Survival tips for Management Trainees | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 13, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 13, 2018

Survival tips for Management Trainees

Joining as a Management Trainee (MT), or being enrolled in any fast-track program of a company, is obviously a great achievement. But there are certain things you have to take into consideration as well.

No, I'm not going to go on a tangent and tell you that being an MT is one of the most stressful things in the world, because it actually isn't. Being in a fast-tracked career program means you are going to rise quicker, but you do need to prove yourself. A lot of us take our job for granted and end up not taking advantage of many of the benefits we are given. There will be people to help us out, teach us all that we need to know, and look after us when we're given major tasks. All you need to do is ask for help when you need it. Do not make the mistake of sitting around and “chilling” all day when your boss tells you to get acquainted with the team and the tasks. Roam around, observe, try not to be too intrusive but do ask questions. If the person cannot help you out immediately, ask them when it'll be a convenient time for them.

A lot of the times, you'll find yourself in training sessions. Here, a lot of high-ranking people will come in and brief you about many important aspects of the company. It'd be a good idea to not stare at the ceiling when a Brand Manager is telling you how your company comes up with its brand strategies. If your attention span cannot keep up, you're going to miss out on a lot of useful information and that can result in a blank face from your part when you get asked about which brands are leading the market currently. Carry a notepad wherever you go, take detailed but concise notes. Don't put in the random jokes that your seniors make, you'll have a hard time sifting through all those off-topic notes.

Speaking of your seniors, it's generally a good idea to find out people from your university who have been MTs in the past. You and a senior from your institution have gone through the same education. So it is easier for you to relate to his or her experiences. Yes, it is recommended that you mix in with people from everywhere, and you might find the perfect mentor who actually isn't from your university. But finding your alumni is a good starting point.

Remember that all of the information (barring certain general things) you are given is confidential. Yes, it might seem like a great idea to brag about your company's upcoming projects and projected revenue. But know that, most of your friends might end up working for your competitors or worse, and they might leak the information. So it's best to avoid work-related conversations that might steer towards confidential topics. And if you have nothing to talk about with your friends other than the secrets of your company, you need new friends.

Often times, you'll hear flowery things like:

“Oh, you're the best of the best.”

“We've selected you guys after a lot of testing.”

“You are going to lead this organisation into the future.”

Yes, you can be proud. There's nothing wrong with that but it's important to not let it get to your head. You have a lot to prove to the company and the hard part starts here. But rest assured, this is the most fun part as well. You are given the opportunity to scrutinise and criticise. If you can back up your claims that a product is failing with solid data and justification, people will listen. Do not be afraid to challenge the norms but do it respectfully. Something that doesn't make sense to you, should definitely not be looked at in a negative light until you know the details of what it actually is.

Last advice I have for all of you future or current MTs, do not be afraid of going outside Dhaka. There will come a time when you might have to go on sales stints outside of the capital. Most people feel like they are going to go through hell. But know that, without knowing what an average customer looks like in a country where the Bottom of the Pyramid  (BOP) is the vast majority, you are crippled. If you do not know what those people look for in products and services, you will never be able to conceive product ideas and market, distribute, or design them. It is highly important that you jump on these opportunities the first chance you get.

The world of business is exciting, dynamic and challenging. The competition scenario can change at any moment. New strategies and new ways of disrupting conventional norms are being thought of every day. So go out there and make your mark in this exciting arena.

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