OUTLINE YOUR CAREER GOALS.

url copyIn the game of cricket, the aim is to bowl at the wickets and get the batsman out; in soccer the aim is to strike the ball into the net between the goal posts, across the goal line; in basketball the aim is to put the ball inside the basket. Every activity we do is associated with a goal. In fact, goals are important because they give you a definitive path, otherwise we would just be wandering around at random.
In the same way, before you start preparing for any test or exam, the first thing you need to think about is – what is your goal?
The type of a career you want to pursue is dependent on your goal or goals. As a student it is quite possible at this stage in your career your goals may not be well-defined, but you will definitely have some idea what you want to be or do in the future. What do you want to do with your degree in both the short and long term?
Next, you need to analyze your goal/goals. Who or what is your inspiration? Where do you expect your goals to lead you? If you are not able to do this analysis on your own, you need the help of an older person or at least someone knowledgeable you can mentor you. Remember your goals should harmonize with your interests. If you are interested in literature and the arts, it would be a mistake if you decide to be an engineer merely because all your friends are planning to get into engineering colleges.
Goals need not necessarily relate to your work or profession. It can also be non-career goals relating to personal or community aspirations. Sometimes your other goals can also turn into a career, such as volunteering work for a social cause can guide you towards working for a non-profit organization.
That is why analyzing your goals is so important because it can assist you in formulating the framework of the education you will need in order to pursue your goals.
Analysis of goals is not as scary as it sounds. It is one of the easiest tasks in the world and it is fun, as it allows you to dream what you want your future to be like. There is no harm in having more than one goal – because as I said before, at this stage in your life your ideas still have to crystallize and it is possible that your interests will keep shifting.
During the course of your education, you need to keep monitoring your progress and adjust your goals to meet your requirements and the direction in which you are heading.
There may be days when you may not be satisfied with your progress, but don’t get frustrated. Try new tactics to keep yourself motivated. A little persistence makes an enormous difference.
By developing a plan, you are setting definite career goals for yourself.
REMEMBER: There is no particular track to reach your career objective. It may keep changing as you go forward. The process may get more complicated and it may take more time than what you had initially planned. Whatever your situation, stay calm and strong. Be flexible and adjust your goals or if needed create an entirely new set of career goals. If your current budget does not support your goals now, you can do something else for a while and then get back to your original goal. For example, if you are unable to do your MBA now, you can work for a couple of years, and then do an executive MBA.
There are some exercises that you can do in order to formulate your goals. Write down your goals and then analyze each of them to check if they are Realistic, Pertinent and Appropriate. Do not discard a goal just because you feel it is very hard to achieve. You should be prepared to struggle hard to reach you goals.
Fill in the details of each of the goals above – what are your present qualifications and what would you need to do in order to achieve those goals?

Contributed By : Disha Parekh Mohanty

How to select a B-School.

MBA letters under a magnifying glass to illustrate masters of business administration degree at a college or university

You have quite decided that you are going to join a management school. You know that with a management degree under your belt, job opportunities will simply open up for you. Well, good for you that you have come to this major decision in your life.However, have you also decided which management institute that you want to join?

Yes, that is a bit of a problem isn’t it? There are so many institutes to choose from, all of them claiming to give you outstanding education and giving you the best entry to the corporate sector. They all look the same to you. Should you just blindly choose the more popular ones? Should you apply to the institute where your friends are joining?

Well, I think you need to be a bit more scientific in your approach to choosing the institute, and deciding which is the best for you. Here, we will give you some of the important parameters whereby you can arrive at the right decision. All the parameters that we have listed here are easily available on the Internet because there are business magazines that do annual surveys and conduct rankings of the top B-Schools in the country. Here goes:

The Faculty: This is of top priority. The quality of the faculty, the professors with whom you will be learning, is very important. Experienced, qualified faculty will give you not only domain expertise but they will also give you the right skills, which you will need in the corporate sector or anywhere in your job. Academic brilliance is fine, but a faculty with industry experience is invaluable as they will be able to relate what you are learning with the real world. Those from the industry will be able to give you relevant tips on how to deal with problems in the real world. A lot of information is available on the Internet. Go through the faculty list on the institute’s website and search around for information on them.

Placements: You are joining the institute in order to increase your job prospects, so placement record of the institute is very important. Look at the placement statistics for the institute. See their record for the past five years at least. Look at what kind of companies are making campus visits. You especially need to check if, for any reason, their recent placement record is not up to the mark.

The Curriculum: Often there are complaints from the industry that the curriculum in some schools do not reflect the current reality. They are still following a course set up two years ago. B-Schools have to make sure that their curriculum is constantly updated. Not only that, the curriculum should give you the opportunity to join any industry sector and assume any role. If the course curriculum is too specialised you may end up without a job if there is no demand for that particular stream. Some institutes have general management programs that equip you to tackle any kind of a job function.

Value Proposition: There is a tendency to run after brand names and the most high profile institutes. You have to look at what your needs are and whether you can get that from the institute. A low-profile, small institute with a highly skilled teaching staff ,excellent resources and corporate contacts may be better than a big, high-profile institute with an average teaching staff. You need to make a careful analysis of the value proposition.

Alumni Feedback: The alumni are the best ambassadors of an institute. They may be biased but you will get the inside knowledge about the institute, its strengths and weaknesses. You can gather first-hand information as to how the institute has shaped their career and goals. These days top management institutes have their own alumni forums, which can be accessed publicly. You can listen in on their chatter to find out what they have to say.

