Jitender Singh is of the firm belief that the more businesses change, the more they remain the same. He backs this with his own experience. Starting out as a Product Manager with TTK Prestige Ltd. after passing out of KIAMS in 2002, Jitender has seen a variety of industries in his 11 year long corporate journey. He has worked with organisations like CCD and 3M India Ltd., and as Senior Brand Manager has handled two brands (Audi & Total Hypermarket) for the Jubilant Group. He had a short 4-month stint with Decathlon Sports India, before accepting an offer from Ingram Micro in New Zealand as an International Trade Compliance Analyst. Within a year, he shifted back to his first love – brand building – with Decathlon Sports India again, but this time as the Brand Head – Running, Fitness & Urban Mobility.
“A B-School like KIAMS teaches you how to work under pressure, the essentials of team work, how to make a presentation and the like; but when one actually steps out into the corporate world, what matters is how much a person is able to modify and adapt to the environment. The pressure that a college puts on students is to deliver in the tests, presentations and academic results, while the corporate world has pressures like deadlines, delivery and performance. One needs to take the college experience and use it to face the corporate pressure. Only then will the books serve their purpose. There has been a rapid evolution in the corporate sector in India,so the educational institutes need to change the portfolio of the courses they offer and the methodology of delivery. But essentially, the purpose of a B-school remains the same.”
As the Brand Head for four brands of Decathlon (Kalenji, Newfeel, Domyos and Oxelo), Jitender Singh’s day starts pretty early at 8.30 AM and involves a series of meetings with different stakeholders. He looks upon the first 7-8 years of his professional life as a phase of learning, which helped him discover the role and industry that suit him best.
“All in all, KIAMS was a good experience. For me, the competition from peers helped me build on my expertise and confidence. KIAMS taught us never to stop trying. Recently, we had strategised a product at a launch price of Rs.99, and factors like cost of production seemed to force the price above Rupee 100. Instead of accepting the situation, I joined hands with the heads of production and logistics. Ultimately, the production team was able to break down the costing and we were able to find a solution that could make us slot our product at the Rs. 99 benchmark.”Such business issues surface all the time in corporate life and a solution-oriented approach is an absolute must to move forward.
Whenever Jitender thinks of KIAMS, it is in terms of the close bonds with his colleagues, the classroom debates, the water tower, the tea stall and the long drives. He cherishes the days at KIAMS even today. He advises the current set of students at KIAMS to look at a career in sports brands with great seriousness.
“Sports is a sunrise industry in India today. There is no organised sports product retail organization at the moment except Decathlon. Decathlon Sports India is a growing company, and we lay immense stress on recruiting people with the correct set of values.”
As a recruiter, Jitender is always looking for passion, a sense of ownership and vitality in a potential member of his team. He believes that these are naturally imbibed by students who have had the opportunity to study at KIAMS.