The Bank Job

the bank job after MBASo you have been selected to work for one of the ‘Big’ banks in India. What are they paying you?

6.5? 7? More?


How was the interview? Did they ask you much about finance? Did they grill you on Marketing funda’s?

It was hard wasn’t it?

So you have a couple of days of vacation before you join? Or is the requirement immediate?

Either way, congratulations on your first ever taste of what it is going to be like to work for a bank and I wish you the best of luck.

Hold on!

Are you a bit curious on what your work will be there? Do you really want to get an understanding of your role as a Management trainee in the Bank?

Let me tell you a bit about the Banks and jobs in India. All these have been gathered from the vast experiences from my friends and classmates from all over India who have worked for various banks as part of their career.

There are basically two types of Banks who recruit management graduates from MBA institutes:

  • Indian private/public sector banks (ICICI, HDFC, Canara, SBI etc.)
  • Then there are the foreign banks. (JP Morgan, HSBC etc.)

So the roles in both of them pretty much are the same so I won’t classify the roles according to the sectors.

You could be given the designation/title of the following on your Letter of Offer:

  • Credit Manager/Loan Manger
  • Operations
  • Relationship Manger
  • Marketing Manager
  • Analyst/Traders

There are many others these days, and a good tip is to speak to the immediate pass-outs from the college to get an overview on the current job hiring trends.

So let me get into these roles one by one.

Credit/Loan Manager: The Role of CM/LM is pretty much similar. One is responsible for the entire credit/Loan granting process in the Credit/Loans department of the bank. These guys work closely with the Credit Card agents, and Credit rating agencies to keep a look out for potential clients, and also keep a vigilant check on the credit rating of the customers of the banks.

They can be assigned to either the corporate clients, like various corporates who have an account with the bank, so as to check their year on year ratings, liquidity, any public announcements and news on credit problems etc.

Or they can work with a list of clients/potential clients of the bank, to issue new credit cards/Loans (to bring new business) or to ensure the existing customers are good creditors to the bank. They keep a vigilant check on the individual rating of their clients and have to keep a check on the defaulters and the remedial actions for the same. The management bit of work comes in where they get to do a lot of analysis on the credit policies of the bank and make suggestions to the higher management. Provide relevant data and analysis of the statistics of the department. Handle relationship with various teams, investigate credit applications etc.

mba graduates

Operations: Most of the foreign banks in India have their operating wing based in India, as part of their strategic global policies. So they are always in huge demand for MBA grads. The work in operations revolves around handling the Back office operations of any section of the bank. Be it post trade processing, Middle office roles, settlements, Reserve calculations, paper work etc.

The reason why I would not elaborate much on the Roles in operations, rather just give an overview is due to the fact that when banks hire for operations, they put their employee under rigorous training and get them well acquainted with their roles before they go on the job. Some of the roles here are high risk. The jobs generally will consist of some amount of pressures with respect to timelines and work. But it is a great way to understand the actual working of the world of finance.

Relationship Manger: The RM has one of the most interesting jobs. They handle somewhat large corporate clients or a group of clients and get to interact with each one on a personal level. They help the bank with maintaining customer relationships. They get to analyze a client’s financial history and current portfolios and recommend various new types of instruments. They also get to research for potential and new clients and custom make portfolios. These guys have to be on their toes with the financial trading markets and any new instruments that are available. They bring new business and do a lot of sales to their clients.

Marketing Manager: The MM gets to join the Bank’s Marketing team and work with various external marketing agencies to use media and print as a medium for advertising the Bank. They have the responsibility to work and maintain the bank’s brand image and make any internal and external communications to the employees and public respectively. They work towards strategizing the Bank’s corporate vision and aligning it with its marketing campaign.

Analysts/Traders: I classify the Analysts/Traders for a bank in a single category as they have one thing in common. The designation given to the job in the Letter of Offer is either of the two. These guys get to see a lot of the Front office action. Their jobs revolve around the clocks of the markets of the world depending which markets a candidate is hired for. They do most of the Front office operations, like trade booking, fresh deals between counterparties, deals with other banks etc. The job is a fast paced and high in precision: ‘Time is money here’.

So, even though there are a lot more roles I hope you have an idea of the general categories. Almost all the roles contain selling, dealing with clients, calculating statistics, making reports, presentations, and handling teams of people. So keep an open mind and make the best use of the experience.

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

Experienced Candidates OR Freshers For MBA?

Experienced OR Freshers For MBAIt is the B-School admission season again. The environment is ripe with with speculation about who will make the cut and who will not be boarding the train this year. The questions are many. Which school, specialization, location, fee among many others. One such question is, should I take the plunge this year as a fresher or should I gain some work experience first. When do I get the maximum bang for the buck out of a MBA program?

So, does it really matter about a candidate willing to enroll in an MBA course if he/she is a fresher or an experienced candidate? The answer is- It depends.

Experienced candidates are perceived to be better equipped with the knowledge of industry, corporate culture, the processes, organizational structure. So, it can be safely assumed that they are able to relate with the theories that are being taught in the classroom and can also contribute positively by suggesting that how a particular concept/theory can be used in a particular situation while being on the job with some appropriate modifications.

However, the thought process of an experienced student can be biased towards a particular industry. Experienced candidates will have a lot at stake which is precisely the reason behind their strong work habits and understandable lesser risk appetite culminating towards lack of fresh perspectives and creativity in their thought process.

In an MBA environment, one often feels like being bombarded with information (in the classroom and after the classroom). It is a bitter truth that many times one would not be able to apply a theory (which is taught in the classroom) in a business scenario. So, the crux is not every concept will be relevant for one while one will be on the job. Experienced candidates have a better visibility and priorities defined when it comes to this aspect. Thus, experienced candidates are expected to have a better visibility of what they want from an MBA program and how they are going to attain those objectives.