Your Budget : This is probably the most important criteria when choosing an institute but we have left it to the last because we think that if an institute scores on all other parameters and you are confident about your goals and abilities, you should not let a mere matter of money get in your way. Academic loans for professional studies are available and if your own finances are not enough, apply for a scholarship or a loan.

Resources for information on B-Schools: Business Today magazine does an annual survey of B-Schools. Click on this link for more information.

Contributed By : Disha Parekh Mohanty

 

10 Quickies for New Entrants to Corporate.

10As the MBA course progresses towards its end, would-be managers gear themselves for entering the corporate world which is often referred to the big bad world of pressure, deadlines, money, power, politics and smart work. Often, it is seen that students referred as ‘fresher’ end up committing blunders during their first jobs, due to lack of their awareness about this new world. Hence, I bring to you 10 quickies or say ‘vaccinations’ for new entrants to the industry, so that they feel more confident and comfortable in this new environment.

  1. Knowledge and Experience are Above a Degree

Till now, you have been learning subjects in a course format but in the corporate, the scenario is very different from theory of the books. A degree is an acknowledgement of a certain level of knowledge but job and work are about implementing and grasping more knowledge. Your MBA professors will always tell you to focus on the content of your PPT’s but the corporate will always be interested in figures as well as conclusion from your presentation. Do not argue with your boss even if you have complete knowledge because this makes him feel inefficient and that harms you in long run.

  1. Money is Crucial

Money is crucial not just for you but also for the companies employing you. Whenever you present bills, expenditure, projections and quotes, companies expect them to be lowest or say minimal. Remember businesses are not just about profits but money invested, used, earned, spent and the returns on them. For you money is salary, but for employers or companies, money is fuel that affects, boosts or slows its growth and progress. Never ever think of mismanaging funds because getting caught makes you lose management’s trust; harms your moral character and reduces your credibility.

  1. Need to Appreciate Health

A healthy mind resides in a healthy body. A lot of my friends tell me about their Vitamin-D deficiencies that occur because they are indulged in table work for more than 7 hours a day and do not get adequate exposure to sunlight. Moreover, due to excessive junk food and alcohol consumption; many face weak digestive systems and poor organ health. Hence, one has to really remember to include de-stressing techniques, exercise or stretching, exposure to sunlight, proper hydration and diet etc to remain healthy.

  1. Work-life Balance

This might sound futile but remember the fact that your parents grow old and require your time and attention while you dedicate your life to your work. Your spouse constantly needs your care, support and advice through different stages of his/her life. You must understand that your child needs you throughout his childhood for guidance, support and love because once you retire and have time for them, you will realize that their childhood is over. Further, there is no need to stick to office for socializing after working hours when you have a family that needs you more than them. Please do not carry office work to your residence!

  1. Worry is Futile

A lot of corporate-entrants carelessly invite stress to their lives. In such cases they must learn from sales people on the job who treat stress like daily appetizers and remain stress free. Remember the management has nothing to do with how much stress or worry you carry for your work or personal life. They want you to do maximum work with a peaceful mind and worry only affects your productivity. Remember, we all love our first job, but it is not the only job in the world; something worth worry or suicide attempt. We all make mistakes in our first jobs and learn from them.

  1. Holistic Success Belief

Management doesn’t ever appreciate employee’s self-centered progress decisions and looks for win-win situation for its employees and itself. Any decision of yours that invites an individual gain will never be liked by the company unless it is a decision regarding improvement in their process, their product etc. that would bring them greater profits. One must be company-centric and believe in the one’s success in the company’s success and growth. Do not overpromise if you want to remain a positive employee in management’s view. Try to achieve greater than expected.

  1. Enjoying Minute Refreshments

You must let go of all high expectations and respect the little retreats and refreshments planned by your company. An aggressive sales company I worked for had employees who were always running for targets, facing failures or success but most people remained calm and waited anxiously for the month of April when they would be invited to company’s private party and July when they were taken for a movie. Jobs are not about very gigantic surprises but about finding happiness in small things.

  1. Non Personal Friendships

I tell this theory of mine, time and again in my write-ups that personal life and corporate life are different. Do not mix your personal life with professional life because both are neither similar nor comparable. These are 2 parallel lives demanding clarity. Remember an office colleague must remain an office friend who cannot become a best friend till the time either leaves the company. Bringing office people into personal life risks your privacy and brings in insecurity of disclosure at office, which you might not want. Don’t let people know your weaknesses so that they remain unaware of your other side of life and can’t capitalize on them at office. Learn from the US culture, they have logic behind segregating the two.

  1. Excuses Don’t Work

All of your valid reasons transform into excuses in the corporate. The people in corporate really are concerned with why the work wasn’t done, no matter how valid reason you give. It is simple, your senior will be only concerned getting the work in time and not with why wasn’t your work done and who will do it? His focus will be on judging your genuine efforts to complete the work. All your manager would expect is productivity, punctuality, completeness and delight every time so that he can do his work and delight further.

  1. Management is not Emotional

Management has the least amount of space for your family duties, problems etc. You might feel that I am talking heartlessly about machines but you will feel that there is a devoid of emotions like sympathy in corporate world. The only emotions that are valued are remaining inspired, dedicated, motivated such that you can continue to deliver expected results. At times you may feel hurt in uncontrollable and emotional situations but you would be only responded with surface level or say minimal emotions and understanding.

