In this 4th segment, we have with us Avi Doshi, manager at Hindalco. Avi is an FLP graduate and talks to us today about what it was like coming to the Aditya Birla Group with a strong finance background, having done CA and how this experience is different from a typical MBA candidate.
Can you tell me a little about your journey with ABG so far?
I joined ABG in 2016 via ABGLP as a member of the FLP. Upon joining, my stints started after the initial induction. Three stints of four months each along with a mandatory CSR stint at the end of the year.
My first stint was with Birla Carbon. I was asked to conduct industrial benchmarking across their global and Indian businesses keeping a few financial metrics in mind. It was largely about understanding the pricing of commoditized non listed products like carbon black products that are not listed on an exchange and do not have a market-determined price and how we can optimize our pricing strategy.
My next stint was with Hindalco. The first project was with the price risk management team in developing a credit risk analysis model. Hindalco being a commodities player has to do a lot of hedging for certain market-driven products like aluminium and for forex, and to this end, we engage with counterparties like banks and brokers across the globe. The second project was about understanding the impact of Donald Trump being sworn in as President, on the commodities business, such as, what sort of disruptions would he cause? The idea was to predict the kind of tariffs, tax cuts, etc. that he would implement and see how it would impact the business.
My final stint was with Novelis. I worked with the strategy team in the enterprise risk management space. For this stint, I was based out of the United States, specifically, Atlanta. The project’s aim was to study the processes of the business and design an actionable plan for risk management.
After the three business stints, we were given a small CSR stint for 15-20 days. I was assigned a remote location and asked to observe whether there is any impact on the business or society of the actions being taken under the CSR portfolio in that region.
My final role offered after the training was with Hindalco. It was basically an extension of my final business stint with the enterprise risk management space. Risk Management for me was completely new and something I wanted to try. I had never heard of it before my third stint. My manager gave me the mandate to build processes and understand how change management would take place. We had to train around 2,000-3,000 people across locations in Hindalco. Some of the roles expected to be performed were planning the entire process and making a smooth transition. I have been working with Hindalco for the last 1.5 years.
That’s definitely been quite a journey, and that too in such a short span! You said you joined ABGLP through FLP. Can you tell us a little bit about this program and how is it different from the others?
The Finance Leadership Program was created to establish a channel to hire talent with high acumen and knowledge of finance. With this in mind, CA has been considered as the primary financial qualification for the program. The top 50 CA rank holders are given an opportunity to interview with ABGLP. Upon selection, they mostly had interaction with the Finance Leadership within the Group, especially with the CFOs of different business units. Initially, the eventual path thought out for them was that of a CFO. However, the role has now evolved over the years to become a more general management kind of role. The organisation doesn’t differentiate between the different programs. The whole ABGLP basket is one and there is no restriction on the opportunities presented.
That is really interesting. What is the recruitment process for these candidates?
As I mentioned, the top 50 rank holders of the CA final exam are eligible to interview. While the CA institute does arrange a recruitment drive, ABG conducts a separate drive for these 50 candidates and interviews them throughout an entire day. The experience was actually quite fun! A GD round was conducted in which they ran simulations of business games. I remember in my GD round I had to make origami using craft paper. The evaluation criterion was the creation of the best design with the least material. They check how you perform under pressure and how fast you can think. Through the different exercises, they check whether you can think out of the box, have you interact with senior leaders and overall gauge whether this program is for you.
What’s different about ABGLP?
The span of the Group is huge. This is a major attraction for prospective candidates. Most people at the start of their careers are not sure what kind of work they want to do so, working with a conglomerate where you can move across different business units and roles is a great opportunity, one that should not to be missed.
What is the one thing to keep in mind if anyone were to apply to ABGLP?
The interview is taken with the assumption that you have sound technical knowledge. They don’t cross-question on this and consider the candidates to be technically sound. Their focus is generally on whether he/she is a good fit for the organization. They try to assess if the individual’s value system is similar or in line with the company’s value system. Ability to take initiative and well-developed soft skills are things they look at closely.