‘Freshers’ as the word suggests bring in lot of freshness, energy, creativity, enthusiasm and most importantly are very good at brainstorming activities because of their unbiased approach. As compared to an experienced candidate, a fresher will be under lesser pressure which will allow him to internalize a concept after analyzing it from angles which are 180 degrees apart. The risk taking appetite of a fresher will be very high because of their openness towards any given industry. This is where a fresher scores during internship interviews because at that point of time companies look for enthusiastic candidates who are hungry for learning new things. A fresher easily fits the bill and in most cases gets the PPO (pre-placement offer) from the organization.experienced or freshers for mba degree

As a matter of fact, many freshers get inclined towards entrepreneurship during their MBA because of their risk taking appetite and the desire to do something of their own. However, fresher generally suffers from devil may care attitude which hinders growth in situations where more objectivity and sincerity is required. Freshers are generally more stronger academically or other interpretation of this is that they have more ‘bookish’ knowledge than the practical/functional knowledge.

MBA is all about ‘peer learning’. Now a days, B-schools are leaving no stone unturned to ensure a balanced mix of freshers and experienced candidates in their intakes. The idea is to achieve synergy of a fresher’s open mindedness and an experienced candidate’s functional knowledge. This is precisely the reason behind inculcating a culture of ‘group assignment’ in most of the MBA programs. Every group will have a good mix of freshers and experienced candidates where group assignment is designed in such a way that both kind of candidates utilize their strengths and work on the weak points respectively via learning from each other. That is why there is a cliché that in an MBA program, the role of a teacher is of a mere facilitator. After all, an MBA is not only a way to learn how to be an accountant, a supply chain consultant, a marketer, an HR professional but instead a way to learn what one needs of these roles as MBA gives you an eagle’s eye view to lead an organizational or cross functional teams.

So, our analysis boils down to the level of comfort and the objective of an individual to which certain task has been assigned or self-assigned(MBA in this case). The viewpoints are highly subjective to the situation. So, from the point of view of a fresher, if one wants to specialize in a particular domain then obviously MBA will be a value additive investment if done with work experience. But the situation will change if the objective is of doing general management, then having prior work experience does not really matter.

Also, it is perceived that freshers are more prone to succumbing to the pressure which an MBA program exerts on them as they land into MBA straight after finishing their graduation which results in decrease in performance, hindered learning, inability to apply the concepts learned in real word scenarios and inability to cope up with deadlines. Talking about experienced candidates, they might be suffering from superiority complex and over-confidence which proves to be a serious roadblock for them. So, there are some dark sides on both banks of the river.

Thus to sum it up, a candidate enrolled in an MBA program is like driving a car at night where in you are not able to see further the range of the headlight but you can still make the complete trip utilizing your strengths and by working on your weak spots/cutting them down depending upon whether you are a fresher or an experienced candidate. In the end, we must not forget that the more the specialized the world will be, the more it will be run by genralists.

Contributed by Sthita Sahu

Building your profile during MBA

Building your profile during MBAOne of the most frequently asked questions of MBA aspirants as well as students is how to enhance your skills and create a strong profile for the business world. A B-school profile is not just about getting good grades, meeting deadlines for assignments and making catchy presentations, but it is more about intangible qualities. A good B-school offers its students ample opportunities to help them build their overall personality and skill set; however, there is so much you can still do.

Let’s start by a talking about the basic steps. Internship, for example, is one crucial factor in your MBA programme. Choosing the right internship can have significant impact on your profile. Doing an internship in your preferred industry and function is considered ideal. However, an internship is a small yet important duration for you as an employee. It tests your theoretical knowledge and ability to implement it in the practical world. It gives you an opportunity to explore your areas of interest even further. You can find out the lag in your skills and knowledge and ways to bridge the gap. A good internship profile grooms you for the upcoming placements. The objective of an internship is not purely academic; rather it is more professional. For a recruiter, it is not very important what you wrote in your SIP report, but what you did to achieve the goals and targets you were assigned with, they test your approach, problem solving, time management and many such other skills like how you are as a team player and your ability to take decisions. You should focus on learning and picking such qualities and finding out where you stand with such attributes. If you are a MBA student with previous work experience, it is good to have an additional focus on your people and project management skills during your internship. Keep interacting with your mentor and supervisor to understand the performance expectations, do your research about the profile and try being a contributing part towards the growth of the organization.

Another step towards building up an influential profile is to identify your strengths and weaknesses; your passion and abilities that you can follow, what hobby do you have? All these questions and its answers can encourage you to take your interests a step ahead. Are you a tennis player? Why not coordinate with the authorities to start a tennis coaching club at college. If you are a dancer, singer, likes gardening, loves to solve crossword puzzles, read or write or anything that you are good at, try to do something at an academic / organizational level that cultures your hobbies and interests, like starting a new online subscription magazine at your college or launching your own entrepreneurial venture. It is always a strong point to know the answer to the question, “what do you do for fun?” Make sure whatever you choose to do should be in mutual interest of your college.

MBA program

Many students volunteer for some activities outside B-school. It could range from participating in any extracurricular activities, organizing events, helping in family or a start-up business or even doing community service. The key thing to keep in mind is, being a part of some leadership role instead of just volunteering for the sake of catching the eye of the recruiters.  It is to be noted that being a leader does not always mean holding offices. It is more about creating impact and showing results. Bring in new initiatives, for example, arranging blood donation camps, organizing a fund raiser. Constantly create new learning curves for yourself and keep an eye out for organizational opportunities that need business skills. Try being a part of something exclusive by working on some project that might have some strategic importance for the management.

Among a plethora of activities important for a strong MBA profile, equally important is your intellectual/academic ability. Measure of your academic ability is usually done by assessing your GPA and other relevant qualifications like CPA or CFA. For students who do not hold high GPA scores, they can compensate by enrolling for some additional courses. There is a whole new world of online courses available for open learning. One such website offering online learning programs is You can enrol for a certificate course relevant to your MBA specialization like labour laws and relations, Banking and insurance, introduction to operations management etc. Such courses offer a perfect platform for candidates who want to enhance their profile. It gives you a chance to experience teaching lessons from professors across the globe through audio visual mode. They also help you analyze your interests and goals and even refine them.

