Role of one’s attitude and personality in building one’s career.

PGPMCareer is not just making to a high paid job. Career is the journey that begins from those wayward days of our childhood when we randomly change decisions of what we want to be and finally decide on a certain point what we actually want to see ourselves as and then we start working towards it. When I say it’s a journey, I account all the struggles and hard work that one account in reaching to that desired set profile. I still remember when I was a kid and some relative asked me “So what do you want to grow up to be?” and I reprocated saying that “I want to become the guy who sells cylinder”, at that point in life that kid in me thought the cylinder guy checks the notebooks of the parents and all elder people, so he is some kind of teacher of all elder people and that must be a very heavy position to be at. But as we know time teaches us all. Now we laugh on such kiddish experiences but in actual by the virtue of our changing minds we have taken some serious decisions to be where we are today.

Going back to my first point, wherein I said “we build our career the day we actually fix what we want to be and start working towards it with all determination”. You must be wondering that this guy has been talking quite a lot about working towards our career. With working towards it, I mean the feel of attaining the desired set goal becomes the knock of our head at each and every hour and we do something or the other to mould ourselves to be able to reach to our set agenda. For that matter, let it be the extra time you dedicated to academics, the amount of television that you might have cut, hangouts that you ignored, novels you read and news that you have been updated with. Everything accounts today to be the content full PGPM candidate that you are and that entire working up shows up at the one manner or the other.

Now that you have taken up the firm decision to pursue PGPM and take up a job in your respective specializations or to be an entrepreneur now is the time you need to introspect upon your strengths as this is the final degree for most of you which is going to account for the entire amount of the study that you have done till now. With that competitive spirit on, you need to be a more sound and more content full person that rest of the students. Yes, with that I mean you need to outshine to make it to the best of the job profiles or even excel in your personal venture.

When a company comes to a post graduate institute to hire freshers it comes with the lot of excitement to hire young talents and it basically looks for three things:- “You”, “Your Current knowledge”, “Your urge for knowledge and learning ability”. You must be wondering when I say that the company looks for “You”. Yes I mean it, that’s the most non-ignorable part of human nature, even if we decide that we do not want to judge someone, it’s a natural act that we still end up having some notions about the person even post the decision of not to judge. When we personally judge people whome we want to be friends with and who are we compatible with in the same manner the HR looks at you in a manner if you can ally and work compatibly with the other employees. So that “You” factor constitute of your entire personal and professional traits that you have carried and grown up to be, in short we name it as your Personality and Attitude.

The term personality as it says is very individualistic and personal, it varies from person to person, some are introvert some are extrovert, some people dress in a certain manner and some in another. That everything is part of one’s personality. Like a doctor is expected to have know-how of a human body in the same manner a PGPM professional is expected to be well spoken and presentable. The organization is just not the products it deals in or the services it offers, an organization is the group of people who work together to make it meets it objective. So the group of people work together to make the product or offer services and hence it makes the organization. As simple as that, the same organization which comes to hire in the colleges will not like to be associated with someone who is not groomed and not well spoken as tomorrow being the face of the company such resource would hinder the image of the org. in the market. The very first thing we observe in a person is the clothes and they say so much about you. The way you keep your clothes and the way you wear them shows the kind of the person that you are. So whenever you sit for an interview or even when you join work, your dressing sense has to be elite, clean and professional. Everyone likes to have well dressed people around (which we call “crowd”). So even the companies want to have good crowd working for them in the same manner we expect.

With so much of competition around, the world has become well spoken. For that matter even we see small kids talking so well in the shopping complex and around. Being a MBA, you are expected to be well spoken. With well spoken, I do not mean just English with some heavy jargons and vocabulary. Being the natives of India, we need to be good at hindi too. As most of the times you have to use both the languages at work or with the clients. For an example if someone asks you “ Kya hal hai?” You just can’t say “ I am good, you say, How are you?” That’s an insult. You have to revert in the same language the person talks to you in. So with well spoken I mean that you need to have a good hold of English and Hindi and use these respective languages in a simple and clear manner to make your point sound more content full.

Most of the times we get so tensed when an interviewer asks us the question like “Who is the Home Minister of India” or solve “xyz93d * 23xd= ?”(P.S- Please do not actually solve it because even I do not know what it means). So in actual my dear friend, they actually are “Ok” with you know knowing the answers of these questions as this is just your attitude check. We Indians just cannot say “No”. Like most of us, even if do not know the answer we will make some 3-4 guesses and post that will say that we do not know, and some will think for some minutes and give the correct answer. But the least will have the confidence to say “Sir/Mam I don’t know can you please tell me the answer?” That is absolutely fine if you do not know as google has it all. But in actual these are your Attitude check. For those who answer these questions they obviously impress the interviewer with their I.Q but those who guess and answer wrong or waste time in answering it even correctly are the kind of resource which will waste the time in figuring out the things and after they affirm themselves that it is not happening from them they will walk up to the people around or their bosses to understand after wasting the most important thing- “Time”. So that shows up your learning attitude at work and those questions are put to judge your attitude and knowledge. Your manager doesn’t mind to explain you, but no one will stand an attitude in wasting time and making false promises. And always remember an interview or a discussion with your reporting managers is a two way process. If they question, you have all the right to gain the knowledge from them and question back. That shows even if you do not have that much of knowledge but atleast you have an urge to knowledge (and that is what they look for). That is where your attitude shows place and it is an important aspect in framing your career.

That is why we come across companies that hire students with even average and low grades from the students with great academic grades who sit for the same hiring sessions because it might be possible that “You” quotient in those students must be more appealing than the traits of the other competitors and hence they make a better fit in that job profile. So along with the academic grades, one needs to work on one’s personality and attitude in making up to the desired career. Good Luck!

Contributed by Rahul Wadhwa, (Class of 2013, IBS GURGAON)

The First Few Years After Mba In Marketing

27-feb            So you’re done with your MBA and gotten a job in the field of Marketing. Well, for most it starts with sales because to have a good successful career and have deep understanding of your business, understanding the ground realities is essential. Therefore, no matter how much you might hate selling, travelling from one client to another all day, believe me, it’s going to be worth it.

