Management Trainee programs are by far the most tailor-made jobs, especially for MBA freshers. There might be quite a few companies on campus which offer MT roles, but naturally, the quality of the program varies due to the resources at the organizations’ disposal and its growth stage. The main identifiable markers of most MT Programs are:
• Duration of about a year
• Exposure to different parts of the business model
• Training- on the job and classroom
• A network of MTs in which the top management hopes to vest the organizations’ future
• Assigned mentors for professional guidance
To give you a more specific understanding, the following is some information gathered from the present Management Trainees in the following companies in 2019:
1. VIP Leadership Program
Duration: 1 year
Program plan: 10 days at Head Office in Mumbai where the top management of every brand (Aristocrat, Caprese, Skybags etc.), channels ( Retail trade, modern trade, general trade, e-commerce etc.) and operations(warehousing) of the oldest luggage company in the country gave a presentation about their specific areas. This included sessions with HR about the compensation breakup, IT regarding systems, and merchandising along with distribution of welcome kits. At regular intervals, there were discussions to drive in the understanding of the sessions as well as to garner feedback from fresh perspectives. This was followed by a session with the CEO, Mr. Sudip Ghose and a welcome party with senior Management Trainee batches.
Field visits and Final Role: Two stints spread over two months were planned based on the MTs location preference (as much as possible). One was a sales stint with a channel and one was a marketing stint with a brand. Finally, based on the presentations by the MTs, feedback, cadre of the candidates’ institution and experience, roles for 7-8 months and hereafter were decided. As is commonplace for MTs, the targets are generally soft for the first three months of joining to allow the candidate to fully grasp the role.
2. SHELL Graduate Program
Duration: 36 months
Program Plan: First week of orientation at the Shell Campus, Bangalore where the candidate is allotted projects and teams based on their institutions or areas of expertise such as Chemical, IT, etc. 18 months are spent In a particular project and after the first report and review, the candidate can choose the role and project they want.
Outbound Training: Every GP employee is sent to Shell Life, an exclusive classroom training conducted in Malaysia, Netherlands, China and Hong Kong. Apart from having the experience of a lifetime in an overseas environment, the week-long activity-based learning enables the students to understand the value chain of Shell as well as its guiding principles such as diversity and safety.
It's not surprising that Shell places due focus on networking between the GP employees, given that the CEO, Mr. Ben van Beurden and CFO Ms. Jessica Uhl both joined Shell as GP employees. A forum specifically for Shell GP employees called IT Connect has been set up, to enable them to stay connected for the period of the program. A catalyst is provided by way of numerous initiatives, such as GTKY (Get To Know Your) Senior/Colleague etc. The GP employees also are presented with ample opportunities to interact with the top management, (both Indian and Global) in ways most other employees do not.
The intent is that by investing so much time and resources on each GP employee as well as having both a buddy and guide to guide them when need be, the employee stays with the company to get to the senior management level.
3. TAFE Management Trainee Program
Duration: 1 year (or less, depending on the project)
Program Plan: The first month of orientation and classroom training is conducted on the TAFE campus in Chennai. The MTs had a chance to meet top management and have an in-depth knowledge of the product.
Field Visits and Final Role: The MTs were sent to different parts of rural India where TAFE has a substantial clientele for a month as an immersion program to observe on the fields, experience customer engagement and this year, even witnessed a marketing campaign with the Brand Ambassador, Actor Akshay Kumar. Post this stint, the MTs returned to the HO in Chennai to have a 3 day meeting with heads of different verticals to decide on their initial projects. Based on the type of project, for instance, MIS related ones either stayed back at HO in Chennai, while product or operations roles went to fields. The objective and the areas of responsibility is made clear before leaving for the project since it is unviable to shadow a manager full time, however, the reporting manager helps in the ad hoc support needed to complete the project. The duration varies from project to project i.e between 4 to eight months and post its completion, a final role is picked after mutual considerations.
4. Ujjivan Small Finance Bank Management Trainee Program
Duration: 18 months
Program Plan: The first 18 days of training in the different functions of the small finance bank takes place in HQ, Bangalore. All the heads of different verticals came to explain the business model including the CEO, Mr. Samit Ghosh and COO, Mr. Jaya Janardanan.
Field Visits and Final Role: Branch visits were conducted to rural areas or suburbs in cities where people of very modest means resided to understand customer interactions and customer needs on the field. Additionally, to encourage the initiative to speak with customers, team activities were planned. One of them was the activity of allotting a budget of buying anything for Rs. 1000 and selling all the inventory by the end of the day so that the rural markets buyer behaviour is understood. About 160 MTs were hired this year but the number will most likely be slightly more muted the following year. There is an understanding given about how the rural customers are made aware of the facilities offered, and loans are disbursed at the customer's residence with very low turnaround time. Depending on which department you’re placed in, you could have small workshops by the particular team on an ad hoc basis. Roles are decided based on the managements understanding of the candidate's skill sets and profiles.
Generally speaking, the Management Trainee programs tend to give you a cushion to take your time to understand how things work before you're expected to deliver results. This means you have a tendency from early in your career to not be myopic in your job approach. Additionally, should you choose to switch out of the organisation, your candidature is generally seen slightly more favourably since you are a well rounded professional.