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IMD Switzerland letter of recommendation

IMD Switzerland MBA Letter of Recommendations Questions 2023-24

  1. One reference from a business-related source who is able to highlight your professional achievements, interpersonal skills, teamwork and leadership.
  2. We recommend that you enter and submit their contact details at least two weeks before the application deadline so that they have time to complete and submit our online form. Only professional email addresses (no Hotmail, Gmail, etc.) are accepted.

IMD Switzerland Letter Of Recommendations – 1

Question 1: How long have you known the applicant and in what capacity?

I have known Vichit since 2017 in the capacity of a skip level manager. He worked as Regional sales Manager (head of a large state) for Commercial vehicles of Mahindra in Sales and Channel Management for 2 years and handled a team of 13 Individuals. I headed the North West Zone (3 Major states) as a Sr. General Manager for the entire Automotive Division. 

The fact that Gujarat was a big market for the Large Pick-Up segment and a big focus area ensured that my Interaction with Vichit was at a very high level. This included day to day business discussion of Volume & Market share, Periodic Performance Reviews at Zonal as well as National Level and formal appraisal discussion for Half-yearly as well as Annual Performance. 

Question 2: Describe the applicant’s role in your organization. What has his/her single most important contribution been to the organization?

Vichit currently works in the small commercial vehicle division of Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd as a Sr. Manager of strategy directly with the business head. His role is to assist the business head on his core strategy projects and collaborate with all the functional heads of the business to achieve business goals.

I would say that his most important contribution to the organization happened in 2018 as a Regional Manager of Sales. I remember that he identified a few regional communities in the state with high unemployed youth and limited means. Taking the larger objective of improving their Quality of Life, he created an ecosystem where the heads of these communities and finance companies would come forward to identify capable youth and provide them with an earning opportunity through our commercial vehicles in the dairy segment. He made an innovative value equation where the youth would get a 100% finance on the vehicle which he could pay on the weekly basis.

The initiative ensured the sale of 1000 vehicles (a revenue of $ 7.9 Mn) in the deepest pockets of the state, a volume growth of more than 26% for the offered vehicle and a market share gain of 3%. Other than improving the brand visibility in key pockets of the state, the initiative also ensured higher service revenues due to enhanced vehicle reporting at workshops resulting into higher profitability for the dealerships as well. His appraisal rating has been “Expectation Surpassed” for both the years which is the highest rating in Mahindra.

Question 3: What do you consider to be the applicant’s top three strengths?

One of the top strengths of Vichit is his ability to adapt to different environments. He became a Regional Manager for commercial vehicles at the age of 29 with less than 5 years of work experience which is a rarity in Mahindra. 

Due to his fast growth in the organization, the average work experience of people reporting to him was much higher than his own work experience. Given these dynamics, I was a bit apprehensive of how he would lead his team. The first two months were challenging which was his settling phase but after quarter one, he surprised me by the way he had taken a grip on the business and people by leading various initiatives for the regional Office. 

The other key strength of Vichit is his relationship building skills which is the very basis of automotive channel management. He is good at keeping both the internal and external stakeholders aligned. While I have observed this internally on numerous occasions in the case of managing his team or his superiors. Externally, I have got a similar feedback from our channel partners as well as key financers of the business who echo the same sentiment.

Other critical area being his ability to think outside the box with an innovative approach to handle complex business challenges. During his role of regional manager, he was actively involved in Strategic planning of Various Inter and Intra zone Initiatives and supported the Passenger vehicle business multiple times in terms of formulating various schemes and market revival interventions for the state. There were multiple instances where he handled the entire Automotive Division business of the State in absence of his Manager while working directly with other 8-10 members of the Regional Office smoothly. 

Question 4: What do you consider to be applicant’s weaknesses or opportunities for improvement?

One of the opportunities of improvement for Vichit is to rationalize the magnitude of his ambition and competitiveness. He likes to keep exploring more and more be it his choice of diverse roles or a clear understanding of his future goals. However, he often likes to calculate his career path, promotions, designations, etc. and attaches his age to it like where he will reach when he is 35 or 40 or 45, etc. He has grown rather quickly in the organization so far, but he thinks a bit too much of his next roles and progressions. In the process, he utilizes a lot of his energy in thinking about things beyond his span of control making him restless at times. 

I remember giving him a clear feedback during appraisals our one to one discussions that life is not math’s and that by this approach you can’t possibly enjoy what you do today to the maximum and will always be anxious which may drain you out and at times could be fatal to you as an individual. 

