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Pranav Pillai

‘MBA is not just all-out competition; it’s also about making your place and owning it,’ says Pranav Pillai after getting placed with ITC Limited

 

After attending the PGDM program at FORE School of Management, New Delhi, Pranav Pillai believes MBA programs are not only about cut-throat competition. There is place for all talented management professionals in the corporate world; you need to carve it yourself. Gaining confidence in his strengths thanks to his B-School, he stressed on this fact during his placement interview. Pranav also believes that nearly 40 per cent of placement success can be attributed to SIP performance. His internship with Times Internet Limited helped him grow. It ensured that the computer engineer, with two years of experience with Tata Consultancy Services, took his professional fortunes to a higher level. Today he sits pretty with the final placement with ITC Limited at a package of INR 12 LPA. Here Pranav talks about his exciting journey with FORE School of Management which, in many ways, remains more rewarding for him than the final destination.

 

What were your first thoughts when you heard you have bagged the placement?

I experienced a range of emotions: from surprise to joy and gratitude. I immediately thought of my family, friends, faculty members, and well-wishers. I remembered my journey at FORE School of Management, which has given me so much. But your journey ends when you reach your goal.

 

Can you take us through the placement process for ITC Limited?

There were five rounds: aptitude test, psychometric test, technical interview, HR interview, and a personal interview with the Sales Head. Before engaging in the process, I had worked on three crucial areas: sharpening technical skills like Sales and Marketing fundamentals; developing a confident, unique story to engage the interviewer; and showcasing enough differentiating work.

 

Besides your preparation, is there anything you said or did differently during the placement process that helped you stand out?

I feel there is a misconception about management programs: that they are all about cut-throat competition. I have always believed in not competing with anyone but making your own mark. When I was asked why they should hire me over the 170 or so candidates, I said, ‘There will be many more talented students, but I can assure you that I am going to be the most hard-working employee. I come to the college first and leave last.’ I think the optimism and confidence helped me stand out.

 

How important was your internship experience for the placement success?

My summer internship involved Digital Marketing with Times Internet Limited. I believe nearly 40 per cent of my placement success can be credited to this tremendous internship opportunity. Clocking 15–16 hours of work every day, it was a huge learning experience. Reinforcing my belief that Marketing was the right choice for me, the internship ensured technical soundness for the placement interview.

 

Would you say your experience with FORE School of Management and now the final placement have met your expectations from the B-School?

I was working for a top firm. But the thought of understanding the business world and its functioning drove me to pursue MBA. The academic rigour, the peer group, and the faculty members were admirable at FORE School of Management. While I could learn a lot, it also taught me the art of being ‘comfortable in chaos’, with constant submission deadlines. Extracurricular activities were also an integral part of the learning experience. I am going to miss every aspect of being a student here.

 

What is the role you have been offered by ITC Limited and how do you plan to make your mark with the company?

I will start as an Area Manager Trainee with ITC Limited and will be responsible for frontline sales and distribution of FMCG products. Though I believe health and family are vital, I am not a big fan of work-life balance. I look forward to an open work culture with creative independence, clarity in business vision, and merit-based career progression with a renowned name like ITC. 

 

Do you have any advice for your juniors?

It’s wonderful to see juniors put in so much effort into areas they want to excel in. My suggestion: try and figure out in the first few months what you want from the MBA. Keep your focus through active participation and brainstorming. Once you figure out your space, work extensively to become master of the trade.

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