Sushant Kumar (FMS) - Retail Industry

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Name: Sushant Kumar

College: Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi

MBA Batch: 2014-16

Summer Internship Industry: Retail

Location: Kuwait City

Profile: Merchandising

Brief Project Description & Responsibilities:

My project concerned solving some live issues faced by the brand like over/under-stocking in the stores, over-buying from manufacturers, under-optimal space allocation to different departments, etc.

The work entailed analysis of the sales history and space data of all the stores at division level, several store visits and interaction with the operations and visual merchandising teams.

My responsibilities included:

1. Stock level benchmarking of stores for guiding allocations & options planning;

2. Making recommendations for sales space usage optimization for all stores of the concerned brand;

3. Formulation of a Store Space Master Sheet by division by store.


What was the overview of the project? Elaborate with some details

The project aimed at estimation and optimal allocation of the total sales space owned by the brand. The brand had a number of stores across three countries. Since it wasn’t possible for me to visit all of them to go about the project allotted to me in the 8 weeks time I had, I needed to identify one of the stores that had all the divisions under the brand as my model store based on which I would build the master sheet and do further analysis for the remaining stores. The work involved frequent store visits including one warehouse visit, meetings with the merchandising, operations and marketing teams, and sales and profits reports generation and analysis. As working on the model concept involved a lot of approximations at every step, I had to cross-check and verify my results against the available data several times before I could finally design a model which was validated and Okayed by the stakeholders in the brand team.

Share your daily routine & overall summer internship experience.

Every working day would typically start with waking up at about 6 AM. All the interns from India had been given stay in fully-furnished flats in a hotel for the entire period of 8 weeks. The company buses would arrive at our hotel by 7. The office hours were 8 AM to 5 PM and interestingly the weekends comprised of Fridays and Saturdays. At about 5 PM the buses plied from office back to the hotel. I had at least one store visit in every two weeks and one visit to the warehouse during my internship. These visits added immensely to my experience and understanding of the relevance of visual merchandise in the brick & mortar retail business. Sundays typically started with a common weekly review by the Brand Director and the VP of the entire team including the intern. This generated the feeling of being a part of a team and helped me monitor my pace and the seniors assess my performance.

The evenings were typically marked by visiting nearby places including the Marina beach situated at 15 minutes walk from the hotel. It was fun staying on foreign land with completely different culture and business trends relative to India, working with people from different nationalities in the same team and staying with folks from the top 6 B-schools of India in the same building. The fixed office hours and weekends gave us ample time to explore the new place and each one of us now have a lot to cherish from those 2 months. Moreover, the company arranged a Kuwait tour and a get together with our alumni in Kuwait. We supplemented this with a couple of parties and with fellow interns and alumni.

I was fortunate to work in a team of very supportive and accommodative people, especially my mentor and buddy who apart from helping me with guidance and resources ensured that my learning and exposure were optimal. By dint of all this my work got appreciated on the day of final presentation and fortunately I bagged a pre-placement offer!


How was the selection process conducted?

The shortlisted students were called in teams of 10-12 for a group discussion. After the GD the people shortlisted for the next stage were called for a personal interaction. I was the last one to appear for the PI with a panel of two members and unlike expected my interview was the longest conducted by the panel. The results were announced in just 15-20 minutes after I returned from the PI. Then the HR head called all the selected candidates together for congratulating us and notifying us of the further course of action like the visa process, etc and regarding our travel and stay information.


What were your key learnings from the summer internship?

Following are my key learnings from my summer internship:

• Understanding the nuances of the retail industry including the small and big factors that determine the performance of the same.

• Implementation of cross-cultural management learned as a part of OB course in the first year.

• Breaking down a given problem statement into tangible deliverables and devising feasible models and methodologies to materialise the same.


Three tips would you give to your juniors

1. Understand the project statement as deeply as possible and consult your buddy or mentor in case of even minor ambiguities, if any. Further, get your understanding of the deliverables approved by your mentor in the initial stage itself.

2. Try to mix with the team members as much as possible and if possible with members of other teams as well. This will form part your network and will make it easier getting help form team members when required. This may as well play a role in deciding your PPO in case a feedback is sought from the team.

3. Last but not least, do not miss out on the fun during the tenure. Make friends, party and tour around.


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