Blessed with the gift of the gab and leadership skills, Atul Gupta thrives on meeting and interacting with people. A computer engineering degree from the Government College of Engineering & Technology in Udhampur, Jammu & Kashmir, landed him a job in a multi-national IT firm. However, there was no scope to interact with customers, or solve their problems - a dream that Atul had long nurtured.
He decided to get an MBA degree in Sales & Marketing from IMT Ghaziabad in the hope of getting into a customer-facing role in his next job. What he didn't know was that his dreams would come true while still in college, even before he stepped into the industry, with the The Tata Motors MindRover contest.
Atul got introduced to MindRover at IMT, a unique Tata Motors case study competition that invites solutions to challenging problems from the best minds across top B-schools in India.
Atul's case study was: ‘community branding for the Tata Safari Storme to increase community engagement, new sales and repeat purchases for the product', an ideal opportunity for him to interact with customers and find a solution to their challenges.
Up close and personal with the customer to find answers
With the case study problem statement in hand, Atul's three-member team began trawling social media, reaching out to Safari Storme owners on Facebook and WhatsApp. The ensuing in-person conversations with the Safari Storme owners provided Atul and his team with a goldmine of insights into the customers' minds. Based on their interactions with customers, Atul and his team proposed several Safari Storme community engagement initiatives to make vehicle owners feel they were important to the company. Some of the suggestions were:
- Use a reality show format - The Great Indian Soul - to engage with the customers
- Initiate a Twitter campaign named #ITakePride
- Organise a mela for Safari owners on behalf of Tata Motors Assured (the used-car division of Tata Motors) where they could meet prospective customers
- Organise a leadership meet, where representatives of each Safari Storme community could meet Tata leadership
Keeping it simple
Only five teams from hundreds of entries made it to the finals - one of them was IMT Ghaziabad. Atul feels the simplicity of their concept was their USP. "We were the third group to make the presentation, "he says. "With the kind of feedback we got from the jury, we felt we would be in the top three. In fact, one of the judges was very impressed with our idea of a reality show." Their confidence was justified. Team Ghaziabad became National winners, the second time in a row.
MindRover gave Atul the recognition and a launchpad that he always yearned for. More importantly, for a man who didn't know the difference between a hatchback and a sedan, the MindRover experience has been a huge learning curve.
Life at Tata Motors
The ambition to land a job in Tata Motors played a huge part in his participation in the MindRover competition. "I needed to get into Tata Motors; it's as simple as that." Presently working at the Tata Motors Commercial Vehicle Business Unit, Atul is in charge of increasing the sales of the Tata Ultra-Light Trucks.
He had heard of Tata Motors as a company that encourages employees and gives them the freedom to express their ideas and the support to implement them. His entry into the organisation after MindRover and experience of working in organisation validates that reputation.
To register for Tata Motors MindRover Season 5, click here: http://bit.ly/MindRover
Read another MindRover story here.