You go to a B-school not just to learn the functional aspects of the business world, but also to get groomed for your upcoming professional life. And hence, it is required to not just have a strong IQ, but also a good EQ. The aspect of emotional quotient is about being multi dimensional. Be passionate about your chosen field. An emotional connect is equally important. Many of us join a course to merely acquire qualification, but by the end of it, we start facing dissatisfaction with our choice and instead get obsessed with something completely different. Having the right emotional quotient can make you successful, efficient and confident. Before choosing any field / specialization check with yourself if you have the necessary skills to be successful in that area, how would you like people to see you, and what you would really want. Be humble, modest and consider the ethical aspect of building a strong profile. It is not just what the recruiters want to see in you, it is about what you really are capable of showing.

Other than all these, it is important to stay in touch with your Alma matter. Keep interacting and communicating with your seniors, have them share their experiences during the MBA programme.  Expand your network through them in the business world. Get clarity on the set of expectations from a MBA holder in terms of their intelligence and emotional quotient. Remember, you don’t have to tell everything about yourself. Focus on the key aspects of value about you. You might have an array of strong points from extracurricular to various leadership accomplishments. But you don’t want to overpopulate your profile with too much of competing information. Everyone is not the leading star but all of us have some traits and qualities as our strength. You should be aware of what is important in your profile and how you could extract it and sell it. Building a strong profile is not done overnight. It is an evolving process and activity.

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

Challenges for MBA students from vernacular (non-English) backgrounds

MBA students from vernacular backgroundsAn MBA program focuses on inculcating traits such as leadership and innovative thinking capabilities in the students to help them meet the ever-changing demands of the volatile business world. Hence, the two-year post-graduate program in management attracts students from different backgrounds and varied cultural diversities. English is a widely-spoken language in India and the country has world’s second largest English-speaking population.In India, English is used as the medium of instruction in most of the colleges imparting professional education to students including management education. All those facts are making English as the most preferred business language for Indians especially for foreign trade.

India is a land of diverse cultures, values, behaviours and traditions. The students getting enrolled in the MBA program hail from different regions with their specific cultural and social backgrounds, therefore their medium of communication is the regional language of the region they come from. For example, a student coming from Tamil Nadu in South India will be Tamil speaking whereas students from Maharashtra and Gujarat will communicate in Marathi and Gujarati languages respectively. Quite a few of them would also have completed their school education from schools having Hindi or the regional language as their medium of instruction.

The difficulties that students from vernacular or non-English backgrounds face with respect to English language proficiency include the inability to comprehend lectures, reading comprehension, taking down notes, communicating verbally, and writing assignments and examinations in English.

In the beginning of the MBA program, the foremost challenge that one might face as a student of non-English background is in understanding the lectures delivered by the faculty members of the college as well as keeping pace with what is being taught in the classrooms.

As a student from non-English background, one might find it difficult to participate in educational activities. In India, all coveted MBA programs focus on exposing the students to business scenarios in the International sphere by inviting guest faculty from the industry as well as management colleges overseas. Here, discomfort with English language may act as a major deterrent since it may require good English-language skills to express personal opinion on a particular topic or ask questions. Someone who doesn’t know good English well may not be as confident to participate in interactive activities such as debates and group discussions, as the students proficient in English language.

Cultural diversity is also a factor that prevents students from non-English background from participating in group activities. They encounter difficulties in developing a social network and familiarizing with prevalent norms and customs among the peer group.

This language barrier further influences one’s interactions with the faculty members. They might come as too shy to approach the professors and discuss the problem areas to come up with solutions.

Coming from vernacular backgrounds, some students may have a tough time writing assignments and taking down notes in English language, which forms the core of the MBA curriculum.Since they are not confident of their English language abilities, they might always have this fear of committing mistakes. This further keeps them from getting actively involved in academic activities.

So far, we discussed the challenges faced by MBA students who come from non-English backgrounds. Now, let us focus on ways to overcome this language proficiency barrier. These remedies will help you in improving your English language abilities if you think you need some helpful tips.

One of the ways which will prove helpful in improving your written English language skills is through soliciting feedback from the faculty, senior MBA students as well as your peer group on your assignments and other written tasks. It will help you identify your problem areas, so that you can work upon them.

MBA in digital world

Forming small groups of students for the purpose of conducting group activities such as debates and discussions will help you gain confidence in your spoken English capabilities. Apart from improving your communication skills, it will also improve your tone and accent of delivery.

To enhance your comprehension skills, you must read many journals and text books in English language which will help you to get a command over the language. Thus, understanding the lectures of the faculty, irrespective of their accent or the speed of delivery, will not be a challenge for you anymore.

Besides these ways of improving your English language proficiency, audio and video CDs telling “ways to hone English speaking skills” will also help you in overcoming the language barrier.

In this age of Information Technology, e-learning tutorials from the best of the instructors in the domain of English communication can also help you to master English language as well as overcome all your fears related with the language proficiency.

You can as well go for contact classes for enhancing English language skills where you will be trained for both verbal as well as writing skills, besides boosting your reading and comprehension abilities.

You can also seek the support of the faculty for helping you learn and get a hold on the language, thus doing away with English language inhibitions. It will also promote student-faculty interaction.

You can overcome these challenges by putting in extra efforts and hard work with grit, determination and perseverance. It is best that you get hold of the English language even before you start preparations for MBA entrance exams as your efforts will be rewarding enough to land you in a premium b-school of your choice.

In this post, we discussed the numerous challenges that students hailing from non-English background faced during the 2-year MBA program. We also tried to give an insight into the strategies that you can adopt to work on your English language proficiency. We hope that this will help you to foster greater participation in academic activities, allaying the fears of making language mistakes. It will help in increasing your confidence levels with your academic performance showing considerable improvement.

Contributed by Qais Mujeeb ( Class of 2001, IBS Hyderabad )

Career prospects after MBA in tier-2 and tier-3 cities in India: Opportunities and challenges

mba graduatesThere are many questions that arise in the minds of MBA aspirants. The answers to which are crucial in our deciding to opt for MBA. Is MBA the passport to success? Does it make us more employable? Will I get the placement I deserve and where will I get it? Majority of talent opting for MBA education in India is raw/fresh, unlike the global business schools where people come for management education after working in the industry.

