I have a question regarding something like a counseling or mental health support group/ committee across bschools
Got to know about its existence in IIM Ranchi and really loved the concept and I think this is the best place to gather insights about the existence of something similar across bschools
This post is a query regarding case and corporate competitions.
As New IIMs are not eligible for many of the popular competitions, could someone provide a list of competitions that new IIM students can look for.
Also, include competitions like HUL LIME which takens them under the wildcard entries without campus round.
All answers will be greatly appreciated.
This is one of the best threads on PG that I had stumbled upon. Just a request to the seniors --> Could you please arrange for some "Internship Chronicles" type of post for the most sought after domains - Finance & Consulting, as well. So far, there has only been one on Operations which was a real eye-opener!!
Just curious, how are online certifications helpful in cv.(except Finance background). Also can any soul help our community, with list of certifications one can do during lockdown. Thanks in advance😷😷
The one with the HR Specialisation
One of the commonly debated topics on PG has been around specialisations. I have seen people come to virtual blows when touting the benefits of X college for a Y specialisation and then defending their choice specialisation as the best one, in the long run. Now if you are in a quandry about specialisations and just want to get an idea of the possible career options , right out of college, for the major specialisations, then have a look at one of my unacademy videos (apologies in advance for the poor audio+video quality, swollen face and the sheer length of the video) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM-sy2f2f0U It is by no means an exhaustive list and I would urge you to reach out to Varun for SCM/Ops queries (assuming they havent been covered in the excellent previous post covering Ops FAQs) or Praveen (who, btw, helped me with inputs for the Fin aspect of the above video, though I am pretty sure I didnt explain it half as eloquently as he did) for Fin related queries .
BUT if you want to learn about HR then read on
I have often heard the common jokes about HR folks being paid to goof off and doing nonsensical work at office, heck my own flatmate calls me Rangoli at times in jest ! But most people don't realise is that the HR function is surprisingly an important aspect of business. Don't believe me ? Let me ask you a question - Why do HR grads from XL/TISS and often from IIM-R and SCMHRD get paid 18-24L straight out of college ? Do you think that in a moment of random kindness the CEO decided to just randomly pay freshers close to 20 Lakhs a year for no reason ? Capitalism 101 dictates that the market will pay you only for the value you bring to the table. And companies typically pay you an amount 'X' when they feel you will bring value of 4X-5X to the business- this is true for all functions and all roles. So if companies pay big sums of money they expect a larger value in return.
What is the value add of HR to business ?
Well barring roles in HR consulting roles where you straight up generate revenue by providing HR solutions to clients, a typical HR role doesn't generate money but rather helps the money making functions. And how does it do that ? By ensuring there are employees available AND they work seamlessly AND focus only on generating money for the company- as simple as that !
But HR roles don't pay well do they ? I mean we all know a Sharmaji ke beti/beta who works in an HR role for 15k a month.
Well if you look at the pay for marketing executives or TSOs , you'll see they earn around 20-30k a month. But then why is no one afraid of getting into marketing ? Because doing an MBA from a good B-school means you get a higher starting role like ASM/TSM/ Regional Manager. Similarly, no HR grad from XL goes into HR executive roles just as how no Marketing grad from any of the top 10-15 colleges will get into a marketing executive role. As simple as that. Post graduating one typically starts off as MT-HR or Associate Manager HR or Assistant Manager Hr or Manager HR (rare) and sometimes has a team of HR executives under you and these roles pay in accordance with the title. Of course that being said I have also seen dozens of Senior HR managers (with local MBA HR degrees) earning 8-9L a year. But as mentioned already that depends on the kind of company and the kind of B-school you start off with. If you go to medium sized/local focused organisations you will find Finance/Marketing managers and senior managers earning just around 10-12 L per year, but that isn't indicative of all the jobs in those fields right ? What is the progression in General HR management (read: non-consulting) roles ?