            The first few years into your job are not easy. You do start as a trainee so the first few months are your honeymoon periods but it only gets tough from there. The responsibilities you handle will seem insignificant to you compared to what you were taught during MBA. You might feel that what you’re doing is not worth to be done by an MBA graduate and you won’t be blamed for thinking so. But what you learn in college is not going to take you where experience will. As a marketer it’s important to understand the psyche of your customers, it’s important to know what happening in the market, what your competitors are doing and what your customers think about you. And the best way to gather information on all these parameters is staying between your customers, on the field. The management is the steering, but really drives a vehicle forward are the wheels, the sales team.

            You will often find yourself discussing about marketing strategies with your colleagues because that is what you were taught in college. You’ll be the people the management will go to, to understand the dynamics of the market and you can be proud of that.There will be times of frustration when you’d feel that you’re in the wrong place but that’s how successful careers are built. Gradually, you’ll get used to your new life, it’s a great feeling to be able to spend money that’s earned by you. You will want to spend a lot and you wouldn’t be able to stop yourself from buying presents for your friends and family.

            Here are some experiences you go through after your MBA in Marketing:

  • Vision: You’ve learnt quite a lot during the course about how different businesses work and thus you have a deeper understanding about the corporate world. This helps you make wiser career decisions and therefore, a good growth in whichever organization you work.
  • Finance: You have learnt quite a lot about finance during your MBA. You know how companies manage their finances, you know how different financial institutions and banks operate. Thus, you have a clear understanding of how you can manage your wealth effectively by making the right investment decisions.
  • Skills: Your skills and knowledge have been enhanced a lot as you know what you learnt during graduation and now you have the management skills to use them efficiently. Every organization wants its employees to be good managers, no matter what their designation or work is. Thus, what makes you an ideal candidate is your knowledge coupled with the skills to use them in a wise manner.
  • Growth: Whichever company you join, you experience rapid career growth as a result of your MBA. You are more relied upon by the management and if a higher position opens up, you have an edge over other candidates.
  • Decision Making: The core skill that MBA teaches you is how to make quick decisions. As you have studied hundreds of case studies during your course, you know what are the dos and don’ts when a particular situation arrives. Thus, even though you might be new to sales, you know how to lure your customer in and make that sale.
  • Power: You realise that you are eligible to work in any kind of organization you wish, given the parameters you and the company decide for each other. It’s an MBA from Marketing that usually gets the higher position in an organization and they are often the most sought after lot because it’s sales that brings revenues and it’s marketing that puts the company in front of its customers. You realise that you have the power to alter the course of the company. Well, not immediately but you know what’s happening in the field and your feedback will always be taken seriously by your seniors.
  • Personal Growth: After getting an MBA, expectations are always higher; not just that of your friends, family and employers but your expectations from yourself too. You are no longer satisfied with mediocre results but strive to reach excellence in everything you do. A word of caution here, not always do your lessons learnt in classrooms would help you, most of the time you’ll have to rely on your personal and professional experiences. You are well equipped to set personal goals for yourself and it feels immensely satisfying to achieve them.
  • Respect: There will always be people who might hate you for being an MBA just because they are not. And it’s good that they do, because it means you have an edge over them. You have much deeper understanding when it comes to managing a business unit and your boss would be more trusting in you than the others. You know the 4 Ps and even though you don’t apply them directly, they do play a vital role subconsciously in helping you make the right decisions.
  • Money: The most important aspect, for many. It’s not a secret that MBAs are paid much more than an average graduate. Of course, it depends on various parameters but if all those parameters are kept the same, an MBA would win. As a marketer, you are more of an extrovert, open to interactions and love communicating with different people. Well, if you’re not, it’s time you start doing it because perception management is all there is in the corporate world. As, Bill Gates rightly said, If you can’t make it good, make it look good. Even if you’re not hitting your targets much, it’ll help you if your seniors know you, you keep yourself in constant touch with them. You’re a marketer and all you have to market is yourself.

So, this is how you will spend your fist few years after an MBA in Marketing. Yes, you’ll have to be quick to grab the right opportunities, sell yourself first then the product or service and not hide in a corner waiting for your work to speak for itself. You will also be able to understand that if you don’t claim your rewards, they’re claimed by someone else, someone even less deserving. So, all in all, the first few years will be vital to understanding how the corporate works and once you’re past the first 5 years, you’ll be enjoying the ride.

Contributed by Sachin Jalan ( Class of 2014, IBS HYDERABAD )

Why Bankers love to hire MBA’s?

Distance-MBA-in-Finance copyJean Jacques Rousseau, the 18th century French philosopher was once asked, “What is happiness to you?” He answered, “A good food and a good banker.” A saying which is almost 300 years old is as true in our era as it was then because both wrong food and a wrong banker can screw your happiness.

We live in a world with our 6.5 billion+ friends and 1.2 billion countrymen who are some or other way connected to money. Its management is basically what we call banking today.

Globally definition of banking had changed since ages. Prima facie Banking started with lending of resources thousands of years back in various civilizations which got its head from the pawn shop culture of Europe and full body later in regime of monarchy in mid fifteenth northern Europe.

Banking in India got its color after Independence and serious banking started after opening up of the economy in 90s when it got into the mainstream and the country took it seriously which became an aggressive catalyst in fueling the growth across industry.

Indian Banking today is marriage of intelligent money, technology and personalized relationship. Gone are the days when it was limited to depositing and lending of money. Today it has become more than that. Retail Banking, wholesale banking, Digital banking ,NR Banking, Business banking ,Wealth Management are all the fancy names that banks gives to their division to target and service respective segments.

In India there are approx 3 lacs+ bankers for a population 1.2 billion which is approximate one banker for every 4000 Indian which is quite a low ratio as compared to western and developed world.

 Past couple of years the industry is growing at the rate of 20% YoY and a huge workforce is required to serve the population as banking has become an indispensible part of each and every individual’s life. Govt. strict policies and monitoring have also ensured the movement of money being routed via legitimate channel with Banks playing the chief roles. With penetration of Internet and Smartphone banking has reached to everyone’s pocket and with this a larger population has started using this as banking medium instead of unaccounted traditional medium.