Most of us think of MBA as our entry ticket to lavish corporates, with jazzy offices and high salaries at MNCs. With globalization and entry of MNCs and the outsourcing culture in the Indian market, these were not very unrealistic expectations.

Generally, job market in metro cities like Delhi/NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai etc. was flooded with opportunities in the fields of outsourcing, IT and IT-enables services, due to the presence of most of multinational corporations offering and attracting fresh business school graduates. Even now, these places are the hot spot of placements for MBA pass-outs.

In the last few years however, management educations institutes have rapidly mushroomed in tier-2 and tier-3 cities. And most students too prefer cheaper and AICTE approved programs rather than B-schools. This has led to the problem of plenty due to the increasing gap between good opportunities and deserving talent.

So what does an MBA degree has to offer to our career when we are not able to find the opportunity we want –grabbing our dream job with lucrative offer in a typical Indian urban set up. My article intends to throw light on our chances of a pleasant career after MBA in non metro cities, how different are the market conditions and opportunities there? What are the challenges we could face and how to overcome those challenges to move ahead and have a stable career.

I relocated to Goa, after working for three years in a KPO based out of Gurgaon. I had rewarding credentials, decent experience and diverse exposure. Although I did not expect to find a similar opportunity, I was confident of leveraging my experience of working in a MNC in grabbing a job locally. But I was wrong. There were many challenges I had to face during my job hunt in Goa. There is a dearth of jobs complimenting my previous experience, the compensation is de-motivating and the worst part was that I had to start from a scratch like a fresher. My previous job profile had so much narrowed down my career portfolio, that it was difficult to fit in any profile I was offered.

mba oportunities and challenges

It is true; an MBA degree with good credentials is not and should not depend on the city we want to reside. An MBA program is targeted to increase our potential to thrive successfully in our career. Whatever function we choose, our prospects of having a good life should not be limited by geography. But since the market conditions, economy, exposure, presence of industries is not the same everywhere, we are restricted by the opportunities we have at hand. So how do we find the most job potential sector/profile in tier-2 and tier-3 cities?

According to an Assocham survey, MBA pass-outs from tier-2 and tier-3 cities opt for Bank/PSUs jobs as these ensure job stability with lesser work stress. Out of the 30 sectors surveyed, in both the tier II and tier III cities, financial services sector provided maximum employment opportunities to the aspirants. The sector contributed a share of 19.5 per cent and 22.5 per cent in tier II and tier III cities respectively in terms of job openings. According to the survey, Ranchi emerged as the lead employment provider amongst tier-3 cities, it is Pune that is ahead amongst the tier-2 cities. One major difference in the opportunities available in metros and tier-2 and tier-3 cities is the absence of niche markets in the later. Services, research, outsourcing and consulting have enriched the job market in metros.

So if you could foresee that you might end up settling in a tier-3 town in India, due to personal or family reasons, then it is good to try your chances in financial services, banking and also to some extent education. Also, the potential of any industry could be dependent on the local market conditions. For example, service and tourism industry is well developed in Goa. Identify such potential markets and see where you can fit in.

One functional profile which is ripe everywhere is sales and marketing. Any business, small or big, irrespective of its presence, aims to expand. You cannot grow your business if you do not know the art of selling. Although, not everyone’s cup of tea and somewhat stressful, sales and marketing is one field, that has immense potential as a career field. It pays well, helps you grow as an individual, enables you to develop your network and is not restricted to what place you are working. If you are good at it, you will find ample job prospects for yourself in any city and town. Other fields like human resources, operations and manufacturing, even with decent number of jobs, are restricted by low pay grade in small towns.

It is important to note that in small town job market, retention is easy and encouraging. There is less competition and more opportunities to learn and grow. It is easy to come in the highlight with your work. One should not forget that tier-2 and tier-3 cities are ideal for small start-ups and businesses. You require smaller capital and lower overheads to start business and it is easier to organize a business in a small town where people know each other.

Looking at the future though, with new IITs and NITs coming up in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, these locations are poised for a major growth in academia infrastructure. There are many multinationals that are now expanding their footprints in emerging markets and towns. Companies are looking forward to grow in cities like Lucknow, Bhubaneswar, Raipur, Udaipur, Nagpur, Trivandrum and many others which will gradually lead these places to offer better infrastructure and quality of life. Not only it will provide fresh talent pool a better chance with their careers but will also be able to attract back a significant portion of installed talent pool in tier-1 cities that hails from tier-2 and tier-3 cities. But until that happens, the “dream of job-after-MBA” in these places looks dim and far, with narrow prospects.

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

10 Common Networking Mistakes to Avoid

mba-graduatesHere are some common networking mistakes to avoid in your job search:

  1. Not meeting professionals in person

Job seekers these days want to do everything online, without actually pressing the flesh and meeting people in person but there is no substitute for getting out there and introducing yourself to people who might know someone who is hiring. You should go to at least two or three meet-ups a month, and bring business cards and introduce yourself to random people. Don’t be shy, even if you aren’t the most outgoing person, talk to one or two strangers at these meet-ups, and see if you can find common ground.

  1. Expecting too much too quickly

It is important to not ask for what we want from networking contacts right away. You’ve got to give before we get. Take some time, get to know your contact, and see what skills or services you can provide for that person. Try not to think about what they can do for you just yet. The goal is to broaden your network and make meaningful connections so that they can help you later. So, start networking early.          

  1. Not meeting enough people

Although you want to build strong relationships with your networking contacts, the goal is to meet as many people as possible when you’re at networking events. Ask questions and, presuming you see a fit, politely ask for their card and ask for permission to stay in touch. Remember, this is not the time to make a sales presentation or to tell your life story. It is the time to spend a few minutes of quality time with someone new and then move on to meet a new prospect.

