The Conversation was conducted by the Corporate Relations and Placement Committee, IIFT Delhi for ABGLP Woo ME Competition Season 2’s Second Round.
IIFT Delhi: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Mr. Gupta: I did my Masters from IIFT, 2015-17. I did my major in marketing with minors in finance and trade. I got into ABG through a B-school competition. I was one of the winners among them. I got a PPO for the coveted ABG Leadership Program.
IIFT Delhi: What is your role at ABG?
Mr. Gupta: Currently I am Project Manager in Consumer Insights & Brand Development team. This team is overall a part of Aditya Birla Group and a part of the Group’s apex decision making body Aditya Birla Management Corporation Limited.I look after various customer-centricity projects and new innovative age solutions across the group businesses but primarily in the manufacturing & other businesses. I look into the manufacturing B2B market.
IIFT Delhi: What was your experience during the year of LEAP.
Mr. Gupta: The first year was something which everyone dreams of joining ABG LEAP. So the first year is famous among all B-Schools students. So first-year program exposed me to various function across various businesses across various geographies. Like for one stint, I was in Mumbai, for another sprint I was in Calcutta, then I was in North India. So overall it was a great learning experience about various functional, technical and leadership knowledge across various domains ranging from consumer experience to operations, sales and branding as well. So to summarize it, during my first 4 months, I worked with the consumer experience team for Aditya Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund & next I was in the Pantaloons store operations team in West Zone for their revenue enhancement & store productivity in all 13 stores in West Zone & my last 4 months were with Indian Rayon for their new brand launch & planning and marketing of the new brand.
IIFT Delhi: What were your key take ways from the program?
Mr. Gupta: I feel that one should come with an open mind because sometimes some students feel that you are coming from a prestigious institute and all so you should not feel superior to anyone and you should be ready to do any work be it small or at a very strategic level so that was the major key take away from the program.
Secondly, coming from different b-schools you should come with a mind that is open to learning because being in a corporate you need to absorb as many nuances as possible because here you can see that we are spread across many different businesses so sometimes in some business you will find strategies that are different from others like B2B marketing so you should be able to absorb as much as possible.
Thirdly, you should always have a complete understanding of the business you are working in as you get to learn the maximum in such businesses.
IIFT Delhi: What was your journey of professional growth at ABG so far.
Mr. Gupta: I had different roles to play in my first year and as I said I work with an open state of mind continuously learning new skills and practices when possible especially when working in a team, in strategy building, working with senior management so you get to learn all in a formal way and informally also we have many seminars, workshops of which ABG is a part of or they make their employees be part of it. I was a fresher when I joined ABG but the organization transformed me and my personality into a more confident person and this is the best part about ABG that it transforms one into a more professional person who is confident to work across any domain and across any geography.
IIFT Delhi: How does culture play a pivotal role at ABG in shaping leaders for tomorrow?
Mr. Gupta: I feel that organizations are defined by their culture and this is what differentiates one organization from the other. So at ABG I am 100% sure that we abide by our values. We have values like integrity, passion, speed, commitment & seamlessness, and these values form an integral part of our culture. So the same values are imbibed in all businesses and across all our domains and we abide by our values and it forms the major part of our business. After working in ABG I have realized that such values are important as in this type of culture the professional growth takes place at a larger pace both in the personal and professional areas.
IIFT Delhi: Any interesting anecdotes you would like to share from your LEAP program?
Mr. Gupta: So when a person is in a stint he goes through a number of things. I want to share an incident that happened. I was in my stint with Pantaloons and it was end of season sale that was going on and I was at one of the stores in Pune looking after the overall operations but as it was a weekend so there was an excessive inflow of customers on that day so I had to work as the billing executive for half day in that store. People were really kind and they understood my situation and they were really happy that being in a different role I was trying to do billing so they explained me the billing process in 15-20 minutes so I was able to grasp the process and for the rest half day I was playing the role of the cashier in the store so I feel it was an amazing experience for me as I got to know how difficult it for people working in that stores who work there for full day and it was an amazing experience to learn from the customers insights because that is something where you get to interact with your customer directly .
IIFT Delhi: What are some challenges associated with a General Management role/profile and what is your advice to aspirants on how can they prepare themselves for the role?
Mr. Gupta: I don’t know how people perceive the General Management role but in my opinion it a role where you come up with an open state of mind, you are ready to work across different businesses and across different geographies. You get a chance to work what you are looking for as like I wasn’t prepared in my first year as to which field I should work on and thus an aspirant gets an opportunity to work across various fields and then after working in those fields they decide whether to be a part of it or not so I feel this is major advantage of a General Management role. My advice to the aspirants is that this program gives you an opportunity to work across various businesses across various sectors and if she/he is not sure about the role they should take up then this program will definitely help them and it will also build their personality and will add leadership abilities in them.
We would like to thank Mr. Robin Gupta 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.