Why is ABG big in your life ?
“Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave them all over everything you do” ~ Elvis Presley
In 2014, the Aditya Birla Group celebrated a decade of their values. The ‘Power of 5’ is their unique way of saluting the inspirational act of integrity, commitment, passion, seamlessness and speed of their employees. The Group is active in 14 industry sectors. Mr. Kumar Magalam Birla, Chairman, ABG says ‘Our values provide us with our roots and they provide us with our wings.’ Such words of wisdom are not just imparted to the employees of the firm, but also to the students of their schools. I can vouch for this, as I have studied in Aditya Birla School, Kosamba during my early school days. I have a strong value system because of the culture of my school. It taught me to never compromise and always strive towards excellence with passion and commitment.
My association with Aditya Birla Group resumed as a big chapter of my life in the form of my first industrial training in the second year of college at Birla Cellulosic, Kharachh plant in Gujarat. My first ever industry exposure was at this prestigious firm. Since my background is in Electronics and Communication engineering, I was trained under the Electrical and Instrumentation Department of the plant.
Birla Cellulose is the Aditya Birla group’s umbrella bran for its range of cellulosic fibres. Fibre is one of the oldest businesses that commenced in 1954. Birla Cellulose is a world leader in the production of Viscose Staple Fibre (VSF). During my training, I witnessed the company’s commitment towards maintaining the highest standards of safety. This also plays a huge part in its business culture. The firm strives towards ‘Zero accident and injury’ goal and has been successful in achieving so in the past few years as well. Rules regarding safety are strictly adhered to. Apart from laying focus on the safety measures, the firm also follows a world class manufacturing culture which is based out of Japan. The culture is governed by the ‘5S’ rule which stands for sort, set in order, shiny clean, standardized cleanup, sustain in this very order. For the same, the company received the Chairman WCM gold and silver award for manufacturing excellence in 2002 and 2001 respectively. The list of awards goes on and on.
Though there were many interns, I was the only one in the E&I department. Yet, a proper schedule for each day was made for my internship period so that I could learn the most. I was familiarised with the manufacturing process of viscose fibre. I also learnt about DCS, PLC and plant instruments. The work culture of the organisation is really good. There is harmony among the employees and everything inside the plant happens in a very systematic manner. One senior manager, who was one of my mentor used to have long discussions with me. The discussions weren’t just limited to the training I was undergoing there. He explained about the various career paths. He was frank enough to tell me that for women, the growth opportunities ahead are limited with respect to the E& I work. However, I was gaining practical knowledge before the theory that was taught to me in third year of college.
It was during my industrial training, that I closely observed the work of the HR department. I used to get free at 5pm. However, my father used to get free at 6pm from his workplace which was 5kms away. We used to come and go back together. So, during that 1 hour, I used to wait for my father to pick me up in a lounge adjacent to the HR department. The people of the department were always busy. They took care of employees’ concerns, ensured smooth functioning of the plant and worked hard. This was the first time that HR work appealed to me. This acted as an influential factor when I chose to pursue an MBA in HR around 2 years later.
I’m thankful to Aditya Birla Group for making me the person I am today. It has been an enriching learning experience both in school and industrial training. My learnings from both these places will stay with me for a lifetime.
How you overcame challenges in your life ?
‘It gets a little easier every day. But, you have got to do it every day. That’s the hardest part.’ ~ Bojack Horseman
I believe that nothing comes easy. Life is full of challenges and that’s what makes it interesting. Overcoming the challenges and moving past them is what makes us human beings grow in life.
Coming to my life, I have faced two big challenges. First, would be my experience to Germany during the student exchange program in 2013. It was my first trip without my parents. It was to Germany, a foreign land and my 3-week stay was with a host family. I only knew my exchange partner through our conversations through e-mail. Since I am a vegetarian, food was a big problem for me. On my first day, authentic German food was served in dinner. My host mother prepared it with a lot of effort. So, I was very hesitant to tell her that I didn’t like the food. Weather was another problem. We went in May, expecting summer but we encountered the coldest May in Germany that year. In 3 weeks, I learnt a lot. Since I am an only child of my parents, I have always been very dependent on them. But, going to Germany taught me to live on my own and take care of myself. My host family wasn’t comfortable speaking in English. It was difficult to communicate with them due to their accent also. However, eventually I was able to understand on listening very carefully. It also gave me an opportunity to improve my German and learn new words. I am still in touch with my exchange partner. We’re close friends. I’m glad I gathered the courage to convince my parents and take part in the exchange program.
Another challenge was during the 8th semester of my engineering. 8th semester is really important because it is the last one and you can’t afford to screw it up. Placement season, final year project & MBA preparation everything was happening simultaneously. My final year project was going well. So my mentor suggested writing a paper and sending it to a conference. It was time consuming and involved a lot of effort. I was clear that I want to do an MBA right after my under-graduation. However, I sat for the placements because I wanted a keep a back-up option and also get an interview experience. Managing time and preparing for all these things was very overwhelming. It took time for me to make and follow a schedule. In February’19, when I had to go for MBA interviews to Pune, Mumbai, Nasik, Delhi; I had to miss my classes in college which were very important.
Eventually, this hustle of juggling between things paid off. My paper for the Conference got accepted and published by IEEE. I bagged a job in the campus placements. I also cleared 7 MBA interviews. So, life can test you in unexpected ways. If you take it up in a positive spirit and consider the challenges as opportunities to learn and grow , then you are bound to overcome those challenges.
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