21 September, 2022

SkillsConnect Conducted a Webinar on Closing The Gap Between Corporate Expectations & Academic Learnings


Abhishek Chavan


Team SkillsConnect recently conducted a board conversation on the topic of "Decoding the gaps in Corporate expectations vs. Available Talent Pool from campuses'' on 17th September 2022. Key industry leaders like Varda Pendse (Independent Consultant), Neelam Sanguri (Head of Human Resources and Training Academy at Credillo), Sunil Kabra (Director at Ace Human Capital), Ranu Parwal (Founder of Acura Solutions & SkillConnect.in) and Vicky Jain (Founder and CEO of uKnowva) joined in for detailed discussion. The entire discussion was around identifying the gaps between campus talent and corporate expectations.

Varda Pendse (Independent Consultant) remarked how there is such a long way to go even following 34 years of working. Her 34 years of working life generally felt like 34 days of working. She perceived how the world has been evolving altogether. And how today’s generation needs to adopt this culture of rapid transformation and reskilling. Continuous learning has been one of her strong points at the beginning of the panel discussion.

She focused on how the corporate world is about “outcome and delivery,” and the genuine significance of learning soft skills begins in the corporate world. During the pandemic, students were largely unable to focus on implementing their soft skills in real life when the majority of the learning was online and behind the digital platform without a personalised touch.

According to her, “Being collaborative and not competitive is another element that often gets missed in the campus learnings to prepare the talent for their corporate journey ahead.”

“There is a lack of training and practical knowledge in campus learnings even today. That’s why it takes more time for students and new graduates to adapt to the outcomes expected in the corporate world. Today, corporations no longer just look for academic and aptitude excellence but also practical experience. This includes having problem-solving abilities and management skills like working together and a result-oriented approach. It will help students to do more in their time at the corporate jobs and professions.” Neelam Sanguri (Head of Human Resources and Training Academy at Credillo) gave her creative, insightful, and generous comment on how there is a gap between campus learning and corporate hiring.

She likewise encouraged new-gen or young graduates to be more patient. As per her, being adaptable and having a higher understanding of the learning process can make graduates flourish in the corporate world.

“Candidates need to have frontline sales and operations experience to understand the entire value chain of the business. Before getting started with the backend and strategically impacting the team, candidates must be open to getting onto the field to understand the customer psychology and pain points better.” Neelam Sanguri proceeded with her remark on how Gen Z and other youngsters need to do to get better visibility and create more value in line with how a MBA in sales and marketing is the biggest chunk of all the management courses in India. Experience matters the most in today’s age when learning and growth go hand-in-hand. New and potential candidates must look forward to learning new digital and soft skills every 3-6 months. Because what is trending today may not be as relevant in the times ahead. MBA in Sales and Marketing makes the candidate more proactive in reading consumer/customer psychology. It makes the candidate readier than ever to get into the value-adding role and get ahead of their mental inhibitions.

Varda Pendse (Independent Consultant) further narrated a beautiful life experience on how she sold Colgate toothpaste back in 1993 for three months. Her remarkable experience brought her clarity about urban and rural markets and customer needs in both markets. Her role was as a Head of Training, but she would always be thankful for that 3-months stint in sales to get up close with the ground reality of Colgate toothpaste's market reach and perception. 

She commented, “An organisation exists, breathes, and survives because of the sales function. If there wouldn’t be a single person to sell, no one would buy either. Simple logic. The first brand ambassador for the product is the frontline sales employee.” 

Ranu Parwal, Founder of Acura Solutions & SkillsConnect.in also commented, “My interaction with global leaders over the years also concludes the same. Sales is one angle that brings you close to the market and helps you frame value-adding strategies for your team and the organisation.”

Vicky Jain, CEO of uKnowva, took the narrative of this panel discussion further. He commented how he could relate to the sales experience and journey being from an engineering background. Vicky said, “I could very much relate to it. The sales department was not my expertise. Sales is quite tough, but it is equally rewarding.”

Sunil Kabra, Director at Ace Human Capital, also shared his personal experience to add value to Neelam and Varda’s narratives. “Unless you work on the floor level, you wouldn’t know what goes into making the product and service and selling it right to the appropriate customer.”

Conclusion Note:

In this way, youths today need to have a higher practical, solution, goals, and outcome-oriented approach. It makes them stand out in the hiring process, whether online or offline. The right knowledge, skills, and attitude will surely take new and potential candidates to places. They must identify their inner motivational drivers and update their legitimate industrial knowledge. Campuses can assist students with case studies, practical classes, and interactive sessions. It will train their brains to be more rational, logical, and solution-oriented. 

Simultaneously, the panel concluded how corporates could offer longer internships and more guided tours to students. This helps the candidate to know the real working environment inside the corporate office. Students need this learning experience, and it does not happen within just one month of internship. If it can, it must be longer for richer and value-adding experiences from both ends to bridge the skill gap as humanly as possible. 

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