How often do we wonder about what's in the store for us from the Universe? We keep on thinking about the future so much that completely forget what is important. So, what is important then? As someone rightly said, "It is our choices that show who we are truly are, far more than our abilities". So, this time, we chose Gurjot Kaur to tell her story about how her choice of registering for a finance role in P&G and later getting finance shortlist but finally converting Marketing role because that was all she knew and that was all she ever wanted.
I graduated in Bachelor of Engineering in Food Technology from Panjab University and landed into IIM Lucknow with no higher aspirations but wanting to pursue a career in Marketing.
What is needed to get into Marketing?
I decided this early on during my graduation and hence from the very beginning focussed on the vital aspects needed in a Marketing profile. I took up various opportunities that came my way, from being a part of Enactus to being the Founder, President of the Fine Arts Club, all that would help me shape myself as a management student and specifically as a marketeer. I interacted with many seniors and learnt all about B-Schools. I prepared myself well.
How to prepare for Summers?
At IIM Lucknow, I decided to be a part of the marketing cell, PRiSM, as it would bring me close to the bunch of people who love marketing. During the summer prep, I focussed intensely on making my CV. Once the CV was made, the next thing I focussed on was the HR answers, which I believed were the most important aspect of a marketing interview.
The 2 devils of Marketing, beat them & succeed!
I refined and polished my HR answers almost every day. It is not something that you will take up one day and get it done with. It requires time and effort, and the changes will go on until the interview day.
Along with it, I worked on my CV prep. I referred to Kotler for being thorough with my basics and practised marketing cases with seniors. Another important aspect was to know about the companies visiting campus. I started reading about these companies, their values, principles, CSR activities and the various ad campaigns.
When the shortlists started to roll in, I was pretty happy. I had managed to get the shortlists from top firms like HUL and P&G, but to my surprise, I was shortlisted for P&G Finance. I was not clearly associated with finance and was repelled by the fact that I have finance shortlist.
How did the D-Day look like?
On the D-day, I walked into the interview room with full confidence in myself and as we were having the conversation, I mentioned that marketing was my first preference. After having a look at my CV, even the interviewer couldn't believe that I had a finance shortlist. For the next 45 mins, we had a healthy discussion about me, why marketing and not finance and why P&G. I came out satisfied with my performance and was hoping for the best.
When we were being called for the next round, something miraculous happened. I had not only cleared the first round but had managed to convince the interviewer that I was best suited for marketing. I had two more interviews, both focussed on marketing, and finally, I made it to P&G in the Brand Marketing function.
I firmly believe that if you have the right intentions and you have worked hard to prepare yourself well for every outcome, nothing can stop you.
Advice for the juniors:
A few pointers for the current B-School students preparing for their summer internships:
1. Prepare yourself well. Structure your HR answers, know the basics, and be familiar with the company you are interviewing for.
2. Be yourself during the interview. Try to make conversations and not a question/answer round. Structure your thoughts and take a moment to think before you speak.
3. Stay positive. If you don't get as many shortlists as you imagined, try not to be disheartened. At the end you just need that one good shortlist to crack!
All the best!!
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