Contributed By : Chayan Jain (Class of 2011-2013, IBS Hyderabad).

Opportunity never knocks twice!

MBA GraduatesOpportunity! You might have heard this word many a times and must be waiting for one. You must be wondering what opportunity is? And how can I come to know about this? Answer to the above question is very simple. Opportunity is an appropriate or favorable time or occasion. It is a situation/condition favorable for attainment of a goal or a good position. It is a chance or a prospect for advancement or success.

It is very important to know when and how opportunity comes and it is equally important for anyone to foresee the same and work in same direction so as to utilize and make full use of it. At times it becomes very difficult to know how opportunity comes and how to take advantage of the same. But if u can envision that, then probably half of the work is done and you will only need to work on the remaining half. The biggest question that arises now is how to foresee good opportunity? What shall we do so that we get good opportunities? Answer to the question is simple, even if you are doing business or a salaried employee.

Broad Minded– It is very important to be broad/Open minded as it helps you to understand the situations in a better way and come to know more about different things. If you are narrow minded then you don’t give room to your mind which will close most of the doors for thinking. If you give room to your mind to think, then probably you can get new ideas and you can work on the same. It is always wise to understand different people and respecting their thoughts as well. You only can learn and grow by doing so. If you become stubborn then you probably don’t grow and become contended in your life.

“Nothing makes a man broad-minded like adversity.”

The above quote is true, it’s better to become broad minded from the beginning than to wait for an adverse situation and change the mindset. If you take efforts to change it from the start then gradually it will become a habit.

Eyes and Ears open– One of the very important ways to attract opportunities is to keep your eyes and ears open. You never know from where a good opportunity may come and you can grab the same. If you keep your eyes open then you can see if there is something which can help you in your future course. If you keep your ears open then you can hear about a good opportunity from someone and make use of it.

Opportunities may come in various forms – in the form of a scholarship, a raise in the salary, promotion at work, and a chance to spend quality time with family and friends. So, it is important to keep one’s eyes and ears open so that these opportunities don’t slip by. Once these opportunities slip through our fingers, it may take a long time before they come knocking on our doors again.mba-graduates

Hard work– Hard work is very essential to attract opportunity. It is very simple if you work hard and if you do good in your activity then good things are going to come to you and you will get desired fruits for the same. If you don’t work hard and only wait for an opportunity then probably it’s not going to happen. To get something you need to work hard and in right direction. The most essential character to success is hard work.

Let’s take an instance, if you want to do a business and you don’t know what business to do and from where to get finance? If you will wait for an opportunity to get you an idea and money to start a business than probably it’s not going to happen. But if you go out and do market research try to find out demand of a particular good or service then you get an opportunity to start something. If you go and meet investors and visit different banks than probably you can arrange finances. Sitting ideally at home gets you nothing and you end up waiting for an opportunity and fail.

“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”

 Desire – All above qualities are very important but desire to work and foresee an opportunity is equally important. If you desire to find a good opportunity then it is very to do that. If you don’t desire then probably you will ignore opportunities coming to you and will end up getting nothing.

“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.”

The human race is divided into two classes-

  • Those who go ahead and do something, and
  •  Those who sit idle and enquire, out of idle curiosity that: – “Why wasn’t it done the other way?”

Success in life, be it in any task or field brings happiness and once reached must be won over and over again. It’s not easy, but in the difficulty lays the opportunity, its rewards are great, but it belongs only to those brave and courageous souls, who care to have the faith in themselves. Who recognize and opportunity when it comes their way, grab it, make the most of it and continue to move forwards towards success. The winner says- It may be difficult, but it’s possible. The loser says- It may be possible, but it’s difficult. Now which category do we want to belong to? Winner or loser?

One thing is certain, that if a person is willing to brave the hazards of the road, he will grow strong in the journey. Only the strong, courageous and the determined, find success in their journey. Such people don’t explode into success; they GROW into it. A successful man once said “When I can run, I will run; When I can walk, I will walk; When I can only crawl, I will crawl; I will sat least always be moving forward.” Successful men always move forward and grab opportunities. The secret of being successful is grabbing the opportunity and make full use of it.

“If you have the opportunity to play this game of life you need to appreciate every moment. lot of people don’t appreciate the moment until it’s passed.”

Contributed by Kandarp Gandhi, (Class of 2014, IBS Mumbai)

The One-Minute Manager

the_one_minute_managerI have read the ‘One Minute Manager’ (Ken Blanchard & Spencer Johnson, Berkley Books) at various times during my life and each time it is with a new perspective.

The first time I read it was when I had just started on my career. Frankly, I was a bit bored by the book and I missed the whole point of it. Then after some years, I again read the book. This time the concept intrigued me. Everything done in a minute!

Then more recently, I read it again and this time I got the idea and it was no longer intriguing, but downright enlightening. It seemed the most efficient way to do things – in the shortest possible time.

The purpose of this blog is not about the book as such but to extrapolate on the concept that is explained in the book and what we can learn from it. To those who haven’t read it, the book is essentially about managing people, who are the most important resources in any organisation. If we extend the learning from it, you can also interpret it as getting the results you want in as little time as possible. As a manager, you should not be spending too much time in doing things – whether it is setting goals, praising your employees and chiding them.

