How to remain at top of your career!

Management ProgramOne of my professors at IBS told me a very valuable life lesson. He said reaching at top could be easy but sustaining at top is the most difficult part of anyone’s career. Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs are special persons who lead a start up to soaring success and sustained the success for long.

Imagine a cricketer relies on not just his strong reflexes but one of the most important assets is his power to see. A cricketer since childhood, Mansoor Ali Khan pataudi permanently damaged one of his eyes in a road accident. This led to him seeing doubled image. Though he could no longer see clearly, pataudi did not give up. He feared his cricket career was over but he returned to the field to play with just one eye. He is today regarded as one of the greatest captains India has ever had! Not only he played well but brought laurels for India. He remains at top of his career throughout his cricketing journey.

Great minds are related to the brief span of time during which they live, as great buildings are to a little square in which they stand. Recovering from a tennis-elbow injury was the most difficult phase in Sachin Tendulkar’s illustrious cricket career with the master batsman fearing he would never be able to hold a bat again after surgery but he did and become the 1st batsmen to score 200. Not only that, he peaked his career post his surgery and till his retirement he remained the best batsmen the world has ever seen.

I’ve read about many grateful people and have witness several unprecedented success stories. Whenever we see a successful person, we only see the public glories; never the private sacrifices to reach them. I’ve tried to connect the dots here; their ingredients to remain at top remain common and easy to imbibe for us.

  1. Bring in Innovation

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower. You need to bring in change without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Innovation processes are always heavily front-loaded. They focus the lion’s share of attention on idea generation, but how effectively you use the idea makes you an exceptional person. In my current role, I try to bring in two things and put them together in a new way to be creative. The heart and soul of individual success is creativity and innovation. I always wonder how Disneyland continues to grow and I think their success story will never end till imagination is left in the world. I suggest having an incredible extrovert approach towards innovating yourself and others around you.

  1. Take Risks

There is no greater country on Earth for entrepreneurship than Unites states. In every category from the high tech world of Silicon Valley, to University R&D labs to countless business owners, American’s are and will be taking risks. Risk can lead to great victories or defeats. Even if you are defeated, the lesson will be valuable for the next stage of life. I choose to live a life of an entrepreneur who takes risk visually impaired and feel their way up. You must accept that you might fail; then, if you do your best and still don’t win, at least you can be satisfied that you’ve tried. If you don’t accept failure as a possibility, you don’t set high goals, you don’t branch out, you don’t try – you don’t take the risk.


  1. Excellence in Work

Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected. I remember an interesting story, we developed an e-portal in my previous organization in the beginning the portal developed a lot of problems. Everyone in the group picked on us; they questioned our ability to manage large projects, there were unnecessary escalations and people were not happy with the work. My leader told me an important lesson, he said, in character, in manner, in style, in all things, organization looks for excellence. I worked throughout that night with different stakeholders, fixed all the issues and guess what “next to excellence is appreciation”. I did a common thing in an uncommon way.

  1. Determination and Persistence

There are times to stay put and back down, and what you want will come to you, and there are times to go out into the world and find such a thing for yourself because the brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something, because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people not ME. I really like what great Dhirubhai Ambani said “if you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build others”. Remember it’s not that you are so smart; it’s just that how long you remain with the problem.

  1. Trust your instincts on New Opportunities

Opportunities are never given, they are taken. Stop waiting for handouts in life and go out there and get what you want. Trust your instincts because if it doesn’t feel right inside it won’t feel right for you as time goes by. Trust that little voice in your head and do what you feel is most beneficial for your well-being and satisfaction. If you haven’t already noticed, the real world is filled with a lot of intimidating phases you must participate in to grow up. Don’t ever hesitate to give yourself a chance to be everything you are capable of being. What brings out the best version of yourself is the act of standing up to what scares you most. The only person telling you to be afraid of these things is you. Engage in discomforting activities that you know will make you a stronger, more courageous person afterwards because they will never fail to do so.

Guys I’m not the best but I think of becoming one someday, but I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. So be happy and enjoy your life!

All the best!

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

5 wrong decisions taken during your MBA which you may regret after 10 years

MBA GraduatesMBA is known to be a life defining career. All of those who have experienced this will agree with me. These two years will probably be the most joyous as well as awakening years of your life. From assignments to final placements, each event will bring something or the other experience which will be full of learning.

During these 2 years there will be many times when you will have to take decisions. From small to big, all the decisions will impact the course of your life at some point in time. There may be some wrong decisions which you may not regret once you get into job. But there will be some decisions which will require extra care from you before you take them. These decisions can change your life forever. All you will need to do will be to sit down and think about how they may affect your future. Let’s have a look at some decisions which you may regret after 10 years of finishing your MBA.

  1. Chasing the Green – Someone has said that Money can’t buy everything but it can buy you most of the things. But is chasing money really worth it?

Once you get through a good B school, you start thinking on how you will be able to get the right job which fits you. Off course it is justified to get buck loads after you have successfully completed 2 years of hard work. But trust me money won’t matter that much down the line if you had decided to pursue something very different from what you had actually wanted to do.

