The journey of A Brand Marketer to TAPMI

About Sumit Kumar:

Sumit Kumar is a brand marketer by profession with work experience in TATA HITACHI and VOLVO EICHER COMMERCIAL VEHICLES. He is currently pursuing his MBA at TAPMI, Manipal. He is a backpacker and loves to explore new places and interact with new people.

Here is the brief story of Sumit

Welcome to my story. Allow me to take you through the pages of my book and unravel my journey to becoming an MBA candidate at TAPMI (Batch of 2019 – 21)

Chapter 1: The Basics

Coming from a family that excels in medical and health care field, my parents always made me focus on asking the “Why, How, When” question to everything. Right from childhood, they taught me to find the logic and understand the concept behind everything and every action. My academics was very important to family right from the beginning and they put great efforts to make me learn things. Naturally I started performing well in my school. Due to my good grades, I was offered scholarship from Coal India Limited, Government of India. I had to perform well and keep my grades above 90% to continue the scholarship.

I never understood Literature and hated Julius Caesar. I still don’t know why Brutus stabbed Caesar. Maybe Brutus was fed up. The only thing I remember from that is “Et tu brute”. Naturally, I got inclined towards science and decided to pursue engineering.

I completed my SSC and HSC from Delhi Public School, Dhanbad with a 100% scholarship till Class 12 and maintained above 90% grades throughout my academics.

Chapter 2: Engineering – The Usual

My under-graduation journey began at Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal. I chose mechanical and manufacturing engineering for my career. I continued with the scholarship offered by Coal India Limited even in my under-graduation. Post engineering, I aimed at securing campus placement and work in mechanical production profile preferably in the automobile sector. However, gradually I learnt about the changing market dynamics and different and exciting opportunities. I got exposed to sales and marketing profile very early in my engineering days when I interned at TATA STEEL, TATA MOTORS and COAL INDIA LIMITED.

The very nature of sales caught my attention and slowly I started developing interest in marketing. Thus, I chose sales profile in the job offered by TATA HITACHI (campus placement).

Chapter 3: The Learning Phase

I started working as Area Sales Manager, selling excavators in the 20-ton category. In the initial days, talking to customers and suppliers simply drove me crazy. Heated arguments were the new normal. Talking to customers, dealers, sales team, service team, suppliers, parts manager, financiers, mechanics, plant dispatch team and so on drove me crazy. 24 hours seemed less to complete the tasks in hand. However, gradually I started enjoying my role and gave good results that were appreciated by my manager and team members.

I soon, moved to brand marketing team at VOLVO EICHER COMMERCIAL VEHILCES, and took care of Karnataka market. I was developing marketing campaigns, designing marketing dashboards for stakeholders, organizing product launches, financiers meet, representing the firm at national level Auto Expo and what not. Marketing taught me the essential people’s skills and completely changed my outlook. The economy was good in the FY 17, FY 18 and we were pumping vehicles into the market easily.

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Chapter 4: The Turning Point

One fine evening, I got a call and job offer my Mercedes Benz. Getting excited, I prepared for the interview and selection process. The 1st and 2nd round of the interview went really well and gave me positive vibe about my progress. However, in the last round, I was informed that MBA is preferable rather must, for sales and marketing profiles at the firm. My work, experience, skills, accolades were outstanding but the only part is a MBA from my otherwise perfect resume.

This incident was an eye opening and made me realize my decisions. Reality hit hard and made me evaluate and analyze my career options and future steps. After discussing this incident with several mentors, college professors and friends, I decided to prepare for CAT. However, leaving job was not an option as it adds to the resume and gives a positive point during the interview.

Chapter 5: The Tussle for CAT

The decision to prepare for CAT was taken in May 2018. With only 5 months remaining, and work in sales and marketing, time for self-preparation was very difficult to find. I decided not to opt for any coaching class as that would further eat up my self-preparation time. However, I took the IMS practice papers and materials for good content.

Weekends usually went in revising formulae and improving VA skills. I always carried Quant and VA books with me even in my job.

  • Attacking Quant:

Coming from an engineering background, Quant was relatively easy for me. I knew most of the topics in Quant and just a brush up was required. I used to revise the Quant formulae and tips and tricks in the office itself. Once you are hooked onto something, you can’t make excuses for your own mistakes. Coming back from office, I used to practice Quant sums and questions from the IMS materials.

  • Attacking DI/LR:

Weekends were reserved for DI/LR practice. Data interpretation and Logical Reasoning is one section of CAT that require complete focus and finding the logic. I suggest more and more practice will help improve score in this section. Practice more questions from some good coaching class materials like IMS or TIME. Remember that DI/LR is the most challenging section and often frustrates the candidate during the actual CAT examination. More and more practice in this section gave me the confidence to work out the questions in CAT.

  • Attacking VA:

Most of my VA passage and comprehension practice took place in office or at unique places. Let me explain what I mean by “unique places”. Sales and marketing is a field job and most of the time found myself travelling to meet customers and stakeholders. I literally practiced VA comprehension and questions in this section in OLA cabs, Uber cabs, BMTC buses, Indigo planes, toilet of Indigo planes, trains, railway stations, airports and hotels. Now that I think of it, this entire journey makes me smile.

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Practice VA comprehension and passage solving as it carries the maximum marks in this section. 10 questions in this section have no negative marking and proved a game changer for me. A few mocks and proper analysis will help ace this section of CAT.

  • The interview:

The interview went very well. Almost the entire interview was based on my job life and the experiences from my work. A lot of questions were asked on topics from sales and marketing, dealership management, marketing budget forecasting etc.

Chapter 6: The Beginning

After clearing all the post CAT rounds like Group Discussion and Personal Interview, my MBA journey began. Currently I am pursuing MBA in sales and marketing domain. And not to forget, I am on scholarship from Coal India Limited (funny how this thing remained consistent in my life).

Hopefully, even in this uncertain time of COVID-19, I aim to secure a good campus placement in marketing profile and make my career in this domain.

  • Learnings:

Don’t give up. Times are tough but so are you. Even when your job is taking a considerable 10 to 11 hours of your daily schedule, you can still find time to pursue your career goals and achieve dreams. Everything together shapes the person who you are. It’s the experiences in life that make you wiser.

Few things to keep in mind:

  1. It does not matter which coaching institute you take. There is no alternative to self-preparation.
  2. Make your own plan / schedule that suits your daily work and follow it sincerely.
  3. Regular practice will give the confidence to ace this exam.
  4. Mock exams are must. Don’t run away from them.

All the best!

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