TAS, previously known as the Tata Administrative Services is a unique leadership development programme envisioned by the legendary JRD Tata back in 1956 to identify and groom leaders for the Tata Group. I was always fascinated with the TAS program and it was a dream even before I stepped into the Red Building of Dreams, FMS Delhi.
The Summer internship selection process consists of 4 steps
1. The form which is a medium to understand our life experiences and how we have dealt with difficult situations and taken decisions to resolve them.
2. Knack games – Mobile based strategy and quick decision-making games
3. Chairman’s GD – The most unique aspect of the TAS selection process. This is a multi-case-based GD where each candidate is given a case and a 10-minute time slot to discuss and find a solution with the group. Cases vary from Business strategy, ethics, HR etc. This is a 90-120-minute process and determines the final shortlist for the personal interview.
4. Personal Interview – The interview is conducted by senior Tata Leaders, they usually look for Business acumen, Awareness, Thought Process and try to understand a candidate as a person. Some excerpts from my PI
· What are the aspects of the Income Statement and Balance sheet you would check to analyse a steel company?
· What do you think about the Bank mergers and impact on Indian Economy?
· Do you think the Tata Group should acquire Air India?
· What do you do apart from FMS related activities?
I spent at least 2-3 hours daily on current affairs right from July to understand the chain of activities going on nationally and internationally and how it impacts the economy, business and people as a whole. This was augmented by case-solving along with peers and seniors to structure the information in a concise and impactful manner. I highly recommend reading from various sources like Economic Times, The Hindu and IAS platforms such as Byjus IAS. This will help one develop a perspective on world affairs and how companies can adapt to changing ecosystems.
Next, I spent time connecting with FMS alums who had interned with TAS or currently are associated with TAS. Also reading up on various Group companies and the programme. This gave me further clarity and conviction as to why I want to join TAS and the Tata Group as whole. I believe one must first be convinced themselves as to why they want to join a particular firm then only that conviction will come out effectively in the interview.
I also recommend participation in mock GDs, PIs and taking continuous feedback from peers and seniors, it will help correct the small nuances we usually tend to overlook personally.
TAS is a completely self-driven programme and I got to experience it right from the beginning. In March all TAS interns were asked for company and domain preferences. I always wanted to have my TAS summer experience at Tata Steel Jamshedpur which was motivated by a talk by Tata Steel’s MD & CEO TV Narendran where we had stated
“Tata Steel is a 100-year-old company but yet a Start-up”
I was given an internship opportunity with Tata Steel’s New Alliances and Ventures division in the Alliance vertical, exactly as per my company and domain preference.
The Internship kicked off with a virtual induction programme where we heard about the interesting journeys of various TAS managers and Leaders. They offered unique insights on how we must approach the problem and find sustainable solutions for Group companies. We were assigned our reporting managers and also a TAS Summer buddy. The buddies were 2-3-year senior TAS managers whom we could reach out to for guidance and insights.
Project – My project was about forming Strategic Alliances with Government & International platforms. Right from day 1 I was given complete ownership of the project and was free to drive it in a way such that the result would be beneficial to the division as a whole. Initially I spent time conducting internal stakeholder interviews and benchmarking with competitors virtually via Teams, cold calls and reading up on research reports. This led me to add another deliverable to the project, Alliances with Tata Group companies, and it was appreciated & accepted by the division leadership which reinforced confidence and gave my morale a solid boost for the tenure. Additionally, I was also given the freedom to conduct 2 mini projects in the domain of Organisational culture and project management which led to a further enriching learning experience. Continuous feedback from mentors, discussions with various stakeholders at Tata Steel and other Group companies gave me a holistic understanding of the value chain and helped me develop my recommendations. The exposure at TAS is immense as I was given the opportunity to present my work internally to the Vice President of my division and my mentors gave a chance for it to be presented to the MD & CEO of Tata Steel TV Narendran.
TAS Culture – The TAS team was constantly in touch with all interns, taking feedback about the project and overall wellbeing given the unprecedented Covid situation. This truly reflected the People first culture of the Tata Group. Weekends would be spent in rejuvenating activities like Talent shows, quizzes, experience sharing activities which ensured that even in a virtual environment we get a flavour of an offline internship. All interns were also given an E-learning opportunity with various top universities globally which is truly beneficial to the internship output and recommendations.
- The most important learning I had is to keep a positive mindset every day before starting work. Sometimes thing will not go your way but a positive outlook helps one stay calm, rational and forward-looking. It automatically improves the efficiency and output of work
- Always look for an opportunity to interact and learn. On-ground learning is something which is possible offline and online. This will help one complete the gap between theory and implementation.
- Stakeholder management and negotiation skills. These are the 2 pillars on which Alliances are built
- Looking beyond the scope of work to bring about holistic recommendations
- Having a result-oriented and grounded approach right from the start.
TAS is not a role but a way of life which teaches one to Settle For More.
I was awarded a PPO by the Tata Administrative Services and look forward to joining the TAS Batch of 2021.
All the best