In the last year of MBA degree, there is lot of emphasis on career - where to work, what to do? How does one make this decision? Finding answers to career-changing decisions are not easy. Therefore we got you a story of Dhruv Anand. He has done MBA in Marketing in SIBM 2013-15. He was not only the national winner of the Mahindra War Room but was also able to bag a PPO with ITC. How did he do that? Read the full story here.
This article is a part of SCMHRD initiative.
General Questions (Few words)
Question 1: Did you have any work-ex prior to joining b school?
Answer: I finished my engineering in the year 2011. After that, I worked for two years before joining b-school. I worked with Accenture, Bangalore as a software engineer. I was an SAP developer there and did coding for brands like Pepsi. I worked there for almost 11 months and then shifted to this company called Gartner (erstwhile CEB) as a data associate/ data analyst. So, I had a good analytical/functional experience. I think it gave me a good head start. I was was already familiar with many hardcore concepts like SPSS SAS before joining MBA.
Question 2: How did you decide your specialization in Marketing? Was it before joining the B-school or after?
Answer: During the third year of my engineering I was already sure that I wanted to another educational degree. I was also very sure that I don't want to continue in the technical terrain. I was interested in the business side of things. That is what interested me and I realized that business decision making is more critical.
B-school Journey (Few lines)
Question 1: Where did you do your summer internship at? Please tell us about your summer internship project.
Answer: ITC. (PPO’ed)
I believe my summer internship was one of the life-changing moment. My project was to "Develop a distribution channel for lower population Group markets"
The project description was to find an alternate channel and penetrating into low population markets for ITC. The target region was Vidarbha. Even though it was 50°, it was still the best rural experience anybody could have asked for. ITC is known for the direct distribution and it serves up to 10,000 population mark. When I say directly I mean they have someone from the company over the distribution side go and directly and taking orders etc.
First, I had to identify one section of low population market ( less than 10,000 people). Then I did all kind of competition mapping. There was an army of people who will go out of the village every day, and come back in a very regular pattern. They were the Milkmen. (We get milk supplies every day. The source for them is in the villages.)
The Milkmen will milk the cow at five or six in the morning and go out and put it in a milk collection point, and from where it goes to the cold storage and so on. The milk storage point was at the highway which could work as the feeder point. The milk collection point became my stock keeping point where I started giving some percentage to someone who was owning that distribution point and will keep our stock thereof Vivel etc. The management will come in the morning while going back because he has an empty space, he would stack three or four cases and go and supply in the villages. The model became operational within weeks. I ran a pilot at two places. I did a 1 1/2,00,00 business at both these places together.
There were many challenges also for example - the milkman operated at 5 AM in the morning. I remember going to Nagpur at 5 AM, after waking up at 4 AM. I also had to work with the milkman just to understand how he operates. It was a tiring process.
Question 2: What were your 2/3 major takeaways from those 2 months at your internship?
Answer: One that is the real experience that you get in in your MBA unlike what we study in classrooms in under graduation or in MBA in a very controlled environment.
Two other things failed before I operated the successful solution at the internship.
- You understand the DNA of the company. For ITC it is the distribution. If it would have been any other organization, I would have looked at the problem in a different way.
- Whatever you do, put in your best effort. Innovation is ideal for two months because even the company wants to know what you have to offer and how are you different from others.
- Only theory or classroom work does not work in the internship.
Question 3: By the end of the 2 years at B-school, had you figured out a career path for yourself, in terms of any dream roles/organizations that you wanted to work for?
Answer: I remember the kind of conversations I used to have in SIBM. One day someone asked me what I want to do and I jokingly said: “I want to sell shampoo or I want to sell oil”. So it was an automatic 'no' to HR, Operation, Finance. Sales is assertive, aggressive, on the ground, and action-oriented. I always wanted to be close to the action.
Corporate Journey (Few lines)
Question 1: Please describe your career trajectory (Designations and responsibilities) and the major takeaways from each experience.
Answer: The good part of having an PPO, is that you know how an organization works. In my first posting, I was handling the entire Northeast. I always wanted to cover deep Indian markets. A very different and very enriching experience. I was handling the foods business and it was a huge team. Northeast is very different market and every state is different from the other. I was very lucky because I was able to launch many products. Dairy vertical was launched in Assam. It was not very successful but it was a good experience.
After that in 2017, I moved to RB, as an ASM for Haryana and Chandigarh. There I became the key accounts manager for North India for modern trade cash-and-carry and commerce. From there I moved to my current role, a national Key Accounts manager.
Question 2: If we talk about your current role, can you please take us through a typical day in your life?
Answer: My typical day would start at around 9:30 AM. I have to sit down and plan for the next month next quarter. I also interact a lot with the external stakeholders and about 40% of the time in a day would go into that. I would also liaison with commercial to understand where are we in terms of payments and the impact of the offers which we have given how was it affect affecting our bottom line. A crucial part of it is also understanding of brands, so I will have to sit with the brands, what are the promos, what is working and what is not working
Question 4: Anything else that you would like an MBA aspirant or an MBA student to know, which you have learnt from experience and might have not come under the purview of any of the above questions?
Answer: Failure is very important. For example, I am the national winner of Mahindra War Room. The only reason why we were able to win is because of the competitions that I've lost before. I remember I was walking into that room, the organizing person came to me and said that “you are the only team from our college, make sure that you are standing there for at least 15 minutes because we know that you have not prepared but we have a feeling you would win.”
The presentation was supposed to be for 15 minutes and we were standing there for about 50 minutes. And we won the competition. So it is that stroke of luck. you have to keep preparing and you have to look at failure in the right way. If you don't fail you won't know how it is like to win.