Soft Skills vs Hard Skills: Comparative Relevance for MBAs

The present-day Corporate World’s tryst with ‘Soft-Skills’ have made the term an omnipresent but hard to define buzzword. If you ask people to define Soft-Skills, you’ll by and large encounter rather ambiguous and divergent definitions. For the sake of clarity, Wikipedia defines soft skills as “associated with a person’s  EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient), the cluster of personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, friendliness, and optimism that characterize relationships with other people.” While Hard-Skills or traditionally known as technical skills are more closely related to a person’s IQ (Intelligence Quotient) and are defined as practical abilities learned through education and training. For example, the hard skills that an accountant would need include arithmetic, familiarity with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), and financial statement preparation.


Undoubtedly, dependency on the seemingly more-important ‘Hard-Skills’ cannot be undermined. But one thing is certain – the days of domination and exclusive control of these so-called Hard-Skills are a thing of the past. This is evident from this statement made by Harvard Business School professor in an interview. He said, “Many consultants said that technical skills – once the prime goal of executive searches – are still important but have become merely a baseline requirement.” For most jobs, while the hard skills are essential to getting into the interview, it’s the soft skills that will land the job because employers want someone who won’t just perform their job function, but will be a good personality fit for the company and make a good impression on clients.

During your entire 2 years at your B-School, you’ll observe that the methodology of teaching all the subjects is unique in the sense that in virtually every lecture, you’ll have to confront and deal with widely used ‘presentation oriented’ style of teaching. It is a precursory exercise universally adopted by B-Schools to equip their students with a blend of various Soft-Skills set, which will be instrumental for your future professional success in the severely harsh and competitive white-collar world.

For example, a project manager in an MNC, who belongs to an engineering background writes a report and assumes that people will read it – but that never happens. Because these days, however crackerjack and inch-perfect your report is – if you are not able to present your work effectively, you may never get the credit you deserve. And to be able to that with finesse you need the right kind of training and exposure beforehand. Then, with experience you can further hone and nurture those skills acquired over a period of time. That’s why the usually diffident and stand-offish but ambitious engineers invariably want to go for an MBA degree to boost their career graph by combining both their soft-skills and hard-skills. They get the best of both the worlds this way and hence an edge over others.

Just introspect – what good are great ideas if you are not able to articulate them well before the target audience. What good is your technical brilliance if your well-intentioned supervisor (Even that’s a rarity these days) does not feel confident to put you before the senior management. Moreover, Hard-Skills can be learned from books or online tutorials. Financial Accounting, for instance is a hard-skill that may be self-taught. An old-school proponent of Hard-Skills may argue that a financial accounting specialist may go on to associate himself with a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) and eventually become a CFA Charter-holder thereafter making a lot of moolah!

I would like to re-assert that depending on the kind of job your are in, you’ll need the relevant technical skills to get the job. However, it’s your repertoire of Soft-Skills which will actually make sure your technical skills shine and visible to your seniors and colleagues alike. A medical practitioner, for example, essentially needs to know what medicine to prescribe after an appropriate diagnosis. Isn’t it? But, in reality, which doctor would you prefer going to for a monthly regular check-up? A rude, eccentric genius who treats you like a lowbrow and attacks your ego (House MD rings a bell anyone?) OR a sufficiently qualified physician who knows you and your body well, is pleasant & courteous and takes time to answer your questions patiently? Mull over it!

Soft Skills vs Hard Skills: Comparative Relevance for MBAs

In situations like this, Soft-Skills do matter a lot. Perhaps more than you think they do. Your emotional quotient, self-confidence, presentation skills, ability to work in a team, work ethics, leadership/mentoring skills, selling skills et cetera all contribute towards a thriving career. Two vital skills hugely relevant in the present-day business enterprises worldwide and which are not included in the above list of Soft-Skills are worthy of mention here.

First one is ‘Self-Promotion’ skills. For whichever organization you are working for and regardless of who and how your boss is, just working hard doesn’t cut it. You will have to painstakingly promote your skills & working results within and even outside of your organization. You need to smartly but subtly build your reputation with the all-important people who may in any which way influence your performance review. You’ll realize that baby steps in this direction will yield rich dividends by the end of the financial year and will help you make your way up the corporate ladder.

Second important skill is ‘Managing Office Politics’, which has become a self-proclaimed but an unsaid component for professional growth and white-collar ascendancy. If you are adept in understanding the nuances of people dynamics and the goings-on inside the office premises, you will make yourself immune to discriminatory behavior and unscrupulous wheeler-dealings that sadly and surely exist almost everywhere.

Unfortunately, the significance of soft-skills is still underestimated in our country. This is where the role of MBA education comes into play. The entire MBA curriculum focuses on the skill-sets stated above. Personality development, self-awareness and increased confidence are natural by-products of a standard MBA course from a reputed B-School. Primary soft-skill attributes are inherently ingrained in its course structure and are deep rooted in its way of teaching, which is specifically adopted for the modern business world.

And it has become a prerequisite because present-day organizations expect their employees to know how to behave on the job without the need of a formal on-the-job training. They tend to assume that an employee already possesses the essential soft-skill traits in addition to the apparently more valuable hard-skills. It is a dangerous assumption which may lead to an increased attrition rate caused by non-productivity and de-motivation amongst the staff members. This preconceived perception needs to be changed.

Contributed by Pranshu Awasthi ( Class of 2007, IBS GURGAON )

Top 5 Case Studies for Indian Management

mba-graduatesCase studies are one of the most crucial forms of learning in B-school curriculum. Be it mergers and acquisition, launch and success of a new product line, branding strategy, some management fiasco and others, if we look back, we can find hundreds of management incidents in the past, that hold the potential of making a strong case in our books.

Case studies are not always success stories; they are also stories of failure. They help us understand the fast changing set of market realities and managerial challenges, shifting consumer expectation and the race to meet them.