This is also one of the most profit oriented industry which is glittered with attractive perks and attracts talents at all management levels.

There is a huge competition among banks to hire the right talent and often we have seen the same won by private banks because of its capability to offer attractive packages and perks. Due to huge demand of bankers and talent crunch, recruiters have turned their roads towards various Top Business schools in search of the right talent. At many B schools, banking alone is responsible to hire almost 25 % of batch.  They are one of top paymasters to the fresher’s for their services.

But why Bankers love to hire MBA’s?

  • Knowledge & Understanding: Common sense is yet not so common is what we keep hearing these day and Banking is more than common sense. Banking is a complex business today where it has became borderless.This industry is full of smartest people and often attracts the same. The two years course would carve the best out of the student to make them industry-ready. Updated with latest industry trends they are grilled under various mock situations on various management subjects in order to give them the taste of business. They are subjected to different problems to be solved ensuring the best of them comes out and industry gets the right talent.
  • Quick Adaptation: Fresher’s are often one of the most sought talents by banking industry as they are ready to get mould into the right corporate citizens as per what business demands. Their zeal and fresh perspectives often adds dynamism to the banks culture which is yet running on old fundamentals and badly needs change. Management trainees are found to have right attitude to serve which often leads to value addition to the business of the banking.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Communicating in-house or with the client, verbal or non verbal is one of the important skills the recruiters look upon on choosing their candidates very carefully. Profiles like Relationship Management or Wealth Management often involves customer interactions and so it became very important for banker to best at these soft skills to cater to KRA’s of the company.
  • Analytical Expertise: Technology is the heart of today’s banking ecosystem without which it is nothing. Top B-Schools often funnels the right candidates to provide admission only if they fits all parameters of which “general analyzing skills” is one of the important parameters. This skill is further honed at the b-school via courses on various analytical tools which would give them insights to precious information’s which is hidden among numbers. Such information often leads to building up of long term strategy as well as short term tactics. Banks offering such analytics or product management profiles to candidates often provides a good packages and perks as it is still less available talent in the country.

History and trends suggests that every year banks that recruit from campus comes back next year increasing pay scales and grades before going to campus each year. They would give details of their star hires from the same campus with their growth trajectories and current positions trying to attract talent at the campus too.

However such trophies are not earned by all business schools. These are earned by the ones who gardens and nourishes the same through the years developing the expertise that would be practically utilized as a link between societies and corporate.

Apart from IIM’s and few other business schools, other has just copied the trends without developing in-house expertise just to attract corporate in order to attract students in order to attract money.

One of top business schools, ICFAI Business School alone is known as producer of the highest number of bankers in the country since years. It is running dedicated course for the students and the same is taught by experienced professors and industry people giving them what the industry demands and making them full baked cookie which are ready to be grabbed in the market.

Contributed by Apurva Singhi (Class of 2011, IBS Hyderabad)

MBA the smart degree of 21st century.

26-feb1As the society is evolving and the business world is changing its dynamics, the degree like MBA is a requisite of the organisation in whatever sector it is.

Every corporate expects to have MBA graduates as it help in building a strong team. Gone are the days when the business houses are primarily run by promoters with a strong backing and there used  to be a meagre place for first generation entrepreneurs. The age of managing directors have drastically fallen down.

In the era of information technology and internet you will find many entrepreneurs who have started a business with very small amount and in 2 to 3 year time they have become millionaires.

The traditional jobs are fading away and you will find a good percentage of MBA passout who are starting some venture of their own. There are MBA’s from elite business schools who were getting good Wall Street jobs have chosen to start their own rather than becoming employee of someone.

Even though in Jobs MBA surpass the other degree holders because the degree has a vibrancy of its own as MBA not only teaches to pass the exam but to understand the market dynamics, look into the alternatives and suggest the best possible arternative.

The few of the lead examples why MBA is a smart degree of 21st century are as follows

  1. MBA degree reduces the risk. – Getting an MBA degree can significantly reduces the job instability because it imparts an advanced skillset and education which keeps them above the waterline when it comes to layoffs and pink slips. Most of the layoffs generally happen at the lower and at the lower middle level which are primarily cost centers and fortunately MBA are above the cost cutting efforts.
  2. Waterproof from recession– As MBA is a diversified degree which makes the people learn the art of understanding the business scenarios and make then face any challenge they are the people whom the management wants to retain so that they can bring their sinking ship to a harbour. So many traits like finance, marketing, human resource are been taught in a small tenure of 2 years which given then a cutting edge in times of recession, they can easily accommodate in any job.
  3. A great Alumni support – The passout from MBA college gets a rich alumni support as his seniors are well placed in the industry and representing the top positions of the corporate, so in times of distress new job is only a phone call away.
  4. Mba offers more potential for upward mobility- MBA graduates have a broader knowledge base and applied skillsets in business administration than many of there co-workers working with them. There are generally desired for advanced and complex assignments and is more sought after degree for upper level senior positions.while MBA degree alone does not gurantee a promotion but certainly offers upward carrier mobility.
  5. MBA degree offers Increased earning avenues- The good MBA college  attracts big corporate with handsome packages offerings . Though the fact remains that the premium and elite the college is the higher compensation their graduates command, as well as people in consulting and investment banking domain  earns a lot .Leaving aside the school and the carrier fields MBA commands more remuneration in comparison to its peers.
  6. MBA degree offers great return on investment- One of the research conducted by “Percept Research” found that 97% of the MBA graduates report that their program exceeded their expectation and they have recovered their  investment in 2 to 3 years time.
  7. Right degree for dynamic environment- As the world is moving fast, the consumers are shifting from physical market place to internet world or the web world. So the person with potential idea can start something of its own and can create a miracle . The learning done in MBA creates a gut in the heart to do something fresh and unique and take calculated risk.
  8. Developing Leadership abilities – It helps in developing leadership ability as while doing MBA you have to do things in crisp deadlines, you have to surpass others as everything is percentile based. You have to manage your group in most of the activities and make yourself involve with others, you also become head of certain clubs and you have to deliver result to the best of your abilities.
  9. Awareness – It helps in creating awareness about the business world and make you aware about the economy , business challenges, how to tackle adverse situations and how to create and how any business problem can be tackled as the students gets a lot of exposure through caselaws.
  10. Good Mentoring by their mentors- During your MBA tenure the students are fortunate to get good mentors who have lot of experience in the corporate and teaching arena, they act as their coach to train them hard to face any challenge in their future course of life.
  11. Industrial exposure- The students have to undergo Industrial training where they get a first hand view of the corporate world and they get an opportunity to look at the business houses from the bottom of the Pyramid, they understand what are the real life challenges are and what problem exist at the grassroot level.
  12. Giving birth to entrepreneurs – Good MBA colleges are like nest where the entrepreneurs are born, the learning and the practical insight provided creates enthusiasm among the young turks for doing the thing in a most optimum manner and creates a charm of creating something new. See the promoters of companies like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Jabong, Make My Trip, Red Bus all are young and budding entrepreneurs they have created empire in a short span of time.

