Piramal seeks values and not just skills in the campuses

‘Doing Well- Doing Good’ is Piramal’s motto and they went to campuses looking for the same.


You reap what you sow and that’s how the process of acquiring talent in an organisation goes. Companies are going out of the way to develop a robust talent acquisition strategy to acquire employees who align with their values. Piramal is one such company that is searching for candidates with not just skills, but values.

Organisations have been known to visit business schools and hold contests—Mahindra’s ‘Warroom’ and Tata’s ‘TBLA’ are amongst the popular ones. Companies attempt to introduce themselves through such contests. They give students a glimpse of real-life work situations, and present case studies for which the students are asked to derive solutions.

This year, for the first time, Piramal entered B-school campuses with its campus engagement initiative called ‘Tangram’. Through this contest, the conglomerate, which has a strong presence in pharmaceutical, financial services, real estate, healthcare analytics and glass packaging, wanted to appraise the campuses and assess the students; to try and understand their skills, capabilities, attitudes and values.

Unmesh Rai

“After hiring 140 summer interns and 180 management trainees in the last two years, the internal stakeholders are convinced about this route to acquire good talent, and the campus resourcing acted as a boost at sourcing talent.”

Tangram, a campus engagement initiative, was launched with the objective of providing students form premier management schools a chance to engage with the Company through a learning experience that is both creative and interactive.

“The organisation already had a strong process to identify fast-tracking hi-pots across levels. In the last few years the Piramal Group has made a conscious move to hire talent from campuses directly to step up their efforts further to grow leaders from within. As a consequence, the Piramal Campus Hiring programme got a booster shot, ” says Unmesh Rai, head-talent acquisition, Piramal Group.

The Company emphasises on an attitude which cares about the world and the people, because individuals who are embedded with this mind-set live their lives for a larger purpose. Therefore, it looks for the right attitude more than aptitude.

“After hiring 140 summer interns and 180 management trainees in the last two years, the internal stakeholders are convinced about this route to acquire good talent, and the campus resourcing acted as a boost at sourcing talent,” shares Rai.

In its pursuit of such candidates, Piramal’s contest was planned to achieve maximum insight into students’ attitudes and intrinsic values. Piramal Foundation prepared a list of some looming business challenges and problems it was trying to solve in some parts of the country, for instance, the problem of improving the intake of folic acid and iron tablets among pregnant women in Bihar. In Ahmedabad, the Foundation offered clean drinking water as a part of its social initiatives, but still, it was observed that people preferred to drink out of tankers.

Three senior leaders went to three campuses and presented three problem situations to the students. This was followed by a design thinking workshop, where the students were trained on how to craft a solution.

About 600 teams registered from 14 campuses across the entire country. Some teams even travelled to the problem sites, Bihar and Ahmedabad, showing a great deal of commitment towards the project. Participants exerted themselves in a crunched time frame and worked hard to provide solutions. Two teams from each of the five tracks qualified for the final round, which witnessed a total of 10 teams.

On 19 December, the 10 winning teams presented their experience of applying design thinking and their final solutions, in front of the CEO. Ajay Piramal, group chairman, selected five teams out of the shortlisted ten and declared them winners. The five winning teams belonged to IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Lucknow, IIM Kozhikode, FMS Delhi and IMT Ghaziabad respectively.

2,500 students went beyond their academic load to show their concern for the society by participating in the competition that gave them an opportunity to devise solutions to change the lives of thousands of rural Indians. They stood up to act for the betterment of others, which was Piramal’s intention when it rolled out the Tangram initiative.

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