Though there would be many, but I picked up these 5 corporate incidences/cases, that not only make excellent study material for B-school learning but also are the reflection of the uncertain nature of business. Some of them startled us; some amused us, while some are just classic examples of excellent management strategies and success.


flipkart logoSuccess in an infant industry is the story of Flipkart. A start up launched in 2007 with an investment of just Rs 4 Lakhs has come to grow into the first billion dollar company in Indian e-commerce. Flipkart exploited vast consumers segment waiting to enjoy the comfort of shopping online. The company’s core value lies in the operating mantra: “Don’t count your customers before they smile”!

Major factors leading to Flipkart’s success are:

  • Strong backend operations with its own warehouse and inventory management system.
  • Consistent customer service with focus on speedy resolution of delivery and faulty product issues. It is interesting to know that the co-founders of the company feel that discounts cannot replace the customer’s satisfaction of prompt service and efficiency.
  • Innovation is next. Offering options for cash-on-delivery and credit card payment at the door step provide further choice and comfort.
  • Flipkart succeeded in adding the ‘surprise and delight’ factor for customers. They are treated to offers that are most suited and relevant to their preferences. The company’s Big Billion Sale was an aggressive step towards the same direction. Many criticized the retailer for jumping way too ahead without much preparation for the challenge. Though Flipkart fumbled in managing site traffic and product demand-supply gap, it maintained its goodwill by sending an apology with explanation letter to all its customers. It made adequate amends and managed to won back its loyalists.

#Flipkart’s rules of success are simple and clear – Engage customers using novel ideas, quality products and seamless service.


Satyam logoThe much talked about corruption scam that took place in Satyam Computer Service – one of the most promising IT companies in India – startled the investors, foreign clients and Indian masses. This builds a famous case for corporate governance and fraudulent auditing practices. The company misrepresented its accounts and misled the market by lying about the company’s financial health.

Satyam’s founder and then chairperson Ramalinga Raju manipulated company’s accounts for close to seven years before confessing in January 2009. Satyam inflated its profits and revenues on paper, which led to increase in company’s share prices and boosted its market capitalization.

Since, most of the figures shown in company’s balance sheet were fictitious; the company was left with very less cash. Interestingly, Satyam paid INR 186.91 crore as tax over seven years on fictitious interest income from non-existent fixed deposits.

As per Raju’s confession, he needed and used the funds to acquire thousands of acres of land in Andhra Pradesh to make his mark in the booming realty market.

The 14000 crore worth Satyam fraud is the largest corporate scam in the history of India.  The company was finally taken over by Tech Mahindra and with Indian government’s intervention a number of young workers were saved from unemployment. On 9th April 2015, a special CBI court sentenced Raju to seven years in prison.

#Satyam was a scandal waiting to happen. It requires learning for anyone engaged in global services outsourcing and off shoring, the importance of openness and transparency.

The Mumbai Dabbawala story

Case Study of Mumbai DabbawalaThis famous case of operations and supply chain management is used by many B- schools in India and abroad including Harvard. Recognized with Six Sigma level of accuracy, their model has earned them admirers from Britain’s Prince Charles to entrepreneur Richard Branson. So what is so unique and desirable about this case? Let’s see:

The dabbawalas in Mumbai have collected hot meals during lunch from customers’ often distance homes, and carried them to schools and offices across the city. They are known to use a unique delivery system that has been smooth, reliable, and has survived even extreme conditions.

Their whole process is linked closely to Mumbai’s railway system. It sets the speed and helps in scheduling the delivery process. The coding system that they use is simple and convenient for all the dabbawalas. They have specific code for the neighborhood where the dabba is to be delivered, a bunch of characters denoting the office address and the dabbawala who will make the delivery, and finally, a combination of colour for the railway station of origin.

They operate in self organized teams of 25 individuals each. The most experienced ones act as supervisors while also delivering their dabbas. Every dabbawala individually negotiates with his customers.

Might sound surprising but a good reason for their success is very less reliance on technology and utmost dependence on human capital. They are highly motivated because they realize the importance of their work. If they don’t deliver, a person somewhere ends up missing his lunch. For them, delivering food is like offering service to God!

Relying on their efficient and full-proof logistic system, Flipkart recently decided to partner with the Mumbai Dabbawalas to navigate the city streets.

#Their success model is basically based on few simple concepts of work ethic, community culture, honesty, integrity, discipline and time management.

Kingfisher Airlines

Kingfisher AirlinesVijay Mallya’s “dreambird” Kingfisher came under huge financial mess caused due to some uninhibited and high risk decision making. Launched in 2005, Kingfisher was grounded in late 2012 because of bankruptcy and non-payment of loans. On closing, the airline owed more than US$ 1 Billion to a consortium of 17 banks.

So what caused the demise of the glamorous airline despite having gained brand visibility and a loyal customer base?

  • Lack of direction: Kingfisher was initially launched as value added airline. It later positioned itself as low cost airline after it launched Kingfisher red (the spun-off fleet of Air Deccan).
  • Acquisition of Air Deccan to launch oversees operations failed. Most attempts to gain visibility on high traffic international routes (like Bangalore to London; Bangalore to Silicon Valley) did not yield healthy results. Also, with the takeover of crisis-ridden Air Deccan, Kingfisher suffered a loss of over INR10 billion (US$160 million) for three consecutive years
  • The airline also suffered due to frequent changes and absence of any long term CEO or MD.
  • In 2011, the airline’s fleet size was reduced as many of its aircrafts were grounded due to faulty engines. Even as the engines were overhauled, changing market conditions and rising fuel severely affected the yields.
  • Withdrawing from the low fare segment (Kingfisher Red), in order to divert its customer base to its premier segment (Kingfisher), did not help either, as the consumers would prefer other low cost flyers.

#A combination of external and internal factors hit the airline and it continued registering losses year after year. Mallya’s various attempts including suspending international operations, hiking fuel surcharges and seeking foreign investments by some oversees airlines failed as well;  but lack of vision and firm positioning strategy, not understanding the consumer behavior, were the primary reasons, that the airline was unable to ever revive operations.


IPL logoConceptualized in 2007, club type format of cricket, IPL, with all ingredients of success, is the perfect example of controversy marketing. BCCI’s IPL generated a level of excitement and stupor usually seen in football, basketball and baseball franchises. Other than the large number of cricket crazy Indian fans, what else IPL did to become a global brand name?