  1. Not working on personal branding

Anyone can reel off their qualifications and their skills but by understanding ourselves, we will be better equipped and more confident in ourselves and our abilities (and indeed shortcomings). We are better able to understand what transferable skills we have, in what environments we work best in, what drives us to work. When meeting people, if you understand yourself, this confidence resonates.

  1. Lacking professionalism

Let’s say someone has found a way to brand themselves, a way to differentiate themselves, how will people know about you? Though LinkedIn and other social networks like Facebook and Twitter have made it easier to network and get your name out there, many job seekers fail to keep a professional image of themselves online.

Spend some time improving your LinkedIn profile and developing your network. Remove those pictures from Facebook that you shouldn’t have taken, also.

mba graduates

  1. Being clueless

If you’re heading to a networking event, make sure you know why you’re going. Do you want a job? If so, are you seeking something specific, or will anything do? Are you looking for contacts or a mentor to provide guidance? As soon as someone starts talking with you, you have to hold up your end of the conversation. If you don’t know what you want, you can’t do that.

  1. Being unprepared

Thinking you know what you want is not the same as knowing it. Treat networking the same way you would treat an interview. Practice your pitch as well as your answers to questions about your career goals that might arise.

  1. Not following through

Another common networking mistake is the lack of following through with networking contacts. You have to remember to follow-up with contacts to continue your relationship and building a good network. Send your contact an e-mail every now and then or give them a call to schedule another meeting, but try not to go overboard. The last thing you want to do is annoy your networking contacts.

  1. Not having patience

Building a professional relationship is a lot like a romantic one – fragile. That being said, you shouldn’t be afraid to work hard to build relationships. One of the top networking mistakes is a lack of patience in conversations and wanting to pitch your sale from the beginning. You have to build up to your pitch. Focus on the other person for a while and find ways where you two can continue to connect.

  1. Forgetting business cards

There is nothing more embarrassing than establishing a good relationship with someone, extracting a pledge of help and then searching around for a cocktail napkin to write on. Spend a few extra bucks to print professional-looking cards on good-quality paper.

  1. Using a silly-sounding email name

Sure, your friends know you as “BestFriend4U” or “TimeForChat,” but when looking for work, stick to a serious email address, such as your real name.

  1. Being passive

If someone says, “Sorry, we don’t have anything right now,” take a minute or two to ask follow-up questions: “Well, what’s the outlook for future possibilities? Do you know anyone else in the industry who might have something? Any thoughts on what my next step should be?” Persistence shows true interest on your part and may help the person you’re networking with come up with ideas he might otherwise overlook.

  1. Not saying thank you

Since life can get busy and it’s easy to forget to send out a thank you card, setting a reminder on Gmail to say thank you can help you remember to show your appreciation to your newly acquired professional contacts.

  1. Not dressing appropriately

Whether it’s a networking event you are attending or simply meeting a contact for lunch – or even a Skype chat – dressing professionally is something you should always keep in mind. You’re trying to get a job, not go out on a casual date with friends.

A networking event can be a dress rehearsal for a job interview, but no one will help you get your foot in the door if you give the impression that you’ll slouch through it once it’s open. Remember, you have to look and act the part so you can convince others that you’re ready to work and be a professional.

  1. Not helping others.

Many job seekers get into the mindset that networking is a one-way street. Unfortunately, this mindset can have a negative impact on your job search. The solution: Give back to your professional connections. For example, if one of your friends secured you a job interview with their employer, find a way you can return the favor. Whether it’s being there for them as they work towards their promotion or helping them find a mentor, this is a great way to help the people who help you during your job search.

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

How important business model is for business?

Business-Model-Wheel-SmallBusiness Model, It is very difficult and brain storming to know what a perfect business model is. Many questions arise while making a good business model. How should be our business model? What all things are to be considered to make a proper business model? Whether our business model is feasible? Whether it is profitable? Whether it is sustainable or not?

To get clarity on all the above questions it is very important to know what a Business model is- It is rationale of how an organization creates, delivers and captures value in economic, social and cultural context. While making business strategy it is most essential to make a good business model. Business model is broad range of formal and informal description to represent core aspect of business which includes purpose, business process, target customers, offerings, strategies, infrastructure and policies.

Management writer Joan Magretta defined a business model as

“Story that explains how an enterprise works”.

How should be a business model?

Business model should strategically align with company’s goal and vision of the Promoters/shareholders.

Following things should be taken into consideration while penning good business model:-

  • It should be a written description of your business’s future.
  • It should be clear on what you want to do and how you are going to do.
  • Who all are the targeted customers?
  • Proper acquisition and utilization of funds.
  • Demand of the product which you are making or Service which you are providing.
  • How can you get competitive advantage?
  • Feasibility of the business?
  • Is the business sustainable and has good future prospect?

It is very important to know how to make a perfect business model because it looks simple but it is not as it can make or break your business. It is not as easy as it look; Truth is it’s a bit more complicated than that. Discovering the best business model is like a journey. You might have to take some side road to find the right direction, and you have to invest some time in it.

Importance of a good business model:

During 1990’s, when the business world was buzzing with talk about a new economy and business rules, people-even business gurus-seemed to forget the part about making money, and business man sidelined use of business model. But when the dot-com bubble began to bust, everybody started talking about business models again. People suddenly realized that it is inevitable to have a good business model which helps business to survive in times of economic downturn.

One of the few ways left for companies to protect the margin is through business model differentiation. Business models have become the new basis of competition, replacing product feature and benefits as the playing field on which companies emerge as dominant or laggards.

  • Business model is very useful for a venture to look at itself in a holistic manner.
  • It helps to figure out elements such as – What problem your company is solving for whom? How you will create a customer value? How your product or service will get to customer? How you company will stay competitive, and all revenue and cost you can anticipate?
  • Focuses attention on how all the elements of business fit together and constitute a working whole.
  • It helps as an extension of feasibility analysis and check.
  • It helps in articulating company’s core logic to all stakeholders, including business employees.

“Business model decides fate of the company, good leads to success and bad leads to disaster”

Prerequisite for sound business model:

  • Vision – To make a sound business model the first pre-requisite is to have long term vision and promoters should believe in that and work on it accordingly.

