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Shopperscape

Raymond Raphael, 28 who wanted to become an investment banker, was attracted by the challenges of retail during his two-year MBA course and is now a category manager for sports, toys and stationary at HyperCITY. Naomi Canton tells more.

delhi Updated: Jun 27, 2012 12:28 IST
Naomi Canton

Raymond Raphael, 28 is category manager for sports, toys and stationery at HyperCITY. But this is not what he had planned for when he applied for an MBA five years ago. He wanted to become an investment banker.



But during the two-year course he was attracted by the challenges retail offered. “Not too many professionals were entering it; it needed a lot of sorting out,” he says. “Companies were disorganised, and the challenge was to organise the entire thing and align vendors to companies’ needs. I was also interested in consumer psychology and store layouts. I thought this was more interesting than banking.”<b1>



Raphael, who shares a two-bedroom flat in Andheri with friends, is a Catholic Tamilian from Ranchi in Jharkhand. He is one of many MBAs recruited to work in Mumbai from campuses across India. He says, “I like seeing different cultures and food. Retail gives you great global exposure, and my outlook has changed as a result. But the travel is not the main draw, it’s the day-to-day job.”



Every day Raphael checks the previous day’s sales. If stocks are low, he arranges for them to be transferred. He also has to prepare sales analysis reports or make presentations.



Buyers, who source from new suppliers and merchandisers who control the stock, report to Raphael. He develops the overall strategy for his category, such as how much of sports should focus on cricket and whether toys should be interactive.



He makes the final decision on prices, works out how much space should be dedicated to a category in a new store and supplies inputs on the look of a section.



“You need to keep pace with what is happening in your category even in your spare time,” he said. “If I see an item not at my store on holiday, then I pick it up and read up on it. You need to be passionate about your category.”



Outside work, Raymond plays the synthesiser, listens to music, is devoutly religious and hangs out in coffee shops.