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‘Practical knowledge through internships and live projects is what gets you ready for the industry’

Apeejay School of Management (ASM) alumna Kanika Minhas shares how she made the journey from being rejected by companies to getting recognised and appreciated highly for her work

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Three years into the industry, Apeejay School of Management (ASM) alumna and HR professional Kanika Minhas says her journey has been full of learnings. What guaranteed her growth was her eagerness to gain more and more experience at every step by seizing every opportunity that came her way. She currently works as the assistant Human Resource Business Partner (HRBP) at KEC International. Kanika, who pursued an MBA in HR and Operations at ASM, tells us in an interview how her professors at ASM helped her progress. Edited excerpts:

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA in HR?

I was clear about this right even before applying for ASM. During my graduation days, I did a lot of internships. One of these internships was with a CA firm where I got the opportunity to execute an HR project pertaining to training and development. This experience gave me enough clarity about my abilities and how I could put them to use in this sector. So, choosing HR for my MBA degree was the next step. I believe it is important for every MBA student to have clear goals about which sector to specialise in and why.

What kind of exposure did ASM provide in terms of academics and co-curricular activities?

AT ASM, I participated in several live projects and inter-college competitions. I represented my college at IIM Ahmedabad in an event called “HR Harmony”. As the campus ambassador for the event, I brought around 38-40 students onboard for some certification courses. It is one of my most memorable events from college. For live projects, I was associated with ITC as well as Rama Prasad Sanjiv Goenka Group, where one of my noteworthy projects was doing a market study for the latter’s Too Yumm brand. 

What kind of support did you get from the ASM faculty?

My time at ASM was quite exciting. Professors like Ishita Ma’am and Chhaya Ma’am guided me well on how to upgrade myself not just in terms of my knowledge but my overall personality. I would also seek advice from ASM alumni. During our IIM event, Chhaya Ma’am was regularly in touch with me on how to prepare case studies, presentations, etc. Ishita Ma’am, on the other hand, constantly encouraged us to take part in live projects and competitions. They emphasised the importance of practical knowledge because that is what gets you ready for the industry. Another lecturer Subhash Sir, who taught us Economics, also inspired us a lot. I am indebted to all my professors for their support.

You have been associated with KEC International for three years now. What does your work as an HRBP entail?

KEC International is an Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) company, in which I am involved in their Railways sector. I am handling 40 odd projects pan India. The role of an HRBP is that of a bridge between the management and the people working on site. Our job starts with allocating the budget for a project and manpower deployment. Once a person is onboarded into our system, we are responsible for their end-to-end lifecycle, from onboarding and induction to payroll and training. In the case of Railways, for instance, we rope in experts to educate employees about overhead electrification, signalling and telecommunication, current trends, etc. In the process, we have to keep track of licensing, adherence to government policies, and more.

How do you see your journey till now?

I have a long way to go. I consider myself lucky for having all the guidance I required till now. I believe hard work and dedication can help you achieve your goals. Throughout my professional journey, I have learned a lot. There was a time when I was rejected by almost 15-20 companies but today, I am recognised for my work and there are many companies who want to hire me.

What advice do you have for the students of ASM?

Be patient. Utilise your time to do live projects and internships as much as possible. As companies recover from the pandemic, you might not get your desired salary immediately, but it is advisable to at least start your professional journey for the much-needed exposure and experience.

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Senior Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.

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