  • Its value proposition is fast paced action and a 3.5 hour movie like entertainment. With high stakes involved IPL has showed the commercial potential of Twent20.
  • IPL has a global appeal. The international star players influence the level of support and interest. For instance, Shane Warne’s contribution to the Rajasthan Royals is much talked about with appreciation in Australia.
  • Media exposure was a crucial factor in the success of IPL. The season receives continuous coverage in local, national and international press even during the closed season.
  • Involvement of bollywood celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Shilpa Shetty as both franchisers and promoters brought in lot of glamour and razzmatazz to the series. These people are a brand in themselves in India.
  • IPL marketing strategy brings a lot of spice through auctioning of franchisees and participating players, cheerleaders, opening ceremony and live concerts. Even the commentators use phrases to attract and please sponsors, making them pay more.

#Into its eighth season now, the IPL extravaganza has grown leaps and bounds. IPL has also seen itself engaged in various controversies of corruption, match fixing and mismanagement. With stakes held so high, IPL season 8 calls for a controversy free season with pure entertainment in the form of cricket; it could be achieved with better administrative efficiency, strict oversight and increasing awareness among the players.

Contributed by Isha Jajodia (class of 2010, IBS Gurgaon)

5 people around MBA College to learn from

MBA new paradigms in careerMBA generally denotes the ending of a student’s formal education and thus in this time frame of 2 years a person must have the maximum willingness to learn and indulge in observed learning. Out of the conventional methods of learning, interviewing experts and making observations has been credited as a credible source to add to one’s knowledge.

Before I begin to highlight your learning, I would like to take you through a Product Development project which was assigned to our class by our professor to make us learn the 4 P’s of marketing, finance decisions as well as operational efficiency better. In groups of 6, we were to interview a vendor near our campus regarding their product, pricing, budgeting, promotion, placement, consumer behavior, functioning and other questions that would probe us if we were to start a similar business and present a report highlighting the learning. While the task seemed difficult and futile then; now the value of the project can be felt and needs to be shared to invoke learning.

The importance of these 5 people is that these people are already selling in a controlled market; can provide you with exposure to real time challenges at minimal learning costs and are mostly entrepreneurs who unconsciously manage the finance, marketing, operations and human resources for their little ventures. So let us now explore who these 5 different people around your campus are:

  1. Canteen Caterer:catering-canteen

The canteen caterer is an excellent person who can guide you over operations and product placement. Just catch and ask him, how he chooses one product over another; how does he judge whether his customer would like an otherwise highly sold product in other markets; how does he decide the variety of products he wants to keep in his store etc.

If he keeps bakery products, how does he find out which pastry would sell more and what price; how does he plan his offering; how does he charge for the ingredients; does he make the product there or somewhere else; if somewhere else, how does he charge for the transportation? How does he train, recruit and manage the staff? How does he manage the ambience and maintain it? What does it take to manage a team of low skilled, semi skilled and highly skilled people?

If he keeps branded products, ask him about the kind of margins the wholesaler provides for; how often does he reorder; how does he replace a non selling product with a new one which might not sell at all. Each and every question must be attached to a why because it this ‘why’ that will bring in your learning.

  1. Stationery shopkeeper:shopkeeper

One of the busiest shopkeepers in campus is a stationery shopkeeper. This person caters to a wide variety of clients on a day to day basis and runs a monopoly in the campus. Within a limited operational period, he not only sells, takes feedbacks, gets orders and different requirements, makes profits through margins as well as serves the need of the customer.

Ask him, how he markets i.e. displays all his products in a little shop that he runs; how he reacts to complains and feedbacks; how does he arrange for the different orders placed by the customers; how he estimates the offering he has to make; how he finances and plan to expand; how he plans his profits and does that make enough living? How does he obtain products from wholesalers and bargain for margins? Learn it to inculcate it before going to the market yourself!

  1. Nearby Chaat Wala:Chaat Wala

Most people love spicy snacks but has anyone ever wondered how does a seller price his products? Ask and understand how the seller charges you for ingredients from his complete pool of ingredients. Further, go in detail to the extent of how does he charge for the oil he uses for frying?

Think from a seller’s point of view and not a consumer’s point of view. Ask him how he maintains hygiene; cater to diverse needs of the customers; dispose of the garbage, estimate the requirements to begin operations as well as the source of his raw materials. These questions will bring to your notice how quality, price, hygiene, ingredients are played with to earn profits in a business with highly customized offering where each customer wants his own kind of a product.

  1. Dhaba Wala / Chai wala:chai wala

Outside the institutions, generally many tea sellers or Dhabas are found who compete for the attention of more and more customers every day. What needs to be learnt is the maintenance of quality, financing of preliminary expenditures, handing of operating as well as running costs, abiding with statutory compliances, dealing with various types of customers and legal agents.

It is good for you to understand how they plan their product, make changes in them and make the product run. It is crucial to understand that the recipe for a simple tea differs from one seller to another right from quantity to ingredients and this is what differentiates one seller from another.

Further one can learn how to source products; manage the profits; work with minimum basic inventory as well as budget for raw materials. These people are excellent forecasters of demand and compete with each other using techniques like differential pricing, quality, providing credit facility, promotion, discounts etc. Forecasting will help you learn operations better while marketing tools will make you understand how to bear and adjust the costs of marketing.

  1. The Photocopy Shopkeeper: photocopies

A photocopy shopkeeper deals with most of the students. As a result he enjoys a never ending demand for notes and printouts at his shop. Generally such people enjoy monopoly due to limited or few units in the campus or nearby campus. From such shopkeepers you can learn the art of inventory management just like from other shopkeepers. He can also tell you how to deal with immense demand when supply is limited. This person can guide you how to manage your time well and when is the right opportunity for you to take actions. This entrepreneur has a selected few goods and earns through them hence you can learn how to manage with high demand and the least product variety.

This exercise might sound futile and waste to some; but one must understand that to make chocolate, you need to first know the nature of the cocoa plant and grow it! With a hope that you would learn something from these micro-entrepreneurs I leave you the thought that ‘a person doesn’t need to be great if you have to learn from him; you can learn from a bird on a tree or a professor in the classroom; in fact anyone and your learning totally depends upon how much you are willing to learn, striving to learn and apply.’