Better for venturing in different sectors: The best part of MBA is that it helps in creating a jack of all traits along with a master in one domain. In the first year the students are taught all the disciplines like marketing, finance, Human resource and Information technology and in the second year they are provided a specialization in one discipline, so an MBA get a flair of all which helps him/ her in his long professional journey as in his journey a person has to take various strategic as well as day to day decisions , his knowledge of all the fields help him in understanding the subject matter well and placing his thoughts in the best possible manner. For MBA the prospects are wide open they can join any industry there is no restriction, he can join an investment banking, merchant banking , banks, marketing companies, research based companies or an act as an analyst.

Contributed by Maneesh Srivastava ( Class of 2008, IBS GURGAON )

My MBA Journey

2-marEvery MBA graduate has a special story to tell about his journey as an MBA graduate and he or she never stops talking about it. Well, I too have a good story to tell about my life as an MBA graduate. The story of my pursuit of this most desired degree is really an interesting one and I got to learn a lot in my life during my MBA days.

After working as an IT trainee in a start-up, I decided to boost my career by getting a professional degree and take my career graph to a significant level where I always wished to.  The MBA was the best choice and I decided to go for MBA entrance tests. After one year of hard work and through a series of comprehensive tests, GD/PI, I managed to get a seat in the IBS, Pune. I learnt a lot from my life as an MBA graduate and would like to share some important things to be aware off before applying to an MBA entrance, my experiences and post MBA situation.

Time to pursue the MBA degree:

The most common trend in India to start an MBA degree is around 3-4 years of work experience and I also did the same. I discovered an MBA degree as a great way to change my career trajectory. Everyone has a different motive for pursuing an MBA and it is really important to know why you want to pursue an MBA degree. Some want to change their line of work, some want to build a strong business network to run their family/personal business and some want higher pay scale and want promotions out of it.

It is my advice to earn at least 3-4 years of experience before you apply for an MBA entrance because it is really important to formulate an MBA goal before you start thinking to pursue it. I experienced that the students who had a good experience of job before MBA were really confident attending the lectures and could relate the lessons to the real time work environment. Attending the MBA lectures with practically zero experience in the industry is like attending a French class without knowing a word of French!

While in group discussions and person meetings during MBA days, your practical job experience matters a lot and you will be able to have a very well educated conversation with your colleagues and understand their viewpoints well. So it is really advantageous to have at least 3 to 4 years of prior work experience before you apply for an MBA degree in professional colleges.

Right Selection of college is important:

Studying abroad in foreign universities requires a big sum of money and it can be anywhere around 80 lakhs to one crore of Indian rupees. Many students have common criteria for selecting B-schools which is based on the rankings and placement history. But based on my experiences during MBA, I found that the basis of selecting an MBA college should be quite different. It should be a well planned and rigorous curriculum, faculty interaction, chances of networking, a sense of community and the quality of the course work. These all things can be done only when you make the extensive research, meet alumni of the different schools and the education counselors.

At IBS Pune, I found that a lot of value addition can be done through pursuing an MBA program. There is a full opportunity to interact with faculty and students and alumni from a wide variety of cultures and industries. This helps you to build a strong industry network with the right people and you will able to develop insights to many things like problem solving, industry metrics and future business partnerships too.

The other criteria like placement records, type of companies/industries providing placements, average pay and rankings are also important but the core benefits for your personality improvement are judged on the basis of the measures  as explained earlier.

MBA myths:

After attending IBS Pune, I found that a number of misconceptions were there in my mind and they were actually the myths of MBA and they all were gone from my mind.

It is better to complete your MBA before you marry–  No, it is not a good belief and I found many students who enrolled into the IBS colleges were married already and quite a good number of students had kids too! This made me believe that marriage is not an obstacle in the path of an MBA program and anyone can pursue MBA after graduation who has willingness to do it!

MBA guys earn a lot of money– Doing MBA does not guarantee you a high earning job. It only creates a great way to enhance your skills and expertise through which you can make a good career. It can be a belief that MBA guys earn a lot of money with guarantee but the fact is that only those get full success who grasp the necessary skills and learn well during the MBA days.

All persons pursuing MBA are from the similar background and mindset– This is a misconception and the fact is that nearly all the MBA colleges across the country grant admissions to students coming from a wide variety of backgrounds. The aim is same which is to achieve a better job and career but the attitude, priorities, experiences and outlooks can be very different.

Post MBA life:

After completing my MBA graduation, I got a job as Quality Analyst in a multinational company. I got this job due to my IT skills and also because of the good communication which was required to be able to deal with the overseas clients. During the MBA days I got a number of opportunities to develop my communication skills and I got the benefit of it during my interviews and the job. I got to know what are the things expected during job interviews and I was able to crack interviews. So I can say that I understood well what I wanted out of the MBA program and was able to make the most out of it. In my opinion MBA is really useful for you if you can figure out what you want to use it for. The most coveted MBA degree is not to be taken as a simple add-on degree in the wallet of your qualifications but has to be well-grounded in order to achieve the best out of it.