The one-minute time is not that important. What is important is how much time are you spending on doing things? How fast is your reaction time? Are your goals so complicated that your employees get confused?

I am sometimes amused reading the mission and vision statements by companies. It runs into several sentences and statements. You have to be able to explain your vision and mission in one sentence. If you are putting in too many of them then you have lost focus.

In the same way, as a team leader or manager you should have well-defined goals for your team that can be read or seen at a glance. Goals, whether the manager or the team members set it, should not occupy more than a sheet of paper. In addition, it should be written in such a way so that it can be easily

We have lost the art of simplicity. In fact, we like making things sound complicated because we think that makes us look clever. If what you say sounds too complex to be understood by others, then the problem is not with their understanding but your ability to explain and communicate.

Since our thought processes are not simple, the way we go about doing things is not simple. Our corporate structure also reflects our complex thinking processes. India’s retail king, Kishore Biyani is a staunch advocate of the simplicity theory. He holds the idea that an organisation should have as few layers as possible, in order to simplify the decision-making process. The more layers, the more time is spent in transmitting information.

The essence of any good manager and management principles is being ‘people friendly’, that is, treating employees with care. Finally, organisations and corporations are all about people and if they are not happy, you cannot have a happy organisation.

The root of all enterprise is people; they are the most important resource. Next comes the processes and systems and then we have the purpose for which the enterprise has been set up. It doesn’t matter if an organisation has two people or 200 people. If their attitude is not right then it doesn’t matter how innovative or how novel the venture is; it will not work.

In the book ‘One Minute Manager’, the manager takes just a minute to praise or reprimand his employees. Extrapolating on this idea, we can conclude that timely action is of the essence. React to events – positive and negative – as soon as they occur. Events do not wait for you. Sometimes you also need to anticipate events and then take action accordingly.

Managers and senior team members in corporates spend a large amount of their time in meetings. Those who have been part of these meetings know that there is a good amount of time wasted in these meetings. Most meetings are inconclusive and some of them have no agenda at all.

If you were an efficient manager, you would not need these meetings. If you have conveyed your instructions properly to your team, they would not need to speak to you frequently, unless it is to update you on their progress – and does it require hours to do that? As a team member, how much time would you really need to explain to your boss how much of your goals have been achieved?

Even meetings need to be efficiently held and should be productive. The meeting agenda should have the objectives clearly laid down. What is the purpose of the meeting? What are the items to be discussed? What are the actions points and by when should they be achieved? Finally, what are the conclusions reached?

People often have meetings to raise issues but they come up with no solutions.

This is a wasted meeting. Some people hold meetings because they claim that is the way they interact with team members. Even if this is true, you have to keep such meetings short.

Large projects need to be broken down into smaller ones with short-term goals. All the short-term goals lead to medium-term goals, which in turn lead to longer-term goals.

Simplifying things and making them into smaller achievable targets is the way to introduce efficiencies in the system. If your systems and processes are efficient, then employees can perform at peak efficiency and be more Processes and systems in a company are meant to help employees. They are not to create roadblocks or hinder them in the course of their duties. Keep them simple so that it is easy for employees for them to follow it and most importantly, understand why they are there.

I have seen some organisation where their workers’ manual, run into several pages. Do you really expect employees to remember all that and work according to it? What’s wrong with a one-page set of instructions?

As aspiring management students and future managers, you have to internalise this idea in your DNA – simplicity is of the essence.

Contributed by Disha Parekh Mohanty

Short term gain, Long term loss!

article-0-0F7E408B00000578-835_634x356Short term gain, Long term loss! I would like to share an incident which made me write an article on this topic. I am currently based in Bangalore and my family is in Ahmedabad. I work with an Investment bank as an analyst and current CTC is a bit less. Actually industry pay over here is a bit less. One fine day I got a call from a US financial institution based out of Ahmedabad. I went through the process and fortunately or unfortunately cleared the interview. They were ready to pay me according to my expectations and then I got caught in dilemma. On one hand I can get settled in my home town with my parents with a good pay. And on other hand I had my growing career in the current company. I adopted the culture of my Company and doing well in my work. It was always a tough decision for me and here comes a classic example of Short term gain, Long term loss! It was a matter of decision and obviously you should know what would be my decision. It was long term gain.

The reason I opted to stay back in my company is I was doing good in my current role and earned bit goodwill over here by working well. If I can continue my good performance over here I can get good increment and promotion as well. Currently I would have only got benefit of a lakh or so but if I wait in my current role I will reap the benefits of lakhs in future. Brand name is also equally important and can reap us good benefit in future.

Purpose of sharing my experience at this platform is not to boost myself but to provide emphasis on decision making. It is very important for a person to make right decision at right time. We should never make decision hastily as it can have adverse impact on our future. It is wise to take decision taking into consideration our present scenario and future prospect. At times you can also get trapped in this type of tricky situations, most important thing is to think about short term and long term prospect as well.

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”

Short term loss, Long term gain:-

This probably is a better situation in which anyone would want to be! The only reason for me saying this is, it is fine if we struggle a bit in initial stage but we would always want ourselves to be in better situation at the end. No one likes to end the path in negative note everyone would always want to end the path at good note. The struggle in initial stages also teaches us few important lesson and we can implement the same in future course of career. There are many people who have opted for short term loss and long term gain. We can take the examples of those who rejected a good high profile jobs with healthy pay check to start their own venture. They also have ended up being successful.

