Marketing may move from traditional to digital, consumer behaviour will always be the core!


About the author:

Rahul Singh  (Marketing Manager at Star India, IIM Lucknow 2013-15)


MA: Please tell us about your life at IIM L.

Rahul: I was one of the more experienced members of the 2013-15 batch of IIML. I already had about 5 years of work-ex when I joined. Like many others, my reason for joining a b-school was to move from the tech side to the business side. Interacting with people from varied backgrounds and age-group cohorts was perhaps the most interesting part of life at IIML. Before this, I had mostly interacted with similar kinds of people - similar age groups, similar backgrounds (engineers), a similar mindset in both my previous jobs, and in undergrad at IITM. Here we had doctors, CAs, lawyers, freshers - an amazing potpourri of personalities. Tremendous peer learning there.

Another thing that stands out for me was the willingness of people to collaborate, learn from each other, and help each other. Some of it was by design - group projects, etc. But a lot of it was down to everyone's willingness to do so. Placements were perhaps the largest movement of people and resources coming together for a single cause that I've been an active part of. It was exhilarating. IT was madness. However, Indian b-schools in general are also a time of madness in the negative sense. You are afforded no time to pause for a moment and think about what you actually want to do! Finally, some of the friendships made in those two years are for life. When you stick with each other during the thick and thin of b-school life, you share something that stays with you forever.


MA: Can you throw some light on your industry experience and current role?

Rahul: I've been with Star India (sports marketing) since passing out in 2015. Being a sportsperson myself, it was the dream job on campus. Since I was one of the senior management trainees, I was thrown straight in the deep end. Pro Kabaddi Season 3 was around the corner and I started working towards rolling out the campaign. 

Over the next 3-4 years, I worked on every aspect of marketing and brand-building efforts of Pro Kabaddi, ISL, Premier League. From consumer insights to creative brainstorming to promo operations to on-ground events, I lucked out to be involved in it all. Having done more campaigns and spent more marketing dollars in 3.5 years than most brand managers in double that, I decided I wanted more and something different. I subsequently joined the central marketing team in the Partnerships and Innovations team where I had more strategic projects. It has been a great learning experience so far and obviously, a lot of it is around the things learned and done in IIML, not necessarily in the classrooms!


MA: What advice would you like to give to the current marketing enthusiast?

Rahul: The world is moving towards digital but the fundamentals of marketing never change. From the first principle of thinking, marketing is about influencing people's behavior, which is why a good understanding of human psychology, consumer behavior, and basic marketing fundamentals is very important.

Having said that, people just starting out, should try and experience all the aspects of marketing in both brand and growth. Subsequently, they can decide which appeals to them more. Like almost everything, the marketing landscape is rapidly changing. While the fundamentals remain, the tools, techniques, and tactics are constantly in flux, hence it's important to keep your finger on the pulse. To keep reskilling and upskilling yourself. For example, a growth marketer not only needs to know marketing fundamentals but also should be good with data and statistics, design principles, automation tools, etc etc. Finally, peer learning is just as important. Know what's going on in your industry, in other industries. Talk to people about their approach and their experiences. There's a wealth of knowledge out there, you just need to keep your eyes and ears open.


MA: Any tips for students in the final year of MBA, on how to grab their dream jobs?

Rahul: If indeed you have a 'dream job', you should know almost everything publicly (and sometimes privately) available about the job, the industry, the people, everything. Research to death. Google the company and the role. Talk to people, seniors in the company, and in the industry. What does it take to enjoy it and succeed in it? Is it even what I think it is? Genuine interest and curiosity will show up in the interviews for those with real dream jobs.

For interviews, you have to prepare all the basic questions well. Write down answers to the common HR questions and questions about your previous work ex (if any), hobbies, etc. You should record yourself answering those questions. Ask a friend to help. They ask the questions and you answer them in front of a camera. Review them for yourself as well as ask others, seniors, etc to review. Correct any mistakes, implement feedback and repeat the process. Is your answer impactful? Is your grammar and pronunciation correct? Are you pausing at the right moments? Most b-schools have a peer review system for resumes where seniors help out. Don't hesitate to use them. Highlight the achievements and impact of the things you've done. While it's impressive that you were the general secretary of your college fest, it will be way more impressive if you highlight the impact of your actions.

Having said that, both in the resume and in the interviews, you must always be honest. Don't makeup things to impress the interviewers because they can smell it. Be genuine, it makes you comfortable in the interview room and if you're comfortable, you can ace almost any interview.

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