Role enhances capabilities
Working as an Employer Connect Programme co-ordinator has given Prashanth Kalakatil a chance to showcase his leadership, communication and people management skills
Name: Prashanth Kalakatil
School/institution: Victoria University of Wellington/WellingtonNZ (intern)
Home city/country: Ottapalam, India
Prashanth Kalakatil has enhanced his skillset since taking up an internship with WellingtonNZ as part of its Study in Wellington team.
Armed with an MBA in marketing and HR and Bachelor of mechanical engineering and with work experience in marketing, customer service, management and administration in India, Prashanth graduated with his masters in global management at Victoria University of Wellington in December 2020.
He was delighted to take on the graduate contract at WellingtonNZ, where he was charged with managing and leading the Employer Connect programme, a three-month programme designed as a series of networking sessions for international graduates to interact and build connections with employees from various Wellington organisations.
His role has included everything from planning, implementation and delivery of various events, managing logistics, health and safety, communications and budgeting to reaching out to potential participants, external stakeholders and project delivery partners and training participating students before attending networking events.
Prashanth talks about his experience
In the initial few weeks most of my work involved planning and discussions with the team to put in place the event content, marketing tools, email communications and other frameworks to support the networking events. This also involved making initial contact with potential organisations and getting the student registrations up and running. The second half of the programme involved conducting the networking events.
Much of my work had to do with phone and email communications with multiple stakeholders, both external and internal, and often involved thinking on my feet and coming up with quick responses to situations. It helped to have an energetic and supportive team at WellingtonNZ with whom I had a lot of lively discussions and brainstorming sessions.
Project managing this programme has enabled me to showcase my leadership, communication and people management skills. I have been able to not just practice my organisational and management skills, but to also build on them and contribute to enhancing my capabilities.
The opportunity to take ownership of an entire project and work autonomously in dealing with various teams and putting together the programme has given me tremendous professional value and industry relevant experience.
This role has enabled me to thrive in a multifaceted environment and make analytical and critical decisions while also being industrious to deliver the programme successfully. Along the way, I’ve learnt so much about workplace culture and best practices in office communications.
Project managing this programme has enabled me to showcase my leadership, communication and people management skills.
A major challenge was getting the large number of potential participants (both individual and organisational) to commit to the programme and respond in a timely manner. This was significant as my workflow was dependant heavily on co-ordinating with multiple teams simultaneously and getting responses to proceed further.
Patience and perseverance were always key to overcoming these challenges successfully. Also, in a post Covid world, health and safety has taken an even bigger role in managing workplace events and programmes, and it is essential to be prepared to overcome the many different challenges and roadblocks one may face in implementing them.
In my case, being prepared for all contingencies and having a comprehensive plan prepared at the start helped in being ready to face challenges when they came.
What stood out during this time was the significance of being alert to the programme needs as well as the workings of the internal and external support teams. In such roles, it is paramount to follow a structured and organised work style to be able to adapt to changing situations seamlessly.
I would always advise other students and graduates in such roles to keep an open and flexible mind to understand their work environment and requirements well, and to look at the small details as much as possible.
It is important to have a good mix of both technical and people-centric skills but also to be confident in using those skills and capabilities. With workplaces evolving continuously, being open to continuous learning and improvement are key to longterm professional development.