a span of ten years.

 

Avik photo4

 

Could you throw some light on the ‘Young Board’ (or the ‘Shadow Board’) – a unique initiative at Marico that you’re a part of?

The members of the young board give ideas to the actual board of the company with respect to two things. First, we work on ideas around new businesses that Marico could look at in the future. Second, we give inputs on how to enhance the culture at Marico – in terms of careers, challenging roles at work, experience with supervisors and everything which enhances the experience of working with Marico and making it a better place to work.  The whole idea stems from the fact that the board members are fairly senior and we, as shadow board members, being younger, can give a fresh perspective to both the issues at hand.

Largely, it is a cross-functional team of people that work together as a young board. So, for example, the board I’m a part of, has people from Manufacturing, R&D, Sales, International Business, etc. The idea is to have people with diverse experiences and expertise come together so that they bring different points of view to the table, resulting in ideas that are much richer.

It’s a new and creative way of working. Till date, what we’ve done is, we’ve given some ideas for new businesses and culture enhancement at Marico and prototyped these ideas. So, this is the value the organization derives from this concept. Once the ideas are prototyped, we figure out which of these work and finally scale them up. The Young Board is a small group of people who are actually empowered to bring about change through the kind of ideas they bring in and their ability to implement them.

 

In 2007 you joined Marico. 10 years later you lead Saffola Foods – one of Marico’s most recognizable food brands. How does it feel?

I joined Marico in 2007 and since then I have moved through two functions – first sales and now marketing. In marketing, I started off as a brand manager. In Marico, you are given responsibilities very early on. It may take you years to get the same opportunities in other organizations. Marico is structured to provide its members maximum growth professionally. I started handling the brand Saffola at an early stage in my career. Every stage is designed to challenge you and is an opportunity in itself. It, of course, comes with a lot of responsibilities but the best part is the freedom to take your own decisions, building and consolidating the brand and charting out how Marico should operate in the category in the future.

Avik Chatterjee-marico-insideiim

 

 

You cut your teeth in Sales before you switched to Marketing within Marico. How important is it for a brand manager to have sales experience? Do you think it has made you a better brand manager?

Even when I was interviewing on campus, I was very clear that I wanted to pursue sales and then move to marketing. The thing is that when you’re just getting out of a business school or any college, you don’t have a sense of how the business really operates. What sales does is, it lays it out there for you and helps you absorb the basics of the business. My sales experience at Marico holds a significant place in my professional journey as it helped me hone skills that I would later require during my stint as a brand manager. The work one does as a brand manager is also something that translates into business. If you don’t understand the basics of the business, you cannot plan or foresee upcoming trends as a brand manager. A sales stint helps you with these aspects and hence to become a better brand manager.

 

As per our data, an average b-school graduate switches and works in 3-4 organizations during a 10 year period. What made you stick with Marico for an entire decade?

Marico gives responsibilities to its members early on. At any point in your career at Marico, the role you would be given would be far richer in terms of responsibilities than what some of your peers in other organizations would be doing. The scope of the role that you have at Marico is far larger.  At an Indian multinational like Marico, the India business is the primary stakeholder in our brands, hence there are no brand guidelines or communication platforms handed over by a regional or global development center. The teams have a high level of autonomy and hence the responsibility to create and define brands, develop communication platforms from scratch and even roll them out through 360 degree campaign touch points.  The culture at Marico allows you to take your own decisions; you are encouraged to express your opinion to people, even those who are far more senior in the system. What this does is that it enhances the way you feel about yourself and your contribution to the company, the company’s growth and the brand that you are working on. All of this makes you feel like you are really valued in the whole setup. Also, since it is a highly meritocratic system, if you do well, you are bound to be recognized. As an organization, we are open, innovative & agile and a lot of the conceptualization and decision-making is inevitably done by people who are not so senior in the organization. This helps Marico move faster than companies that have a bureaucratic culture.

