We took the opportunity to interact with our alumni who are currently working at Aditya Birla Group, to get inspired from their side of the stories. We took interviews of people who are at managerial positions within the organization. This initiative helped us to understand their journey and how they have tackled various situations in their career.
Mr. Anant Saboo, Manager, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd, SCMHRD Batch of 2017.
We connected with our alumnus, Mr. Anant Saboo, who is from the batch of 2017. He is currently working as Manager at Aditya Birla Fashion Retail. He started as Leadership associate under the ABGLP 2017-2018. Then he moved into a managerial position at ABFRL in 2018. The following is the interview of their journey at Aditya Birla Group.
Interviewer- How has your journey in SCMHRD prepared you for the corporate world?
Anant - Ok, so to begin with, SCMHRD is one of those B-schools that believes in case-based methodologies. In addition, we had many visiting faculties who taught us a variety of subjects, which was really based on solving cases. That is something that you are expected (to do) once you have graduated from a B-school and have entered the corporate world. You’ll come across ‘n’ number of cases, each with its own problems, issues, intricacies and you’ll have to navigate your career through. And ensure that the result is something that is both cherishable for you, as well as the organization for which you are working. So, in that sense, yes, the case-based approach that we have at our B-school really worked well for me in preparing us for the corporate journey ahead.
Interviewer - Okay, and so, would you suggest any particular skill for the students that they should pick up during their MBA so that they can excel in the corporate world?
Anant - Specific set of skills, no. However, there are certain things that are generally expected out of the young talent that comes out of top B-schools and that is something that students from our B-school, should have too. On top of that, having the right attitude towards projects that you are given – whatever they may be. There might be people who may not be open to a certain project or a certain type of project – this will hinder their ability to complete the work successfully. Young graduates would be better served by picking up each and every opportunity they are presented with, with open arms. Therefore, that is something that you have to do. Having a closed mind is something I would advise no one to do. And, that is pretty much about it. This is a basic thing that will help you in the corporate world.
Interviewer - Okay, so, how is life different after MBA?
Anant - It is pretty much the same, minus the fun. (Both laugh). Yes, to be honest, that is how it is because I still remember during our first semester at the B-school, at SCMHRD, it was quite busy for us. We had lectures which were followed by projects/cases to complete and so on and so forth and there was a committee work as well, so you hardly got time. Now, this actually prepared you for what lies ahead. So, having said that, life is pretty much the same. In fact, it gets slightly easy as one progresses in the organization, adapts to the learning curve, and reaches a certain level. But whatever learnings that we’ve had are more than enough to suffice the journey we undertake.
Interviewer - And how should one plan their career once they’ve done their MBA?
Anant- I don’t believe in the concept of planning one’s career. As I already mentioned earlier, it is all about grabbing the opportunity that life throws at you. I’ll give you my case as an example. I’ve done my engineering in IT, I’ve worked in Operations post which I did my MBA in Marketing and Sales and done projects in strategy before returning back to operations. Therefore, it is like you are getting a flavour of all that is there.
In addition, it is way too early for a 22/24-year-old to literally plan their career wherein they want to do certain things at a certain period in their life. It is all good if they can do it, but for the majority of us it does not pan out that well. Hence, grab all the opportunities that come your way, and ensure that you learn something out of it and take that forward in whatever you do next. Continue the learning circle and it will propel you to the place where you would have eventually wanted to be, but you may not have planned about it consciously.
Interviewer - Okay, we would like to know a little bit about the work culture at Aditya Birla Group.
Anant - Okay so Aditya Birla Group is a fairly large organization; it’s one of the country’s major conglomerates. The Group has more numerous lines of business, many companies, and is spread all over the world.
For the first year, we’re just given projects and the only thing that is expected out of us was that
- We learn, and
- We had to ensure that we contribute in a way that is expected out of a high potential recruit.
So, that was the brief given to us. So, the Group does not believe in a concept of a, say, 9-7 work schedule or you have to work on weekends or do certain things in a certain period. It’s fairly liberal in that sort of space. You’ve got your reviews where your work is evaluated and it's fun as well, with the numerous get-togethers and out-bounds that you’re a part of.
Interviewer - And what would you say you like the most about your work at ABG?
Anant - Okay. So, as a part of the Group leadership program, we had three stints of 4 months each. The group gives opportunities across different businesses, geographies, cultures and teams. That itself is an opportunity too big for any candidate to get, so early on in their life. I worked with 3 businesses and each office was very different. I worked with the chemical business, then I worked with the fashion business which was followed by a stint with the Consumer Insights and Brand Development team. And I’d like to highlight that the projects itself are so different that in no company will you get to learn different things from different perspectives, all the time. That is the best part of the Group Leadership Program.
Again, post that, I got placed with the fashion business with the Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd. and that journey in itself has been too exciting, to say the least. Currently, I’m just busy travelling all the time and opening new stores so that you guys can shop (Interviewer chuckles). As I said, I did my MBA in marketing and sales and I really got an opportunity to work across different functions, be it strategy, be it operations, be it, even got a project with HR flavour, which I had never thought about.
Interviewer - So, the vast exposure you got during the stints is the one thing you cherish the most, the one thing you would take away?
Anant - Exactly! And over and above the exposure, the kind of people you work with. So typically, as ABGLPs, you’re expected to work with the C-Suite executives (Unintelligible), people who actually make decisions for the company. Yeah so, the learning from those interactions is invaluable as some of these people have got experiences as long as my entire life. You just have to be ready to learn. And that literally adds on to the experience you get while you’re pursuing other initiatives.
Interviewer - So, any last piece of advice for the current batch of SCMHRD or for MBA students?
Anant - Just identify what you want to do. But don’t be bound by it. Grab whatever opportunity that comes across and give your best. Students should aggressively participate in all the corporate competitions that open up to SCMHRD cause that itself is a very good way of getting recognized and provides a pathway to organizations. Apart from this, chill and make these the best two years of your life (Both laugh), It’s never going to come back, so, have fun.
Interviewer - Okay, ha-ha, Thank you so much for your time Anant. It was really nice talking to you.
Anant - Alright. Same here. All the best!
Interviewer - Thank you, and travel safe! Bye, Have a good day!
Anant - Thanks, bye.
We thank ABG and our alumni for this wonderful opportunity to interact and get inspired by their stories.