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‘Education should focus more on building a personal brand’, says Dubai-based professional

It’s important to get exposed to a world outside of your country, where you grow in a multicultural environment, says this alumnus from Apeejay School of Management, Dwarka



His journey may have started with working for an MNC in sales, but for Gaurav Arora, an alumni of Apeejay School of Management, the passion lay in sourcing talent and recruiting. In the next decade or so, he has only perfected his craft and opines that the Indian education system prepares students well in academics and knowledge but the focus must also be on how a person looks at things, adds value, and makes an impact.

Excerpts from an interview:

How did your professional journey start?

I was campus placed at Nestle 12 years back as a Sales Officer and soon realised that I wasn’t the right fit and moved to Heidrick & Struggles, one of the world’s top three executive search firms. This is where I understood where my forte lay and my passion for talent sourcing and recruiting began. I have not looked back since then. At present, I head the talent for ME and Asia at International Schools Partnership, a UK-based K-12 education group that operates in more than 60 schools across 16 countries.

What were some of the challenges you faced to reach where you are today?

Be proactive and always wear your manager’s hat when you do things. Always have an opinion and always let your presence be felt with a smile, energy or enthusiasm. I feel that our education system prepares its students well in academics and knowledge of different areas and subjects but lacks the focus when it comes to real-life scenarios. Education should focus more on building our brand and enhancing our communication and presentation skills. We should look at things through a lens of how you can add value and make an impact. Don’t shy away from asking for help!

“There is so much we can achieve by exploring synergies with other organisations and sharing the talent and knowledge that comes with it”

Gaurav Arora, International Talent Manager – Asia & ME

How and when did your association with Apeejay begin?

It began in 2008 when I decided to pursue MBA right after graduation. I did my major in Marketing and minor in HR and thoroughly enjoyed my two years at the campus – Apeejay School of Management, Dwarka, New Delhi – and led various initiatives like Synergy, CRC, and entrepreneurship cell during my time at the campus.

You worked with other MNCs. How did they prepare you for your present profile?

It’s so important to get exposed to a world outside of your own people and country. That’s where you grow in a diverse and multicultural environment. You learn about different cultures, people, and backgrounds. This helps you grow as an individual and gives you a different perspective of looking at things. Always address others by their first name no matter where they are in the hierarchy.

You began your career in HRWhat is the importance of optimising human resources in today’s world?

 Technically, I started in sales but my passion was always around people and that’s why I soon realised that I love dealing with different people. This is critical as people are the most important asset for any organisation and your people strategy can either break it or make it. Always ensure there is a human touch in people, processes, and products.

What are some of the changes you would like to see in HR?

It’s all about believing in people and giving them chances. Don’t hire someone for their experience rather hire for their potential and what they can do for your organisation. Hire people based on merit and value diversity rather than hiring someone like you.

Do you think education partnerships can improve global education? How?

The world we live in is all about collaboration and partnerships. There is so much we can achieve by exploring synergies with other organisations and sharing the talent and knowledge that comes with it. Higher education instituties like Apeejay should be partnering with focusing on future pathways for budding students and also corporates – not for just internships or placements but rather opportunities throughout the year.  

You have written that success is a journey, not a destination. Can you elaborate on it for our young readers?

Thanks for noticing it. I live by that mantra every day. Always set long-term goals and keep re-evaluating them to ensure they are relevant and then work towards achieving them but don’t beat yourself up for that. Don’t measure success only in numbers and money but also in your relationships and personal life. Never underestimate kindness, it will always come back to you in some way, shape, or form. Share your knowledge, experience, and expertise with others, be that person for someone you always wished you had.

Shalini is an Executive Editor with Apeejay Newsroom. With a PG Diploma in Business Management and Industrial Administration and an MA in Mass Communication, she was a former Associate Editor with News9live. She has worked on varied topics - from news-based to feature articles.

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