Contributed by Ashish Singh Parihar ( Class of 2008, IBS Pune )

How to go pink! Start Reading a Business Newspaper

25-feb4Pink. An unusual name for a certain type of newspapers.

Now before you get your mind racing, let’s roll up our sleeves and start reading the newspaper.

Great. Now that you have decided that getting an MBA is the next level of education for you, you go about mastering QA techniques and practicing interview questions.

Usually students spend on an average spend around seven to nine months in a year to prepare for various entrance examinations.

One of the most important things for all aspirants to realize is that an MBA is unlike any course they have ever studied or memorized just to pass exams.

When you to finish the course, the world wants a well-rounded individual who can think out of the box, and have an understanding of well, business.

For most of us, reading a newspaper is confined to looking at the single photograph on the back of any newspaper supplement.

Starting to read a newspaper, leave alone a business paper is a chore-but few realize how essential it is.

A business paper like the Economic Times can be a good starting point for beginners, taking their baby steps into getting a MBA.

Start with the headlines, (if you are appearing for MBA examinations this year, then the headlines will be screaming about GST-a heads up for GD topics!!).

The most important pages are the ones inside, usually the central page which contains a snapshot on the indices for India-the Sensex and the Nifty. Start a diary recording the daily closing figures for both, and compare it with the figures when you finally finish your course-it will be one hell of a historical recording of data, I assure you!!

The moment you start writing down, and analyzing these figures, you will find that a whole new vista of opportunities has opened up. Analysts no longer sound Greek and you can actually start making sense of varied factors and features affecting an economy.

By getting into the world of business newspapers, you get a better understanding and perspective of your own MBA course and syllabus- how much of your study is theoretical and how much is practical is immediately known when you start reading.

Also, let me make it very clear that reading a business paper is not for only CA’s, CFA’s and other hot shot honchos. Its for you, me and the common man!.

Who doesn’t want to know his/her’s tax liability properly in a financial year? And yes, to everyone’s embarrassment, some MBA grads do not even know the difference between financial year and Assessment Year-Potential pitfalls while facing a job interview. No rocket science, just simple testing of the course and stream which you have studied.

As long as your employment is in India, you will come to appreciate that these central spread pages will affect your pay, your bonuses and even your promotions. Well, you got the point about the need.

More than that, reading a business paper, otherwise known as pink papers also gives you a fair idea on how interest rates move up and down, and the mayhem they cause when they do so. I only say a “fair idea”, not a complete idea mind you. Finance and Markets usually require a lifetime of pursuit of number crunching and analysis-you read the pink newspaper for getting a brief snapshot, an overview or rather a bird’s eye view of the on goings in an economy.

More importantly, your first brush with a business paper will teach you to be patient, in your first reading you might be even tempted to fall asleep, but mark my words, once you get started, you will yearn to read the paper daily.

A common misconception usually floating around is that only students specializing in Finance need to pore through a business newspaper. Nothing could be further from the truth. Companies usually announce big time hiring plans while announcing quarterly results. HR students need to keep their eyes and ears open as well as marketing students when they read reports of their favorite brand being sold off and bought by another company.

To start reading a newspaper and a business newspaper at that also equips you with possibly the best tool -you gain the virtue of being patient and develop the ability to sift through vast troughs of information, store important facts and figures.

Very often, the economy in general and the industry you get placed in particular would be caught cyclical trend. You will be better placed if you clearly understand the problems your company and industry only by a thorough reading of the business paper.

An MBA is expected to handle sales, marketing while being careful with finances and have the ability to take other colleagues on board in a team. This requires a broader understanding of employee relations, finance and other nuances which can come in only after consistently going through a business paper for some sufficient time.

Reading as a hobby is unfortunately missing in most of us-our childhoods are too busy with homework etal. to actually develop a reading habit. In hindsight, the ability to read, understand and synthesize large amounts of information easily is something which is very useful, and it is something which people look for in a candidate.

The faster you get down to reading, the better it is, since the much awaited interview season is almost around the corner, and you would not like to be caught with your pants down.

So, in case i have sufficiently moved you, then you better start scrounging around for a good business paper and take the first steps towards enlightening yourself.

Marketing enthusiasts can find things of great interest in a paper like Business Standard, while those concerned with Finance can start of with the Economic Times and then maybe graduate on to -something like Business Line-which is very insightful and deep-it might take some time for you to develop the patience and skill to go through a very heavy paper all at once.

While on business papers, its also important for you as a student to get acquainted with quality journals like The Economist, The Wall Street Journal and the Harvard Business review. Students of all streams be it Finance or Marketing or HR will definitely find some food for thought across these.

You have taken the first step by reading this blog; now get down to reading a paper. Basic and Simple!

All the Best!

Contributed by Sunil Iyer ( Class of 2008, IBS GURGAON )

Stress Management For Students

24-feb5Most of us come across the noun ‘stress’ during our school days in the physics classes. During that period we only understand the scientific or the technical meaning of stress. However, as we move forward in our academic life the other meanings associated with this word starts surfacing and poses a lot of roadblocks in our life’s journey. It is at that point when we start saying, “our lives have become very stressful”.

Stress implies the mental or physical response of a person to a particular situation. We often have a tendency to associate stress with negativity or pessimism. However, we should understand that a certain amount of stress is inevitable and useful for our academic lives.

As per experts in the field of psychology, there are two kinds of stresses- good stress or eustress and bad stress or distress. Research proves that a certain level of stress is required for achieving desired levels of success at work and study. But when it crosses the threshold limit then the performance of a person declines and the desired output is not achieved.This threshold level varies with individuals.

As students, certain signs can help you realize that you are entering the threshold limit

  • You are unable to study further
  • Simple concepts start taking a long time to understand
  • You start multitasking and achieve no results
  • You start taking frequent breaks from your study
  • You try to relax but cannot
  • You start procrastination

Students can stay away from reaching the threshold limit by learning to manage stress and by keeping it under their control.

Below are five effective ways of managing stress.

