This is the second story in the Flipkart Stars Series (read here our interview with Raman Arora - IIFT Alumnus and Flipkart Star).
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.
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.
In this edition of the Flipkart Series, we interview Ishneet Kaur, an award-winning student from NMIMS who got a PPO from Flipkart.
About Ishneet (in her own words):
Having lived in three metros-Delhi, Mumbai and now in Bangalore for Flipkart, I experienced how different cultures coexist in our country and added a new perspective to my thinking which encourages me to travel more often. Since my childhood I have been into dancing - be it classical Kathak or Bharatnatyam or the western beats of Salsa, Jazz etc. Creativity has been a driving force in my life. It has not only helped me reflect upon my inner self but has also developed it. I strongly believe in the adage that never limit yourself because world is a stage full of opportunities, you just need to open your eyes to realize this and then grab it.
3 Golden words that make the foundation for me: Dream big , have faith and enjoy the moment!
Can you give us a brief overview of your profile at Flipkart – How do you help Flipkart and its customers?
I am a part of the strategic alliances vertical in online marketing team. Our team works towards identifying potential strategic alliances and expanding access to market to acquire new customers via these alliances. Once the partnership is established then starts the role of setting subsequent processes in motion by interacting with both internal teams and alliance partners for the smooth functioning of the partnership. Establishing ROI models and thresholds to evaluate overall alliance performance across various metrics is of prime importance. This analysis is the window to ideate and innovate so as to find new ways to maximize the effectiveness with the alliance which includes devising new campaigns to generate incremental opportunities. We have done an alliance with Yahoo recently and many more are in the pipeline.
What do you like most about your current role?
The best thing about my role is to experience the uncertainty that each day brings and use the opportunity to be proactive in a reactive industry. Since the project is fairly new , I am setting up the processes in place and developing the performance evaluation metrics. This allows you to experiment with various ideas so as to fulfil the objective of this alliance and ensure customer satisfaction. Each day brings with it new challenges and opportunities .People here are really open to your ideas ,if you present a good case that makes good business sense then you will get a go ahead. The best part is that everyone here ensures that your learning curve gets steeper.
Tell us about the office environment and culture – what makes it unique?
The culture was really important for me because that has a direct impact on work life and its effectiveness. It’s a really open, healthy, enthusiastic and encouraging culture. An open cabin office where everyone sits in cubicles next to each other. People are friendly and supportive. In fact the average age of Flipkart is also very less-around 30. It’s not a hierarchical culture so here you can easily skip levels and approach people.
The management has been very understanding in my case. I hadn't been keeping well during the second year of MBA – I had a back problem and I could not join the organization as per schedule and delayed my joining by almost 4.5 months. Not once did they ask for reports or proof but on the contrary they just wished for my speedy recovery and told me to join whenever I was comfortable. Since I joined in late compared to the rest of the batch, they personalized the whole system for me. If someone accommodates you to such a degree, it really creates a whole new level of loyalty towards the company.
Describe the interview at Flipkart
Flipkart is very serious about its recruitment. A lot of companies have a very basic interview of at the most 45 minutes. My summer internship interview with Flipkart lasted for 3 hrs which was a record on the campus. I was thoroughly grilled in the interview and was asked questions about anything and everything. Apart from basic questions about my previous work ex , they mostly tested my logical abilities, flow of thought, presence of mind, innovativeness and openness in terms of ideas and their feasibility.
What is required to do your job well?
For any role in Flipkart – an open mind with keen learning attitude, drive accompanied with determination is of prime importance. The person has to have the drive to take a particular project forward, the determination to get things done and be a keen learner to further improvise on pre-existing ways. And to get new things done – an open mindset is essential.
For my role – a lot of things are in motion now, so we are setting the processes. We need a mix of ideation, creative thinking, and analytical skills – ideation to think of what kind of campaigns can we run, creative thinking to find ways to extract more out of an alliance – in terms of what other things can be done, and analytical skills to find out what kind of financial returns we can get from these campaigns
Tell me something about yourself
I am a mechanical engineer from Delhi. During the numerous all-nighters pulled to plan College fest ,dance shows and club events , I realized my deep interest for management and marketing and therefore chose Sales & Marketing in Mahindra & Mahindra automobiles . I was in corporate sales division and my journey there was very enriching. My work profile in Mahindra had three basic parts – how to increase wallet size with existing clients, how to get new corporate clients into the portfolio and getting inroads into the PSU sector where there was no precedence available .The role was very challenging , interesting and kept me on my toes. Looking back, it gives me a sense of pride for some of the breakthroughs achieved. The whole journey enhanced my learning curve and compelled me to take the next step towards the fusion of practical experience with classroom knowledge for which I Joined NMIMS , Mumbai.
Being a person who is all about possibilities rather than following the most headed path has helped me explore various learning avenues during MBA be it via classroom interaction, clubs memberships, industry interface , corporate projects and various college competitions. My journey and the accomplishments that came along fortified my belief that sincerity, hardwork , perseverance and self belief always pays off.
To name a few, I won the best student in management award by the Dewang Mehta Foundation ,was among the 50 students from 40 countries to be awarded scholarship for Harvard conference in Dubai and got an opportunity to represent India at Global Youth Marketing Camp organized by Hyundai in Korea along with other students from Korea, Netherlands, Turkey and India.
After being among the top 5 management interns in Flipkart during my summers last year , I was offered a PPO.
What is your message for B School students who want to work at Flipkart?
It’s not going to be a normal or superficial interview. It can be about anything and everything. Do not try to fake but rather be honest and thorough in whatever you say. Going through exercises on logical flow and examples of guesstimate questions will cultivate a bent of mind for solving such problems. Since the industry is evolving at a rapid pace and hence recruiters look out for the whole package in a person - someone who can think beyond the structured and set standards with the requisite drive coupled with an assertive personality. Also, it goes without saying have a clear understanding about the company, its vision, how you can contribute,your own CV and relevant subjects.
Working at Flipkart
Do not limit yourself. You just need to have that determination and drive and be open to learning. The culture here is really cool yet aggressive. Also, it is informal and encouraging which helps to bring the best out of you. The people here are friendly ,open to ideas and with good industry exposure. Everyday will bring in some new challenges and areas to explore.You’re not required to wear formals to office, and it’s not formal in terms of the timings either. Rather the focus is on getting the work done.