Money is essential part of one’s life but sacrificing on your dream job is not worth it. It may happen that you may want to opt for companies or job profiles which are paying you good but it may so happen that the same company/job profile may not suit you later.

Earning money can be a goal but at the end, the only thing which will matter is peace of mind which you will only get once you opt to do what you want to do. Taking up a sales job to earn hefty commissions when you have acumen of creativity will not help you in long run

Wise thing is to go for what you want and what makes you happy even if it’s monetary value less. Excel in what you love overtime and Money will follow you.

  1. Following the herd – Once you are in MBA, drop the herd mentality. Learn this straight and clear. MBA is a very professional course and maturity is expected from you. Just because your friend or your classmate is choosing finance it doesn’t mean you do the same.

Carefully analyse and decide the area of expertise/ field you want to go for. Talk to your seniors and your teachers. Attend you classes regularly. Participate in events and extracurricular activities and find out what interests you more. Weigh your options and then decide to go for what you want.

MBA Graduates

  1. Missing the fun – MBA is a course which will develop your overall personality. It’s going to be the last two years of your education life why not to enjoy them to the fullest. Running behind grades will not help you. Off course getting good grades are important but what equally important is to enjoy your life and having fun. Make good plans and go out with friends occasionally. Take part in cultural events; join clubs roam around the city. Take break from studies. Whenever I think about how I enjoyed my days at B school, I miss how I used to enjoy mid night maggi and roaming around Mumbai with my friends. You will also make memories and will cherish these memories for the rest of your lives. You will have to decide when you want to take a break and have some fun and I am sure you would not want to regret upon deciding not to enjoy your life.
  1. Not networking – Fact alert! MBA is about networking. While in school or college we may have some preferences. There might have been some specific set of people you wanted to talk to or be friends with. B schools are different place altogether. In MBA it is better to get in touch with as many as people you can. For good off course. Make good and friendly relations with people. Help people, make social groups and discuss what is going around. Share knowledge and learn from things. These people will definitely help you in many things in the long run. For example referring you for job in companies, helping you to adjust in new cities, getting you business and what not.

It is also recommended to you to be hyper active on social media sites specially LinkedIn. In many cases companies look for online profiles of candidates for various reasons. Make a strong network of people. Connect with them and join online forums and groups. It will surely help you in future. Take it up very positively.

  1. Avoiding making mistakes – We are humans and we are allowed to make mistakes. Accept this fact. If you don’t make mistakes your probability of learning will be less. You can always learn from your mistakes and that is the key.

Perfect grades, perfect job and perfect salary can be a dream but trust me it is very important to learn to accept the mistakes you have made. Don’t avoid making mistakes, they may happen. Worrying over the consequences of making mistakes will confine you from exploring your own limits and boundaries. Sometimes making mistakes are important to know what is better. It doesn’t off course mean to make them intentionally.

              As I had earlier stated MBA is a life defining career and if you choose this path you have to live with all the pros and cons. You will experience many ups and downs but it is up to you to make better decisions. Give proper though to each important action you take so you don’t regret them later in your life.

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

Linkedin Profile of Leena Sonparate :

Mistakes that MBA aspirants do

MBA GraduatesCouple of year’s back I was in the same boat as many of today’s MBA aspirants are. Today, as a professor, I sit on the other side of the table taking GDs and Interviews of students who are in search for that coveted B-school tag; a ticket to success that will assure them a place in one of top Indian or MNC corporate houses.

However, it’s funny how the mistakes that are so glaring when you sit on the “safer” side of the table are not so evident when you are an aspirant. Nothing much has changed in all these years; year after year, students commit the same set of mistakes, fuelled partly by misguided coaching institutes and partly by ignorance.

In the following paragraphs, I will attempt to list six such areas that I believe, if taken care of, can brighten the chances of an MBA aspirant.

  1. The GD is the biggest waron the way to an MBA admission.

For many, many aspirants, GD is a tense moment. Time is limited and others just won’t stop talking and hogging all the airtime. Therefore, one has to jump in and make a point. Or look for that quick opportunity to summarize. Or steal your moment of glory when someone pauses for breath. Or cut someone short.

For someone listening to the discussion, it seems so concocted. So artificial. In GD, we look for genuine students who have a decent hold over the subject and also have respect for others’ opinions.

As I always keep saying in my earlier articles, a good idea is to come to GD venue early and mingle with the fellow participants. Ask where they are from, what their backgrounds are. Show a genuine interest in knowing each other and being friends. Then you realize that suddenly the discussion is less of war and more of a friendly conversation. If not entirely, to some extent at least; because when you know someone, you automatically start to respect him/her more.

Also show a good interest in the topic being discussed…not behave like a leopard about to jump on its prey. Listen to others intently and show them you respect their opinion. Be in the discussion, forget you are being evaluated.