  1. Maintain the Right Balance

In football, the average distance run by a striker is between nine to ten kilometers in a ninety minutes match. A much of this distance is covered by sprinting or high intensity pace. However, football strikers do not keep on continuously sprinting. The most logical way to achieve this is to take interim periods of pause to conserve the energy for the right moment. The whole idea is to pace themselves correctly for the right opportunities. It is the same with studies.

There has to be a balance maintained between studying and not studying. It has to be understood, that a holistic development of a student can only happen by combining both study and non-study activities. Often, a feeling of guilt overwhelms students when they indulge in non-study activities. They go though conflicting emotions of wanting to do something but unable to do it due to the feeling of guilt. As a result of this conflict they land up in a dilemma unable to do anything properly.

Hence, the first step in managing stress for students is to identify the study and non-study activities and allocating time to both without feeling guilty about it. After all goes the saying “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.

Some of the examples of non-study activities are below.

Sports: Spending time in sports or physical activity can be an excellent non-study activity. It nourishes the mind and body and helps to ease any tension or stress created due to studies.

Entertainment:Watching a favorite television show, a sports channel, news or listening to music provides relaxation to many people. It is not wrong to spend time in entertainment. However, care should be taken not to get carried away and waste time.

Hobby: Spending time on your hobby is another useful study activity. It should be remembered that having a hobby that adds value to your overall self is a good thing.

Spending time in your non-study activities provides you the necessary break to return to your studies focused and refreshed.

  1. Manage your time

Most students complain that they do not have enough time. But the reality is that there are only twenty-four hours in a day and it has to be used effectively.

Time management is one of the most important skills for students. Mastering the skill will help the student to get organized, flexible, goal oriented and good time managers. With it students will be able to use their time more effectively in studies as well as recreational activities.

Most students fall victim to procrastination. It is the process of delaying a task that is something urgent, difficult, complex or important. There can be multiple reasons for procrastination like the nature of the task, the time limit associated with it or due to the lack of motivation on the part of the doer. Procrastination increases the stress levels of a person and the results of it are disappointing. Effective time management will eliminate procrastination and the stress associated with it. Also, time management will help students to plan, prioritize and perform all the study and non-study related activities.

  1. Reward Yourself

In the organizations when we work over time we get paid more. The extra pay is the extrinsic motivation for working more. Students need to reward themselves for being on target and for working hard. Rewards can be in form of extra time off from studies or in some other form. Some of the ways in which you can reward yourself could be as below:

  • Taking a day off in a week helps you rejuvenate and get back to studies motivated
  • Buy yourself a movie ticket over the weekend once all your assignments are over
  • Spend time with family, friends and relatives after your exams
  • Buy yourself a good read
  • Take a break after every forty minutes of study
  • Buy yourself a good treat if you find yourself to be achieving your targets

Such activities ensure that you stay energized and at the same time it gives you the incentive to achieve your objectives. Such rewards are found to be excellent de-stressors.

  1. Manage Expectations

The word ‘expectation’ has a great impact on a student’s life. The expectations from a student come from different fronts- academic, parents, relatives, peers and social. Continuous expectations from a person can be a very stressful thing for him. Hence for students, it is importance to learn the art of managing expectations. For a start expectations can be managed by being vocal about the problems and by being realistic while setting ones goals.For instance, if a particular student is not confident of doing well in his MBA entrance exams then he should carefully analyze his stand and be vocal about it to his parents and peers. Instead of getting bogged down by the problem, a better way out would be to seek support and counsel from family and friends. Also, during goal setting one has to be realistic and take into account ones development areas. Being realistic will help to set the right expectations and the journey would be far less stressful.

  1. Practice Relaxation Techniques

There is a wide array of relaxation techniques to choose from:

  • Yoga is an ancient Indian practice that involves relaxation stretching and breathing to rejuvenate a person.
  • Deep breathing is one of the most common and easiest forms of relaxation. It can be practiced anywhere in a place of your convenience.
  • To reduce stress one can use visualization techniques. Invoking mental images of beaches, ocean, beautiful sceneries etc. helps in eliminating distress. It brings in peaceful thoughts to mind.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation, Tai Chi and Qigong are other techniques of bringing the mind and body into control.

Certain techniques like Yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong should only be practiced under expert guidance. For a start, students can practice easier techniques like deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation.

The steps mentioned in this blog are very simple and easy to follow. In the beginning the students may fail to follow it religiously. But making a start is more important. Once the momentum is gained then the objective should be to make it a habit.

Stress is an inevitable part of our lives. It’s only a matter of how we manage it.

Contributed by Sanjit Das, ( Class Of 2005, IBS HYDERABAD )

Soft skills vs. Domain knowledge

23FEB copyYour MBA program will give you an opportunity to develop both.

Soft skills and domain knowledge – which is more important?

Domain knowledge refers to hard skills or technical areas that you learn by investing your time in professional courses, degrees etc.  These are measurable and universal. You are not required to modify them with every new situation. On the other hand, soft skills refer to how you behave in everyday life. These relate to how people behave, communicate and listen to each other; how they engage, give feedback or cooperate as a team member in solving problems and resolving conflict. Given the nature of these skills, they are hard to quantify and measure. Interestingly, they need to be modified based on the situation.

The good news is that an MBA will provide an opportunity to learn both these skills. You will be equipped with the concepts that will strengthen your domain knowledge. At the same time, you will have several opportunities to interact with a variety of people from different backgrounds and cultures that will give you a chance to build your soft skills. The decision, however, to build these skills lies entirely with you. Many people fail in building soft skills because of their ego or superiority complex.These are the people who face difficulties in the corporate world at a later stage.

A corporate generally requires an equal balance of domain knowledge and soft skills. Gone are the  days, when your ‘core job’ was the essence. Today, your behaviour and ability to deal with people at the workplace is of prime importance. Thanks to the tough MBA program structures, they make us ready for real life situations.

During my MBA from 2008-2010, I encountered various situations where both my domain knowledge and soft skills were put to test. Five years have passed and my MBA learnings still help me with my everyday life. I am listing down five situations that you will definitely encounter during your MBA.

