The Tata group is one of the largest conglomerates in India with annual revenues in the neighbourhood of over a hundred billion dollars. This giant corporation has several companies that include Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, TCS, Tata Power, Titan, Taj Hotels, and more.
With a history that goes over a hundred years, it has been elemental in shaping the corporate face of the country, employing some of the sharpest business minds here. To add to this pool of talent pipeline, JRD Tata, the Chairman of Tata Group between 1938 and 1991, created a specialized leadership training program – the Tata Administrative Services (TAS) – in 1956.
The TAS is a 12-month intensive leadership training program for young recruits from two sources – the in-house recruits selected from within the Tata group of companies and the campus selects from the top business schools in India.
The aim of the TAS is two-fold – creating a pool of exclusive group of managers within the company & providing a rich platform for these talents to realize their full potential. It continues to be one of the exclusive corporate training programs in the country which aims at recruiting talented candidates who are developed to become the future management leaders within the Tata fraternity.
TAS has a history of grooming leaders for more than 60 years across its body of over 100 companies, in India and abroad. Featured as the “Most Preferred Recruiter” within the elite b-school circle in the country, according to the Nielsen Campus Track B-School Survey, in 2011 and before, it has emerged as a high demand career path for many MBA candidates, looking to venture into an early entry executive position.
In terms of career benefits, the TAS is uniquely accommodating to various favourable options to advance ones’ career.
TAS also offers a lucrative opportunity for high starting salaries. According to a survey by InsideIIM in 2012, TAS scored high on its recruiter ranking, salary being one of their determining parameters. Based on inferences from the survey, Glassdoor, and other sources, TAS managers can have salaries well on the north side of INR 16 lakhs per annum. This is certainly among the more competitive salaries offered to young managers in the country.
The recuitment process to enlist into the TAS program involves two separate pool of candidates – the in-house candidates from within the Tata group of companies & the graduating final year MBA students from some of the elite business schools in the country.
According to the TAS website, the TAS In-House is open to Tata employees who satisfy the following eligibility criteria.
Upon selection, after the initial application, candidates have to go through a gruelling extended selection process detailed in the next section.
Currently, TAS campus selection takes place in a handful of b-schools in India, among students in their final year of MBA, or MBA equivalent – IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, IIM Kozhikode, IIM Lucknow (Read blogs on IIMs), Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) University of Delhi, SPJIMR, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS Mumbai), and XLRI.
A work experience is not essential. There is also no mention of a GMAT requirement for in-campus recruits.
TAS also has a Summer Internship program of 8 weeks, for first year students from the above institutes. Interested students can apply, qualify a Group Discussion and an Interview to get selected for the 2-month long internship program with TAS. Deserving interns get the opportunity to apply to the TAS at the end of their internship for a pre-selection process.
This is a shortlisting elimination process for campus applicants as well. Candidates are referred to seek advice from their respective placement advisory team for application related queries. The application requirement involves essays and a Statement of Purpose describing their motivation behind seeking a leadership role and a position within the Tata Group.
Usually, the campus goes through a selection round where the shortlisted teams compete for a winning spot. The winners then go through the selection process at the national inter-campus level.
Regardless of the talent pool source, whether the in-house or the in-campus, the shortlisted candidates have to go through a set of four stages of in-person selection to make it to the TAS leadership program. The first rounds are held at various Tata group hotels in the country.
The Tata Administrative Services was brought about as a corporate counterpart to the Indian Administrative Services (Read How to become an IAS Officer). Hence the inspired level of competition and difficulty cracking the selection process.
Also inspired is the status of the selected TAS Managers, making their way into cushy executive positions while their contemporaries meander through entry level positions. It is truly an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of TAS, with Tata’s giant credentials, trained by the best to lead where few can.