Same as any other manager: Assistant/Deputy Manager--> Manager--> Additional Deputy General Manager--> DGM--> GM-->Director of HR--> CHRO. Of course this is no way indicative of all possible career paths because it can vary company to company and sector to sector. Plus these days there are HRBP roles can at any level ranging from assistant manager right up to GM. Not to mention the HR specialist roles that some people choose to get into or get 'forced' into during their first jobs: Comp and Ben specialists, D&I specialists, Perf Management specialists, OD specialists, L&D specialists etc. which have their own career progression paths. For me, personally, CHRO is the place to be. 70% pay of the CEO and 30% of the stress- that's the sweet spot. Also for the lucky few who get IR roles in a factory- hold onto them. They are worth their weight in gold (for me atleast) and can give you indepth live insight into application of labour laws. Plus when you are in the race for CHRO job a veteran with factory role experience will be given more reverence. Always. Not touching upon HR consulting roles' career path because they follow the same path as general consulting roles.
HR is for women only na?
Lulz. Just like how marketing/banking/strategy is only for men, right ? No wonder we don't have any women CEOs and CXOs *cough* Indrani Nooyi *cough* Arundhati Bhattacharya *cough* Jokes aside I think these 20th century stereotypes don't hold much weightage in today's times. My batch was 50% men and 50% women. And our batch topper and the best allrounder were both guys. Of course placement is a slight game changer because some corporations (especially FMCGs) are guilty of preferring women candidates to bolster their company's overall gender ratio. But then they do this for ALL roles so its not related to the HR field in particular. Otherwise companies don't look at your gender, so that shouldn't be an area of concern for you.
Do GenMag programs lead into HR ?
Heck yes. Literally all of them.
P.S. I have tried covering most of the common points I have been asked over the last few years. In case you feel some other points should be covered in the post, let me know in the comments and I will add edits to the post.
Operations and Supply Chain Domain FAQs
Thanks to my buoy, @dozer01 (dhokha de gaya but ab :p), we have a set of questions pertaining to this domain that might help in taking a more informed decision.
1. Is it advisable to join an Ops role in a loss making company like JSPL, Tata, Amazon Retail, OLA etc though they probably have a well-established Grad program?
Excellent question to start with, my two cents and I might not necessarily be correct on all fronts, but I will take a jab at this, a loss-making company (start-up) is not a bad bet to start with because you know what, you might actually be the part of a machinery which actually makes the most impact on that depressing bottom line of the company and turn things around. Not being overly optimistic here, but a huge chunk of expenses and costs are associated with the operations front, the moment the value chain of the firm gets streamlined and the firm is able to realize game changing phenomenon like getting the critical mass of users or getting high volumes to slash that per unit cost of manufacturing, the things WILL turn around and you can be at the forefront of it. But it's still prone to problems like the ones we are currently facing. In these extraordinary circumstances, no start-up is insulated from folding its operations, so keeping all that in mind, it’s better to avoid loss-making start-ups in the current scenario even with faster growth opportunities/compensation. Well-established conglomerates such as Tata are a different case though, as they have enough subsidiaries within the group that they can offset the losses at one Group Company with other profit-making entities. So, it’s almost certain that you will be well insulated from any sort of risk to your job. And since, most of these firms offer general management roles, you will be able to move across the group companies with fair amount of ease.
2. What are the roles that Freshers and Experienced guys (>2 yrs) get?
Can speak from my experience, might differ a little across other campuses, but at SPJIMR, freshers and people with less than 18 months of work-ex were not able to get most of the traditional FMCG shortlists (HUL, RB, ITC and the likes), but, E-com (Amazon/Udaan/Ola)/Ops consulting (like GEP) did shortlist low work-ex folks. For experienced folks, the world is your oyster!
3. Possible career growth chart of an old company which you found in any PPTs or from LinkedIn
Well, there are two broad career routes that Ops folks get, first one is the demand planning/supply planning route, where the hierarchy would look like Assistant Planning Manager->Planning Manager->Senior Planning Manager ->Category Planning Head -> General Manager, the second route is the factory role, for which the endgame is Factory Manager. Post this, the hierarchy looks more like General Manager/Factory Manager ->VP -> Executive Director (if applicable). P.S Even if the factory role seems pretty scary and non-glamorous, there is a consensus that a person with substantial factory experience is considered more favourably when it comes to executive level roles than folks with no factory experience.
