Two Roads, One Destination: Colgate-Palmolive

Abhishek Waykul is a student of Marketing at SCMHRD, Pune. He was born and brought up in Mumbai and is an engineering graduate from Mumbai University. He loves to play football and is extremely passionate about Liverpool. Much like his role model Steven Gerard, he is composed, diligent and a team player. Prior to SCMHRD, he had a three-year stint with an IT product based company, Golden Source. While catering to the diverse and challenging requirements of clients, solving their real-time queries and devising business plans, he realized an acute need for an MBA degree that would potentially take his business acumen a few notches higher.

Srikanth Ramanujam, is an amalgamation of diverse personas and experiences beautifully juxtaposed together. A Tamilian by birth, brought up in Ahmedabad, graduated from NIT Allahabad and worked in an Oil and Gas company in Delhi as well as in L&T, Chennai, he is also a passionate singer and a brilliant dancer.  He is an avid follower of Jabbawokeez crew and also likes to read extensively on fiction and Indian Mythology. During his rich work-ex of 57 months, he has worked as an Assistant Manager in L&T for nearly two years.  He is presently pursuing Human Resource Management from SCMHRD, Pune.

Colgate-Palmolive Experience: The Col-Pal journey started in the month of March when they were sent their project details. Srikanth’s project was about – ‘Designing career path for the associates’ in Sanand factory in Gujarat, while Abhishek’s stint involved market mapping and strategy of a competitor in the Kutch region and drafting a response strategy.

The initial challenge was to correctly interpret the project charter. They reached out to the various stakeholders of their respective projects to understand the requirements and deliverables.

Abhishek travelled to various pockets of Kutch and tried to mingle with the sales executives on field. He also developed questionnaires in regional languages to enhance his understanding of the consumer’s perception of the brand. He battled out various challenges like poor transportation and road connectivity, language barrier, soaring high temperature just to name a few.

Srikanth on the other hand, was based out of a factory unit and the management’s requirement was to increase the plant production efficiency, which could be attained if the skill of the workmen increased. This further redefined his project as designing a skill development model and its assessment, thereby linking it with career path for the workmen. Since the factory had lean manpower and with more than 90% automation, understanding the kind of work done by workmen and linking it to career path was itself a big challenge.

Usual Day at work: In the factory, the first shift started at 9 am and routine operations went till 5 pm. The floor employees left the factory by then but Srikanth used to stay back for an hour or two, to have an on-ground learning, which later helped him immensely to draft a solution for his project.

Abhishek travelled extensively like a nomad from one part to another in search of relevant valuable leads. He used to start his day commuting with sales executives in shared autos and sometimes even tagging along with them to meet the consumers. He even set up a Colgate stall in a fair to attract the crowd to gain consumer insights and distribute samples of the product.Finally, at the end of two months, came the final review where they presented their recommendations in front of the top management at Colgate-Palmolive.

What Srikanth admired about the company is the equal treatment given to all the employees- from the top leaders to the on-floor workers. The accountability, ownership and deep-rooted thought process for solving a business problem really impressed him. Abhishek liked how his mentor or project guide emphasized on his rationale and understanding of the problem statement.  The passion and the vision with which every employee worked at Colgate-Palmolive was another driving force for him.

Advice to future aspirants:

Their advice to future aspirants is to be thorough with the basic concepts of their respective fields. Communication is the key to succeed in any organisation. It not only solves one’s queries but also helps a lot in establishing the right networks Reading and keeping abreast of the latest developments and trends in the respective sectors and industries also helped them sail smoothly through their internship stint.

 

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