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This MBA professional fought all odds to work with a German MNC

“Work on your weaknesses, success will surely follow,” says Apeejay alumnus Siddhant Khera, who is working with Henkel.



Having 8 years of work experience in the sales and marketing domain, Siddhant Khera, an alumnus of Apeejay School of Management (ASM), is currently working with a German adhesive pioneer namely Henkel Adhesive Technologies. It is a part of a global group employing more than 50,000 workforce across the globe and having a revenue of close to 20 billion euro worldwide .

After completing his B Tech degree in Mechanical Engineering, the 31-year-old has spent his initial 2 years with a startup into the hospitality industry, manufacturing and trading footwear. “We hustled and created business by selling footwear to 50 odd five star hotels across Delhi-NCR as well as creating a footwear brand for lifestyle shoes,” he explained.

Post this, he completed his PGDM from Apeejay and got a pre-placement offer in an Indian MNC into automotive/industrial tooling solutions as a territory sales manager. Last 4 years were spent in yet another German MNC, which was into industrial tape solutions having revenue in billions of euros . According to him, “If you are able to make a smooth transition from college to corporate,  you will surely grow up the ladder one day. Don’t be in a hurry and gather whatever experience/learnings possible in initial years of work,” emphasised Siddhant. Read edited excerpts of his interview:

What inspired you to choose this line of work ?

I did my B Tech in Mechanical 10 years down the line.  I could have seen myself as a production manager of a big automobile company, or maybe a senior level manager in any of the reputed MNC into manufacturing. Sales was a really tough and challenging choice to make at that time .

Sales came into picture when I had the first ever rejection of my life. I used to stammer a bit and was told that I was not suitable for a job on a production line by a tyre conglomerate because I would not be able to communicate with other colleagues on the shop floor. That rejection changed my life. I started researching and MBA was what I got the best thing to improve my weakness and change it into strength. I started my MBA and participated in a lot of public speaking activities, worked on my stage presence and enhanced my presentation skills. I finally grabbed a sales job in a pre-placement offer, fighting all the odds. At present, I am handling North India business for a reputed German multinational and life after 8 years is going great. The bottom line is, work on your weaknesses, success will surely follow.   

You are a sales engineer by profession , tell us more about your role ?

So, I do both B2B, B2C business with both these having almost equal percentages. In common language, I sell my products to other companies as well as I sell my products to direct customers. Sales engineer is just an acronym to the work we do, we are providing most relevant solutions to the customers for their problems. 

The geographical area we cover is North India; so we prospect new customers, get our products qualified, tried and tested , take on queries, and provide solutions . I have been doing this for the last 8 years and I am loving it.

I feel, at whatever position you are in, if you see your career path on the right track , don’t worry about what designation you have. In professional life, designations don’t matter a lot, but how you justify your position matters.

Analytical and problem solving skills are a few requisites when one wishes to work in this field , what steps can one take to nurture these skills  ?

I have a different opinion on this question. No one in this world can teach you analytical and problem solving skills. Only you have to figure it out at what stage of your life you are able to figure out that you actually have these skills . Just a feel of problem-solving is sufficient for you to learn from it. Pick up small instances from your life and see how you could have done it in a much better way. Skills are already within you, nothing much to explore, just practicality is required. You should know how you should respond to a situation before it becomes a problem.

What other skills are imperative to be a part of this profession ?

Know your strength, fight your weakness , take advantage of opportunities available and eliminate your threats . Work on these 4 principles and rest you will get a lot of synonyms to put up in your resume skills like problem solving, analytical skills, etc. This will be useful not only in your profession, but in fact in all the professions.

Overall, you should work mainly on:

·       See and visualise how you will act if you are in a leadership/ commanding  position. What all skills are missing in you to take you to that level (interpersonal skills or communication skills)

Teamwork and collaboration talent, people skills,  and the list can be endless –  if you can visualise any 2 or 3 skills only put these in your resume.

Key learnings offered by an MBA degree

· According to me, the 2 years are a trailer of what and how your lives will proceed ahead .

· An MBA degree just checks your breakpoint in terms of having all round pressure of assignments, exams , presentations along with participation in academics, which is also considered important for your overall development . Trust me, it is nothing compared to the actual challenges you will face in the  corporate world.

· MBA curriculum is designed to develop your overall personality, and have a  self overhaul before entering the corporate world.

How did Apeejay shape you for the professional journey ?

So at Apeejay, I pulled up my socks and was open to every possible opportunity coming by.  Academics gave me a basic knowledge of the stepping stones which will create a path required to reach up the hierarchy, how you apply it, is altogether a different story. If you apply the knowledge wisely, you get faster up the ladder and vice-versa. Apeejay gave me full exposure of becoming an extrovert from an introvert person as I was. The institute gave me a path to experiment whatever I want for the betterment of my future personally as well as professionally.  I will use the word experiment because I took it as it was.   If you are a part of it, you will definitely learn.

 Few learning for MBA aspirants

1. Everyone gets a job, how good or how bad, depends upon how you performed during those 20 minutes when you are in front of the recruiter.

2. List your expectations from college and note them on a piece of paper. Discuss with your mentors / faculty and see how you can fine tune the expectations.  

3. Please abide by the curriculum wholeheartedly. Take whatever is in store as a learning and reciprocate it in future.

4. Count your learnings on your last day at college and try to implement any 5 of them when you join the corporate world – call it a self-assessment test.

5. Match your initial expectations with the learnings and see what you gained and lost . If you are able to do this analysis and are able to match the two,  it increases the possibility to bag a job.

Harshita is Assistant Editor at Apeejay newsroom. With experience in both the Media and Public Relations (PR) world, she has worked with Careers360, India Today and Value360 Communications. A learner by nature, she is a foodie, traveller and believes in having a healthy work-life balance.