Example – Dhirubhai Ambani – Founder (Reliance industries)

Vision – “Growth has no limit at Reliance. I keep revising my vision.                                                        Only when you can dream it you can do it “

  • Time – Sound business model cannot be prepared in a day or so. It takes few months to be prepared as lot of market research is to be done and analysis is also required.
  • Money – It requires quite a good amount of money to make a business model as extensive market research is to be done and many strategies are to be formed which also require help of experts.
  • Human Resource – Experts (Core technical team) and experienced professionals of every department are required to make a good business model, good strategy and extensive ground work of the product or service.

“By simply capitalizing on core strengths and knowledge, companies and entrepreneurs can engage in an emerging business model that will enable them to create and demonstrate – real, sustainable social impact in society.”

Successful business models:

McDonald’s – The three legged stoolMcDonald's-logo

McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast food chain, has over 35000 outlets across 119 countries. The company was founded in 1940 in the United States as a standalone barbecue restaurant. Richard and Maurice McDonald (Founders) revolutionized the company’s business model by using production line principles to set up hamburger stands.

McDonald’s business model “Three-Legged stool” depicts owners/operators, suppliers and employees.  The company currently has over 1.8 million employees and 5000 franchisees. The strength of the alignment among the company, its franchisee, suppliers and employees has been key part to success. The business model enables McDonald’s to consistently deliver locally-relevant restaurant experience to customers and be an integral part of communities it serves. In addition it facilitates its ability to identify, implement and scale innovative ideas that meet customers’ changing need and preference.

Success of McDonalds:

Market share– 19% (Highest amongst all the competitors)

Market Capital – 96.91 Billion $

Forbes – 6th world’s most valuable brands.


Company defines its line of business in terms of product sales, service sales, fulfillment publishing, digital content subscription and advertising. You can consider Amazon’s business model as Three Line business model – 1) Online retail 2) Internet services and 3) The Kindle ecosystem.

  • Online Retail – It includes products which Amazon sells as a traditional retailer, most commonly at a low price. Amazon claims to have “Earth’s Biggest Selection” of products available through its family of websites, sold at the lowest cost at a small profit.

Amazon strategy was very unique when it brought this model that it won’t stock any of the products that were sold through website. Another part of its strategy is to serve as channel for other retailers to sell their products and taking commission of every purchase.

  • Internet Service – Amazon internet service cannot be discussed as a standalone line of business as it is deeply intertwined with both its retail business and kindle ecosystem. From customer point of view Amazon prime, which provide free two-day shipping on retail purchases, on demand video streaming and free access to kindle library all for an annual fee.
  • Kindle Ecosystem – Amazon has expanded its business into manufacturing and distributing the family of kindle tablet. Originally designed as an electronic book reader. The kindle has become fully functional tablet and media device.

Success of Amazon (US):

Market share– 51% (Highest amongst all the competitors)

Market Capital – 157.52 Billion $

Forbes – 6th most innovative company, 24th world’s most valuable brands.

From these above examples we can conclude that if we work hard to make good business model and work on it then we can have a strong hold over the market and attain Zenith in our business.

“There’s not a single business model, and there’s not a single type of electronic content. There are lot of opportunities and a lot of options and we just have to discover them”- Tim O’reilly

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

Thinking Beyond Money During Campus Placements

Campus placements at IBSFriends the economic slump has offer organization a chance to work more effectively on rewarding talented candidates by emphasizing nonfinancial motivators rather than to offer hefty packages. This is an opportunity for young MBA graduates to slip into these organizations and achieve success.

Companies around the world are cutting back their remuneration programs, and have used other ways (non-financial) of inspiring and hiring talent. Numerous studies have concluded that for employee with unsatisfactory salaries, some nonfinancial motivators are more effective, in building long-term employee engagement.

For a fresher this couldn’t be a better time to be motivated, in this time of cost-effective approach. I know money’s traditional role as the dominant motivator is under pressure from declining corporate revenues due to which many companies have cut remuneration costs by many percent or more, but the good news is; we can exploit this condition. Candidates should weigh the organization efforts under three noncash motivators—a) praise from immediate managers, b) leadership attention, and c) a chance to lead projects or task forces. I’ll try to give you an insight on these points-

  1. Praise From Immediate Manager – This is a slanted part where most of you will not know before joining in about how the leadership will treat you, but inquiring through friends, word of mouth , finding common connection through LinkedIn etc., can help the candidate to judge better. The candidate should weigh the organization on the following parameters–
    • Importance: Giving people a sense of importance about who they are and about their role in the organization;
    • Touch: Feeling that the leader genuinely cares about them, feeling a connection with the leader;
    • Gratitude: Being appreciated for their contributions and sacrifices; receiving genuine gratitude;
    • Fairness: Knowing that leaders ensure equal and fair distribution of rewards.

Recognition and praise are indeed high octane fuel for the soul. When we receive a genuine compliment, we experience an inner glow – it’s a warm, magical feeling that makes us break into a smile. It makes us want to go the extra mile for the person who bestowed the sincere compliment. If this were not important to us, we would not be treasuring all of the mementos of awards, plaques, appreciative notes and emails, and other tokens of appreciation that we receive over the years.

  1. Leadership attention – One-on-one meetings between employee and leaders are hugely motivational; they make them feel valued during these difficult times. You have to check, how much the organization’s leadership is involved with their team members. By contrast, largescale communications events, such as the town hall meetings common during the economic crisis, is one of the least effective nonfinancial motivators. Basically all modern theory of motivation aside, the key to energize the resource is purpose i.e. put purpose in employee’s work. If every single employee can understand the value they bring in the mission and vision of the organization, much of the leadership task falls in places. Today leaders in most organization don’t have time even for their direct reports, imagine a leaders investing his valuable time to train and mentor you is nothing less than gold.

Leadership is like a love affair, every fool can start but to end it tidily requires considerable skills, the candidate should understand the importance of great leadership. Organization these days faces leadership crunch and the candidate should value the time and effort his leaders are investing upon them to improve his/her skill set.