One instance that comes to my mind that highlights the dynamic nature of Marico is, when I started working on the brand, I realized that the environment had changed significantly. There was this whole advent of olive oil and other premier oils from various countries which compromised what people perceived and said about Saffola. I remember that in the first 3-6 months, there was an opportunity to work on the entire business communication strategy which Saffola had been following over the past 50 years. We launched new variants to counter the effects of the competition in the market. Making changes in something as important as a communication strategy, so rapidly, was a significant change and a remarkable thing. Such changes take years to happen in other organizations but at Marico, people are very responsive to change and as a young brand manager you’re allowed to facilitate such changes.  

 

Any message for the Class of 2017 graduating in a few months?

A lot of students these days know which sector they want to work in and the kind of work they’ll enjoy more, which I think is great. It’s very important to know what it is that you want and find a job that you really like, instead of just ‘going with the flow’. The first few years of work life are the best in terms of getting a varied exposure and figuring out whether you want to pursue a particular sector or company for a longer period of time.

Embrace diverse challenges. Make the most of these early days of your work life which are the foundations of a happy and fulfilling career.

Marico - Make a difference unit FINAL

Profile gravatar of InsideIIM Career Services

InsideIIM Career Services

Message Author


Message Author

Eric Maisel, an American Psychotherapist, Author, Teacher and Coach once said, “We have enough experiences in a day to make art for a decade.”

What kind of experiences would a person have, who has worked with a company for over a decade? Well, they may or may not have the ability to turn their experiences into art, but surely their experiences elevate their work to the level of art. This week, we interview Avik Chatterjee who has been with Marico for over ten years.

Avik is an IIM Bangalore alumnus and currently working as a Group Product Head in Marico. This interview will give you a peek into everything you need to know about FMCG Life at Marico, covering his journey from Sales to Marketing and what all encompasses a transition from a Management Trainee to a Group Product Head in a span of ten years.

 

Avik photo4

 

Could you throw some light on the ‘Young Board’ (or the ‘Shadow Board’) – a unique initiative at Marico that you’re a part of?

The members of the young board give ideas to the actual board of the company with respect to two things. First, we work on ideas around new businesses that Marico could look at in the future. Second, we give inputs on how to enhance the culture at Marico – in terms of careers, challenging roles at work, experience with supervisors and everything which enhances the experience of working with Marico and making it a better place to work.  The whole idea stems from the fact that the board members are fairly senior and we, as shadow board members, being younger, can give a fresh perspective to both the issues at hand.

Largely, it is a cross-functional team of people that work together as a young board. So, for example, the board I’m a part of, has people from Manufacturing, R&D, Sales, International Business, etc. The idea is to have people with diverse experiences and expertise come together so that they bring different points of view to the table, resulting in ideas that are much richer.

It’s a new and creative way of working. Till date, what we’ve done is, we’ve given some ideas for new businesses and culture enhancement at Marico and prototyped these ideas. So, this is the value the organization derives from this concept. Once the ideas are prototyped, we figure out which of these work and finally scale them up. The Young Board is a small group of people who are actually empowered to bring about change through the kind of ideas they bring in and their ability to implement them.

 

In 2007 you joined Marico. 10 years later you lead Saffola Foods – one of Marico’s most recognizable food brands. How does it feel?

I joined Marico in 2007 and since then I have moved through two functions – first sales and now marketing. In marketing, I started off as a brand manager. In Marico, you are given responsibilities very early on. It may take you years to get the same opportunities in other organizations. Marico is structured to provide its members maximum growth professionally. I started handling the brand Saffola at an early stage in my career. Every stage is designed to challenge you and is an opportunity in itself. It, of course, comes with a lot of responsibilities but the best part is the freedom to take your own decisions, building and consolidating the brand and charting out how Marico should operate in the category in the future.

Avik Chatterjee-marico-insideiim

 

 

You cut your teeth in Sales before you switched to Marketing within Marico. How important is it for a brand manager to have sales experience? Do you think it has made you a better brand manager?

Even when I was interviewing on campus, I was very clear that I wanted to pursue sales and then move to marketing. The thing is that when you’re just getting out of a business school or any college, you don’t have a sense of how the business really operates. What sales does is, it lays it out there for you and helps you absorb the basics of the business. My sales experience at Marico holds a significant place in my professional journey as it helped me hone skills that I would later require during my stint as a brand manager. The work one does as a brand manager is also something that translates into business. If you don’t understand the basics of the business, you cannot plan or foresee upcoming trends as a brand manager. A sales stint helps you with these aspects and hence to become a better brand manager.

