What is your current profile?
I am a senior manager at Tata Motors, Lucknow. It has been 2 years and 3 months.
What should you do after you get your first job? Learn its basics and continue to grow in it or look for better opportunities and shift?
It is not the job that matters, it is the profile. I like the automobile sector and I am currently working in a profile which is in line with my interest. So I am not thinking of shifting at present. Even if I shift, it will be to a company offering me a similar job, in the automobile sector, not to something else like management or software or something.
Even within the same sector, how easy it would make the shift?
If you have plans to make a shift, it is best to increase contacts first. Once you get a job, you will be coming in contact with many people from many different companies and you should establish a good rapport with them. For example, in Tata Motors itself, different parts of the car come from different companies. Say, the wheels are being supplied by a particular company and you wish to shift to that company. It is best to increase contacts with the supplier of the wheels and then send that company your CV in case there is a vacancy because by then, the company will know that you are a valuable asset and you have the required experience as well.
What advice would you give to those who wish to follow automobile engineering as their career?
Read lots and lots of books related to automobiles. Also, there is PSI club. Try to join that club as it will give you a lot of exposure. Find related professors and do projects under them.
What are the soft skills required in work culture?
One main thing is management skills. Particularly in a core company like Tata Motors, no matter how much technical skills you have, management skills matter a lot at the end of the day. You should have effective communication skills because not everyone working with you will be technically oriented. You need to get across your points and ideas even to such people. You should be able to speak and get across your information in layman’s terms.
How useful is the technical knowledge you gained from college useful now?
It was useful from interview point of view. But at present, I am not using any of that knowledge. From a research aspect, it would have been useful but not form an industry point of view. My team is called the launch team. I am responsible for making the very first model of any car in our industry from the CAD design which comes in from the design team. Once my model has passed all the quality inspection, then further models are made. Hardcore technical knowledge is needed in the R&D sector. I just need to understand the drawings which is not such a big deal. Management and communication skills are what I need the most.
To what extent should one find a balance between work and monetary satisfaction?
In the short run, money is a good motivation. However, in the long run, if you have some ambitions, money should not be your motivation. Say, you want to be the CEO of a company. All CEOs are very good in their fundamentals and they have all started slow and steady from the ground level. Ratan Tata, too, in the initial period worked hands-on in factories. So if you want to hit big in future, money should not be important initially. Management and software companies offer more money but it depends on your ambition. In Tata Motors, I am earning 7 lakhs at present and CitiBank was offering me 11 lakhs, but I chose my ambition and interest in automobile sector over money.
Why do people get bored of their jobs?
It is very simple. The job should cater to your interest. If you are not interested in the work you are doing, you are bound to get bored of it. If you run behind money, neglecting your ambition, you will have no interest in the work you do. This can also happen if you don’t get the desired department according to your interest area.
Can it also be because people do not plan their first job properly? Do they take it for the sake of taking it?
You should plan definitely but there are some uncontrollable factors which might not let your plan be a success. You should be flexible and ready to adapt, should not stick to one plan as such. In my year, 2015, I could not plan anything as 2014 was a recession period and moreover, not many companies come for production engineers. Core companies mostly hire mechanical engineers. So I wasn’t in a position to plan out things. You can go along with the flow, get into some good company and then shift after a year or so if you feel your interest lies elsewhere.
What are some of the things you wish you knew in college?
Actually, I knew more or less everything in college itself. My dad was also a production engineer, working in the petroleum industry. So, he was always there to guide me and help me every time. One thing I got to know after joining the company is that their pay package is not good. What they promise when they come for orientation and what they finally pay you are totally different.
How effective is the Training and Placement Cell?
See, compared to IITs which complete their placement process in a particular time frame, our placement process goes on for almost a year. Also, yeah, they push people to whatever jobs are available irrespective of whether it caters to their interest, their passion or not. The TnP can have a kind of orientation session for a week or so for each department, telling them about the different companies which come and what kind of jobs they offer because even now no student has a clear idea regarding the companies and whatever information they get is from their seniors.
How do campus placements fare with respect to off-campus ones? How do you apply for off-campus jobs?
You can apply for off-campus jobs through naukri.com or if you have contacts. You can apply to any company having a vacancy but you must keep in mind that there are several graduates even MBA graduates applying for that job. Campus placements are always the safer option.
Do you think we should keep changing and experimenting with jobs or continue with one job?
It depends on the company. If you love your job and have a good rapport with your boss, you can grow in the same company itself. Like in Tata Motors, if you stay for around 15-20 years, you can become the plant head with a salary of 40 lakhs per annum. But that is possible only if you like the company and choose to stay there for long. If you change to another company giving you a better position and better pay, your promotions will still remain a doubt as you won’t have the required reliability in the eyes if the company. Every company looks for trust and loyalty from its employees.
How can someone be sure that a particular career path is correct for them?
If you go ahead with your passion, then that path cannot be wrong for you. Just follow your interest and if you feel a particular company is not in line with your interest, you can always quit it.
How effective are internships?
On a personal note, they are not very effective. They are good to add to your resume and some companies even offer a good stipend but other than that they are not at all effective from my point of view.
Do you have any plans of changing jobs?
At present, no. I love my job and plan to continue here itself. But in the long run, I wish to open a showroom. I want to start my own business and took up job here to get the required experience and insight into starting my own business.