When Gayatri Nair entered the Flagship Van Heusen Store – owned by Madura Fashion Limited – right in the heart of Bangalore, little did she know that it was a crucial day for its employees. The store wore a desolate look, with not a single customer in sight. The tension amongst the employees was palpable – It was the day of auditing. In true SCMS- Cochin School of Business style, despite being a Summer Intern, Gayatri buckled up for the challenge and got down to the task of helping the staff to the best of her abilities. Needless to say, Gayatri was accepted as part of the team that day itself… no questions asked!
“Many women have a wrong notion that retail is not their cup of tea; even I felt the same until a month ago. My store manager, Ms. Mitu Prasad, has brought things into perspective with her no-nonsense work culture. There is no gender inequality at MFL (Madura Fashion Limited). Everyone at the store is treated equally and, as a manager, she exercises the same command as any of her male counterparts.”
An out-and-out Delhi girl, South India had only been a family holiday spot for Gayatri until she got through B.Tech in IT from St. Peter’s University. It was here that she began exploring management colleges and got excellent reviews about SCMS from seniors and alumni. She was particularly impressed by the strict discipline and serious academic approach of the faculty and management.
“SCMS is ranked 49th in the all-India list of management institutes. In Kerala, it is regarded at par with IIM Calicut. Along with impressive accreditations, SCMS has an excellent student-faculty ratio and an impressive track record of final placements.”
Gayatri says that the strong bond between MFL and SCMS was a big reason why she was able to get past the interviews. MFL’s decision to take interns from SCMS was exciting news for her as a retail aspirant. She recalls the butterflies in her stomach when she faced the HR team from MFL; it was the first time that she was facing an interview for a professional spot.
“I still remember the bliss I felt when the Placement Officer of SCMS-Cochin School of Business, Mr. George, mentioned that the MFL team had found me to be a good candidate. Before leaving for Bangalore, Mr. George also gave me insights into the corporate world and advised me on how to behave in a formal corporate environment. Midway into my SIP, I realise how true each of his words were. His advice has been of great help.”
Gayatri works from 10AM to 6PM from Tuesday to Sunday, with a committed 48 hours per week. The SIP has been truly hands-on for her so far. From details like folding clothes for visual delight, to billing, attending to customers, replenishment and visual merchandising, there is hardly an aspect of retailing that Gayatri hasn’t dealt with. For her, the most exciting part about being in a flagship store like the Indira Nagar Van Heusen is that it gives her ample opportunities to interact with a variety of customers who walk in with high expectations. She has observed customers doling out brickbats as well as bouquets on a daily basis. Interacting with happy or aggrieved customers has helped her feel the pulse of customer behaviour and to grow as a retail student.
“One year at SCMS- Cochin School of Business has made me a strong person. It has cured me of my deadline and hard work phobias. Thanks to the multitasking skill-sets that SCMS has given me, I am always the first one to take on additional responsibility. Balancing fun and work is an art and in the retail industry, this is the USP for a successful leader.”
Gayatri feels that the biggest plus of SCMS is that its students are not Delhi-ites or Kerala-ites, but united as PGDM Batch 21. The ecosystem makes sure that each of the 180 students is acquainted with one another, and she takes pride in the fact that she knows all of her classmates by name and face. Gayatri knows that it is this bond that will be her biggest strength when she steps out into the professional world.