 “Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”

Few examples who have opted for short term loss and long term gain:-

 Chetan Bhagat-He is an Indian author, columnist, screenwriter, television personality and motivational speaker, known for his English-language dramedy novels about young urban middle-class Indians. He worked in Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong as an Investment Banker for nearly a decade, and wrote Five Point Someone while still in Hong Kong, before moving to Mumbai to focus full-time on his writing career.

He sacrificed his job and started writing novels. Today he is known public figure and is loved for his writing by most of the youth in India. There was a choice for him to continue the job and be there but he opted to leave that and followed his passion. He decided to select the path which is beneficial for him in long term and sacrificed short term gain. Today he is enjoying stardom and price which he deserves. He has earned his living a long back and now only work for passion.

“Better to die doing what you love. Than to live doing nothing at all.”

Sachin Bansal – Bansal graduated from IIT in 2005 and joined a company called Techspan for a few months. In 2006, he joined Amazon.com India as Senior Software Engineer. Binny Bansal also worked at Amazon India at this point.They initially thought of starting a comparison search engine, but realized that the market for E-commerce in India was very small. Hence, after leaving Amazon in 2007, they founded Flipkart as an e-commerce company.

Flipkart went live in 2007 with the objective of making books easily available to anyone who had internet access. Today, they are present across various categories including movies, music, games, mobiles, cameras, computers, healthcare and personal products, home appliances and electronics – and still counting! With over 11.5 million book titles, 11 different categories, more than 2 million registered users and sale of 30000 items a day, we can say with utmost confidence that we are one of the leading e-commerce players in the country.

Sachin Bansal took risk and started a company which is now well known and giving competition to U.S. giant Amazon. It is very big achievement for the young duo. Taking risk can lead to a good career but at times can destroy the career as well. It is important to take calculative risk and there comes a difference between a normal man and a wise man. Wise man always take calculative risk where as normal man know there is high risk and it is do or die situation still he will go for it and wait for the best result. Normal man taking abnormal risk can also be effective but the probability of the same is minor.

“Biggest risk is not taking any risk….In a world that is changing very quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risk.”- Mark Zuckerberg

 From all the things I mentioned above we come to a conclusion that it is very important to take right decision at right time considering future into account. If you want to write your fortune, act wisely and take decision smartly.

Contributed by Kandarp Gandhi, (Class of 2014, IBS Mumbai)

Humour In The Workplace

Humour in the WorkplaceI remember an incident some years back when I had just joined my first company. Our Big Boss had come all the way down from Delhi to look at us minions in the far-flung branch office and flex his muscles, so to say.

In his typical brash style he was standing one evening, one leather-shod foot up on a chair, the other planted down on the floor, while he was aggressively beginning to take to task our hapless branch manager, who was trying to bear it.

The Big Man had just begun on his tirade when one of our colleagues from another department, known to have a wit (and as we discovered, also a presence of mind) came into the room, summed up the situation at a glance and then going up to the Boss told him, “Ah excuse me, but I think that is my chair on which you are resting your tired feet. I’ve been searching for it and I find that it is hiding itself in this room. May I take it back into my custody please?”

For a second the Boss looked astonished and then he started to smile. That broke up the tense atmosphere. It was a huge lesson to me and one, which I have never forgotten – the power of humour in handling tricky situations and indeed its importance in the workplace.

I’ve worked in many places since and I’ve been very lucky that most of them have been places where humour and laughter were encouraged. Those whom I’ve worked with, including my bosses, were easy-going people, though very committed to their jobs. They had the rare ability to laugh at themselves. I have also been fortunate enough to work with teammates who were never too busy to respond to a joke or laugh even when we were working under tough deadlines.

Of course, there have been one or two places, which were too stuffy and I was never comfortable there and could not stick it out for more than a few months.

But, I have found, that humour is not, in fact, tolerated in many offices much.

People tend to take themselves and their jobs in a deadly serious manner. Laughter is taken as a sign of frivolity. Any humour consists of the unkind one where people are often laughing at others, or at the expense of others.

Do you know that humour actually makes people relax? It also relieves stress and employees tend to make fewer mistakes in such an atmosphere.

Evidence has shown that humour invigorates and makes people more humour doesn’t mean only cracking jokes or sending around those chain mail ‘forwards’ of internet jokes that are circulating forever. It means being able to keep a stable perspective on things; seeing the lighter side of a situation; knowing that being a few minutes late on a deadline will not really push the universe off its course.

Humour also has the ability to unite people and it is one of the best ways to create teams that can work together in harmony. Have you seen the way old friends laugh and bond when they are together? If we can do it with friends, why not with our colleagues at work?

Offices rivalries are notorious and often have the potential to escalate into disruptive situations. However these kind of hostilities can be defused if people have a sense of humour and the principles concerned realise that it is after all, not a ‘life and death’ matter.

A boss with a sense of humour will be better able to lead a team than one who takes her job and herself seriously. This is because she becomes more approachable and her team members feel at ease with her. They feel able to take their problems to her. Remember that even a strict boss can have a sense of humour – as I said before, it’s an attitude.

Conflict situations in the boardroom or at the workplace can often be resolved with a sense of humour. It helps to ease tension, lessen pressure and puts us in a better mood. This makes us more receptive to the opinions and viewpoints of others and enables us to meet them halfway.b-school

Creativity and innovation can be stifled in an atmosphere where there is a constant pressure to adhere to deadlines and meet targets. Humour can actually help to dispel the sense of undue gravity and it is necessary because the mind has to be free of fear.