1. Appearing for group discussion and personal interview

Someone will immediately throw a stat during the group discussion. If you are not aware of that, you may feel terrible. Even if that is not a right number, there are chances that this person has already impressed the panel members as he has partially proved his domain in the field. What do you do now? This is the time to use your behavioural techniques (soft skills) to put things in your favour. There are two options – agree with him or challenge him. How do you do it? Assertiveness is the key here. Try to conclude this discussion with an assertive remark.

Similarly, at the time of a personal interview, the panel members will grill you for domain knowledge. For e.g. if your CV mentions that you are an expert in understanding the macro-economic environment of India;they might ask you the interrelation between interest rates and inflation. If by chance, you are not able to answer this question to the panel members’ expectations, you have reduced your selection probability. Therefore it is very important to selectively disclose your domain to them. You do not want to be in an embarrassing situation.

2. Working on group presentations and case studies

Most of the time, you are not lucky enough to choose your group members for a case study and presentation. I remember preparing a presentation on ‘Feasibility of townships in Mumbai’ where one of our group members wasa four year experienced person from the real estate industry. This person was both an asset as well as a bottleneck for our collective assignment. Although he brought some good valid points to the table for discussion, he continuously bullied the group members for the lack of knowledge on this subject.

The result was that nobody wanted to work on a collective assignment with this person again. This incident taught me the need to maintain a robust balance between knowledge and the art of dealing with people. Acceptance comes only when you are humble in your communication. People are not willing to work for nasty leaders.

3. Making presentations to a large audience

This is the time you have to be ready with all the details of your subject. Although delivering presentations in a good style definitely makes a difference, there will be classmates who will ask you random questions. You have to gather every minute detail, facts and references to support your argument. You must maintaina confident expression and tone.

4. Sharing a common accommodation

Your soft skills are always at test here. Even though your flatmates become very close friends over time, please remember they are not your family. You may be required to deal with complex situations on a daily basis. For instance, negotiating with your flatmate to pay the electricity or food bill can be tricky or telling them to switch off the television can result into an argument.

My recommendation would be to set the expectations very clear and lay ground rules of ‘operating at home’. These little things prepare you for a corporate career. You will see yourself applying these techniques (of course in a different context) at workplace while dealing with peers.

5. Appearing for your placement interview

The two years of your MBA life will equip you enough to crack this interview. As we know, this is the most important interview of the entire MBA program; you do not want to spoil this.  Remember that your CV clearly mentions your hard skills/domain knowledge. The hard skills mentioned on your CV can be less in number however they must be 100% relevant. On the verge of repeating myself, you must be ‘A-Z’ prepared for the skills mentioned in your resume.Avoid mentioning multiple skills as there are chances of falling into a cross-question trap.

Soft skills are also judged here. Remember to greet the panel with a smile. When you agree with them please nod; when you do not, be polite but confident. When you leave the room please tell them that you have learnt from them. It is not necessary that these things will guarantee your selection, but they will definitely leave a long lasting impact.

By now, you must have realised that both hard and soft skills are equally important to stay competitive in today’s dynamic environment. It is not ‘okay’ to have one of these. These skills are not substitutes of each other. They complement each other.  So, gear up and attain both!

Contributed by Virag Jain ( Class of 2010, IBS MUMBAI )

Recent current affair issues for cracking Group Discussion (‘GD’)/Personal Interview (‘PI’)

gdpi copyIt is important for an MBA aspirant to have some insights on the current affairs so as to pass tests of GD and PI. Even if you are a shark in English, reasoning and math, it will be of no help unless and until you clear GD and PI to get into your dream college. So I am just discussing a few current affairs issues in brief which you may research further and prepare for it.

  1. Crude oil prices

You might be reading about the drastic reduction in prices of crude oilin the global market and consequent price cuts in petrol and diesel in India. There are high probabilities that you may face questions for crude oil price fluctuations either in GD or PI. So it is better to have some information on this issue.

Crude oil, also known as black gold, is down by more than 60% from its high of USD 115 in 2014. Many predict that prices will further go down and probably reach to around USD 20 /30 in near future and it will stay around USD 70 for 2015 and 2016.

There are many theories behind such a huge fall in crude oil’s prices:

  • Demand-Supply Economics – For the first time in history,the USA has become self-sufficient for its energy requirements and hence it has stopped importing crude oil. This has led to drastic reduction in the oil prices. Further, Saudi Arabia and OPEC are not cutting their daily production quantity with the fear that they might lose their market share to competitors like Russia. So, currently oil producers are producing more oil than its demand. Due to this, oil prices are at a historical low.
  • Geo politics –I first time read in one of the articles of Thomas Friedman (‘author of the world is flat’) in the New York times[1] and then repeatedly read in other newspapers and magazines about the Geo politics at play behind fall in the crude oil prices. According to this theory, USA and Saudi Arabia have formed a cartel to bring Russia and Iran down. USA’s conflict with Russia for encroachment in Ukraine and protest against Iran’s nuclear program has led to deliberated and planned fall in the prices of crude oil. Globally, Russia and Iran are two main producers of crude oil and its exports constitute more than 60% of their revenue source.Iran is also facing challenges as the USA has put stringent restrictions on it. Probably, Mr. Friedman is right as there are clear signs showing Russia in deep trouble. Iran also must be in deep shit as its budget would have blown up.
  • Terrorist-controlled crude – There are many oil fields controlled by ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a terrorist organization) in Iraq and they sell crude oil extracted from these oil fields at cheaper price. I do not think that it would impact prices significantly but yes it is adding quantity on supply side which leads to an impact on prices.
  1. The State of Indian economy

Some macro insights on recent developments on the economy front:

i. Rate cuts by the RBI

In its fourth quarterly review meeting, the RBI has reduced Repo rateby 0.25% from 8% to 7.75% in a surprise move. This indicates that inflation (Consumer Price Index) in the country has reached to manageable level of 6% to 7% and fiscal deficit is likely to be under control. Keeping this in perspective, now, the central bank is looking for easing out monetary policy. This further will make credit available cheaply which will lead to spur of economic activities.

