Sudheer Kumar Devalla is a small-town boy with a difference. Unlike most of his ilk at KIAMS, he does not aspire to a city-life. Hailing from a town called Tanuku in Andhra Pradesh, he had a traditional PCM (Physics-Chemistry-Math) schooling and went on to do his B.Tech in Computer Science, in his hometown itself. Little did he know that this love for his hometown will open the gateway for one of the most coveted profiles offered to a premium B-school student today.
“Given the current economic scenario, telecom sector is among the few growing sectors. So when Idea Cellular came looking to fill the profile of a TSM (Territory Sales Manager) I knew this was godsend for me. I do pride myself on personal traits like creativity, innovativeness and ethical and spontaneous thinking. But I guess there are other aspirants who would’ve measured up to these skills; not to forget selling skills, since they asked me to sell my pen in the interview. But I think what set me apart was the fact that I’m a small town boy and love being one. I have specifically been assigned to work within my district, which is a matter of singular joy to me. The recruiters from Idea Cellular who had come to KIAMS were convinced about my understanding of the local populace and dynamics of Tanaku. It is true that apart from being well connected in the area, I am held in fairly high esteem for having cracked a premium B-school like KIAMS. The Kirloskar Brand spells magic in my hometown and district. As a TSM for Idea Cellular, I have to increase the sales within the allotted territory and as a local boy, I think I can do the job well.”
Clearly, apart from local tactics, Sudheer Devalla has gained a fairly good grasp at KIAMS on how strategies are made at the macro-level. Even after his Engineering, Sudheer displayed a rare astuteness in refusing to start out at the grass-root level in the IT sector. Instead, he focussed on getting himself a good management education which would be his big-ticked to accelerated growth.
“After scoring well in XAT, I tried to enquire about the best B-schools that could mould my technical brain into a managerial one. As an engineering student I didn’t have much knowledge on this front. I consulted my friends as well as the training institute that had helped me get a good score in XAT. When one of my friends Srihari told me about KIAMS, I was immediately hooked on to it. KIAMS had ‘Kirloskar’ as its first word! I applied to KIAMS without any delay. KIAMS to me was not an option; it was a dream come true.”
Sudheer feels that the seven-week Summer Internship in Vijayawada, with a Toyota dealers firm, went a long way in clinching the job with Idea Cellular.
“The SIP was in complete sync with my aspirations. Moreover, dealers never expose greenhorns to their prospective clients. So for the first 6 weeks I was simply immersed in market research, approaching customers and taking their feedback regarding their sales and service experience. I worked hard on gathering data from a sample size of 50 customers. Only in the final week, after earning the confidence of the dealers, was I directed to sales and service. My learning curve saw a steep rise in those 7 weeks. I realized the importance of punctuality and handling customers. Some of the customers were not very educated but they were rich. Dealing with them was a new experience for me, especially because if they had a problem, they took out their frustration on me and not the company.”
Sudheer believes that KIAMS has transformed him from a static technical graduate into a dynamic corporate professional, where he can carry out multiple processes without much pressure. He points out that prior to KIAMS there was much to be desired in him in terms of social skills. Enjoying his last few months in KIAMS, Sudheer exudes the confidence of a man fully prepared to take on the rigors of a sales profile.