A Comprehensive Strategy And Internship Experience For TAS – Prasanna Sakthi, IIM Bangalore
It was a dream come true for me to work for the Tata group. IIM B provided a perfect platform to enhance my skills to match the expectations of the TATA group.
Preparation for the GD rounds: TAS has a chairman-level GD and getting through successfully can be very tough. However, proper structuring of thoughts and understanding the long-term perspective of the organisation will help formulate sound points that can impress the panel.
Interview tips: Interview is predominantly based on the form filled by the candidate and majorly revolves around understanding the candidate better. The panel mostly checks for the “organisational fit” of the candidate during the interview. The questions generally involve testing the candidate on
Knowledge of the company.
Coherence across the pre-filled form and the answers in the interview.
To do: Be natural, be yourself. Show genuine interest in the organisation and ask questions.
Internship: For the two-month stint, I was posted at TATA motors in the newly formed strategic pricing cell division – commercial vehicles. The project assigned to me was more of understanding Value Added Services (VAS) currently offered and ideating potential VAS that can differentiate Tata motors from the rising threat of competitors.
My role predominantly was to understand the perceived value of the VAS by interacting with multiple stakeholders like Dealers, Tata-authorized workshop owners, large fleet owners (~100 Commercial vehicles) and also small fleet owners. I also interacted with the drivers for a particular VAS that I had proposed.
The significant part of the project also involved understanding the costs that were involved in delivering the services. The ‘cost to serve’ data was not available explicitly in the organisation. I studied the entire supply chain from the supplier to customer to identify the costs. In the process, I also highlighted the activities that were redundant and proposed alternate activities to extract the maximum benefit.
Pro tip: Always think of the larger picture when you work for a big conglomerate. Think of the synergy building activities and ALWAYS have the corporate level strategy in mind.
Bizarre incident: All things were going well until one Sunday afternoon. On May 6th, 2018, while I headed out on a bike to meet my friend who happened to study in Mumbai, I met with an accident that fractured my right collar bone. YES, a fracture with just a month of the internship completed! I had to travel immediately to Coimbatore for treatment. Fast forward two days, I was back to work, but from my home in Madurai, with limited use of the right hand and using just my left hand.
Now, interaction with the stakeholders was even more challenging since I was operating remotely and the discussions were limited to telephonic conversations. I tried and made sure I spoke with as many customers as I could over the phone. After my brief recovery at home, I was back in Mumbai with just 15 days left in the internship.
Last 15 days: The last 15 days of an internship is very crucial for everybody and mine grew to a next-level difficulty with the fracture. I consolidated all my findings and built a deterministic model which can capture the value perception of the value added services. I tested my newly proposed value added services with customers in Mumbai and found that almost everyone needed those services. I presented my findings to the top management at Tata motors who appreciated my efforts and valued the insights I was able to provide them.
TAS PPO selection: To secure a PPO, the candidate has to clear two rounds
Presentation of the work done so far – to a Panel consisting mostly of TAS officers from other TATA group of companies.
Interview with a panel of Managing directors and CXOs of companies in TATA group.
Each round had a 50% rejection ratio.
Tip for the presentation: Focus on the story. Have a good story to back up your work done during the internship. This establishes a connection with the panellist.
Tip for the interview: The primary aspect being judged is the ability to work in different TATA group of companies. So, it is important to have corporate level perspective and not just the company you interned at.
General tip for General Management candidates (aspiring and pursuing): General management gives the flexibility to analyse a problem in multiple ways. Understand the nuances and study all the details of the designated project. Communicate and move around people, some ideas you think of may have already been tried and sometimes failed as well. Look at the industry trends, both global and national to suggest recommendations.
Overall, it was a true roller coaster experience for me! All the best!!
P.S: This experience wouldn’t have been possible and as enjoyable if not for my dear friends at the internship – Vinod (B), Chanchal (A), Delcy (C) and Sasi (K). They literally had my BACK. They literally had my BACK. Each letter is an acronym for their respective college!