ii. Amendment through Ordinances

Recently, the government hasissued at least eight ordinances to fast track the much needed reforms. As the opposition did not allow the government to run the parliament, it took the ordinance route to implement key policy measures; however it raised eye brows of many including the President, but Mr. Modi went ahead and gave clear signals that reforms in key sectors is the top most agenda of the government. Here is the list of key steps taken by the government in this regard:

  • Insurance –FDI limit in the insurance sector increased from 26% to 49%.
  • Coal mines – The government has issued ordinance that coal blocks could be e-auctioned including 214 coal blocks which were blocked in view of illegal allocation under coal scam. [2]
  • Land Acquisition Act – The government has amended the‘Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013,’ enacted by the UPA government. The amendment aims to make land acquisition an easy and simple process rather than a cumbersome one.[3]

iii. NitiAayog – The government has abolished 65 years old and obsolete‘planning commission’ and has set up a ‘NitiAayog’ (National Institution for Transforming India). The PM will head the new institution which will formulate policies and provide direction tothe Government. Its Governing Council will comprise of Chief Ministers and Lt. Governors of Union Territories. The PM has appointed well known economist and Asian Development Bank’s Former Chief Economist Arvind Panagariya as its first Vice Chairperson.

The Aayog will recommend a national agenda, including strategic and technical advice on elements of policy and economic matters. It will also develop mechanisms for village-level plans and aggregate these progressively at higher levels of government.This step clearly indicates that as the Indian economy is changing rapidly, it needs an institution to support such growth momentum and not to hinder it which planning commission has done for so many years.

The above is just a discussion on couple of issues. But the students should try to undertake further research on them to get a grip. The students should also read magazines like The Economist, Readers Digest, Forbes,  Economical and Political weekly and read  The economics times, The Financial express, Live Mint, Business standard to be updated with the current happenings in the financial  world.

Contributed by Janmang Mehta ( Class of 2010, IBS AHEMDABAD )


[2]              114102100049_1.html

[3]             resettlement-act-consent-clause

What is my MBA goal – a job, own business, or both?

bridgeI am driving my car on a warm, breezy Sunday morning to a vacation spot I had planned to go. I have thought about this trip thoroughly and packed all the necessary items I needed to make my journey a memorable one. As I am speeding towards my destination and listening to my favorite track on radio, I can see a gathering in front of a building just before the city limits. Always a curious person, I stop my car and enquire to find that it’s a free 30 minutes session on vacation package by a leading holiday provider. That’s not much time and I decide to sit through this session. Well, it didn’t take much time and I did go to my desired vacation spot, but I realized something that day. In life, we are constantly changing our goalposts so that we can experience the satisfaction of achievement in things that matter to us. After I came out of that session, I instantly knew I had to make fresh plans and upgrade my vacation next time.

We often ask ourselves what I want out of an MBA program. Some of us focus on being competitive in the job market and aspire those lucrative and rewarding managerial positions in organizations. For such, there is a need to acquire knowledge on running a business and specialize in certain areas like finance or marketing. As future managers, one has to know most aspects of a business and master in a few of them which would identify as expertise. And, there are others who dream to run a business of their own because that’s what they believe they are good at. For them, in addition to learning the ropes of running a business, they also nurture their skills of risk taking, passion for an idea and curiosity to solve a problem. These skills are conditioned in the personality of those who wish to become an entrepreneur.

Businesses are not getting any simpler, there are many more external influencers and internal complexities that make up in running a business than there were before. Learning things through failures will provide lesser probability of reaching success these days. The business environment changes quicker nowadays, so what is learnt through mistakes may not offer another attempt at redemption. Say, a person has this innate ability to take risks, and when he understands the principle of diversification or the long-term returns from equities, he as an investor will create a riskier portfolio. So, his risk taking skill has been channelized into a sound decision based on correct fundamentals. The same can be said for people with entrepreneurial abilities who go through an MBA program, which will teach the basics that help answer questions on how to set up a pricing plan, motivate employees or raise capital from the market. Add to these, the skills already in possession, the entrepreneurs only get better. The time in an MBA program will help apply these skills in a context and with broader understanding of subjects will enable one to make informed and superior decisions when running an own business.

On the other end, those looking for the attractive jobs post MBA, have their plans cut out. The target is to be the best in the selected domain, with a holistic understanding of other areas as well. Many in this block of students may not have the appetite to shoulder the risk and insecurity that comes with pursuing a passion to create something of their own. The need for independence is not a burning desire in their lives, instead their preference is a secure environment that helps them to remain creative or deliver results day after day. It is okay because it works for such a scenario.

Before we put an end to this debate between job and own business, let’s take a step back and question ourselves if we even need to make this distinction when enrolling for an MBA programs. There are institutes and programs that favor entrepreneurial inclinations in the curriculum. So there are no dearth of options, but what is significant is are we sure that we can judge ourselves as having or lacking the entrepreneurial skills. There is never an end to discovering ourselves, so an intelligent decision would be to start with a goal and adapt along the way to refine the goal into a reliable and secure outcome. This is where we need to change our goalposts as we discover more about our abilities.

A student wanting to be an entrepreneur could benefit from a few years in the job before starting out an own venture. Besides having a real-life experience of seeing a business in operation, the person’s abilities would also be tested in the work environment. This will in turn provide confidence when he makes the jump from job to his own venture. In the same vein, a student whose objective was to get into a job after MBA, may discover that his career has not taken off the way he envisioned. Or he may be feeling suffocated by the lack of independence to pursue his ideas. Changing track at such a point in his life can certainly be beneficial. He may actually be very successful in following his dream to make a difference. Strangely, he discovered it only because he was willing to change his goalpost.

Companies do give opportunities to employees who can take initiatives and run divisions independently. So having a baptism in running an independent business can certainly be an advantage when such offers are available. We need to realize that it is never difficult to alternate between working for a company and running an own show. Hence, it should not be too hard a task to decide what to do after MBA.

MBA programs provide future managers and entrepreneurs important lessons to understand overall business principles, mitigate risk, communicate ideas clearly and increase the probabilities of success. However, whether we execute this learning to launch a new business or make an existing business prosper, it entirely depends on us.

Contributed by Amitava Kundu (Class of 2002, IBS BANGLORE)