18 January 2022 15:39:15 IST

‘MBA must put more emphasis on people skills’

Kavitha Ganesan, Head, Brand Marketing, TVS Eurogrip

Kavitha Ganesan heads brand marketing at TVS Srichakra for the tyre brand TVS Eurogrip. She has 15 years of experience in the field of marketing, specialising in brand management, integrated marketing communications, new product development, sales and distribution. An engineering graduate from Hindustan College of Engineering (then affiliated to Madras University) and an MBA from Bharathidasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, she speaks about the B-school learnings that shaped her journey as a successful marketer.

How has an MBA helped you in your corporate life?
My MBA was the most practical and useful part of my education. What I love about the course is that it touches all aspects of business yet allows you to specialise in what you are most passionate about. Our institute allowed us to opt for a dual specialisation and so while I followed my heart and specialised in marketing, I was also able to take a lot of finance courses to broaden my knowledge in that space (this was important to me as I came from an engineering background). An MBA helps you understand business in a more holistic way.
What have been your B-school learnings?
More than the academic or classroom sessions, I think campus life and all the modalities of being in a B-school prepared me for the professional life that lay ahead. A lot of B-school experiences do coach you for the corporate life, be it working in teams, making effective presentations, or getting projects done within crazy timelines.
If you had to re-visit your MBA, what would you have liked to have been a part of your course? 
When it comes to functional knowledge and conceptual education, there is only so much a two-year course can do, beyond that, it is up to the individual to continuously learn, grow, and stay abreast. However, I do feel that while we had visiting faculty from the corporate sector and guest lecturers, we would have gained if we had been exposed to more on corporate etiquette, the softer aspects of working with people and success stories of what beyond “work” does one needs to be equipped with to contribute and grow in an organisation. Our corporate exposure was limited to the summer internship and contests conducted by corporates. I would have liked more projects and internship opportunities.
What have been the chief ingredients in your success?
In my career so far, my ability to keep the bigger picture and larger objectives in mind while staying rooted, and making all decisions with the customer at the centre has worked well.
What have been your best and worst moments? 
Best moments: Standing for and winning student council elections and organizing BIM’s first national corporate conference — Crescita. I can’t think of any worst moments because I loved my MBA course and campus life.
What would be your advice to young MBAs who are joining the corporate sector? 
As you enter the corporate sector and move forward, always remember not to hesitate to get your hands dirty. There is no better way to learn than to do, and as you grow, you will set an example for your team. Stay focused on your performance: position, career growth, and money will definitely follow.
Are you happy with the way the MBA is structured or taught today?
MBA has evolved quite a bit in the last two decades, and it has become a lot more practical. There is a lot more corporate exposure, contests and both on-campus and off-campus programmes for B-schoolers. More emphasis could be given to the softer aspects of management and people skills, though.
 What would you advise young MBAs to read? 
Anything and everything they can lay their hands on! In my early career, I would just make time to read and try out different genres of books. Reading is a personal choice. The kind of books depends on one’s area of interest. As a marketing buff, some of my evergreen favourites include — We are like that only by Rama Bijapurkar and The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.