Be a Nippon Paint management associate

It’s not easy being a graduate at 22.

It is a turning point in life for almost everyone. This is when you figure out who you are, what you want from life, and most importantly, what you are good at. Yet, major decisions are expected from graduates at this point in time.

This is why companies, such as Nippon Paint Malaysia Group, have created managerial training programmes, where successful hires are able to rotate job functions to find out their fortes, and thrive in them.

Nippon Paint, however, takes their Management Associate Programme (MAP) a step further.

“People are the greatest asset of any company,” says Gladys Goh, group general manager of Nippon Paint, “and knowing that the Gen-Y look for brands that speak to them and engage them when they consume media, we feel that we had to innovate and engage them even in the way we recruit.”

Investing in a fully-sponsored three-day-two-night boot-camp-like selection process, Nippon Paint takes time to assess and boost their candidates’ core strengths, before heading for an interview session held on the last day of the workshop.

Over a thousand applicants were received for this programme, however only 55 were shortlisted for the Nippon Paint Career Day (NPCD), and only a handful will be selected into the MAP scheme.

In this three-day programme, participants are made to go through all sorts of challenges – from sketching and acting out advertising skits, to making big business decisions in a controlled environment.

It is a way for Nippon Paint to scout out the best from the rest, shortlisting candidates based on their mental power, creativity, interpersonal relationships, and business skills.

So, what makes Nippon Paint’s MAP one that’s so appealing?

Discover your core strengths

The MAP takes their associates on a tailored professional journey of sorts. They will be rotated from department to department to learn the ropes in a very direct and hands-on environment.

In fact, some of the rotations would involve carrying out pretty physical duties such as factory production and ad-hoc projects, while other rotations, such as research and development, may require some basic chemistry knowledge which the associates will be taught along time.

This constant change in environment is ideal for newly working candidates to discover what their true core strengths are, no matter what background they come from.

It is a time for challenge and experimentation to bring out the best in each associate, based on their talents and aptitudes.

Candidates in the NPCD presenting the risks and opportunities of each business plan during the Business Challenge group activity. Candidates in the NPCD presenting the risks and opportunities of each business plan during the Business Challenge group activity.

Push yourself out of your comfort zone

Getting stuck in your comfort zone, especially earlier in life, is not a good thing.

This is emphasised strongly from the NPCD itself, where participants are regularly assigned into groups, and then reassigned shortly after to push them out of their comfort zones.

As 23-year-old Saliza puts it, “This program helped to break my boundaries. I am usually a very shy person, but because of the exposure here, I am now braver to speak up even if my English is not very good.”

The MAP does the same. With the constant rotations happening within the company, each individual will constantly find themselves adapting to new environments and interacting with new people.

NPCD participants performing their creative TV commercial skit for the judges. NPCD participants performing their creative TV commercial skit for the judges.

They’ll have to learn new ways of doing their tasks and interacting with the people around them, thus building a valuable trait that would do well in their future: adaptability.

Develop all-rounded skills

Being exposed to all sorts of dynamic and tailored environments, naturally a management associate would be able to fast track their way into developing skills and good practices that are all-rounded, and are essential for the success of a future leader.

“Through the attachments, I have strengthened my analytical skills, planning and organising skills and time management skills,” says Wen Sen, current associate in Nippon Paint’s MAP.

Ser Leen, however, thinks that the most important skill that has been, and is still being imparted to her, is the “priceless skill of networking”.

Negotiation and communication skills were also frequently cited by current management associates, which were picked up especially during their rotation in the sales department.

Gain managerial experience

The name says it all. The MAP is designed to give its associates a managerial point of view, and an opportunity such as this is as golden as it gets.

With the rotations between job functions, the associates will not only be able to find their right career path, they will come out of the programme having a broader perspective on how a business is run, and the strategies it takes to build and maintain a successful business.

“These 18 months of rotation will accelerate their experience, and by the end of it, these associates will be able to help establish inter-departmental partnerships and collaboration, which will help bring Nippon Paint to further success in the industry,” adds Gladys.

Learn global practices

Nippon Paint not only has a presence in Malaysia, but is up and coming in a handful of countries in the South East Asian region such as Philippines, Thailand, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

With a regional presence,the associates have an opportunity of learning how marketing, business development and operations are conducted to suit different markets.

This is an excellent training to hone the younger generation to be more business minded from a global perspective. It is also a great way of sharpening their analytical skills when determining the demands and market trend in terms of product appeal, sales and marketing strategies, and producing innovations catering to the market demands of each nation.

Want to be trained to become the next generation of leaders? Nippon Paint will be accepting applications for their next round of MAP starting February 2015.

If you think you have the energy, creativity, and mental power to fulfil the requirements of a management associate, be sure to stay tuned to their website and Facebook page, to be the first to get their application announcement.