Career in retail- what students think

The Indian retail market is said to grow to Rs 25,480 billion (approx.) by 2015. With the augmentation so enormous there is a budding requirement to hire more skilled people. Young graduates are a perfect option. But what is in their minds? Lets see
Putting on a thinking cap

The retail Industry in India has come forth as one of the most dynamic and rapid paced industries with abundant players entering the market. Cashing on the growth prospects, many retail schools are coming up to equalise the demand for professionals with the adequate supply. Also more and more students' are taking on retail as a career option.


Student's perspective
For students, campus recruitments are a very important aspect, which they consider while choosing a retail institute. It is with the knowledge of these that a student can know where he would finally land up. Now all institutes have tied up with various retailers for holding campus recruitments. This initiative has come as an advantage for the students who don't have to apply at various places with the convenience of retailers too that come to institutes for recruitments.  

Expectations from a job profile
When students understand completely what is being taught to them, then there are a certain level of expectations from a job that he/she would want to do. Sanjeeb Kumar, Manager-Retail, with a leading retail brand says, "A job which can give me learning to the fullest, where I can strategise or formulate the overall business, where everyday is a new challenge which is common in retail, at the end of the day I should feel that today I have done something remarkable with creativeness and innovation, where one should face problems and immediately give solutions with decision involve in it for that and where one feels satisfied." Neha Anil Mirashi, PGDBM Batch – Retail 2007-09, Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research in agreement says, "The job profile should be challenging, the timings and location is not a constraint." Rajeev Damani, PGDRMM, BA - Retail ISU, Birla says, "My expectation is that as an initial job it should be a great learning ground but at the same time it must have enough scope for me to grow and shape my career." So fulfilling the requirements of learning, challenging and satisfaction is what students are on the lookout for.


There is a notion where students when asked if they would work in a store say that they did not spend four years at a retail school to work in a store. 'Retailing according to Wikipedia consists of the sale of goods or merchandise from a fixed location, such as a department store or kiosk, or by post, in small or individual lots for direct consumption by the purchaser.' When asked the same Kumar commented, "I strongly disagree with this. When I was in college I used to think on similar lines but I want to ask following things to those who say this: Do they know what retailing is? In retailing how can you know your customers well if you don’t meet them? Do they know what all a retailer does to run the store? A retail showroom is like a classroom, surrounded by three walls. Classroom has one teacher with so many different students from the various states similarly a retail store has a store manager and much merchandise with various categories." Having the same view Neha says, "I would not agree with the notion as working at the store level only could give you all the valuable insights, information and facts required to reach the top. I worked at the store level for my summer internship with a well-known retailer in Mumbai and the knowledge I acquired there could not have been learnt in the classroom or the office." On the other hand Abhishek Kumar, PGDM (RM) - 2nd year (07-09 batch), Birla Institute Of Management Technology says, "To some extent I agree because being in the same store with the same people from 10 am to 11 pm is not comfortable. There should be rotation in job by location and depending upon store formats, it is true an MBA would not like to work in a super market as store manager." Giving a mid path solution Rajeev says, "It is very correct that they don't deserve to work at a store level but as a learning we need to have clear knowledge of front end as moment of truth occurs there. So, I will suggest a training of a quarter is enough and then the favoured profile must be offered." So all new entrants should choose the center pathway and learn the best of both the worlds.  

What retailers are seeking?
Retailers need to appoint the best people, as it is these people who interact with the customers and enhance the shopping experience. Balvinder Singh Ahluwalia, President, Koutons Retail India Ltd tells, “We look for basic management degree and the basic qualities that are expected from any human being.” On job training is gaining a lot of significance. Here graduates are hired and trained and then are given positions in the company. The talent pool is not large enough for retailers to wait for candidates to get trained with other retailers and then hire them. Every retailer has their own training methods on and off the job to train their new recruits. A standard training pattern is essential to ensure basic levels of competence across all levels of employees. Any value addition or additional training programs will only enhance the competence of employees if they meet the basic standards within the industry. Ahluwalia says, “We hire graduates as trainees and then train them for a period of six months to one year and then induct them into main stream with an executive position.” So now days all retailers have set up a standard training pattern and train and recruit new employees according to the company’s requirements. This is beneficial for both the retailers and the students. 

To conclude we can say that the opportunities are immense in the retail sector. Students who wish to be a part of this sector should gear up and work hard to tap all these prospects for their benefit according to their predilections and preferences. 

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