Contributed by Chayan Jain (Class of 2011-2013, IBS HYDERABAD)

How to win the commitment of your staff towards excellent customer service?

Management SkillsGaining the position of a customer service manager in a well settled company is not an easy task at all. It involves years of your sincere devotion and commitment towards your job as well as your company. Consider the scenario when you are promoted to a new position of customer service manager and you find your staff showing poor customer service and the staff being demotivated and more interested in the pay packet than providing an excellent customer service. Adding fuel to fire you find an opposing pay structure which inhibits you from availing performance based incentives and awards! A number of trainings and sessions would have been taken for the demotivated employees with job of every customer service employee defined but nothing showed any positive result in the past. What to do for now?

This is really a challenging position for you but with some really positive approaches you can turn the face of the coin and bring excellence in the customer service from your staff. Check out these positive steps and approaches you need to follow in order to win the commitment of your staff towards excellent customer service.

Create a culture and a core value in your staff:

If the culture inside your staff is right than things like excellent customer service or creating an engaging brand, all these will happen on its own. Create a culture in which every employee works to be better than expected. The customer experience has to be better every day by guiding your team to be the best at what they do.

Customer service should be a part of everyone’s job in your staff and there is no other way to connect with the customer more effectively and efficiently. The philosophy of being better than expected provides the best possible customer experience.

Motivate not only through money but with other factors too:

  • Improving customer service can be done by developing motivation among the employees. Motivation is achieved not only through monetary policies but also include a variety of non monetary factors like-
  • Giving recognition from the senior or respected people from the company
  • Giving a sense that you made a difference
  • Developing a feeling that the job is of worth and instilling a sense of achievement in employees
  • Developing a new approach and a full understanding of everything

The motivating factors are not limited to those mentioned above and the different types of employees need different types of motivational factors. There are simply two ways to develop motivation among the employees-

  • Developing an approach which is standard
  • Adopting the approach developed by the staff people

The first approach has problems sometimes that there is an assumption that employees need a particular type of motivation factor only. If your approach meets their motivational needs then all is fine. But if you follow a standard approach and your employees need other, then it is really hard to win their commitment towards the customer service excellence. You may achieve a quality but it may be at the expense of your staff’s commitment which is not good at all and the level of customer satisfaction will be poor.

mba graduates.

The second type of motivational approach developed by the staff people is really helpful and it enables staff to build the commitment of their own towards customer excellence. The staff can adopt all the things which they need to motivate them and development of those standards will truly help them in getting more committed towards customer service excellence.

Explaining the importance of customer care throughout the organization and spreading the word!

As a customer service manager you need to support the importance of customer care in words as well as your deeds. Take the use of all the opportunities you get to share this message through electronic communications, print and through meetings, special events and other media. Take the opportunities of publishing the success stories of staff and employees who went “beyond and above” to achieve customer service excellence. This approach is very important and will spread the awareness as well as sense of achievement in your staff for customer service.

There have been a number of successful strategies taken up by customer service oriented companies. One big financial company had words “Think like the customer” printed all over the doorways to spread the words for customer empathy. Some companies have messages inlaid in the floor “Customer focus: exceeding the expectations of every customer”.  While there are some companies which have customer service messages on the back of ID badges of every employee!

Reinforcing Customer Importance through special events:

Customer appreciation type events are also very helpful for winning the commitment of your staff towards customer excellence. These activities are not just limited to profits. The U.S census bureau organizes customer service week every October and many creative ways to honor the special events are explored.  Field offices take part and create customer focused displays which is judged by peers. The customer service week happenings are published in books and distributed to all the staff including customer service success stories submitted by staff and customers.

Take a workshop-based approach:

Staff commitment towards better customer service can be increased by following a workshop-based approach. Take your team offsite for some days and conduct a workshop taking them through a syndicate-based process in which they can do the following things:

  • Analyze their good or bad experiences of customer service
  • Understand and define what a good customer service is
  • Applying all the analysis and definitions to the own organization environment
  • Asking a customer to present a presentation on “What type of service I expect from you” and followed by Q & A
  • Get the staff members to produce an action plan which can be followed up on the workshop
  • In order to make sure that all output from the workshops is conveyed to management and supported by them, appoint a follow up manager. The progress on all actions is also communicated to everyone by the follow up manager

Your staff’s commitment towards better customer service is the foundation of your organizational growth.  A happy and motivated staff member will not only give a better customer service but also will spread the sense of satisfaction and motivation to the other peers and management. By adopting all the approaches mentioned above you can definitely find yourself good in the role of a customer service manager and bring a sense of commitment and quality in the working of your staff.

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

Why i could not make it and less deserving did?

MBA Graduates“You eventually become what you think what you are in your head”

I heard someone saying that at an event and I just flipped and said “Damn in few years I am gonna be a high profile bollywood celebrity”..  Oh Yes! I know its funny. But that’s what, we have an image of ourselves in our heads and that how we try to behave. I do not know if the statement made by that over dressed lady is true or not, But yes it definitely clicked my head that we always tend to make our image more better (rather much higher) than what we actually are. Some people start living that fictitious image 24*7 in a manner that people like me when we actually see them and we are like “hai kaun ye, samjhta kya hai apne ap ko”. That’s the moral, whatever that person samjhofies himself is completely not in sync with what he/she actually is. Trust me about it, this behavior is so damn irritating!

I do not mean to say it’s bad to make an image in our head and start living that way. I think it is good but it depends on what image are we carrying. I see people in small towns living in a polished manner and talking in an effluent English which is very unlike the surroundings they are raised in, it is just the image of themselves in their heads that has worked for them and probably that defines the way they are today. On the contrary, I see some guys in their porchest of cars on the Saturday nights in the Haus Khas Village Parking and they behave like as if they haven’t been to the school ever and have been raised in a zoo tough they happen to have residence at the porch location. It is nothing but a difference in the matter of what image they have made in their heads and they work to live that way.