4. What is the shortlisting criteria (Acad and Work Ex requirements)?
Honestly, even I am not completely confident about this, but looking at the shortlists I didn't get during the internship placements, I would say that a 9/9/8 should be more than adequate to get almost all shortlists. On the workex front, I would say anything in the range of 20-36 months falls in the sweet zone.
5. Ranking the various leadership programs of the Ops/SCM profile by student demand/reputation
I would rank it as follows, HUL's UFLP program -> P&G -> RB MT -> Amazon BOLD -> Marico/Asian Paints LEAP/Mondelez/General Mills ->ITC KITE -> Others
Internship Chronicles: Operations and Supply Chain - Part 1 - The selection process starts
Disclaimer: A lot of this story might include jargons which might be unfamiliar to common folks not from the domain in question, but might help you down the line in reference to placement prep (if interested in the domain)
My Story about going for MBA (skip this section, if not here for a lunacy filled story):
I took CAT just once, that too with almost 3 years of work-ex, because I truly loved the work I was doing, but I had reached my breaking point and had to do something to break through the career growth stagnancy and abysmally low pay packages us folks in core sector get after getting physically and mentally bent over backwards, but I was dead sure that I am never going to betray my passion (for Cars and mechanical/industrial engineering in general). MS was the logical first choice, but I had zero interest in settling abroad, so that was off the table. So, the next option was getting an MBA but the “general management” curriculum at IIMs and most B-schools were not something I was very keen on. I wanted to learn new stuff, yes, but in a field that is honestly, the most engrossed with the engineering field I graduated in and also with most of my JD and that was Operations and Supply Chain. So, yes, my dream colleges were not the holy trinity.
So, before I get to the meat and potatoes of this extremely long-ass post, I guess I should give a brief profile about myself (at the time of autumn internship process) for reference and to shatter preconceived notions about the acads front.
Acads – 92.4/82.6/77.09 – 9/8/7 (DTU batch of 2015) – Production & Industrial Engineering
Acad Achievements – None, had to put CAT score to not leave it awkwardly blank.
Co-Curricular Achievements – 3 corporate case competitions (National Finalist - J&J Quest & Campus Finalist- Mahindra WarRoom & Cummins Redefine)
WorkEx – 34 months at Mercedes-Benz/Daimler India as Assembly Line/New Product Projects Lead with my JD revolving around Production Process Planning, New Product Development and Assembly Line Management (in layman terms, pure-play core Ops role)
To be honest, I peg my CV to be at the “run of the mill” level compared to my peers at SPJIMR.
Lets start with,
Pre- autumn process (Applying to companies, Psychometric tests, CV shortlists et al)
So, honestly, I had zero interest in consulting (will later backfire mightily) and hence didn’t apply for such roles basis my true motive of going for an MBA as mentioned above (and I was reportedly the only one in the batch to have not applied for Bain, BCG and A&M (such obnoxious overconfidence in my skills :p), not that I would’ve gotten shortlisted anyways with that “dumpster fire” of acads :p).
Roles that interested me were:
- Traditional OSCM roles with FMCGs (Demand Planning, Supply Planning/Inventory Management, Warehouse Planning et al)
- Pure-play Supply Chain roles with ECom firms (A dream role I used to aspire for was the BOLD Operations Manager role with Amazon)
So, I had applied for all FMCGs that visited our campus and for Ecoms, Amazon (had to give 3 preferences, so they were BOLD>Operations Manager>Program Manager), Cloudtail and a few Operations exclusive allied roles (Leadership roles at Airtel for example).
So, I had fair confidence of bagging good number of shortlists, but I was up for "eating a humble pie".
