Sanjay Dave, the MBA

M.J. Arul

Institute of Rural Management, Anand, India.

It was for the first time that Hindustan Machines Limited (HML) came to one of the leading Institutes of Management to recruit some "MBA"s. Sanjay Dave, an M.Tech (Machineries), was graduating that year and had applied to HML. At the end of the campus interview, Sanjay was offered a job in marketing and he accepted the offer. Before joining duty, however, he applied on his own (not through placement) to another public sector company with a hope of landing a higher salary. But the latter offer gave him a thinner pay than the first and he joined HML.

The company recruited four management graduates that year. All of them joined the company, though not on the same day. After all the four had joined, there was a formal welcome arranged in the Head Office for these first-ever breed of "embeeays" in the company. They were all later sent on a one-month "familiarisation" programme, which took them through all the divisions, departments, and sections of the company. After familiarisation they were placed in different departments as per the initial offer made at the time of the campus interview.

Sanjay was put in the marketing division. He had no office: neither a place to sit nor a job to do. He met the GM, who seemed to have nothing specific for Sanjay. The next day the GM went out of town for about three weeks. In GM's absence, Sanjay used to sit in the former's office and, whenever "bored", would go up to anybody in the sales department and spend time.

The GM, on his return, called Sanjay and exchanged pleasantries. Then he asked him to go through the technical papers that had collected in the incoming tray. These technical papers included consumer complaints, enquiries, proposals, interdepartmental correspondence, notes, etc. From then on Sanjay regularly went through these papers, underlined salient sentences and scribbled an occasional comment in the margin. The GM seemed to like this assistance from Sanjay.

Sanjay speaks: "Almost after a year in the company I got this table and chair. As for the job, I had nobody to direct me. I was in a state of 'suspension' and I am still so. Nobody directs me to do anything and nobody asks what I have done or what I am doing. Nor is there any written stuff as to what I am supposed to do. Of course, going through the GM's papers made me quite acquainted with what was happening in the division. I have become pretty knowledgeable about the current affairs of the division. Even now I get to go through the GM's papers. But I have no powers to take any decisions. Whatever I studied at the Institute is of little use here. I get things accomplished by my knack of approaching the right people.

"Once I was asked to go and take a look at the spare parts department, for there seemed to be no proper inventory management and catalogues were not updated. During my consequent visits there I came to know everybody in the department. Now that I am in coordination, customers come to me with complaints, asking for servicing, spare parts, etc. and I have no difficulty in dealing with them to their satisfaction. I straight away take them to the department and to the persons concerned--the job is done. I don't have to do anything more : just CO-ORDI-NATE, that is all!

"Sometimes I feel I am not doing anything at all. But I know the system does not offer great incentives, monetary rewards or quick promotions. I also know that I am one-up among my colleagues in the same grade. The fact that I was initially often seen either in the GM's office or with him, has earned me additional respect from the people in the division. They are careful when they talk to me.

"Now, I just route papers, meet people in different departments and put them in contact with one another as and when I receive papers or phone calls to the effect. I also arrange quarterly or half-yearly meeting with important customers and related department people. I combine, review and forward quarterly reports of various departments to the MD through GM. All these activities take about 30 per cent of my time. The rest of the time is all rest. Work is really smooth. I am absolutely relaxed. I am happy."

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