In life, it is very easy to look down upon someone basis how they look, what they speak, where they come from but its very hard to appreciate what they have become and how they have changed. We all have our respective stories and struggles that we are fighting without talking about it. It is very important to be competitive in the good spirit to win your way but equally it is not healthy to look down on the one who succeeds. There are times we see our ex with someone new and we talk all crap about the new face beyond the fact we do not even know him/her as a person or there equation but judge that new person basis what we know about the ex we have dated in the past, which is not fair actually. In the same context, when you sit for group discussions, interviews and you think basis your CGPA and class reviews that you are above all but you end up not going further in the Managing Skillsinterview and blame the interviewer on his/her hiring skills is actually sad because we tend to judge people basis on the stereotype in our head, we do not think logically that maybe the HR was looking for more of subtle people or he/she matched the job profile better that what I did. We won’t appreciate the points that they made during the G.D but will bring down on what we have seen them in the class as or in/around the campus. The HR person comes to the college without any preconceived image of the people who will be at the interview and makes the choices basis the content they come across. So before judging who is deserving and who is not we should just go by who is the better fit as per the job description and hence we will get our answers right. This takes me back to the instance when I got through Star TV and a geeky girl happened to congratulate me while crossing each other at the college stairs. As always I thanked her with a pleasant smile but she being sarcastic enough left me with a remark saying that “tu toh intelligent hai, hum kahan” knowing the fact that I have a CGPA which just allowed me to sit for the interview and blessed with the Grade sheet like D D E B D C which I had to fight clearing. But above all, the time you start celebrating someone’s happiness, the moment you grow as person and soon you have a story to share.

I know for the fact that no matter what, we humans can’t stop judging. It comes natural to us. From someone’s clothes at a wedding to the way they dance, their spouse we have to judge it all. Wish it could stop there, we carry the same traits to the college and work as well. Someone got placed in a better company, he/she doesn’t deserve because she flunked in that subject, she has bad oratory skills, we have to judge it all. Rather than finding out the areas that we need to work on and why we did not make it we would insist and talk more on “How could she?”. Most of us carry this at work when we find some one getting appraisals at a faster pace, we judge them too on their subservient attitude with seniors rather than having a look at the work they deliver. I don’t mean you to clap and dance at people success like a saint, but respect someone’s achievement in life post when you have been a part of the race where they succeeded rather than judging their success as a matter of fate. I do agree that no matter how much someone tells us not to judge but it comes natural to us. Maybe we have a better opportunity knocking our door by the virtue of time. So we should rather celebrate other’s success so as we have people by our side when we have our moment.

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

Top 5 Reasons why All MBAs are Not Successful Managers

an mba programMBA is considered to be equivalent of Manager in many cases. Most of the people believe that if you are an MBA you are sure to be a successful manager. Well, fact alert, one may not be a successful manager just by doing MBA.

The biggest tragedy with Indian students is the time that they decide what career they want to pursue. In most of the cases while completing graduation or after completing graduation students take random decision on pursuing post graduation in particular field, MBA being one of them. The main reason being it guarantees job (well in most of the cases if we be optimistic). But the question here is has the right decision being taken? Was MBA the wise choice?

The best way to choose a wise career is to think from all perspectives and weigh all options. Simply doing a post graduation course in business is surely not going to make one a successful and happy manager. Let’s check out top 5 reasons why all MBAs are not successful managers.

  1. Area of Interest – In many of the cases what field one has selected can be the deciding boat. Have you always wanted to be a marketer and ended up taking a finance job? Well then in that case how you will be able to give your 100%.

First of all the question should be do I really want to do MBA? Because in many cases a person starts his/her career with designations such as executive, associate, trainee etc. If one dreams to be a manager from start of his/her career or he/she is just doing MBA to be a manager then this can be a spoiler. A manager is the one who looks after getting in line all the resources and processes and generate results. This is a skill which mostly comes with experience. Being a manager is not easy. So if one goes for MBA just by thinking to be a manager from start this may not work out. Just by receiving a post graduation in MBA will not help you acquire the soft skills which are required to be a successful manager.

First find out a strong reason to do MBA and then explore the functional area where your interest lies and then work hard!

  1. Let me just avoid it for few more days – If one lacks the sense of responsibility, he/she cannot be a successful manager for sure. To be a manager one needs to be pro active and always alert to what’s going around. If one is disciplined and organized then that’s definitely add on.

Tendency of avoiding completion of work on time can be a really big spoiler for further success. A manager is practically managing the functions of the particular department. If his/her work doesn’t complete on time then this may affect the results and revenues.

Key to being a successful manager is to be proactive and being responsible towards the job assigned.

  1. Demotivation – This is a scientific fact. A person cannot give his/her best effort if he/she has been demotivated for so long. Of course there are people who are self driven but in most of the cases, if a person is demotivated he/she feels negativity because of it. Whenever you will start with your job life you are going to serve under a boss.  If you are lucky you will find a good boss but if you are luckier you will find a strict boss who will help you learn many corporate lessons.

The key to fight demotivation is constant belief in your skills. There may be few moments where you would simply want to give up and that is the time when you will have to fight against all odds. Demotivation can make you want to give up on your dreams. Fight hard and come out shining.

mba programme

  1. Lack of People skills – This is also one main reason why one cannot become a good manager. If you do not enjoy company of people, you don’t know how to get the work done, you don’t know how to motivate your team, you cannot become a successful manager at-least not in the eyes of your team. In short you may be doing a wrong job as well. Management has always been about management of resources and one must know how to optimize the efficiency of a human being. One should learn how to treat people well and motivate them continuously to give their best efforts. People skills are one of the best qualities a manager can have.  Leveraging this quality will help you become a more successful manager.
  1. Team Benefits first – Goal setting is very important aspect of management. A successful manager always knows what are the goals of his/her team as a whole. Everyone comes in a particular company for some reason, but to be successful one will have to keep personal goals aside and lead his/her team from the front to meet team goals.

Sometimes people fail to understand that when his/her team will meet success, personal goals will automatically be met. Instead of focusing on self targets, the team should be motivated to meet success factors.