Here is how my CV shortlist result looked like -
Rejects: ITC, Pidilite, P&G, Asian Paints, Marico, Mondelez, General Mills, Uber, Cloudtail
Shortlists: HUL, Amazon-BOLD, Reckitt Benckiser, J&J (owing to the case competition) and Post-placement, (Airtel and Nivea)
Even though I had a couple of marquee shortlists, the number of rejects did indeed dent my confidence in my profile a lot. I had a good undergrad college & good workex in a fortune 500 firm on my CV and I was getting rejects left, right and center.
The beast: GDs and Interviews
But there was more disappointment on the way. I had my first interview of the season with Amazon for my dream, BOLD role. There were multiple rounds of interviews (mostly 2, in some cases 3) and I aced my interview with most of it revolving around my work ex (responsibilities, initiatives, achievements) and how I handled my operators (in alignment to the well-known Amazon's 14 leadership principles). I was shortlisted for the 2nd round of interview, but due to an unfortunate goof-up by the HR team and (to an extent, the placom rep), I couldn't even get a chance to give the 2nd interview. Not rejected but, just plain bad luck. I was seriously crushed because I absolutely loved the BOLD program at Amazon. But when you have such a cramped schedule during the placements, you just can't ponder over what's lost. So the next day was the the first day of the "FMCG days". The selection process for the FMCG firms are multi-pronged with group discussion/activity followed by a few rounds of interviews, so the pre-interview process and preliminary rounds of interviews (if any) are conducted on day 1 and the final interviews are slated for day 2.
FMCG Day 1
So, my schedule for FMCG day 1 was J&J's group activity, followed by HUL's case GD and capping off with RB's case GD.
J&J Group Activity - We were given clues (3-4 per person) about different dimensions in code names and were asked to design a column in a plant using the clues. We were also asked to estimate the time required and cost implications for the same. We started to think question-wise and people who had the respective clues read out loud and everyone started to add to it. After 15 mins we were able to answer just one out of the three questions. I feel that they just saw the teamwork, the ability to guide the team and pitching in with the relevant clues. Result - Shortlisted for final interview
HUL case GD - (Jargons alert) Was pleasantly surprised that the GD was not general in nature and the case revolved around Supply Chain concepts. Case based on forecasting accuracy for 4 SKUs, SKU segregation and type of supply chain used for each SKU distribution shared. Needed to work out 4 questions pertaining to distribution level for each SKU in such a way that improves the forecasting accuracy for them. There were 10 candidates in the GD, I was the 4th one to enter the GD, came up with an approach in contrast to the ongoing discussion which worked in my favor. Made 3 more entries each with a new angle/heuristic and suggestion which was backed by a few other candidates. Result - Shortlisted for Interview 1
RB case GD - In a similar vein to the HUL case GD, the case was an interesting facility location decision problem for a mosquito coil manufacturing firm. I was the 2nd candidate to enter the GD and was able to counter the approach explained by the first candidate successfully and was able to drive through the point which was backed by 2 other candidates. Had 2 more entries, in which the final solutioning was agreed upon and I was asked to conclude the discussion. Result - Shortlisted for Interview 1
Preliminary Interview: HUL - Finally, something catering to my strengths. This interview was almost entirely technical in nature but it all started with the quintessential question of “Tell me about yourself”, first question was on my hobby which is pretty peculiar. Majority of the interview after that driven by the work-ex points, asked to show the working of numbers (KPI) in one of the work-ex point. Satisfied, they asked me to walk them through the Live Project that I did with J&J, again asked to justify the numbers and counter-questions on warehousing and inventory management (with a few tricky fundamental questions). Further asked a few questions on another project (Quantitative Methods) and to justify why I used the mentioned methods (Hypothesis testing and Multiple Regression). Towards the end of the interview, I was asked some standard questions like under which situations we use “Milk-Run”, “Hub-and-Spoke” and “Drop-shipping”. Ended the interview with 2 questions from my end, asking about the thought process behind launching a new washing detergent brand and how HUL views the fast growth of Private Labels in Modern Retail channel. Result - Shortlisted for final Interview
Preliminary Interview: RB - Now this one was a different beast altogether, mostly on HR/attitudnal aspects but no introduce yourself question, started with a situational question (How will you make sure that one of your operator is using the SOP – Standard Operating Procedure, which was based on one of my work-ex point). Post that, I was given a case on designing the end-to-end supply chain for establishing an Electrical Vehicle production plant. And then finally was asked a few ethics-driven questions on which the discussion was long-drawn (Question on vehicle recall for three different cases (Faulty Braking system, rearview mirror breakage and greater than permitted emission). I felt that the panel was unimpressed with my answers, but I was proved wrong. Result - Shortlisted for final interview
Ending the first FMCG day with a 3/3 record finally infused a much need confidence boost for the D-day.