 

As per our data, an average b-school graduate switches and works in 3-4 organizations during a 10 year period. What made you stick with Marico for an entire decade?

Marico gives responsibilities to its members early on. At any point in your career at Marico, the role you would be given would be far richer in terms of responsibilities than what some of your peers in other organizations would be doing. The scope of the role that you have at Marico is far larger.  At an Indian multinational like Marico, the India business is the primary stakeholder in our brands, hence there are no brand guidelines or communication platforms handed over by a regional or global development center. The teams have a high level of autonomy and hence the responsibility to create and define brands, develop communication platforms from scratch and even roll them out through 360 degree campaign touch points.  The culture at Marico allows you to take your own decisions; you are encouraged to express your opinion to people, even those who are far more senior in the system. What this does is that it enhances the way you feel about yourself and your contribution to the company, the company’s growth and the brand that you are working on. All of this makes you feel like you are really valued in the whole setup. Also, since it is a highly meritocratic system, if you do well, you are bound to be recognized. As an organization, we are open, innovative & agile and a lot of the conceptualization and decision-making is inevitably done by people who are not so senior in the organization. This helps Marico move faster than companies that have a bureaucratic culture.

One instance that comes to my mind that highlights the dynamic nature of Marico is, when I started working on the brand, I realized that the environment had changed significantly. There was this whole advent of olive oil and other premier oils from various countries which compromised what people perceived and said about Saffola. I remember that in the first 3-6 months, there was an opportunity to work on the entire business communication strategy which Saffola had been following over the past 50 years. We launched new variants to counter the effects of the competition in the market. Making changes in something as important as a communication strategy, so rapidly, was a significant change and a remarkable thing. Such changes take years to happen in other organizations but at Marico, people are very responsive to change and as a young brand manager you’re allowed to facilitate such changes.  

 

Any message for the Class of 2017 graduating in a few months?

A lot of students these days know which sector they want to work in and the kind of work they’ll enjoy more, which I think is great. It’s very important to know what it is that you want and find a job that you really like, instead of just ‘going with the flow’. The first few years of work life are the best in terms of getting a varied exposure and figuring out whether you want to pursue a particular sector or company for a longer period of time.

Embrace diverse challenges. Make the most of these early days of your work life which are the foundations of a happy and fulfilling career.

Marico - Make a difference unit FINAL

Profile gravatar of InsideIIM Career Services

InsideIIM Career Services

Message Author


Message Author

Eric Maisel, an American Psychotherapist, Author, Teacher and Coach once said, “We have enough experiences in a day to make art for a decade.”

What kind of experiences would a person have, who has worked with a company for over a decade? Well, they may or may not have the ability to turn their experiences into art, but surely their experiences elevate their work to the level of art. This week, we interview Avik Chatterjee who has been with Marico for over ten years.

Avik is an IIM Bangalore alumnus and currently working as a Group Product Head in Marico. This interview will give you a peek into everything you need to know about FMCG Life at Marico, covering his journey from Sales to Marketing and what all encompasses a transition from a Management Trainee to a Group Product Head in a span of ten years.

 

Avik photo4

 

Could you throw some light on the ‘Young Board’ (or the ‘Shadow Board’) – a unique initiative at Marico that you’re a part of?

The members of the young board give ideas to the actual board of the company with respect to two things. First, we work on ideas around new businesses that Marico could look at in the future. Second, we give inputs on how to enhance the culture at Marico – in terms of careers, challenging roles at work, experience with supervisors and everything which enhances the experience of working with Marico and making it a better place to work.  The whole idea stems from the fact that the board members are fairly senior and we, as shadow board members, being younger, can give a fresh perspective to both the issues at hand.

Largely, it is a cross-functional team of people that work together as a young board. So, for example, the board I’m a part of, has people from Manufacturing, R&D, Sales, International Business, etc. The idea is to have people with diverse experiences and expertise come together so that they bring different points of view to the table, resulting in ideas that are much richer.