Key Takeaway – Management is objective. It is highly subjective in nature. You can never be perfect but you can always try hard to become more and more successful. Each day, every day.

You may never come across a set or defined reason why you could not become a successful manager. Sometimes reason can be subjective. One employee may give one reason; another will give a totally different reason you for finding you an unsuccessful manager. Not to forget success is a state of mind. It is also subjective for different people. For one being unsuccessful manager can mean less promotions/incentives, for one it can be lack of recognition, for one it can be something else. If you want to become highly successful manager one thing is for sure, you will have to chart out the map of all your activities in such a way that each one leads you towards your goals. To become a successful manager you will have to continuously learn from your mistakes and never repeat them again.

Contributed by Leena Sonparate ( Class of 2013, IBS MUMBAI )

Linkedin Profile of Leena Sonparate :

The Illusion

MBA GraduateLong long ago, in an MBA college campus, there lived a young boy by the name Kabir. Kabir was an excellent student with a pretty good CGPA of 8.

So Kabir, braved through the courses in college and kept up his average, and then took on the challenging task in the final semester of MBA to work hard at facing interviews from various types of companies. Now Kabir had a dream of joining an Investment bank, and working with the finance division of it. He tried his level best, but somehow he was out ranked by a fellow classmate. Not losing any hope, he kept trying till the scope of job began to narrow down to I.T Companies or National banks.

He took a tough decision and decided to try his luck with these sectors, and suddenly landed with a job in a big I.T firm.

Kabir did join the company and underwent 3 month training with various processes of the company, overviews of the various divisions under finance and finally soft skills. Soon enough he was absorbed by one of the team which supported an application used by large investment banks as a platform to trade. With great hope of getting his first taste of working as a Business Analyst, Kabir joined the team. The first few days passed by with getting various processes in place. After which he and his fellow MT’s (Management Trainee) were asked to prepare test cases, and test the application.

Kabir was quite confused with the work that was assigned to him, as it wasn’t mentioned anywhere in the job description.  Nor was any of his learning in the 2 years of MBA required to complete the tasks at hand. Still Kabir pushed through, and went on to work on all the tasks diligently.

 After a few months, he began to question his ability and doubt his capability. It seemed like there were many around him getting assigned to different roles and he seemed to be stagnant with the work he was doing. A frustrated Kabir reach out to his mentors and was being told the same thing over and over again.

‘There is no requirement as of now for a Business Analyst, therefore we will keep you in mind when the time comes, and there are many projects in the pipeline. Don’t worry!’

mba graduates..

When his team met for coffee that evening they looked at Kabir who seemed rather dull, and asked him what the matter was?

To which Kabir responded, “Guys, What THE HECK is happening!!!! I am an MBA graduate from one of the best colleges in India. I landed job in an IT company, in which I am working on tasks which can be handled by anyone who is an undergraduate. I just want to quit but I have a loan which needs to be paid off!”

There was a wise, slightly more experienced person in the crowd, who spoke next, “Kabir my boy, let me just point out firstly on how wrong you are about the whole matter. I apologize on behalf of the company for causing you such pain. But let me tell you a few things about the corporate world from my years of experience.

As a fresher, your expectations of the world of corporate are pretty high and you are focused on maintaining the same momentum, as in college. Which is commendable but things change so fast in the world around us that one must be able to adapt to any situation presented to them. For example in your MBA you are taught subjects from various streams before you specialize, think of the corporate world in the same manner. You have been given the opportunity to work in various streams before you get your break. I promise you, the way that you are working, it will come soon. You are very inexperienced to handle a team, or a project on your own, for which you are currently being groomed in ways beyond your understanding. Just have some faith.”

So Kabir, let go of his illusion of the perfect job and began to perform well with the tasks that he was handed.

In 15 months’ time Kabir’s team won a project, in which he finally got to work in the job which he was promised. In the meanwhile 4 fresh MBA graduates had joined the team. So Kabir took them out for coffee and decided to pass on the wisdom and set their expectations. So at the coffee table he got a quick introduction and said,

“Dear Graduates, firstly let me take the opportunity to thank you for joining the company. I understand you guys are very eager to begin working full-fledged in the project. But as you’re senior I would like to tell you that in our team things are a little different. We hire all-rounders and expect you guys to be comfortable in any work that is given. This is to test you and understand your strengths and weaknesses. This will also help you gauge your level of competency and you will be able to figure out what you really are comfortable with.

I suggest you stop looking at the job description that was given when you were being recruited for this role, as that is simply a guideline as to what we ultimately want to groom you guys into. There will be various ups and downs. You will have periods of work where the pressure will be high, and there will be periods where you will be free. Don’t worry about either, both are pretty temporary.

Open you minds to receiving any sort of work that is given to you and go about and take on additional responsibilities from your seniors and peers. This will give you a lot of insight to the project.

If you are frustrated reach out to your mentors, and take decisions based on rational thinking. The world is your oyster. Aim and achieve high.”

His speech was received with claps and cheers.

Contributed by Sujir Pavithra Nayak (Class of 2011, IBS Hyderabad)

What difference an MBA creates in person’s life

difference an MBA createsPeople believe that MBA should be done to get a good job and handsome salary that quite true but that’s not the everything. Mba is not just about getting a good job but is helps in changing the overall persona of the person.  MBA from good college equips a person with the new and advanced skillset, helps in creating confidence in oneself and overall make the person fit to tackle any situation.  The MBA provides more opportunities to it graduates in comparison to the plain graduates.  They get mentoring from all the good faculties around the globe both nationally and internationally. Investment in MBA is like making investment in a stock which gives rich dividend to its investor.

Provides a broad thinking patternThe solution to any problem is to have a alternatives to solve a problem, MBA helps in creating a 360 degree approach in solving any problem. Before coming to conclusion there is a need to understand the problem, what are the consequences, what resources need and what is the time line to solve a problem. Once you are through with MBA then you will be in a position to take better and informed decisions.

It creates awareness  –  Since MBA is a multidisciplinary  and versatile degree , here in the first semester you need to go through Finance , Marketing, Human resource, Information technology and soft skills so it helps in making you aware of all the fields so that you though not been an expert in all domain but develop a  basic understanding  of all domains.

