The Conversation was conducted by the Corporate Relations and Placement Committee, IIFT Kolkata for ABGLP Woo ME Competition Season 2's Second Round.
A conversation was held with Mr Shahbazul Haque, Leadership Associate at Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail Ltd. that gave us a sneak peek into the Aditya Birla Leadership Program (LEAP), how it helped him in his transition & growth through various phases in corporate life to become the transformative leader that he is today
IIFT Kolkata: Tell us a bit about yourself and your LEAP experience
Mr Haque: I have been working with the Aditya Birla Group as part of the leadership program for some time now. During LEAP, we had 3 stints of 4 months each in the first year. This exposed us across functions, verticals and geographies. After the first stint year, we were assessed on all our stints and then placed in our first full-time role for a minimum of 2 years.
IIFT Kolkata: Could you describe your journey of professional growth at Aditya Birla Group so far?
Mr Haque: I began at Pantaloons as the store manager of our flagship store in Kolkata, which also has the privilege of being one of the largest stores. I worked there for 1.5 years mainly to ensure healthy Profit & Loss figures with the help of proactive manpower & store optimization. I was subsequently promoted to Marketing in Pantaloons East, then as Marketing Head of the same region, becoming one of the Zonal Representatives. I had to manage all the Below-The-Line activities including but not limited to store ambience, top of the mind recall, rolling out offers during the festive seasons etc. in coordination with Mumbai office.
IIFT Kolkata: Any interesting anecdotes you would like to share from your LEAP program?
Mr Haque: The key anecdote I have to share is the rare opportunity to work with the esteemed Mr Birla himself, I got the chance to share my ideas and felt valued & known for my work.
IIFT Kolkata: How does culture play a pivotal role at Aditya Birla Group in shaping the leaders of tomorrow?
Mr Haque: Being a strong value-based organization, each employee at every level is aware of our core values, which plays a pivotal role in Macro level operation, as we understand that any countrywide change will also have an impact on the organization and our diversified portfolio. Therefore, the impetus is on "What are you working on?" and "How you are doing it?", which emphasizes the fact that everyone has to do their work in the right manner and think in the right way.
IIFT Kolkata: What advice would you provide to future aspirants on how they can prepare themselves for this role?
Mr Haque: As a general management candidate, you would be exposed to different roles and domains. You should be able to integrate your learning across sectors and industries.
This will help you understand different parts of the value chain, thereby helping you to make holistic decisions. Also, some other pointers I would provide is to be confident, approach the program with flexibility, prepare to have an overall proficiency, understand that great responsibility will come with great power, and finally to be patient and persevere. Once you do so, the opportunities for growth and learning at Aditya Birla Group are virtually limitless, and soon you will seize your opportunity to shine bright.
We would like to thank Mr Md Shahbazul Haque for enlightening the students of our Institute on the culture of Aditya Birla Group, LEAP and sharing invaluable career advice with budding aspirants at a very critical juncture of their careers.