It’s a new and creative way of working. Till date, what we’ve done is, we’ve given some ideas for new businesses and culture enhancement at Marico and prototyped these ideas. So, this is the value the organization derives from this concept. Once the ideas are prototyped, we figure out which of these work and finally scale them up. The Young Board is a small group of people who are actually empowered to bring about change through the kind of ideas they bring in and their ability to implement them.

 

In 2007 you joined Marico. 10 years later you lead Saffola Foods – one of Marico’s most recognizable food brands. How does it feel?

I joined Marico in 2007 and since then I have moved through two functions – first sales and now marketing. In marketing, I started off as a brand manager. In Marico, you are given responsibilities very early on. It may take you years to get the same opportunities in other organizations. Marico is structured to provide its members maximum growth professionally. I started handling the brand Saffola at an early stage in my career. Every stage is designed to challenge you and is an opportunity in itself. It, of course, comes with a lot of responsibilities but the best part is the freedom to take your own decisions, building and consolidating the brand and charting out how Marico should operate in the category in the future.

Avik Chatterjee-marico-insideiim

 

 

You cut your teeth in Sales before you switched to Marketing within Marico. How important is it for a brand manager to have sales experience? Do you think it has made you a better brand manager?

Even when I was interviewing on campus, I was very clear that I wanted to pursue sales and then move to marketing. The thing is that when you’re just getting out of a business school or any college, you don’t have a sense of how the business really operates. What sales does is, it lays it out there for you and helps you absorb the basics of the business. My sales experience at Marico holds a significant place in my professional journey as it helped me hone skills that I would later require during my stint as a brand manager. The work one does as a brand manager is also something that translates into business. If you don’t understand the basics of the business, you cannot plan or foresee upcoming trends as a brand manager. A sales stint helps you with these aspects and hence to become a better brand manager.

 

As per our data, an average b-school graduate switches and works in 3-4 organizations during a 10 year period. What made you stick with Marico for an entire decade?

Marico gives responsibilities to its members early on. At any point in your career at Marico, the role you would be given would be far richer in terms of responsibilities than what some of your peers in other organizations would be doing. The scope of the role that you have at Marico is far larger.  At an Indian multinational like Marico, the India business is the primary stakeholder in our brands, hence there are no brand guidelines or communication platforms handed over by a regional or global development center. The teams have a high level of autonomy and hence the responsibility to create and define brands, develop communication platforms from scratch and even roll them out through 360 degree campaign touch points.  The culture at Marico allows you to take your own decisions; you are encouraged to express your opinion to people, even those who are far more senior in the system. What this does is that it enhances the way you feel about yourself and your contribution to the company, the company’s growth and the brand that you are working on. All of this makes you feel like you are really valued in the whole setup. Also, since it is a highly meritocratic system, if you do well, you are bound to be recognized. As an organization, we are open, innovative & agile and a lot of the conceptualization and decision-making is inevitably done by people who are not so senior in the organization. This helps Marico move faster than companies that have a bureaucratic culture.

One instance that comes to my mind that highlights the dynamic nature of Marico is, when I started working on the brand, I realized that the environment had changed significantly. There was this whole advent of olive oil and other premier oils from various countries which compromised what people perceived and said about Saffola. I remember that in the first 3-6 months, there was an opportunity to work on the entire business communication strategy which Saffola had been following over the past 50 years. We launched new variants to counter the effects of the competition in the market. Making changes in something as important as a communication strategy, so rapidly, was a significant change and a remarkable thing. Such changes take years to happen in other organizations but at Marico, people are very responsive to change and as a young brand manager you’re allowed to facilitate such changes.  

 

Any message for the Class of 2017 graduating in a few months?

A lot of students these days know which sector they want to work in and the kind of work they’ll enjoy more, which I think is great. It’s very important to know what it is that you want and find a job that you really like, instead of just ‘going with the flow’. The first few years of work life are the best in terms of getting a varied exposure and figuring out whether you want to pursue a particular sector or company for a longer period of time.

Embrace diverse challenges. Make the most of these early days of your work life which are the foundations of a happy and fulfilling career.

Marico - Make a difference unit FINAL

Profile gravatar of InsideIIM Career Services

InsideIIM Career Services

Message Author