FMCG Day 2
Called for the HUL interview process at 4 in the morning (yeah, right). The schedule was HUL followed by RB and then finally J&J.
HUL Final Interview - And the D-Day begins with a bang! This interview was almost on a similar vein as the last interview, but was a little more stressful with incisive questions asked on the work-ex points, justifying the approach taken for an initiative. Was asked why I opted for MBA after the nature of work-ex I had and why I chose to pursue a specialization in OSCM. A few out-of-the-blue questions regarding the drop year after 12th and the rationale behind joining SPJIMR with my CAT percentile were asked to which I just felt like being brutally honest was the way to go. A long drawn discussion on the J&J live project happened again. Questions on spend analysis and justification of the cost-saving numbers were asked based on the project done in the PSS (Procurement and Strategic Sourcing) subject. In the end, they asked if I had any questions, to which I asked on how they viewed the role of the E-commerce channel in the coming years and will it affect the distribution strategy for the GT and MT channels. The high point of the interview was when one of the interviewer gave me a pen and paper and asked me to derive and show how I achieved an efficiency improvement (which was very high compared to regular standards) for the assembly line (arguably, the strongest point in my CV) and I was able to break down the appraoch with the CAR (Context, Action, Result) framework and showed him the entire working of the efficiency KPI to the second decimal place. The interviewers on the panel didn't give say anything apart from a long drawn "hmm" but I got the vibe that they were pretty damn impressed because I got a rolling offer on the spot from them and just like that, I was placed. Was pretty surreal but to be honest, the feeling was more of relief than jubilation.
Thankfully, I was saved from attending the other two Interviews and my autumn internship placement season was capped off.
So, lets put in a summary of how I approached this hullabaloo of an internship process.
Technical Front -
- There is no way around it but you need to have a great grip on your domain/interest. To do that, going through the basics thoroughly would help you mightily. For example, if you can finish the first 6 chapters of SCM by Meindl & Chopra end to end, you will be primed for a smooth sailing in the interview process.
- In conjunction to the 1st point, you will be able to add another stellar dimension of understanding of the concepts if you are able to relate them to your workex points (especially the folks from OSCM work domain).
- (Optional) Once you get a grip on the general concepts associated to OSCM, if you want to push yourself and equip yourself for the future in the domain, identify a sub-domain and make it your niche. I can attest to the fact that it will give you an immense feeling of confidence to always know that this one thing is where my mastery lies in. For me, it was Warehouse/Inventory Management. No questions were asked of me in this topic in my interviews but it allowed me to do extremely well in my internship project.
CV front -
- Be extremely thorough with the work-ex points and work on a clear and concise process of justifying numbers (if any). This will be a tremendous confidence booster.
- Same goes for the academic/live projects. DO NOT put projects which you are not convinced of backing properly. (Note: APPLICABLE FOR FINALS for most folks)
Personal Front -
- Be yourself (The panelists know that you are not perfect). So, don’t portray yourself otherwise.
- And most importantly, attune yourself to the working of the placement process itself, that is, you never know what is going to happen. The process is too random to actually predict where you will end up getting placed. So don't get OVERTLY ATTACHED TO A BRAND.
