20 May 2016 17:35 IST

Eight ISBians to check into Oyo Rooms’ C-suite

Pic courtsey: OYO rooms

Recruited through a highly competitive process, they will join the start-up’s leadership programme

Jay Rameshchandra Vekaria is excited about his new role as he joins one of the fastest growing start-ups, Oyo Rooms, after a year’s break from his corporate career. Vekaria, who had to compete with 100 other ISBians in a competition-based hiring process to land the offer, has chosen to work with the start-up over MNCs.

“I worked in one of the largest MNCs before ISB and realised that the scope of my work was too limited,” he says. “A start-up such as OYO will provide me the opportunity to apply my knowledge and ideas across departments.”

Vekaria said that compared to a large organisation, Oyo will be free from certain stereotyped processes and policies, and such an environment promotes flexibility and innovation. “The dynamism in the technological start-up segment is the best kicker; given that business is ever-changing and that tomorrow is uncertain, gives one a kind of encouragement,” he added.

LeadX programme

With Vekaria, seven other recently graduated ISBians grabbed offers from Oyo and are gearing up for the start-up’s leadership programme LeadX, which Oyo has customised for ISB.

“Our start-up leadership programme ‘LeadX at ISB’ is unlike any standard recruitment programme or MNC-run competition or sponsor awards at B-schools. This is the first instance of a start-up developing a dedicated, on-site recruitment programme at ISB,” said Abhinav Sinha, Chief Operating Officer of Oyo Rooms.

The online hotel aggregator, which has turned profitable, clocking a 15x YoY growth this year, is also a coveted recruiter among B-schoolers, owing to its superlative growth, in terms of both revenue and internal growth.

Quality talent pool

“A business school offers us access to a large, quality talent pool. The LeadX programme intends to build leaders of tomorrow,” said Sinha.

LeadX was rolled out at ISB during the placement process and involved OYO’s leadership team interacting with the institute’s students to build a rapport with potential recruits. Of the total student base at ISB, 88 per cent applied for this programme, making it the highest application rate for any potential employer.

Of these, over a 100 students (26 from ISB Mohali and 80 from ISB Hyderabad) made it to the first round. These students underwent a selection process, which comprised three elements — professional experience prior to ISB, team handling experience, and educational background. A further 20 students were shortlisted, of whom eight are joining the company on June 1 — six from ISB Hyderabad and two from ISB Mohali.

ISB Campus

"We partnered with ISB as they were very open to this new format. We were also very excited as ISB is India’s premier B-school where some of the country’s best minds gather,” Sinha added.

The eight candidates will be offered rotational roles in multiple segments during the six-month programme to provide recruits a holistic experience.

Beyond the familiar

One of the reasons top B-school graduates are opting for start-up roles is the opportunity to look beyond the traditional roles offered.

“In the hyper-competitive world of today, I wanted to join an organisation which would essentially put me in the sweet spot of observing, learning and experiencing the business as it grows exponentially,” said Debojyoti Biswas, of the Class of 2016, who has also received an offer from Oyo under the LeadX programme.

“Oyo Rooms has an amazing leadership, skilled workforce and funds to sustain as the market leader. That said, it will be challenging to outdo the bigger, traditional players in the hospitality sector, and I would love to lead the battle from the front in the time to come,” added Biswas.

Though Sinha of Oyo refrained from revealing the pay packages offered to the students, he said: “The candidates we hire look for the opportunity to drive change, lead and be empowered. Since we work as a flat organisation, every employee gets access to the leadership and understands the dynamics of the decision-making process. This is a massive opportunity to learn and grow with us.”

The students’ expectations match Sinha’s.

“My primary expectation from the LeadX programme is the width, resources and channels it presents to enable me to offer my own ideas and see them turn into an established process with the hope of making a positive impact on the company. If not, then fail fast, learn more, and redo,” said Biswas.

After six months of training, the recruits will take up specific roles offered to them, spanning various functions but largely in operations and sales.