The Conversation was conducted by the Corporate Relations and Placement Committee, IIFT Kolkata for ABGLP Woo ME Competition Season 2's Second Round.
IIFT Kolkata: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Mr Jakhotiya: I am from a town near Nagpur and I've done my engineering from VNIT, Nagpur. After this, I worked at Nykaa.com. I did my MBA with specialization in Marketing from XLRI, Jamshedpur. I did my summer internship with ABG and got a PPO.
IIFT Kolkata: Tell us about your stints that you have gone through since you have joined Aditya Birla Group.
Mr Jakhotiya: I am a leadership associate as a part of the ABG LEAP Program, my first stint was with the Payments Bank business. I'm currently working in the Birla Carbon. The payments bank being a new business had a start-up environment while the Birla Carbon being an established part of the ABG portfolio is a more mature business.
IIFT Kolkata: What was your experience of LEAP.
Mr Jakhotiya: I'm still only 3 months into the LEAP program. It is a great learning experience where we get to work in different businesses and take up different roles. I currently work in the Thailand office of Birla Carbon, where we find solutions for the problems which are implemented locally and globally. Also, it is a B2B business, which has provided great learning.
IIFT Kolkata: What were your key takeaways from the program.
Mr Jakhotiya: The difference in the businesses and the roles that I have fulfilled, one being a young industry where I had to understand the factors that could affect the industry at a micro-level and in the other, where the business is well-established, I followed factors at a more macro level.
IIFT Kolkata: Your journey of professional growth at ABG so far.
Mr Jakhotiya: The dynamics and approaches differ according to the situation of the market and demand in the industry. In payments bank, I had a business operations role which offered me a lot of insights that helped me develop in my current marketing role. For example - The automobile sector is down, which affects the tyre industry, which in turn effects Birla Carbon which is the largest carbon producer in the world. Understanding the dynamics is very important in business scenarios.
IIFT Kolkata: How does culture play a pivotal role at ABG in shaping leaders for tomorrow?
Mr Jakhotiya: From the start, we are mapped with many seniors leaders in a particular business. Like I was mapped with the Head of Operations Payments bank and then Head of Sales & Marketing for Birla Carbon, just shadowing them was a huge learning experience. These industry veterans offer great insights into what it is to be a leader in a particular industry and also help develop us at a holistic level. LEAP candidates are groomed from the start.
IIFT Kolkata: What are some challenges associated with a General Management role/ profile and what is your advice to aspirants on how they can prepare themselves for the role.
Mr Jakhotiya: The General Management role is full of opportunities. You constantly interact with industry stalwarts, get a lot of different views and take up various roles. This helps you expand your horizon and not just stick to one thing. The taste of different industries helps overall business acumen and development and helps one become more flexible. There are immense learning experiences and opportunities which you cannot find in other domains.