On Thursday, we had an interview with Aditya Sharma, Corporate Business Head at OYO. Aditya started off as a mechanical engineer and then went on to pursue his MBA in ‘Sales & Marketing’, the rest is history.
He is a results-oriented sales professional with 13+ years of experience in Sales, Channel Management, Business Development, Relationship Management, Customer Service, & Quality Control with world-renowned organizations like Johnson & Johnson, Honda, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, XSEED Education and OYO.
Abhay Gupta & Coach Aditya Sharma spoke in-depth about a lot of other things like his journey at Oyo Rooms, Finding his passion, His early career, His childhood, etc.
Table of Contents
- What was it like working at Honda and how did you get there?
- What made you quit Honda and enrol into an MBA?
- What was your MBA experience like?
- How was your early career at Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories like?
- How can students know if Sales & Marketing is their calling?
- Any advice for freshers who are unsure about their role?
- Any advice for freshers during these unpredictable times?
Here’s the Interview
Q. What was it like working at Honda and how did you get there?
So, I’m a mechanical engineer, and any mechanical engineer’s dream is to get into a big automobile company. During my campus placements, I was lucky enough to be the first student in my college to get placed.
Working at Honda was like one of those career-defining experiences for me.
On my first day of work, we had a huge quality problem in the cars. Nobody on the quality control team could solve this problem or figure out the main issue. Even though it was my first day, my boss told me to have a look at this problem and possibly find a solution.
The whole quality team had been working on the issue for 7-8 hours without any luck, how was a new trainee like me supposed to solve this major problem and impress my boss?
Turns out, the solution was actually very simple. I was able to fix the issue within 30 mins and all it required was a bit of common sense.
I mainly learned 2 major things during my experience at Honda that helped me in my career:
- Common sense is a very important skill to have because people ignore it under pressure.
- Whatever you do in your life, the quality of your work should always be top-notch. Never do things just for the sake of doing it.
Q. What made you quit Honda and enrol into an MBA course?
When you’re young, you sometimes make decisions based on someone else’s decision.
I succumbed to something similar, I got into engineering just because I saw someone else do it. Although my grades were very good, I didn’t really enjoy it and that was very important to me.
Even after I got a job at an automobile industry I realised that it’s not something that I completely enjoyed & I wanted to explore another field before settling into a job. An MBA seemed like a perfectly rational choice because, from a career perspective, it would complement my mechanical engineering degree too.
At that time, we didn’t really have any startups like Board Infinity and everything was just trial and error. I was grateful to have a few mentors in my college who pointed me in the right direction & helped me pave my career path.
Q. What was your MBA experience like?
As soon as I joined my college for MBA I started to develop an interest in finance, sales and operations. This period of my life was all about testing different things and career paths to find my sweet spot.
During my two years, I did an internship with Kotak Life Insurance, worked on a ton of projects with companies like Dabur and Airtel, started networking with my seniors to find out how their day-to-day work looked like, etc. This whole experience was really out of curiosity and finding that thing that I’m passionate about.
By the end of my MBA, I had successfully developed my overall skills (communication, networking, etc) while also testing a ton of different sectors. This experience allowed me to have absolute clarity that sales and marketing was my sweet spot.
Q. How was your early career at Dr. Reddy’s Laborotories like?
During my MBA placements, my only goal was to not get placed at an automobile company. The automobile industry was now like a back up for me and I wanted to try new paths, different industries, and test what suited me the most.
My first project at Dr. Reddy’s was to develop business with North Africa. I had an exceptional 2 years at Dr. Reddy’s because I was very confident in my sales and marketing skills. After these 2 years, I wanted to switch sales channels, instead of B2B I wanted to learn the B2C processes. Dr. Reddy’s operated at both levels and I successfully managed to convince my seniors to give me a B2C role.
One key thing that one of my seniors at Dr. Reddy’s told me is, “Whichever role you are in, keep the customer at the centre and create value for them. Create a win-win situation.”
Even after so many years, I always fall back on this advice whenever I’m taking on a new role or challenge.
Q. How can students know if Sales & Marketing is their calling?
I can’t tell a student if Sales & Marketing is their calling, that’s something that they have to figure out for themselves. In my opinion, the best way to find your calling is by doing trial and error.
At the end of the day, you’ll learn more about something from experience rather than just thinking about it. I personally feel that every student should try sales & marketing for a year before moving on to another career path.
Everybody has that innate ability to sell and you’re always selling yourself to others. For example… If you go to meet your in-laws or you’re proposing to someone, you’re always making an effort to show them or tell them about your good qualities, you’re trying to sell yourself.
In my opinion, Sales & Marketing is a very enjoyable career option mainly because every day is different. On some days you’re strategizing, some days you’re selling, some days you’re learning, some days you’re unlearning, etc.
Q. Any advice for freshers who are unsure about their role?
Anyone who is aspiring for marketing should definitely start off by learning sales. This will help you learn if it’s something that you want to do long term or not, and it'll also help you understand consumer psychology.
Just try and become like a curious child. Learn and unlearn as much you can to explore as much as you can. This process will allow you to gain experiences and then make calculated decisions regarding your career. The moment you find something that you love doing, your whole professional career will change.
Be childlike, be curious, introspect a little… You’ll find your answers.
Q. Any advice for freshers during these unpredictable times?
My advice to a lot of folks is that there would be a few delays in your plans, you might not get all the answers right here, but that doesn’t mean that you get pressurised. Keep talking to people, keep looking for solutions, keep researching, keep learning, etc.
Another advice is that don’t join a company just for the sake of joining, especially during these times. Most of the times, you won’t get your answers directly, but if you have patience and keep looking then you’ll definitely find it sooner or later.
In the end, you just have to focus on the basics. For example, if you want to secure 1 job then you have to apply for at least 20 jobs, you need to at least sit for 5 interviews. Know your final goal and then start thinking backwards, that’s the fastest way to get to where you want to be.
Abhay Gupta & Coach Aditya Sharma spoke in-depth about a lot of other things like his journey at Oyo Rooms, Finding his passion, His early career, His childhood, etc. You should definitely take some time out to watch the whole interview.
Check out the whole interview here: Learn How to Build a Successful Career from a Sales & Marketing Pro | Up The Ladder Ep.5 | Board Infinity