On 14th September, 2016, JBIMS welcomed one of its very own, Ms. Suman Hegde (Finance Head – Homecare, HUL) for a session aimed at enlightening the students about Finance at HUL and other companies in general. She was accompanied by Ms. Navashree Bahradwaj (Employer Brand Manager, HUL), Ms. Aashna Bhandari (Management Trainee, HUL) and Ms. Apurwa Banka (Supply Chain Finance Manager – South Asia – Foods and Refreshments).
The session began with Ms. Hegde recollecting some of her college experiences and identifying with the first year MMS students’ current state of mind. Next was a montage of testimonials of high-ranking HUL Finance employees, all of which reinforced that though the Finance department is at the core of all HUL operations, versatile professionals, rather than specialists, are appreciated at HUL. HUL believes in giving an all-round exposure to its employees in terms of sector, team members, location of work and so on. HUL likes to call itself the ‘CFO Factory’ as historically, its Finance employees have gone on to head some of the topmost companies in the world.
Next to take the podium was Ms. Banka. She shared her experience of the year-long management training program that every new recruit goes through. She started off in the manufacturing sector and then moved on to sales. Then she had stints in the international offices, rural offices and in the profit center. To answer a question that a student asked, she clarified that to work in a Finance role in HUL, what matters more than knowledge of accounting is attitude towards the job and aptitude for learning. HUL is one of the very few companies in the world which have Media Finance roles.
Ms. Hegde then took the event further by urging the students to be clear about their strengths and weaknesses and to implement measures to minimize the latter. She spoke about the evolution of a graduate from a new recruit to an inside-out HUL employee. She, like many other HUL employees, has worked across multiple teams, projects and sectors like mergers and acquisitions and supply chain finance. She highlighted that the responsibility that accompanies every role that an employee is offered shapes one’s knowledge as well as personality in the right direction.
Ms. Bhandari, a JBIMS alumna from the 2016 Batch, spoke next. She shared her experience of being a summer intern as well as an employee at HUL. Interns at HUL are given live projects to work on. They have the same freedom to approach top-level executives as the employees do. Ideas that interns put forth are often implemented in projects, which greatly boosts their confidence. She also reinforced that the diversity of projects that employees get to work on at HUL is vast, right from retail marketing, where they visit far-off places to study the market, to a new product launch across the world.
This was followed by a Q&A session where students asked questions based on co-ordination between teams, difference between working at start-ups and at an FMCG and decision making at Unilever. This session was a highly informative one and JBIMS looks forward to more interactions with HUL.