It helps in developing business sense MBA is not about just learning the things and then joining the corporate houses and spending the entire life in corporate . It develop a business sense of starting something own may be at an early stage just after completing MBA or at a later stage after having experience in corporate. Since you have learn all the traits of business so if you are starting something on your own, you are taking calculated risk with high returns.

Creates new horizon of innovative ideasInnovation is something which do not come to mind on its own , people  explore things when they see the world around, see the need of the particular product or services and when they read and travel a lot. Creative ideas comes when you see the things, you talk to different sets of people. MBA Provides the relevant exposure wherein after the person gets an edge of thinking in a 360 degree level, get into a position to assess the pros and cons of any ideas. Not only MBA helps in creating an idea but also equips a person in implementing his ideas.

mba program

It helps in developing leadership abilitiesMBA not only creates skill set but also creates a trait of taking responsibility, creating leadership ability and make a person bit of risk averse . A person can take a plunge in a river only when he/she has confidence in himself/ herself, with two year of rigorous hard work and industrial exposure and case law learning approach they get in a position of command on themselves and start acting as a leader in all situations.

It creates a competitive edgeSince a business world is full of cut throat competition, if organization employees are not properly trained then they may not able to cope up with the real life competition and challenging environment.

It helps in learning new skill setMBA helps in improvising the skill set as well as help in dispersing the potential of a person, the curriculum has a very practical approach and case studies discussion creates a more like real business environment a it helps in developing an analytical mind. It specializes a person with skill set in the domain which he/she choose as their core electives and as well as provides a basic knowledge in other electives as they form a part of the first year curriculum.

Market Recognisation  – MBA from good college creates a branding of the person and it lifts the self esteem as these colleges are well accepted by the Industry and they have developed strong relationship with the corporate houses by providing every year fresh talents.

Strong Alumni SupportThe students who passed out from MBA institutes are well placed in top shot positions in different corporate and they are the once who provoke the companies to go for recruitment in their colleges as they have created a sense in the organization that MBA pass out from their colleges are the real gems and the corporate feel comfortable to go to their colleges for recruitment drive. This extensive, well consolidate business network is bound to pay off throughout your whole career making you the first-hand recipient of all relevant information in the field and giving you better

Career ChangeAn MBA in general and a Dual MBA in particular, provide you with the cushion of switching your career. An MBA with particular specialization makes it easier for you to move across industries.

Starting your own businessOnce you get the right exposure in MBA with all the theories and practical approaches, people can think of starting on its own. These days’ people are starting the start-ups with a little capital and growing fast. This is how companies like Red bus, flipkart, snapdeal have started their journey and created a strong market presence.

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 guarantee a promotion but certainly offers upward carrier mobility.

MBA degree offers Increased earning avenuesThe 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.

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

Balance between Creative and Commercial- Management Professional.

Professional ManagementManagement- The word says it all. What I perceive beyond all the intricate definitions given by some management scientists is that Management in normal laymen language means to manage. Manage anything in a manner that there is no chaos and certain value in terms of satisfaction is generated. We all come across various instances in our daily lives. Weather its dealing with our parents, lying at the time of late night outs. Managing our super complex love life maybe by showing it up on facebook, going out on dates, pampering and can either be by giving the space to our partner. And imagine its you who is playing all these different roles taking different steps with different people just to make them happy and balance your life. That’s so creative. On the contrary, we see some of us who cannot convince our parents, break ups is a regular thing for them and not that socially sound in making friends even when they want to. It is nothing it’s our creativity quotient which is very individualistic and shows up in our regular life.

In the same manner, being a Management Professional is nothing its just an appropriate mixture of being creative and commercial sound. Every spender from various society strata has a budget to spend which is called his/her purchasing power. Even if you take up your own venture or join any company, your life will revolve around the client’s budget and spending pattern. It is very important for one to know about the clients spending pattern so as you can make your own strategies that when do you expect monies to flow in to your systems and from where. Till the time you do not have these things in place, the working strategies are chaotic. For an example, we know that a brand of beer would spend on advertising in summers. So a Tv channel would plan meetings with the clients, Media agencies of such beer brands in late winters and make sure they get some business. After the channel gets the surety that the beer brand is surely spending some monies with them, they will then project it in the projections for the summers. This is called commercial planning and being commercially sound. In case the channel gets to know at the end moment that the client is spending and starts running to meet the client at the end moment, that shows that the strategic planning has not been done and the client is not tapped by the concerned person,  that means that the planning is not commercially sound.

Management Skills

As we spoke before about the differing creativity quotient, today earning money has two main roots. As the spending pattern change every other day alike past, to have a great brand loyality one has to be creative. Creativity is an open term but in actual it is always bordered by ones budget. Right from a Brand Manager to sales Manager, HR, and all the possible profiles the world is all about being creative in what you do. Lets carry forward the last example we talked about, post when we know that the client has a budget to spend on the TV channel and ask the channel to provide him the best deal in an average amount say XXX and also adds that the client will only spend if he finds the deal better than the competing channel deal. Now it’s the sheer creativity which can get monies, the sales person needs to figure out how is the channel delivering in the clients target audience and which time bands and shows are doing well. The sales person also needs to check with the production team that if there are any restrictions on airing the alcohol brand. Beyond this the sales person needs to figure out the taste of the decision maker like if he is the consumer of the channel? What is his favorite show?  If he likes glamour, if we can send him at the shoot or any award function in case he takes the deal. Before being creative we need to have our strategic plans in place else it is like rolling behind the bush. Now when we make the deal for the client against the ratings in the clients Target audience we will see which show is the best as per the clients ratings and will give him the Fixed commercial time as per the client’s liking and the ratings. Beyond this, if in this budget we can offer him a sponsorship on certain show and decrease the Commercial time on the other shows. So it is all about once creativity in getting the monies. We see amazing tag lines and continuously changing visual merchandising at the clothing brands like Zara, Forever 21, M&S and lot more for the fact that brand managers are taking creative strategic call for increasing the footfalls and the revenues. We see the Human Resource Managers managing the employees so effectively and continuously moving the employees in various departments to make sure they retain the valuable sources is all creativity.

