Published on April 4th, 2016 | by Aakriti Kaushik0
Getting the basics right with GBM’s Associate Learning Programme (ALP)
I was recently reviewing foundation programmes offered by PR agencies for young starters and came across Genesis Burson-Marsteller’s Associate Learning Programme or ALP, a year-long paid internship, that focuses on learning at the very foundation. The website description says that it is a programme designed to train an individual in all facets of public relations within a working environment. It also claims to be the only formal and structured programme that nurtures young public relations talent at the workplace in India today. I was particularly impressed to read that this flagship learning platform has been running successfully for 12 years at GBM, and wanted to know more.
Below is a Q&A with Kavita Rao, Chief Talent Engagement Officer at Genesis Burson-Marsteller, who shares more details about the ALP.
Kavita is responsible for developing and driving the people strategy to attract, develop and maximise the potential of talent across the firm. She also provides strategic counsel to clients on internal communication campaigns, leveraging the experience she has gained in this area over the last decade.
Q: What was the inspiration behind launching the ALP programme 12 years ago?
A: The Associate Learning Programme was developed with a vision to groom and nurture fresh talent in the most holistic way possible for the Communications and PR Industry. In a knowledge-based business like ours, where results and success are heavily dependent on people and their attitude towards work, there is a great need to develop talented and motivated teams, through focused learning interventions. This one year programme develops a strong foundation by efficiently combines all three forms of learning: classroom sessions on professional and behavioural skills; coaching by the mentor while on-the-job; self-development through reading, sharing and counseling. Associates graduate from this programme as well-rounded professionals who are ready to deliver in a knowledge-based environment.
Q: How has the programme benefited young professionals over the years?
A: For over a decade now, the ALP programme has been very successful and many organizations in the PR & Communication Industry in India and overseas have our Alumni ALPs in significant roles. Today, our ALPs are some of the most sought after professionals in the PR and Communications Industry. The GB-M ALPs have learnt from the Industry’s best professionals and have gone through all aspects of Public Relations and Integrated Communications along with extensive hands on experience working on key client projects. They demonstrate exceptional leadership and entrepreneurial skills at various platforms. Over the years Genesis BM has been instrumental in giving more than 150 ALPs to the industry.
Q: Are only Indian applicants eligible for the ALP?
A: Yes, currently the ALP programme is for Indian applicants only.
Q: What makes the ALP unique for the PR industry?
A: This is the only one-year formal learning programme in the PR industry which combines learning across all three forms of learning: classroom sessions on professional and behavioural skills; coaching by the mentor while on-the-job; self-development through reading, sharing and counselling.
Q: What is the competency selection criteria / what would make a candidate eligible for the ALP?
A: We select candidates who have a keen interest and passion for the Communications and PR industry. This industry is dynamic and challenging and we look for people who are self-starters, motivated and can work under pressure. It goes without saying that our ALPs need to be knowledge-driven and have strong communication skills.
Q: Are other firms investing equally in coaching and mentoring at entry level?
A: While other firms do invest in training and development, a programme as comprehensive as this is unique to Genesis Burson-Marsteller.
Q: Finally, how do you see the programme developing in the future?
A: The ALP programme will continue to evolve to be a holistic integrated communication training programme aimed at creating PR & PA professionals who have the skills ( both technical & behavioural ) to be successful in the fast changing business environment.