I remember once we were all asked to work on October 2, Gandhiji’s birth anniversary. There were a lot of grumbles and rumbles throughout the office but nobody actually dared to challenge the fiat. One female colleague, who had recently married and had made plans for that day, decided to be bold. She walked up to the boss and asked him openly, “I want to take an off on the second. Can I?”

The boss looked at her in silence and then said deadpan, “only, if you are dead!”

He however said it with a smile and that took the sting out of his answer. The rest us cracked up at his reply and that sort of eased the whole situation. It put us in a better frame of mind to lose that holiday.

One should however note that it is never good policy to laugh at others, at least not in a mean way. Making fun of others in front of everyone and laughing at them is not humour, especially if you feel that the butt of your jokes is not appreciating them. This becomes all the more important if you are a team

The first team that I ever led was a young bunch of raw recruits and the kind of job we were doing required us to be alert and fast. There was very little scope for making mistakes and learning from them and the only way I could ensure their enthusiastic co-operation was by keeping the atmosphere light and taking away the psychological pressure. By not stressing too much on the critical nature of their work, the first few difficult weeks passed off uneventfully.

Some people have a natural sense of humour and for those who don’t – I think you need to cultivate it. It definitely pays to have it, especially when you are at the receiving end of a tongue-lashing.

Contributed by Disha Parekh Mohanty

Leadership Lessons from Mahatma Gandhi

mahatma-gandhi

Dr. Albert Einstein famously said on the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s 70th birthday that “Generations to come, it may well be, will scarce believe that such a man as this one ever in flesh and blood walked upon this Earth.”

Isometime wonderthat wasGandhiji merely a freedom fighter,or a national leader, or a revolutionary, or a smartstatesman? It totally depends on the way you analyses his life. You may have disagreements with many of his thoughts. But, all said and done, one cannot deny the fact that he was a super leader who changed the lives of billions of Indians in last century. It required some extra ordinary powers to fight against the British empire and bring freedom to this country and that toowith weapons like truth and nonviolence.

I have always been inspired from Gandhji’s journey and attracted towardshis qualities of a leader. I have read his autobiography when I was 16 or 17. I believe he was a super leader, though I personally have some reservationsfor some of his decisions. It is very difficult to sit down and write about Gandhiji and his leadership skills as they are unquestionable.While writing this article, I feel that the steps and ways shown by Gandhiji are proving more and more relevant in today’s time where complexities have increased many a fold. Here, I have tried to do so and have noted down qualities which depict his great leadership skills.

  1. Honesty and transparency – the best policy

Gandhiji’s honesty and transparency were beyond question. His life was an open book. Barring few incidents in the childhood (which he confessed and corrected), he had never made any compromise whatsoever. I believe leadership starts from the very virtue of ‘honesty’. A dishonest leader never gets respect from his team members and he miserably fails to lead them effectively. Further, honesty automatically leads to transparency as honest leader has nothing to hide from anyone.

  1. Stay on course

Gandhiji had a solid willpower. After, his life changing experience of Pittsburg railway station in South Africa, he decided to fight against injustice. I believe India’sfreedom movement was not even in his mind at that time. His fight was against injustice only and he committed himself for this cause and fought for it. He decided one thing and stuck to it in every odd situation.

The same continued when he returned to India. On his entourage across India, he observed and experienced the pain of injustice done to poor Indians by British rulers. And then he decided to start a mass movement to fight against such injustice which later on converted into the freedom struggle for India.

He said once that “To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.” He lived this sentence for his entire life. This is a finest quality of great leaders. They take time in deciding goal but once they decide something, they spend entire life behind achieving it

  1. Make a team of talented people

One of the basic qualities of a smart leader is that he is around with talented people. He discovers talent and keep them with him on his side to discuss, understand,seek views on the variety of issues. He shares his dream with them and converts it in a one shared dream for the entire team.

Gandhiji had army of super talented and highly skilled people like Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Rajendra Prasad, Maulana Azad and many more.He created rock solid team with such people. The team in a true sense was inspired by his dream and helped him in communicating his message to the mass. This teamcreated fire and wave for freedom fight acrossthe country.Gandhiji formulated strategies and his team successfully implemented them effectively across India. This made him very effective compared to any other leader in the world.

  1. Communicate with everyone

I believe Gandhiji’s ability to communicate and stay connected with everyone and involving them was the key to success of our freedom struggle. As being a smart leader, he knew that it was very important to communicate his vision of free India to common man. Hence, he travelled length and breadth of this country and conveyed this message. He always travelled in a third class of train so that he could stay more and more connected with average poor Indians and understand their problems, communicate with them.Further, he also started magazines to reach out to large number of Indians with his vision. He used to write a lot of letters, regularly answered themto be more connected evenin his busy schedules.

It is absolutely necessary for a leader to communicate his vision and convey message to team members. With this approach, team members feel that his leader is talking to him and it lifts up their morale. In today’s time, leaders are not able to reach to bottom of the pyramid because of variety of reasons and leave it to his subordinates. This does not give desired outcome as subordinates cannot share the message with same intensity and conviction as it was not their message. People always like to listen directly to the leader.