To be continued.. (The CEO factory experience at HUL and looming crushing disappointment)
The one with EQ in it
I recieved a very interesting message from someone (let's call them W) recently on PG. Very different from the usual messages I recieve and hence am recreating it here verbatim:
"....how important 'networking' and 'empathy' are, once you enter a B School? The thing is I'm quite unempathetic and have seen some series over YouTube by a Goldman Sachs MD where he expressed how important it is to have empathy, rather he said it was THE most important skill. Can you address a post heeding these two skills, please? I'm already addressing my EQ by being around emotional people and discovering things from them about how they "feel". But I'm just curious to know how much important it is to survive and thrive through a B School?"
So I'll break this down into two parts-
1) Networking: Is it important ? Is the Pope catholic ? Does the bear sh*t in the woods ? Heck yes ! This is the bread and butter of MBA. I wrote a post about it earlier and I put down whatever I had to say there. But to reiterate- yes its super important.
2) Empathy: Now this is an interesting one. First lets see what having a high EQ actually means (copied off straight from the internet)-
Self-management – You’re able to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances.
Self-awareness – You recognize your own emotions and how they affect your thoughts and behavior. You know your strengths and weaknesses, and have self-confidence.
Social awareness – You have empathy. You can understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of other people, pick up on emotional cues, feel comfortable socially, and recognize the power dynamics in a group or organization.
Relationship management – You know how to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team, and manage conflict.
Lets see how these are important as a manager or as a student in B-school:
Self management in terms of managing emotions in a healthy way, being aware of them and their originating cause can definitely be a help in stressful situation- which you will find in B-schools as well as in the corporate world. The person who lets stress or worry get to them and starts snapping at others is definitely going to have a hard time. Placement time is stressful. So are finals. So are group project submissions. So are case-study final rounds. If you go around snapping at people they will not want to work with you. Simple. To paraphrase what Rishabh mentioned in his excellent post - Everyone wants to work with someone they can trust but is moderately good at what they do, than to work with a di**head who is extremely smart. And other than stress being able to manage to even the. positive emotions is an art. Seen those videos of american sports fan rioting in joy when their team wins ? Thats poor EQ because they have no idea on how to handle the surge of joy. Mark my words folks- during placements keep an eye on the folks who get into the top notch copanies. Many of them will shed tears, scream and jump in joy and in general have an outpouring of feelings. BUT the one who remains calm , has a smile on their face , takes all congratulations calmy and sticks around to help others ? Thats the kinda people you want to have in your life. Hold onto them.
Self awareness in terms of being self awareness is the most important tool one can have, and all the more so as a manager. If you arent aware of your strengths and weakness you can be a liability to yourself and others around you. Let's take example of the case study competition scenario described by @rishabh.archi - You can clearly see he and his friend both have distinct awareness of their respective strengths (number analysis, question answering, PPT making etc) and their respective weakness. And BECAUSE of that knowledge they managed to work in tandem beautifully. Now see the opposite end of the spectrum- a manager or project group member who overestimates their capabilities or wrongly assumes their strengths and then fails to deliver in time of crunch; that would undoubtedly lead to disaster for everyone involved and invariably lead to you becoming a social outcast, eventually.
Social awareness in terms of understanding people's needs ,emotions understanding relationship dynamics in a group is something which you can TECHNICALLY get by without. I have seen examples of socially unaware idiots in my batch , who were brilliant in terms of their academics or knowledge, and who managed to get by just fine through college solely on the basis of brutre strength of their knowledge and skillset despite being absolute d*cks to people, albeit unknowingly. Now while these folks might able to get by B-school, corporate world will be a whole different ball game. Take it from me- the socialy apt person with minimal skills has chances of getting promoted over the brilliant but socially awkward person in the real world. Understanding people, handling them and modifying your behaviour and tactics accordingly is THE skillset to learn if you are planning to climb the corporate ladder fast.
and Whatever I mentioned about Social awarnesss applies to Relationship management more or less so wont expound on it.
So in conclusion- EQ and IQ do go in tandem in B-school. Unlike the technical field where the sheer brute strength of your domain knowledge will get you through, managing people is a different ball game where your EQ can make or break your career. Trust me on this- I just saw a live example of this just last month and it wasn't pretty !