The Alumni Blog team interviewed an alumna working with Hindustan Unilever (or HUL) to give our final years a quick look into FMCG as a career choice.  This article hopes to prove insightful on Placement Interviews, Skill Sets and Expectations.

Following is the gyan that Sushmitha Nannuru (Batch of 2012, Chemical Engineering) has to share on why she chose HUL!

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What is it that made you choose FMCG as an Industry?

HUL was one of the early birds to visit campus in my 5th semester for internships. Given the kind of repute that HUL as an employer brand carries and thanks to some valuable guidance from seniors, I gave it a serious shot and got through. Frankly, there was not a lot of conscious thought which went in while choosing FMCG as an industry while applying for internships. But over the course of my 8 week summer project with the firm, I realized that FMCG is an exciting career to pursue in general given the complex nature of operations and a very competitive marketplace. I also got to know about one of the most well structured management programs during this time which is called UFLP (Unilever Future Leaders Program). It is arguably the best training program out there, spanning 15 full months which gives an IIT graduate good exposure to various legs of Supply Chain operations (Source, Plan, Make and Deliver) or in Product Development (R&D) through a series of live projects before you enter a final managerial role.

How do you think the students could arrive at the same as a decision while having multiple ‘Non-Core’ and ‘Core’ options in front of them?

I think every student has to clearly understand what he/she’s applying for. There’s no dearth of alumni who could share their experiences working in a particular field. Internet is abuzz with various blogs/news articles which give you an idea of nature of field you are keen on applying for as well as the nature of work that IITians are recruited for. Talking to seniors and interacting with company professionals during pre-placement talks is a good way of understanding what the given profile is all about. Choosing core over non-core or vice-versa is completely upto a person’s natural inclinations!

I personally was keen on managerial roles which the likes of HUL offered. The job which I currently am upto is techno-managerial in nature where I handle the manufacturing operations at one of HUL’s strategic sites. You can call it semi-core.

What is it that you picked up from IIT Madras that offers you an advantage?

I think the biggest thing I learnt while at IIT Madras was to manage various other responsibilities along with a healthy focus on academics which is a skill that offers me a great advantage in my job every single day. I had the opportunity to be a part of various teams at insti like Saarang core committee as PR & Media Core, Placement Coordinator, Hostel literary secretary, EML Coordinator to mention a few. While the academics here impart rational thought and analytical skills, these extracurricular experiences taught me multiple stakeholder management and working in teams.

What is your profile at HUL? What are the profiles for IITM hires?

There are two profiles that IITians are hired for. Supply Chain as well as R&D. I was recruited as a Supply Chain management trainee. The training program for both the profiles spans 15 months with stints corresponding to respective functions. Speaking for Supply Chain, we undertake a series of live projects in Manufacturing, Planning, Logistics, Customer Service, Sales, Engineering and Innovation.

Two unique selling points of HUL’s UFLP for IITians are the month long rural stint as well as a month long general management program at IIMB. This program ensures that the trainee gains a thorough understanding of all aspects of Supply chain management. HUL is one of the very few companies which invests so much time and money in training fresh graduates for challenging responsibilities at the end of training period. Definitely worth giving a serious shot!

How should one prepare for the HUL selection procedure?

There’s a 3 step process. First, an application stage where the student is required to fill in academic, extracurricular and co-curricular achievements along with brief answers to various behavioral questions. Second stage is a group discussion which is usually a practical case study based. Third and final round is a technical cum HR interview on campus. One has to be prepared with sound knowledge of core Chem/Mech subjects as well as HR responses to application questions.

P.S.: Final years who may have queries regarding job profiles and placement fundaes with respect to FMCG and especially to Hindustan Unilver  may comment on this post or contact directly the Blog team (chennai36@alumni.iitm.ac.in) to reach the alumna mentioned above. The team wishes to create an IIT Madras Network to enhance the placement process and experience for our final years. They are also requested to keep in mind that the above are merely guidelines that pass-outs wish to pass on and are not rigid or sure-shot ways to make it through interviews.

The Blog Team wishes all the final years sitting for placements all the very best of luck in their endeavours!

If you wish to share an article, please write to us at blog@alumni.iitm.ac.in