  1. Ensuring involvement of everyone

Gandhiji knew that it would require involvement of everyone in order to achieve success in the freedom struggle. Hence, he introduced “the swadeshi movement, charkha, picketing of foreign goods, Dandy march, Satyagrahs”etc and involved almost every Indianin his battle with all these programs. He made them felt that they are important contributors in India’s freedom movement.

I can correlate the famous quote from Benjamin Franklin (one of the founding fathers of United States) in this regard that “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”. Hence, It is utmost important for a leader to keep his people involved and engaged in the process of achievement of ultimate goal.

  1. Ability to manage conflicts

Gandhiji had a team of stalwarts. But these people were having their own perspectives. However, Gandhiji was able to resolve thesedifferences of opinions effectively and did not let the team break. Such an exceptional quality! And these differences were large in the magnitudes which only he could manage.

When there are people, there will be issues. It is difficult to manage differences arising from people in today’s time and hence, it requires patient hearing, persuasive skills, open heart and honesty to solve them.

  1. Be what you are

It was absolutely sheer courage and strong determination to attend round table conferences, meet Britain’s kings/queens/viceroys in merely “dhoti”at that time. People laughed at him but he believed in one thought that “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”.He simply put that as a representative of billions of poor Indians, he cannot afford to have lavish clothing. It provides us the most important lesson to us that we should be what we are. Sometime, we just fake it to impress others.The simple thing is to let our thoughts and actions do so.

 At the end

The above is a non-exhaustive list as Gandhiji’s entire life is a lesson for us. Gandhian thoughts are more relevant in future then past. Let’s try to follow and practice some of these lessons in our life.

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

Turning Internship into a Job

Journey of MBAYour internship can be a great way to gain experience, meet networking contacts, and prove your worth to an employer. It can also be the necessary foot in the door to land a full-time position at the organization.Wondering how you can turn your internship into a full-time gig? Here’s how:

1. Choose the right internship

Seek out internships that require substantial work. Often small and medium-size companies, which can be notoriously understaffed, provide the best opportunities. Before you accept the internship, try to talk to former interns to get a sense of whether they found the experience valuable.

2. Do you really want to work there?

Be sure you want a job with the company with which you’re interning. Interning gives you a chance to see if you’d enjoy working permanently for your internship company and how well you fit into the organizational culture. Once you’re convinced the employer is right for you, your enthusiasm — based on real-world, insider knowledge — will be a major plus in helping you land a full-time job there.

3. Act the part

Once you’ve decided you like the company culture, show you fit in. Demonstrate a work ethic that’s at the same level as regular employees.Show up with an eager, positive attitude each day. Come in early and be the last intern to leave. Dress at least one step above your current position. Take pride in each project you are assigned and ensure it’s your best work before handing it in.

4. Ask for feedback on a regular basis

Although you don’t want to cross the line into being annoying, it’s important to have a grasp on your strengths and weaknesses by getting feedback from your boss.Seek input and feedback from supervisors and co-workers during your internship so you know how to improve as you go along. Show those you work with that you want to be the best you can be.

5. Go Above And Beyond Your Job Description

Show that you’re always thinking ahead by anticipating others’ questions and needs. Do more than is expected of you to stand out among other intern candidates. Volunteer for additional projects when you can, and be flexible with your schedule for a chance to impress the team by staying late or coming in early.Taking on additional tasks, being flexible, and thinking ahead shows your dedication to your role and helps your supervisor and co-workers view you as an integral part of the team.

6. Be Consistent

Always maintain focus and discipline while at work – and avoid distractions such as text messaging or checking social networks.

7. Ask questions.

Don’t be shy about asking questions, especially if you need clarification on an assignment. Carry a notebook with you at all times. Be energetic and alert, but don’t pretend to know something you don’t.Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s a great way to show your level of engagement and connect the dots. It will also help you obtain a rounded, realistic preview of a prospective employer and job so you can make an educate decision about your career options down the road.

8. Develop your skills

Learn unfamiliar software programs. Try projects that help you to hone skills you’ve never used or don’t use often. Observe the skills used by people in the kinds of positions in which you envision yourself working, and polish those skills. The wider your range of skills, the more valuable you will be to the employer.

9.    Set goals for yourself.

Within the first week of your internship, make an appointment with your manager to establish goals. Discuss projects you’d like to tackle and specific skills you hope to gain over the internship. Always have a positive attitude about the work, however menial it may seem to you. Once you show you can be trusted with small tasks, managers will give you more responsibility.

Career10. Be assertive.

Learn as much as possible by staying busy with projects and volunteering for assignments. Don’t overextend yourself, but raise your hand when a manager asks for help. Don’t stick just to your department, either; volunteer to work in other parts of the company so you can get an overview of as many as possible. Prove that you can meet the responsibilities of a full-time job.

11. Record Your Accomplishments

Be sure to keep a record of all the ways you’ve contributed during your internship and be prepared to present this list when you make your pitch to the employer for a permanent job. After you’ve finished a task or a project, write down any accomplishments you’ve had. Showing that you can produce results is a great way to move up at the company.

12. Secure A Mentor Within The Organization

Moving up is much easier if you have someone to lean on for advice and insight. Convert at least one of your network contacts within your internship into more than just a contact. Cultivate a mentor who can guide you in developing a strategy for obtaining permanent employment.

13. Have A Solid Grasp On The Company

 Know what the organization needs and how you can fill those needs. Understand each product or service. Get to know the clients and customers the best you can. Learning this vital information will not only make you do your job better – you’ll have a clear understanding of how you can move up in the organization, too.

