CXO Next 2017: ShopClues steps up to groom B-school students as the leaders of tomorrow


This story is sponsored by ShopClues.

Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.” - John F. Kennedy, 1963

This statement holds true for every generation till date, irrespective of the century they belonged to. Take the world of today – amidst all the problems and tragedies, students are turning up in large numbers to set things right, raise their voice against the wrongs, and make a difference.

The youth have bright and inquisitive minds forever seeking answers. It is this drive that serves them well, when they go on to assume other roles in life – be it as entrepreneurs, social workers, inventors, journalists, engineers, designers, doctors, business enthusiasts or sportspersons

So what does one of India’s first and topmost online marketplaces do when they’re looking at growing even bigger? They bring in the leaders of tomorrow, of course. ShopClues had invited students from top B-schools in the country to participate in the CXO Next 2017 Challenge - an initiative to find promising business ideas and leaders who can execute them. Participants had to make videos that explained their business idea/product for ShopClues across four major areas - Operations, Category, Product, and Marketing.

From L to R: Vishal Sharma, Harneet Singh, Nitin Kochhar, Ambar Deep

The winners take it all

Radhika Aggarwal, Co-Founder & Chief Business Officer, ShopClues, said, “We are excited to present the CXO Next 2017 Challenge this year, where young students of India stand a chance to fulfil their dreams of being leaders. I look forward to working with the winning students and guiding them to use their zeal and passion to build a better e-commerce industry.”

The winners were announced at a recent award ceremony held at Delhi on May 27, 2017. From 1,500 entries received, ShopClues chose eight finalists. including one winner and runner-up in each area. The winners walked away with pre-placement interviews at ShopClues, some cool electronic gadgets, and a chance to shadow the business head of their respective area for an entire week.

Sanjay Sethi, CEO at ShopClues, said this was going to be a learning experience for everyone involved. Addressing the students, he said, “You have to understand that this is an interdependent world. We are trying to give back to the extent that we can. There’s an opportunity here to realise what it is like to be the leader that you hope to be.”

The startup and e-commerce game

The evening saw senior ShopClues leaders sharing first person accounts of what startup life is all about, and the relevance of e-commerce with the students. Ganesh Balakrishnan, AVP, Seller Services at ShopClues, kicked off a quick fireside chat with Radhika and Sanjay, with the question, “Yeh startup-startup khelte kaise hain?” (How is this startup game played?) and went on to ask the duo about their entrepreneurial journey and the experiences that they’ve had.

Shopclues, which is known for its open door policy, has a very energetic and creative work culture that keeps people on their toes. Its challenging and exciting at the same time, which makes for a perfect blend of experience and fresh ideas. Radhika said, “Working in a startup is not a job. If you’re looking for a job, or just to build your career, then a startup is not the right place for you. A startup has to be something that you feel for from here (points to her heart).”

Sanjay spoke about the importance of e-commerce, “I think the e-commerce industry is here to stay. It will co-exist with the way business was done earlier. What we don’t know is – who are the players of tomorrow. However, I will say this - we have an important role to play in the near future.”

The evening also featured a panel discussion on profitability in e-commerce and establishing a career in the industry. The panel consisted of ShopClues’ senior leadership team - Vishal Sharma, VP - Operations, Harneet Singh, VP - Marketing, Ambar Deep, AVP - Product, and Nitin Kochhar, VP – Categories.

Moderated by journalist Tanya Dubey, the panel discussion focussed on the Indian market and the reality of day-to-day operations in the e-commerce industry. Vishal said, “What keeps us going is the ask from the team - what have you innovated? Every year, each team has at least 2-3 innovations to come up with. This is what keeps us going and excited at the same time.”

“I think e-commerce is the future. The vision at ShopClues is very clear. There is an opportunity to create a brand that everyone will love, and that’s what keeps me excited and going,” Harneet added, when asked about why he chose to work in the e-commerce industry

Talking about his work at Shopclues, Nitin went on to say that the environment in a startup is very vibrant, full of energy, and almost chaotic. “I think the best part about working at startups, more specifically at ShopClues, is that there is nobody focusing on you because everyone is so busy with their own thing,” he added. He believes that’s the best kind of work culture, simply because everyone gets an equal space of mind to innovate and contribute their ideas to the team. .

Ambar Deep, also a former B-school graduate, talked about his experience in the startup world. He said, “I didn’t want to do a 9 -5 job. I wanted some purpose in life. I think that’s what made all the difference for me. I believe that at the end of the day, what matters is the value that you bring to the table, no matter where you work.”

The chosen ones

The CXO Next 2017 also conducted a Tweetathon Contest, which had students Tweeting their pictures with some fun placards at the event. The winning Tweet with the most number of retweets went to Dwarika Nath Sahu (@dnsahu19911991) from Great Lakes, who won a beautiful set of JBL speakers.

The other winning students were selected by executives heading the four areas. Aditi Pathak, ISB and Vershita Srivastava from IIM Raipur bagged the Winner and Runner-up titles respectively in the Marketing domain. The winning award in the Category section went to Deven Sachdeva from XLRI, while Alladi Shravya from ISB was named the runner-up. Abhiroop Bhattacharya, IMI New Delhi and Abhinav Sharma, IIM Tiruchirapalli were declared the winner and runners-up respectively in the Operations domain. Aswathy Satish, MDI Gurgaon had the winning idea in the Product domain, followed by Anirban Mitra, IIM Kozhikode, as the runner-up.


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