Asian Paints has been an organization close to my heart right from the start of my SPJIMR days. This is on account of their brilliant marketing strategy and branding done throughout the years. The mascot of ‘Gattu’ which was conceived as early as 1954 has been on my mind since childhood. Asian Paints has been a market leader due to its excellent capital allocation, working capital cycle management, and amazing leadership team. The firm invests heavily in technology and was among the first companies to invest in a supercomputer in India to analyze paint sales over the years and develop predictive models on the shades of paints being sold in different geographies. The firm has an enriching talent pipeline with veterans moving up the corporate ladder to lead the company over the years. I have always been in awe of the passion of the ambitious business teams and the clear vision of the leaders. The Campus Pre-Placement Talk had thrown light on how leaders are molded and nurtured at Asian Paints and how employees are at the core of everything they do. These factors played a major role in my decision to choose Asian Paints as my employer of choice.
The Management Trainee program has been running successfully for many years now and is streamlined for the growth and development of new joiners boarded onto Asian Paints. In fact, Asian Paints has been hiring from campuses for more than 50 years now! The experience has been enlightening right from day 1. We were the batch to be onboarded during the COVID-19 lockdown imposed in March 2020. Though we were worried and scared if our joining dates would be deferred or if the offers would be revoked, we were onboarded smoothly without much delay. The HR team ensured we were all at peace through frequent communication and they were kind enough to answer all our queries patiently.
The LEAP (Let’s Excel at Asian Paints) program has been rightly named as it captures the essence of what it stands for – To Excel. The Management Trainee stint at Asian Paints entails Learning by Doing and trainees are given responsibility early on such that they are ready to take on a full-time role soon. I was given the opportunity to develop the e-commerce channel for Asian Paints – a new avenue for the company just 2 months into the program. I had interned with an international e-commerce giant before joining Asian Paints. While it is not mandatory for you to have prior experience in any field, this experience was considered when I was handed over the e-commerce project.
Some of the specific initiatives I drove in the role include streamlining the e-commerce processes and bringing the reconciliation on track. The biggest achievement for me during this period was the JBP (Joint Business Plan) I closed with a huge seller. The preparation of the JBP was an exhaustive exercise where both my financial acumen and negotiation skills were put to test. Right from identifying the price points to sell to calculating the advertisement spending to be undertaken, it was one mammoth of an experience. This role gave me immense exposure to the brand role which candidates seldom get in other FMCG/FMCD firms at the start of their career. I was empowered to make decisions and immense value was given to the ideas/suggestions I brought to the table right from the day I started handling the project. I was given the opportunity to handle the P&L of the brand on e-commerce and my inputs to grow the brand were appreciated. e-commerce is a very new channel to Asian Paints; however, the growth has been phenomenal. Hence, the learning curve in this role is very steep but the experience is enriching.
The approachable nature of the leadership in the organization is another highlight of Asian Paints. People make time for new joiners and help them succeed in their careers and enable personal development. I was motivated by my manager to sign up for the ‘Certified E-Commerce Professional’ course which was a huge value add both personally and professionally. The investment done on every new joiner by the leadership at Asian Paints is noteworthy. As a part of my role, I frequently get to interact and work with various stakeholder teams and leaders (General Managers, Associate Vice-Presidents, and Vice Presidents) within marketing and outside it such as taxation and commercial functions and this has helped me gain an understanding of other functions as well.
The LEAP program in itself is an experience of a lifetime. Apart from the fact that there is an in-depth immersion in all facets of one’s own function, you gain exposure to all other functions through various stints such as sales stints, plant stints, etc. You also literally learn to paint through a stint on LTP (Learn to Paint)! I believe by helping each other, learning by sharing, and having fun, I’ve made friends for a lifetime in the LEAP 2020 batch.
My suggestion to new joiners would be to be an empty canvas ready to be painted with the colors of Asian Paints. The most important thing and something that has worked for me during the trainee stints is to reach out to as many people as possible for any support and ask as many questions as possible. Join in with an open mind, ready to experience one of the best companies out there!