Campus Placements

  1. Chance to lead projects or task forces – I’ve seen many candidates feel reluctant to face the chin music but trust me nothing is more important than by taking the bull by the horns. Taking a lead on big projects will make you an indispensable resource to the organization. When I joined as a fresher I was given a task to maintain the monthly tracker but I stood up and asked for more strategic work. Seeing my enthusiasm my leader gave a big sensitive project which I ran commendably. From thereafter I never look back, but what worked for me was the amount of risk the organization/leader took to assign that project to me. It’s a great example of leader risking him and you rising to the occasion. The candidate should definitely join organization that has higher risk taking appetite. Money will follow, but nothing is more expensive than a miss opportunity to make it big. In the tiring time of job crunch and cramped campus placement, candidate should shift their focus on companies which aren’t risk averse and employees enjoy free hand to work. How many times it’s seen how that ‘small’ project turned into such a big one costing double and taking three times the length an organization estimate, eventually making an employee life.

Some far-thinking companies are working hard to understand what motivates employees. One global pharmaceutical company conducted a survey that showed that in some countries employees emphasized the role of senior leadership in social responsibility. One automotive company has reframed the incentives issue by putting the focus on “recognition” instead of “reward” in order to inspire a more thoughtful discussion about what motivates people.

The top three nonfinancial motivators cited offer guidance on where candidates should focus. I was having an interaction with one of the HR directors and he emphasized leadership attention as a way to signal the importance of retaining top talent. Many CEO’s while crafting corporate strategy, convened several focus groups of talented managers to generate ideas about how to create more value for the business.

With profitability returning to some geographies and sectors, we see signs that huge packages will be making a comeback: A talent strategy that emphasizes the frequent use of the right nonfinancial motivators would benefit most companies in bleak times and fair. By acting now, organization could exit the downturn stronger than they entered it and candidates should capitalize this opportunity by slipping in quickly to an effective role.

Thinking beyond money is tough for young MBA graduates since the amount of money invested in the MBA program is huge. But being motivated during strenuous time will take your carrier to an unimaginable extent. Be knowledgeable and skillful, money follows the wise.

All the Best!

Contributed by Vaibhav Chandra (Class of 2009, IBS HYDERABAD)

Breaking the Stereotypes of Group Discussion

Stereotypes of Group DiscussionThe clock is running faster than usual, one person in the group is speaking while others are waiting for him to take a breath for they are all set to cut him short and throw up some or the other thing to make the coordinator a note of them. Seems like a Group Discussion is on. Amid of all, you are not even blabbering. Your head has so much been bombarded with ‘Rules of cracking group discussion’, which you either read on internet or in some book, that you are just sitting there and mulling over them one by one. The coordinator hits the buzzer and that’s it. You lost your chances for making it to the next round.

Let’s get out of some of the stereotypes that are falsely branded as the rubrics of cracking the group discussion and be practical about discussing something in a group.

  • Sit the way you like: We read at lot many places about proper sitting postures during Group Discussion. No matter how “proper” you are sitting in the Group Discussion but if you don’t hash out your views in front of others you won’t be qualified for the next round. The purpose behind group discussion is to assess your leadership skills, communication skills, your behavior with others and especially your listening skills. It has nothing to do with the angle of your spinal cord. Hence stop worrying about your sitting posture and gear up on exchanging quality points.
  • Be loud: Be louder in GDImagine your friend staying on the top floor of the building and you are asked to call him down. Would you be all assertive in calling him or be loud so that he could take a note of you. In the same manner, once in a group discussion make your presence felt to other. Be loud whenever you speak. But make sure you keep a foot on ‘Don’t be aggressive’ rule too. Be shrill but don’t get rude or mad with anyone.
  • Don’t speak first: The topic doesn’t ring a bell in your head but since you have been told to ‘Always start first’ you do the same and you miss the meaning of the topic. In such an odd situation let others start the discussion first, try to catch those sub-topics which you are aware of, from the discussion going on, and then hit the hammer. You would surely be able to give a new direction to the entire discussion.
  • Switch Sides: There is a thin line of difference between group discussion and debate and that is you cannot switch side in the latter. If you feel that the entire group has nodded on something then that is the right time for you to agree to disagree with them. Hop the side and discuss the issue from opposite angle. Not only you would be blowing life back to the discussion but you would also grab brownie points under the leadership column.
  • Flow in the opposite direction: Somewhat similar to above point and a bit contradicting too. Rather than switching side in between, it would be better if you chose a side, not taken by anyone else in the group, from the very beginning. No matter how much favorite that side was to you or how much knowledge you had about that side but if majority of people has taken it in the group, switch to another. For instance, the coordinator has hurled a topic ‘Blue Ocean Strategy or Red Ocean Strategy’. You are all prepared to talk about Red ocean strategy but when majority is speaking in the favor of it make sure you contradict them by putting on the table the cons of it or the pros of blue ocean strategy.
  • Don’t define the topic: Don’t define the topic in GDYou grasp at once every word of the topic written on the board and you also manage to get a chance to initiate the discussion. Don’t define the topic unless the topic is listed under the dictionary of rocket science. Defining an obvious topic harms in two ways. You define it and lose a chance to speak further because someone else takes it from there and secondly, you could not take a positive or negative stand on the topic because you were busy defining it. And hence the coordinator doesn’t know your point of view on the topic till you get a second chance to speak about it which by the way is not a walk in the park.
  • Cut others short: If you notice someone who is nowhere near to give up on speaking, interfere by raising a rhetorical question (Yes break this stereotype too of not asking questions in GD) and then put your point in the discussion. If you would not take this initiative someone else would. Then the whole process of ‘Let-him-finish-then-I-will-speak’ would start all over again. If you believe that cutting someone short in a GD might reduce your chances of making to next round then remember that someone else too cut you short while you were speaking to put his point.
  • Make the heads nod but keep yours stable: Sit the way you like in GDSometime it so happens that you hold a similar view as your group mate and you nod as he speaks. Not only you but others also do the same. The entire group might end up agreeing to what that one participant said. This makes you contribute zero from your side. Rather than practicing this keep a poker face while listening to that person. Don’t give him a clue about your stand on the topic. But contribute strong points in the discussion and make others to nod on your point.
  • Don’t rush to summarize the discussion: You hear the buzzer sound again and the desperation to summarize the topic takes a toll on you. You performed well in the entire discussion but in this hurriedness of summarizing if you goof up then chances are high that you spoil the entire impression on the coordinator. Let others complete the discussion and when the coordinator asks you to summarize then buckle up with your concluding lines.
  • Be diplomatic in the last 30 seconds: As mentioned before that there lies a distinction between group discussion and debate. Keeping this in mind, towards the end when you are asked by the coordinator to conclude the topic do not give aone sided answer on the topic. In fact, there are certain topics which never demands for any perfect answer. Give a mixed response while concluding the topic. End your part in such a way that everyone leaves with a thought in their mind.

