‘I am one among the seven members mentored by Sachin Bansal, the CEO himself’ – Vasupradha Venkatakrishnan – Flipkart Star and SPJIMR Alumna
It is time to meet our 6th Flipkart Star. Vasupradha Venkatakrishnan from SPJIMR – IM who graduated in 2014 has been doing some stellar work at Flipkart for the last many months.
Flipkart has generated considerable interest and curiosity among B school grads. As seen in the recent InsideIIM Recruitment Survey 2014, Flipkart came out as one of the top five recruiters in the Technology domain, across all categories of respondents including MBA aspirants, current MBA students and alumni. It is also the highest ranked Indian firm and in many cases, the only Indian firm in the top five. We are profiling some of the best at Flipkart in our Flipkart Star series. We have already profiled graduates from IIM Lucknow, IIFT, XLRI, NMIMS, MDI here who are currently at Flipkart. Now, let’s hear from Vasupradha :
Can you tell us something about your experience when launching the refrigerator category at Flipkart? What were the main challenges?
One of the great things that had happened to me was when I was a part of the team which had launched the refrigerator category in Flipkart, post that I happen to handle the sell-side of refrigerators also, for the next three months. Launch of a new vertical was a significant experience as it involved quite an amount of stake holder management. During this period, getting an opportunity to work with people with immense industry experience was indeed a splendid moment as it led to an improvised peer learning. The best thing about Flipkart is that, your personal ability is what that matters to your peers rather than your paper experience.To launch a category, time and effort of various teams right from the Business, SCM, Creative team, Tech etc are required and the list goes on and on. However there were multiple challenges that arose during this phase which involved people, process or technology. Out of them, challenges through people pulled out quite an effort. Stakeholder management was one key skill that can be learnt and nurtured during this period. It was rather enjoyable.
How was the Flipkart internship? When did you decide that this was the company for you straight after campus?
The Internship at Flipkart was an awesome experience. I was given a project under returns and the overall experience was extremely satisfying. People here take as sense of ownership on various things and they are their own bosses. There was a perfect blend of fun, work and learning. Upon receiving the offer, I was quite glad, however, like any other PPO holder, I also happen to undergo the dilemma of taking up this offer or not. Accepting this offer implies the official exit of my IT Career. Having worked 3 years in IT, specialising Information management in MBA and exiting IT post MBA was something that I wasn’t sure of at that time.
But, later I realized that Flipkart was something more than just a company. The impact that it creates in an individual’s life is incomparable. Whenever you say that you had worked for Flipkart, you hear a reply “oh..Flipkart” followed by their compliments or complaints. Having worked for an IT giant for three years, I had never experienced a feeling like that before. The feel that “the work you do is creating an impact in the life of the person sitting next to you” made me to confirm that Flipkart is the place for me. Currently many Indian B2C companies/ start-ups are coming up and this is a segment with enormous growth potential.
What have you learnt at Flipkart from your colleagues so far?
The people who work in Flipkart are talented and you get to learn a lot of things through your peers.
The biggest lesson that Flipkart had taught me was “If you do a mistake, accept it and correct it!”
The attitude of saying out “I admit that I made a mistake” is important for an individual’s success let be it both professional and personal. As part of 1 year MT program, we are mentored by senior business leaders of Flipkart. I am one among the seven members who are currently mentored by Sachin Bansal, the CEO himself. On being asked about the Big Billion Day, his reply that we cannot afford to do so many mistakes showed his attitude of admitting the mistakes. It is this attitude and that feel to own up the responsibility to fix it up is something that is in the DNA of Flipkart and starts from the top.
How does your SPJIMR IM MBA help you in your current job?
The two year learning that SP provided was remarkable. On looking back, the takeaways were not restricted to classroom sessions only. It all boils down to the art of managing time and people more effectively. Once you get that right, then everything else can be acquired with ease anytime in your career,be it technical skill or conceptual knowledge.
Currently, as part of my second stint I am into the role of product management. This is a techno business role and this is where all the IM concepts come into picture. Even though classroom concepts help at times, all that MBA does to you is to bring in a structured thinking and versatile approach. Once you have mastered that, half the ocean is crossed 🙂
Can you describe your internship interview? What do you think you did well at in the interview and something you could have improved upon?
The internship interview had happened a year back and frankly I cannot remember anything right now J However, I can give a brief idea that might help people applying for Flipkart. Flipkart operates at a dynamic environment. At times, processes change multiple times a day (literally!!). Irrespective of the role applied, one of the critical skills that is required in Flipkart is the problem solving ability as one has no idea about the obstacles to be faced frequently. Problem solving skill should be complemented with problem identification also. The second critical skill is the ability to take quick and informed decisions irrespective of data availability.The final skill is to understand the theories on customer importance. One of the core values of Flipkart is “customer first”. So, whenever a case is provided to be solved, it has to be approached from the perspective of customer importance. Apart from these,role based preparation should help you to crack the interview
How does an average day for Vasupradha look like at Flipkart?
To be veracious, I don’t find an answer to this question :). Each day is different and new in Flipkart. It has been nearly 10 months working here and still have not experienced a single day that turned out in a stereotypic way. The choice of going to office or work from home, and duration of office hours does not matter as long as the assigned tasks are completed. Developing the skill of prioritizing the problems and focusing attention on those appropriately will enable you to realize your potential to the fullest in this company 🙂
We are doing a series on top-notch MBA alumni from elite B schools working at Flipkart. It would give our readers an idea of what business roles at Flipkart are all about – from Online Marketing, to Product Management and Strategic Alliances etc. Thus was born the Flipkart Stars series, in collaboration with Flipkart. In the Flipkart Stars series, we would be doing a series of interviews with B School alumni with stellar profiles, to find out what kind of careers are possible, and what kind of work people can look forward to when they join Flipkart.