Vichit took the feedback quite seriously and started interacting with his colleagues and line manager as well on being a bit humbler and focusing his major energy on tasks at hand. I have seen him spend a lot of time grooming his team as well rather than just focusing on his efforts. While he remains hungry and inquisitive, he is getting more mature by the day and his efforts to invest in himself in terms of becoming a good leader are visible. I am positive that he will keep learning and exploring his areas of improvement further as well.

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IMD Switzerland Letter Of Recommendations – 2

Question 1: How long have you known the applicant and in what capacity?

I started interacting with Vichit since 2017 when he was in HR as Capability building lead. I was moving into the role of Area Sales Manager and he was responsible for planning and executing my Functional Induction. We had a high level of interaction for 6 months as I was settling down in my new role and he was someone who was responsible for my smooth transition and Capability building. 

Next year he moved to the role of Regional Manager of Gujarat and I move to the role of Strategy Manager in the office of Chief Sales and Marketing Officer (CSMO). While I looked at the overall Automotive business from a National perspective, I got a chance to closely look at his work since he was handling one of the most critical markets for Mahindra. We got to discuss business on Monthly basis in this role as well.

In 2019, He moved to the Business Head’s office to handle Strategy function of the newly formed Small Commercial Vehicle division. Since this division reports to CSMO, I have closely worked with him on multiple occasions and my Interaction with Vichit has been on a high level over the last one year.

Question 2: Describe the applicant’s role in your organization. What has his/her single most important contribution been to the organization?

Vichit handles strategic projects for the business head of small commercial vehicle division within the automotive sector. He drives various consumer schemes centrally and works on keeping the channel motivated by re-engineering the incentive structures regularly. He also handles big budgets of business heads office and is a key member of projects like business profitability and annual budgeting exercise.

Vichit has significantly contributed to the organization and by doing key roles in functions like sales, HR and strategy. His most notable contribution to the organization has been during his role in HR through major capability building initiatives like “UTKARSH” (a 15 day induction module for lateral hires which prepares the new joiners in their transition to new roles and gain functional expertise) and “SMART” (a detailed SOP for frontline sales teams to enable them be more productive and efficient while handling the channel).

Question 3: What do you consider to be the applicant’s top three strengths?

Vichit is extremely good at collaborating and working with different stakeholders across departments to get results. During his stint in HR as a capability building lead, he worked on multiple critical projects which were directly being reviewed by the senior leadership team and involved working with and driving different departments like sales, marketing, finance, channel and others. He launched a few good initiatives which are in place as a good business practice currently as well.

His understanding of the market and consumer goes deep which helps him to drive multiple strategic initiatives for the field teams and Channel partners from the Head Office. He has been instrumental in driving the monthly consumer schemes and Channel Incentive programs for the business due to which Dealerships qualifying for the incentives has gone up manifold and the business viability has also improved. His ownership and accountability levels of driving an initiative is appreciable.

One more notable trait of Vichit is his keenness to handhold his team members and eagerness to develop them. During his stint of Regional Manager in Gujarat also, he developed a good synergy within the team and ensured that he and his team were agile and ready for the challenges. I remember that he got a 100% score in the employee satisfaction index that year which is an annual employee feedback mechanism and a success metric here at Mahindra.

Question 4: What do you consider to be applicant’s weaknesses or opportunities for improvement?

Since Vichit started handling a team at a young age he was full of a lot of energy. He did not really learn the art of delegation fully, and he often ended up taking ownership of tasks that should be delegated to others. This not only wasted his own time but also prevented him from helping the other members of the team in handling complex tasks with short deadlines. There have been times that he took a lot on his plate considering the seriousness of that making himself overburdened. Even today he does a lot himself making his stakes high in a task. 

He executed the most important yearly event- the national annual conference last year where he tried to do it end to end right from conceptualizing to execution whether it was the stage design, AV script, and Music, Theme presentation and content, guest speaker or evening entertainment. It was a 30- day planning and coordinating exercise. While the conference happened as per plan, he was so overburdened that some things which should have been closed a week prior were stretched to the last moment and there were a few situations of panic like a formal feedback mechanism on the conference could not be closed and voice of employees couldn’t be captured.

I have had many one to one chat with him on the matter as and when about distributing the tasks in the team and using the strengths of each member of his team. I have been observing a change in the way he operates here at HO over the past 1 year and the fact that he has to now work with the functional heads who are directs reports of the Business head has made him more mature and good at aligning the right stakeholders and work distribution. I often see him reaching out to the right people and spending time in aligning them about the importance and deadlines of the task. While there is still some more improvement to be made, it’s good to see that Vichit is working on the same and is conscious about Improving this area.

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