‘Learning Is A Journey, Not A Destination’ – Capgemini’s E.L.I.T.E. General Management Program

It was pure serendipity being selected into the inaugural E.L.I.T.E. General Management program but little did I know that as I jump from the velvet comforts of life at a b-school campus, the 5-week on-boarding experience at Capgemini would be even more enthralling.

Cut straight to 12th June 2017 and I am standing at the main gate of the Hyderabad campus beaming with enthusiasm and wearing that perfect smile for our first group pic.


Right from Day 1, we were handled with care, gusto and alacrity by four rock-solid members of the Core Committee – Bill Sullivan, David Wilson, Chirag Thakral and Heena Mehta. By the end of Day 1, we were done with all of the admin formalities in the smoothest way possible, presented a superb welcome kit and an exciting plan for the days to come.

Week-1: Vision

The first week further introduced us to Capgemini FS leadership’s idea and vision behind the E.L.I.T.E. General Management Program. It wasn’t another off-the-shelf general management program in the industry; it was well-crafted, meticulously structured and imbibed with the core principle of value-creation. We are expected to become leaders and pioneer Capgemini’s growth as we leap, jump and transpose into the future. We had enriching sessions on planning our careers and how we could master our destiny through dedication and hard work. I was feeling so much power in the sense that everything was so flexible – I get to choose my own projects, my area of interest, my way of working. It was like a chef being given all the ingredients and expected to come up with an exotic dish in the endMore power to you.

The week closed with a fun-filled activity called Scavenger Hunt that took us across Hyderabad covering 20+ locations in less than 8 hours – first blood drawn about working in teams!

Week-2: Leadership

Interacting with senior leaders in the company in-person or across continents over video-conferences was an exhilarating experience. The best part was that each of them knew about our existence and were more excited than us about the whole E.L.I.T.E. General Management program. Let me tell you, on the flip side, it meant shouldering a lot of expectations!! Each and every leader is a unique individual but at the same time, they all breathed the values of Capgemini – Trust, Boldness and Fun among others. Some of the interactions that stayed with me:

A leader is one who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire jungle and yells – Wrong jungle folks!”

                                                                                 – Ritesh Talapatra, COO, FS, Capgemini

At every point in your career you must have 2 things handy – 1)Where you want to reach 2-3 years down the line 2) Two people to replace your current role”

                                                                                – Amit Choudhary, CFO, FS, Capgemini

The battle between any startup & incumbent comes down to whether the startup gets distribution before the incumbent gets the innovation!”

                                                                                            – Sudhir Pai, CTO, FS, Capgemini

Week-3: Communication

Halfway into the on-boarding journey came the awesome Pinnacle Workshop. Now, this was the trump card the E.L.I.T.E. organising team was holding up its sleeves. The facilitators – Minita Gandhi & Kevin Douglas – were supremely talented and wonderfully taught us the nuances of personal communication. Small virtues such as expressing words on your face and not just from the mouth drive the confidence that engages your audience was a great learning. Across the multiple days, we had to shred all our stage fright and give impromptu speeches in various forms and that too on camera. It was similar to a young lad being thrown into a swimming pool – either he drowns or learns to swim. I’m confident beyond doubt that at the end of this workshop we all learnt to ‘swim’.

Week-4: Personality

As we were slowly approaching the end of the onboarding program we had some crisp sessions on personal development including time management, office etiquette, effective meetings and decision-making. These may come across as mundane but mind you, these are the nuts and bolts that make the machine more robust. Towards the end of the week, we also got an exposure to the CSR initiatives by Capgemini. Divided into four teams, we visited different centers across Hyderabad where Capgemini gives back to the society in terms of training & development. My team had got a chance to visit one of the American Foundation centers where under-privileged youths are given vocational training along with job opportunities, to propel them on a fulfilling career path.

Week-5: Strategy

“Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs, it’s about deliberately choosing to be different”

This is the week when we went to Les Fontaines, the surreal Capgemini University campus (it is better than any educational campus you’ve seen in movies), this is the week we went to Paris <3. So why have I headlined this week as ‘Strategy’? It’s because this is when we learnt deeply about what the Capgemini brand stands for, how we are different and as we go forward into the E.L.I.T.E. program, how we will be the flag-bearers of this brand. It is about making the right choices and standing out from the crowd.

First 3 days were exhaustive but enriching, hard-work but full of learnings, we were under pressure but we were enjoying. These 3 days were the Consulting Skills Workshop (CSW) facilitated by two of the most talented trainers I have come across – Kees Langbroek & Stefan Cornelius. Myriad activities (individual and in teams), great networking and superb French hospitality together forged up an unforgettable experience for the E.L.I.T.E. batch.

Last but not the least we moved to Paris, the city of grandeur, to culminate the wonderful onboarding program as we bid goodbye to our organizing committee members and got ready for real fun – our first rotation projects. In Paris, we had another scavenger hunt event, explored places, had good food, French desserts and fell in love with the city.

The amazing French food makes me go weak in the knees just by looking at the pics again!

I am now back in Hyderabad, well-settled into my first rotation project on U.S. Wealth Management. What these 5 weeks have done is strengthened my trust further into the E.L.I.T.E. program – I am confident that everything written in their brochure wasn’t just a bubble but it was delivered to the fullest. I am happy to have got this eclectic mix of opportunities at the right moment as a perfect match to my skillset. E.L.I.T.E will be that springboard for the multitude of success that lies ahead in this world of continuous disruption.

Thank you for staying with me till the end, I will see you soon! Stay happy, stay curious!!

Ankur Saraf

Capgemini E.L.I.T.E. Management Trainee currently working at the cusp of Fintech disruption. Academic stints at IIT & IIM have provided a chiseled mix of apptitude, inter-personal skills and hunger to succeed. Passionate believer in RCA, Consciousness & Food.