FMS Delhi, ‘The Marketing Campus’ of the country every year sees students enter with dreams of pursuing a career in a top FMCGs and in the summers of 2019 I was one of them. From the day I started preparing for CAT, I had dreamt of the opportunities that this building could offer me and now the career in Sales & Marketing that I had been working towards was a real possibility. By the end of the summer process, I was satisfied that I had cracked TAS, but the thought of having only 1 FMCG shortlist would keep doing rounds in the back of my mind.
My summer experience with TATA CLiQ was both enriching and eventful. I felt lucky to be a part of a journey that has a history as strong as the TATA Group, had access to amazing mentors, a project through which I could learn and contribute and made some good friends that I still have weekly catch ups with. However, I lost out on a PPO which is never easy to overcome. On the brighter side, I now had a second and probably my last chance at an S&M career in FMCG. The memory of not having a CV good enough for an FMCG shortlist was still looming large and I knew I had to address it to give myself any real chance to crack that role.
I went back to the drawing board and looked at my CV. I concluded that I had to work on adding marketing relevance and hoped that a few corporate competitions will add the missing gloss to my CV. I cleared the entrance test in Kraftshala for a 3-month IndustryCREDs certification in marketing. It not only aided my understanding of marketing as a domain but also offered me a chance to work on a live project with Hershey’s.
By the time Reckitt Global Challenge came around, I had secured campus podium finishes in Asian Paints CANVAS and Amazon ACE and felt confident about my chances. Inspired by the entrepreneurial freedom which comes with the Reckitt Global Challenge we found the courage to ignore an easier choice of incremental changes and decided to conceptualize a product from scratch. What came out was a bold idea of an FMCG offering for Mortein’s portfolio.
We spent weeks understanding the science, the feasibility and trying to work out an SOP for the product, market expectations, TGs, communication, launch strategy and a five-year plan. We studied similar markets in developed economies and applied our learnings to the Indian context. I can only look back at the immense learning we had not only as individuals but also as a team.
As expected, we had a lot of questions from the jury as they tried to understand our viewpoint from different business angles, and even though we didn’t win the campus round, our team got wildcard PPIs. My Reckitt Global Challenge dream had ended but my dream of a career in a top FMCG found fresh life in the form of Reckitt. A big shout out to my team members Arshdeep and Devika without whom I would have never had this opportunity. Finally on 8th January 2021, after 2 rounds of interviews, I received a PPO from Reckitt.
While different things work for different people, I believe revisiting my CV and planning for improvements over a 5-month time frame helped me not just prepare a better CV but also approach the interviews with newfound clarity. I highly advise sitting down with your CV for a week, have it looked at by peers, seniors or anyone whose opinion you value, work over it in terms of substance and learning and you will feel more confident cracking any PPI or interview for the matter of fact.
As for Global Challenge, I advise against waiting for the competition to launch. Go ahead and participate to win in any competition that precedes it and try to win it. The learning curve is immense, you understand what you bring to the table in any team, your solution starts reflecting real-life solutions and practical structures which are highly valued in the Reckitt Global Challenge and your nerves are better prepared for a Q&A.