Abhishek Sharma, by confession, is “addicted” to the hectic schedule of SCMS Cochin School of Business.
“The journey at SCMS Cochin School of Business has been very interesting so far, with lots of new things to learn. Infact when I’d gone home during the break, it was like life had come to a complete standstill!”
Currently doing a Summer Internship Programme with one of the biggest global MNC’s, PepsiCo, Abhishek says that he hardly feels any stress at his workplace since he’s used to handling deadlines and stress at SCMS Cochin School of Business.
“It’s a nice company with nice people. I have a very young and helpful mentor, who is a boss during work hours, and after office is like a friend. I am in PepsiCo Premium segment where there are four brands of PepsiCo – Quaker Oats, Tropicana Juice, Gatorade, and Himalayan mineral water, which is manufactured by Tata and marketed by PepsiCo. My project involves the placement of Gatorade in PepsiCo ‘PUSH CART’, which will be a new thing for PepsiCo since their premium brand is not placed in push-carts. I am doing a feasibility Study on setting up this business for them.”
A graduate from Ranchi University, Abhishek went to school in Kalimpong, a beautiful suburb of Darjeeling in west Bengal.At the fag end of his first post-graduation year at SCMS Cochin School of Business, Abhishek had sent his resume to the PepsiCo India Ltd., as they had announced vacancies for intern. A week later he was shortlisted and sent across a call letter for SIP.
“My communication faculty at SCMS-Cochin helped me in getting my Resume, and Cover letter done. Since this was the basis of selection in my SIP, it was crucial that my strengths and achievements were highlighted correctly.”
Abhishek’s workplace is in Gurgaon; a 2-hour journey by metro from where his residence is, in Noida. Since his project is market-oriented, he doesn’t have to go to Gurgaon everyday, but spends a substantive number of work-hours visiting distributors and vendors.
“On a given day, I sometime visit 3-4 distributor.In the NCR, this can be quite a task especially when the distance between distributors is 20 kms or more. I have to first take appointments from the CE (customer executive), TDM, and HOS (Head of Sales). My day starts at 7 in the morning and winds up at 7 in evening… that is, if I’m in luck with the Delhi traffic. Add to this the heat, and now the substantial rain, and you know the challenges beyond the workplace.”
Considering these challenges, Abhishek’s projects are coming along remarkably well. He attributes the unflinching support of his mentor at SCMS Cochin School of Business, Prof.R.T.R.Varma, as one of the main reasons.
“The most challenging part of my work is to coordinate between two teams of PepsiCo, which is the Franchise team – which has all soft drink brands – and the Premium team – which I am working with. Since my work is placement of Gatorade in pushcarts, which is controlled by franchise team, I have to convince them that the presence of Gatorade is not going to hamper the sales of their soft drink brands. You see, the franchise team doesn’t get any incentive for placement of Gatorade, while the incentives for pushing soft drinks are quite a bit.”
Abhishek believes that while classroom teaching is of great value when it comes to merchandising and devising strategies, at ground level sales you are very much on your own.
“Kudos to my SCMS mentor as well as my workplace mentor for helping me out on this front. Frankly speaking, education in south India, as a whole, is really good. Educational institutions still insist on strict discipline, which is missing in North India. It is what makes a man, a gentleman and professional -absolute essentials in today’s corporate life.”
Often known to concoct elaborate meals for his friends and family, cooking is the one thing Abhishek misses most ever since he has joined SCMS Cochin School of Business. However, he does find time to carry forward his love for novels, and listens to devotional and soft music to relax.