For the first time Kovai.co conducted a week-long product marketing workshop for final-year college students in and around Coimbatore. Promising students would be offered a six-month internship with stipend, after which, based on their performance, they would be taken on role. Around 60 students from six different colleges attended the workshop.
“To scale our operations, home-grown talents are one of the best investments we could make. At Kovai.co, we show students different careers they could carve out of the software industry, besides the traditional developer or tester roles,” says Arunkumar Kumaresan, Head of Operations, India at Kovai.co. “This program provides interns enough time to assess their interest and alignment to the role and challenges,” he adds.
The workshop taught students about the different channels of digital marketing. It also involved giving students tasks based on these channels to test their practical understanding. The curriculum included blog writing, email copywriting, search engine optimization, technical use cases, and Azure power platform. “We covered around seven topics over five days. The workshop involved an hour of knowledge sharing in the morning, after which students would be given four hours to learn more about the topic and develop a use case scenario,” says Mohan Nagaraj, Senior Manager of Product Marketing.
Mohan says, the format tested students’ language fluency, research skills, optimum and accurate use of Google, and presentation skills. “People who join marketing teams often need to write or proofread blogs, interact with vendors, negotiate with influencers, handle social media, send out emailers etc, for which they need the above skills,” he says.
In SaaS marketing, candidates must have technical and marketing knowledge. “Unfortunately, we find interns who have completed their MBAs or B.Com not having the technical knowledge to write even simple code. Similarly, we find engineering graduates without product marketing knowledge,” says Antony Praveen, Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition. “So, when we recruit graduates from either stream, after a few weeks, some candidates find that they don’t enjoy the job. We have also later felt that some candidates were not the right fit for the role,” says Praveen.
Standard recruiting practices usually involve giving students a task or assessment that tests them for the specialization we seek. The short-listed candidate would then undergo a couple of rounds of interviews,” says Praveen. “But in this process, we see a candidate for hardly 30-40 minutes, which is often inadequate to see if they are the right fit. Also, if we ask marketing students technical questions, they fail to answer, and the same goes for marketing questions or scenarios posed to engineering students,” says Nagaraj.
Our marketing workshop was a win-win for the students and Kovai.co. The students received a week of knowledge sharing from the SaaS industry and worked on real-world use case scenarios. The tasks and problem statements they worked on gave them clear insights into the job profile role they will be interning for, and they accepted the internship fully understanding what they are committing to. “The workshop allowed the students to understand digital marketing better and decide if they would like to pursue it as a career”, says Senior Manager Digital Marketing Pranoy Pauly.
They also got a glimpse into Kovai.co’s work culture and benefits we offer, and most importantly, received a certificate from Kovai.co, on successful participation at the workshop, which holds significant value on their Resume.
From Kovai.co’s perspective, we got to test students’ problem-solving abilities, creativity, research, presentation, and public speaking skills. “The workshops gave us more time to gauge the students’ interests and skills required to be successful during the internship,” says Pranoy. “We got a solid 30 hours with each candidate, which provided us better insights into their skills, attitude, and culture fit with us. We also convinced them to openly let us know if they did not like the tasks they were doing at any point during the workshop, so we knew they were not the right fit,” adds Mohan. Conducting such workshops and spending time on training students helps create notable word-of-mouth publicity and builds brand awareness.
Arunkumar Kumaresan, says it is important to keep developing newer and better industry-academia initiatives like the above workshops. “It helps us engage better with colleges, the biggest source of our fresher talent pool. By sending these students, colleges will better understand the nature of job roles, the products we build, our infrastructure, and our culture. This will prompt them to refer ideal candidates to us even later,” he adds
We selected six candidates from the workshop to join our internship program in March 2023. We wish them an exciting and bright future with us.