Lastly, the take away from the above points is that there are no specific rules when it comes to Group Discussion but casual guidelines have been designed to make us follow the protocol when we are a part of such discussion. It is an on the spot activity where your presence of mind, flexibility on the topic, pressure tolerating ability and other traits & skills used in corporate world are judged.

Contributed by Hasan Ali Gumani (Class of 2014, IBS HYDERABAD)

Tips for MBA freshers: Dealing with workplace harassment

work placeIt’s a story we’ve heard many times, of a woman being bothered by the persistent interest that a male colleague (sometimes even the boss) is taking in her. He may be direct about his intentions, passing lewd comments, issuing invites for dinner or coffee or flooding her with text messages or he may bother her in other ways, touching her ‘accidentally’ or setting up situations in which she is left alone with him, and so on.

Either way, she is left feeling helpless and angry. Confronting the perpetrator of this harassment may result in job loss, and not doing anything about it means a daily struggle of fending him off.

So what to do? This is a pressing question especially today when more women are entering the workplace and are faced with this scenario regularly. A November 2010 survey of 600 women employees in the information technology and outsourcing industry found that 88 per cent of them had faced some form of sexual harassment at work. In two-thirds of the incidents, the perpetrator was a superior at work, according to the survey conducted by the Centre for Transforming India, a Delhi-based non-profit organization.

Workplace harassment and office bullying are all too common in this day and age therefor every woman in the workplace needs to equip herself with information about what she can do if she is being harassed.

It’s important to pay heed to any sense of discomfort you may feel during your interactions with male colleagues and confront the problem directly.

As an experienced HR professional, I have a fair idea of what you should do to avoid/ report such issues. Here’s what to do to alleviate harassment or bullying in the workplace:

  1. Communicate your disapproval: If you can avoid the colleague who makes you uncomfortable, do so. If you have to work in close proximity to him, avoid being alone with him. Tell him to stop his specific behavior. If he stands too close, you can say: Can you stand away please, because such closeness makes me very uncomfortable. Or, if he touches you, say: Can you please avoid putting your hand on my shoulder because that makes me uncomfortable. ‘If the person has sent you a joke through an email or SMS, reply through email or SMS when asking him to stop,’
  2. Write It Down: Keep a detailed journal of what occurred with as many details as possible. If your colleague isn’t getting the message, prepare to report him. Gather evidence to substantiate your claims. Note down the date, time and details of each incident. Save any emails or text messages that contain inappropriate language. Try to use your mobile phone recorder to discreetly record his remarks.
  3. List Witnesses: If there are witnesses, compile their names and share the situation with a colleague you trust in the office. She may be able to keep a watchful eye on the situation. But be picky about who you share this information with, and ensure that your confidante is trustworthy. A senior colleague or mentor who carries more weight in the organization would be ideal.
  4. Seek Help: Go to the supervisor, if necessary. Make the complaint in writing and keep a copy. Remember, an oral complaint can be hushed up. Often women don’t report sexual harassment for fear they might lose their jobs, but unless you are willing to take action, your problem will persist.
  5. Do not rise to the occasion: Choose not to react to the bullying or harassing behavior. (Quite often, bullying is power through aggression).
  6. Use Company Resources: Use your company’s resources, such as a harassment advisor, mediator or employee assistance program (EAP), if necessary. Many EAP programs offer you a choice of talking to someone by phone or in person, and possibly the opportunity to seek assistance outside of your community.
  7. Identify Workplace Stressors: Take a work stress inventory to identify your sources of stress, your triggers and your current coping mechanisms.
  8. Change Negative Thoughts: Learn to identify and change your “mind maps” (thoughts swirling in your mind) in such a situation and remind yourself this stressful situation is temporary. You CAN transform negative thoughts and energy into positive thoughts and positive energy.
  9. Learn to Relax: Teach your body to relax with “keeping well” resources: deep breathing, progressive relaxation, mindfulness, guided imagery and relaxing music.
  10. Create a plan B: Leaving your job should be your last resort. But before you take this step, it’s best to start looking for another job. Leaving without an option may result in a feeling of powerlessness.


A look at the law

In India ‘The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2012’ is an act “to provide protection against sexual harassment of women at workplace and for the prevention and redressal of complaints of sexual harassment.”

The brutal gang rape of a social worker in Rajasthan in 1997 brought to the attention of the Supreme Court of India, the absence of domestic law occupying the field, to formulate effective measures to check the evil of sexual harassment of working women at all work places.  This resulted in India finally enacting its law on prevention of sexual harassment against female employees at the workplace.

Implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in employment, Implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in employment or Implied or explicit threat about her present or future employment status Interferes with work or creates an intimidating/hostile/offensive work environment. Humiliating treatment likely to affect her health and safety.

India Inc has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to sensitizing employees to gender issues at the workplace, HR experts have said, amid increasingly frequent reports of sexual harassment charges in the country. Employers need to have a clear and written policy that sexual harassment is misconduct and will result in dismissal. The message that it will not be tolerated should be sent out loud and clear. Sensitization programs at the workplace to put norms of acceptable behavior in place are necessary and prompt action must be taken against the perpetrator.

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