It’s not very often that students from B Schools get to interact with industry stalwarts with over three decades of experience. But that’s exactly what happened during the Industry Institute Interface (III) session held recently at SCMS Cochin School of Business. Students had an opportunity to listen to and gain from the experiences of Mr. Prem Kumar,CEO of Eastern Condiments. And needless to say they utilized this opportunity to the fullest.
Eastern Condiments is one of the biggest brands in Kerala and as the CEO of the company, Mr. Kumar works towards building its reputation further. An MBA graduate with 33 years of experience in Sales & Marketing, he has worked in different industry sectors including Trade & Rural Marketing, Training & General Management. He has also worked with several global brands like Gillette, Horlicks, Aquafresh, Panadol, Lucozade and Ribena, Sundrop and Dainik Bhaskar.
Hence it was only natural that there was a lot to gain from his experiences, which is one of the major aims of these sessions in the first place. They are designed to ensure that students get an exposure to real industry dealings and trends, which broadens their horizons to a great extent. Mr. Kumar on his part did just that by offering students insight into the secrets of sales and marketing. “You have to make a difference. Secondly, you have to understand your consumers, only then will you be able to convince them,” he said.
Mr. Kumar talked about his own experiences with different noteworthy brands he has worked with and helped students understand the difference between classrooms and real world corporate life. He also stressed on the fact that the time of academic learning was important for students and they should make the most out of it. “Quantitative skills are important and you need to understand the business environment as well. That means you have to get your basics right and now is the best time to do that,” he emphasized.
As Mr. Kumar was talking of his own journey from a management student to a successful corporate professional, his words resonated with the gathering and had a deep impact. But he reminded the students that their personal life journey was of importance too. “You need to build on your skills and evolve every day to change the environment we are living in. Communication and storytelling are two important aspects of management and they can only be learned through personal life journey,” he said thoughtfully.
The audience was held in rapt attention throughout the session, which was brought to a close by Mr. Kumar as he offered management aspirants tips for their future. “Find your domain of occupational interest. Keep yourself abreast with the current issues and most importantly, know your strengths and weaknesses,” he stated. The student gathering had got what they’d hoped for from the session, but Mr. Kumar had a parting shot to leave them with. “Information is power but too much information is paralysis,” he said amidst huge applause.