Every move that a brand takes that we find creative and extra ordinary amazing, right from the coca-cola’s India Pakistan campaign, Swedesh Cancer patient Campaign, OLX on-ground campaign, dabur vatika’s cancer Patient Campaign(don’t know them all? Youtube it or follow my facebook) has various levels of strategic positioning decisions and creative brain storming of the advertising agencies and the brand managers involved. I remember while my internship with Ogilvy and Mather, my Manager told me that first 20 ideas are always done before and non acceptable, dump them! And this is actually true the more we challenge our selves, the more we dump, the more we read, the more we read and find the more our brain works. So to be creative get your commercial strategic planning in place, read about what’s happening around about the industry you plan to get in to and have your personal view point on everything. Yes please disagree with lot of things because that we will evoke you to do something of your own. Be the one in making PPT’s while presentations , collect data. Change things, colors, fonts, hairstyle, clothes. Life is too short to live it boring, stay creative!

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

How MBA Helped Me Become A Better Homemaker

MBA A Better HomemakerWhen I entered IBS to pursue my MBA, little did I know that I am enrolling into a lesson full of real life significance. We all learn big and small things from our academic lives, both professional and personal. We pick key things from our education that help us move ahead in life not just in our work but also at home.

An MBA program is meant to impart not only theoretical knowledge but also a set of important skills highly crucial for your career. At a macro level it exposes you to the ways of the business world, whereas at a micro level it teaches you to be an invaluable part of that world.

It is always said, that learning begins at home. It is also true, that your home is your first office. From cooking, cleaning, laundry to expenditure, all household chores demand equal amount of professionalism, as do our actual workplace.  Homemaking is a profession just like any other with its own set of skills, knowledge and abilities. There are 9 important traits that I learned during my MBA program and at my work after that, which I feel have everyday application in my life.

  • Time Management: like your workplace, your household is also run on deadlines. Not just you are supposed to multitask, but you should also know what to prioritize and when. As a homemaker, you are supposed to get up early, prepare breakfast, get ready yourself, arrange the house and all this on time with your own and your family’s work schedule. You are also expected to keep track of appointments and activities, important events etc. Managing your time is the most important part of your job as a housewife.
  • Efficiency And Productivity: The efficient use of resources is one of the key tools of best management practices. You have to be constantly engaged in the process of saving time and increasing productivity. You are a part of fast moving life style which demands quick and prompt actions before you start lagging behind on the requirements of your household. Your chores have to be aligned in a way that each gets a dedicated time to be finished. Running a house is like working on a forever long project. Through measurement, planning, tracking and consistency, homemaker’s focus on time, energy, finances helps keep the family on track to accomplish goals that make a good life.
  • Human Resource And Recruitment: Though at a small scale, but from maid servants to milk vendor, hiring and managing human resource is an intricate part of being a homemaker. Monitoring their work, holidays, salary, festival bonuses and gifts, all brings in the traits of an HR manager in a housewife.
  • Capacity Planning And Inventory Management: This is one of the many important chapters of operations, taught during MBA that is very relevant to being a homemaker. You should be able to plan in advance, track your groceries for the month, what and how much is needed, foresee the demand and calculate the supply. Whether expected or un-announced visit by a guest, as a housewife, I learned that your house should be well equipped with sufficient resources.
  • Cost Cutting: Just like your business, money plays an important part in personal life as well. Maximizing your savings with minimum cut down on your expenditure is one of the key agendas of a homemaker. You are always thinking of ways to reduce unnecessary expenses. It is not just your organization affected with inflation and economic crisis, your household budget and finances are equally brought on the edge. Sudden increase in your home loan interest, raised prices of fuel and high food inflation can throw your domestic balance sheet for a toss. As a homemaker you have to be smart enough to manage such situations. It is important you understand the basic financial requirements of running your household, prioritize the outflow of money and sometimes even bring changes to your lifestyle.

Become A Better Homemaker

  • Waste Management: One of the most critical management tools is to manage resources so as to minimize wastage and increase efficiency. With careful planning you can learn to deal with garbage, food scraps, recyclables. Not only you will be able to save money, but it can also help you get more organized.
  • Crisis Management And Conservation Of Resources: What if there is a medical emergency at your home? Or there is shortage of water or any sudden power issues? You are expected to be always prepared for any crisis. Such situations call for prompt action and advance preparation. As a homemaker I learned conserving your basic resources is so important. Storing water, saving electricity and having your emergency contacts handy are necessary steps to keep you ready to deal with any sort of emergency.
  • Presentation Skills: Who does not want to keep their house always clean and visually appealing? Like your work place cubicle is to be kept organized and clean, so is your house. Though mostly an ignored aspect of our lives, the way of presentation anywhere can be matter of admiration for you. It is not just about cleanliness, but how organized your house is. Do you always find what you look for in your home? Or things more often are lost? While I was enrolled in my MBA curriculum, there used to be a lot of emphasis laid on our presentation skills. I gradually realized the relevance of this skill in our everyday life.
  • Team Work: Finally, like your company, your home is run by mutual cooperation and contribution by all its members. The spirit of team work is very important for running your home successfully. In a busy world scenario, each member of the family should contribute some way or the other, by either helping in the chores or by participating in important functions of your house, like paying bills, buying groceries etc. This way, it is easier to erode the wall that once divided work and family.

Other than these, I feel, skills like, leadership, problem solving, decision making, organizational planning and controlling are also significant to home management. Although at a small level, I found all these skills to be an undeniable part of my job as a homemaker. Now, when I look back retrospectively, I realize how true the saying that our mothers are the best managers as homemakers is.

By approaching homemaking as a profession worthy of respect, bringing in best practices from the outside business world and cultivating a professional mindset, I feel, you can be more effective in your daily work, have less stress and better self esteem.

Having stated all this, I would like to stress the point that doing an MBA is not just a catalyst to your career, meant to offer you a highly paid job and accelerate your growth. Education is not just about learning, it also about making you wiser in your life and your approach towards everything.

Contributed by Isha Jajodia (class of 2010, IBS Gurgaon)