14. Keep in touch after the summer

Before the summer ends, get your colleagues’ contact information so you can send them thank-you notes. Network with them throughout the year, sending them casual e-mails asking about their work. If you performed well over the summer, they’ll think of you when a job opens up.

15. Don’t be shy about asking about permanent job opportunities

 Your employer won’t know that you’re interested in a job unless you ask. Also be vigilant for opportunities to create a position. Look for employer needs that aren’t currently being met and consider proposing a job to meet those needs

Contributed by Shilpa Verma Kansal ( Class of 2008, IBS GURGAON )

My first year at IBS – The Honeymoon period

Journey of MBAThe past 10 years, I’ve always been noticing how college freshers are so obviously college freshers. They carry college IDs (just as if they were in school), full of excitement and nervousness on their faces (like a bride or groom); spend hours picking out their first day’s outfit, and super-duper excited as if they have achieved something in a big way.

And why not…they actually have.

I find all this a bit amusing but I can also empathise with their feelings as I also remember the excitement, anxiousness and remarkable amount of cluelessness that comes with being an IBS student on the first day.

My first year of IBS @ Ahmedabad campus was certainly like a honeymoon period. I use the word “honeymoon” because that phase was so much fun in real life, when you meet and discover somebody new and fall in love and chase them. The excitement of the pursuit. That climactic final moment of ultimate togetherness. I still remember the day I reached Ahmedabad with my dad who came to drop me off at the hostel full of pride and thrill. I could see a dad that day who was feeling gratified pleasure that his son was being admitted into a prestigious B-school.

That first year at IBS was full of clusters of what I wanted or what I applied for. There were some strange feelings in my mind but happiness mixed with anxiety were the most obvious emotions – happiness at being there and the anxiety associated with starting new things. Exploring the new city, new markets, fun places and lots more! To be part of a group that had the best of talent. Achieve grades with no compromise on fun. That’s just a whole lot of experiences right there. This experience helped me to improve and grow as a person – the man I am today.

According to me, experience is perhaps the best cherished thing to offer in the first year of college. Let me recount some of my more memorable experiences and share them with you.

Don’t be in a hurry to be part of a group; finding the right friends are important:

Yes, I am talking about the groups or the people, whom you meet on the first day of the college; whom you think are just awesome and super cool!!! I would suggest you take a couple of weeks, and then make up your mind as to which group or friends circle you want to belong to. Sometimes, in a hurry to ‘belong’ you may end up doing things that can actually make you feel depressed. Look for friends with similar interests. Imagine, you love cricket they love football or you love dancing, they love trekking or maybe just watching TV!!  Friends are important, but the right ones.

So go slow, understand everyone. Instead of being Best Buddy or Friends Forever with one person you meet, try to mingle around with new people during dining, studies, or festivals.  Remember you still have your school friends to talk to anyway.

Believe in self-motivation, Competition never stops:

You have joined MBA because you want to achieve something. Remember, you could walk a mile and still not be exhausted because you know you want to reach somewhere. You always want to do something different that no one else has done. After IBS, my belief in self-motivation has increased every day. Today, I am achieving what I always wanted to. It’s time to expand your thought, widen your horizons and make self-motivation part of your daily thoughts

Roll…Camera….Action!!!

I am what I am

The first year is a unique time to reflect on your priorities. The first year is also full of ease where you have the right of making choice – of what you want to do. You have time to focus on what sort of person you would like to be. IBS events and the learning model works like a mirror where you can see your future reflection. I remember that the classes were not only challenging but also engaging. Everyone I met was tremendously intellectual and brought a diverse knowledge base that enriched my learning experience. By analysing your performance in various activities, you realise what matters to you.

For example, when I was working on projects related to venture capital and private equity, it was IBS that helped me realize that I like dealing with the operational and strategic aspects rather than the investment side.

b-school

After one month, IBS Ahmedabad campus was like my home. I found I could do all my assignments and enjoy them too. My time management skills were getting better. It just took some time. We all want to run but remember we should know how to walk first.

Yeah, the first year is a honeymoon period but full of struggle – new people, new dimensions, new home, everything is new except you. But, it is worthwhile as I found as it taught me a whole lot about myself.

During the first year, you feel like roaming around and behave like a cool dude….but college is more than that, as you will soon realise. Before you enter college, you feel apprehension and feel that it is all hard work. I used to be confused when people used to say, “I love college”. After a few months, I too felt the same. Your campus is beautiful, it’s your best decision and you’ll constantly refer to your college as the best college EVER. Someday like me, you’ll hate the thought of missing the college and its endless opportunities and freedom in this competitive world.

“College is the best time of your life.”

Lastly, here is my list of what to expect from first year:

  1. 1.Be ready to be inspired.
  2. Be ready to be challenged.
  3. Be ready to make Connections.
  4. Be ready to reinvent yourself.
  5. Be ready to Welcome the new world.

My first year of IBS not only gave me what I wanted, it provided me with enormous experience, that I will cherish throughout my life. It’s an experience that I offer you all to learn from. However, it is your own experience that will be more valuable than my lessons learned. Everyone has a different story to tell and your experiences are the best teacher.

Enjoy your first year!!! Keep sharing your thoughts.

Contributed by Sidhartha Mohanty (Class of 2005, IBS Ahemedabad)