“At SCMS-COCHIN I acquired friends for life. SCMS-COCHIN was worth its weight in gold, simply for its sheer cultural diversity. We had a student from Kashmir, a guy from Kanyakumari, another colleague from Gujarat and even somebody from Tripura in the far-east! We did our share of complaining about the restrictions, the food etc at SCMS-COCHIN, but now when I look back, all can remember is that we had lots of fun. We found real togetherness at SCMS-COCHIN… and that is what really matters.”
On passing-out of SCMS-COCHIN, Harinarayanan chose a path less trodden. “Very early in SCMS- COCHIN, I had decided to specialize in marketing and advertising. There are a host of management events in SCMS-COCHIN that help shape one’s personality. I particularly remember ‘Shikhar’ – the annual management festival – since I was one of its organizers in 2002. It was serious business. My exposure grew leaps-and-bounds.” After working with advertising big-wigs such as Ogilvy & Mather and Dentsu Communications,
Harinarayanan joined Radio Mirchi in 2008. “The initial period in advertising was really tough. My salary would barely last a couple of weeks. But then, I had chosen a career and not a job. These are two different things… something which students of SCMS-COCHIN should realize. You simply have to make your mark.” And what a big mark he did make! Harinarayanan put his heart and soul in his career, working almost all the hours that god gave him. Just 9 years into his career, Harinarayanan has already made it to senior management in the corporate boardroom. He currently heads Programming for Radio Mirchi, Chennai.
Harinarayanan believes that media and entertainment are recession proof – whether or not you have money, you need entertainment. Advertising, though, has undergone a complete makeover since his days at SCMS-COCHIN, owing to the opening up of the digital space. “Look at ‘Kolaveri.’ It’s actually shot out of just one studio and has become such a big rage! That’s the power of digital marketing. Students at SCMS-COCHIN should invest their time in exploring digital marketing.”
Few jobs give you the kind of ‘kick’ that radio does. Every day has to have a fresh ring to it; what’s on-air today cannot be there tomorrow. There are a lot of creative works, and every creative work needs to be different. Almost all of Harinarayanan’s RJs are celebrities – movie-stars, singers, TV, and theatre personalities… all larger than life. He believes that it is his grooming from SCMS, which helps him handle such superstars on a day-to-day basis, with aplomb.
“A programme on radio is just like any other product. It’s the product that differentiates Radio Mirchi from others. Aspirants should focus on product management at SCMS-COCHIN; it’s a huge subject. Your knowledge of your product, coupled with marketing, will open new avenues for you. You could get into the product side of radio, but the growth is faster on the revenue side. After all, they bring in business.” Harinarayanan anticipates an impending ‘phase 3’ in the radio-industry, in which nearly 300 towns in India will open up to radio. If this happens, each town will have an additional two-three radio stations. He feels the timing is right for SCMS-COCHIN-grads to tap into this opportunity.
“As one of my Professors at SCMS-COCHIN had once said, ‘don’t worry about the job; you will get one. And if you don’t… don’t worry. Just continue studying!’ Nine years down the line, I realize that it was a very inspiring thought. MBA is like an investment. When you’ve studied Business at SCMS- COCHIN, it’s a sound business investment.”