  1. My interview is ruined. I couldn’t answer several questions.

There are all kinds of interviewees. Some are nervous from start, some appear normal and others seem over-confident. There are ways to bring out the best in each of them, or even make them show their true colors by employing a variety of techniques. For example, an interviewer might deliberately ask difficult or ambiguous questions, or ask repeatedly to unnerve a seemingly over-confident candidate.

However, whether one seems normal, stressed or over-confident, the purpose of each question is not to always elicit the correct answer. Many times questions are posed to see reaction, check a particular parameter in a candidate. Therefore, a wrong answer may not be the end of the road. It might – and this might seem unnatural – just be expected.

Far too many candidates get an I-have-lost-it attitude and show a sudden dip in performance, once they fail to answer couple of questions. Bear in mind that you haven’t been conclusively evaluated until the interview is over. So whether the answer are right or wrong, don’t try to assess your performance by looking at the face of the interviewer, because you never know if you are reading that face properly.

Each question is a new opportunity. Don’t lose it because you think you didn’t give a satisfying answer to the previous question

MBA career

  1. Undergraduate is underground.

It’s surprising how several candidates who appear to have scored well in their undergraduate courses fail to answer very basic questions on their subject. I once asked an Electrical Engineering student with more than 80% marks from a good institution what kind of motor the regular ceiling fan has, and didn’t get an answer.

Many engineering students fail to calculate the amount of current in a simple circuit of resistors and capacitors. Yet several of them answer questions on current business and political affairs well enough.

The explanation I get is unwittingly clichéd: “I studied them long back and don’t remember them now”. It’s hardly sufficient, however. MBA curriculum is rigorous and students are expected to have the ability to grasp the fundamentals and never let them go.

Your graduation course might be irrelevant for business studies from a pure content perspective, but for an interviewer, it shows your attitude towards academics and whether your learning is concrete or superficial.

  1. I speak my mind. You see, I am honest, at least.

When the interview was already going good, I asked a girl candidate why she chose to go for an MBA. “Otherwise my parents will marry me off. I need some excuse”, she said. To me, this might be a perfectly honest answer and I give 100 out of 100 for that. But should I go ahead and select the candidate? Probably no, because her purpose is entirely different from what I am looking for in students.

Honesty is great, always. But one need not be crude, in order to be honest. A statement like “I am not sure what I want to do after MBA, but at least it will add to my overall skills and help me manage my career better” is also honest while putting things in a better light.

  1. I have the best answer to all questions.

This is related to the previous question. While crude honesty might spell trouble, too much cooking up won’t help either. I once asked a candidate what he thinks about our school and what other B-schools he has applied to. “This is certainly the best and I have applied only to KIIT School of Management”, he said. It’s very hard to believe that an MBA aspirant applies onto to one B-school. Similarly I asked another what he dislikes about our admission process, and he said it was wonderful, even though he was kept waiting for several hours for the GD.

MBA students are expected to have a mind of their own and display maturity in their answers. So don’t go collecting the best answers to each question. There are no best answers. The answer that truly reflects you, and brings out the best in you in a mature and polite way (and not being crude) is your best answer.

  1. I am great, but sorry don’t ask for any examples.

Many application forms ask the candidates to write their strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, the dreaded “tell me about yourself” question in the interview also prods you to speak a little about your strengths. Most candidates end up writing very generic strengths such as “hard working”, “committed”, “team player”, and so on. There may not be anything wrong in this, but to a reader, unless they are substantiated with example, these words don’t carry weight.

Many times, when I ask a student to prove to me how he thinks he is a good team player, I get a blank stare. A good practice is to write a sentence about a strength (e.g. A good team player because of my past association with several clubs and committees), rather than just a word. If that is not possible, always keep at least two examples ready to prove that you possess the strength.

You will see that it gives you much more confidence when you can prove what you claim.

Contributed by Suchin Kulshrestha, (Class of 2008, IBS Hyderabad)

Focus On Internship In MBA

Internship in MBA programOne of those questions to which an MBA student wants a convincing answer after ‘Which college?’ is ‘Where to do an internship?’. The rationale behind an internship in the MBA curriculum is to make students have a feel of the industry, profile, company which they want to pursue after MBA. I personally feel that the hard work which a student puts in during internship weighs more than all the efforts put together that one makes during exams, assignments when it comes down to the growth rate as a professional after MBA.

Most of the ‘janta’ joins MBA program for primarily three reasons: (1) Switch the industry (2) Move up the corporate ladder and lastly (3) A higher salary. However, none of these can be achieved without having the proper backing of a relevant internship. In the case of a one year program, the chances of green ticking the first point is comparable to an iota. Some institutes like ‘Great Lakes, Chennai’ which offer 1 year program have an equivalent to an internship, which they call as ‘Empirical’. In empirical studies the students decide on a topic and do research on that topic for the whole year in a stepwise manner, either in a group or individually.

As perceived, an institute teaches you all the concepts and theories but a candidate seldom gets a chance to work in an environment which is similar or even close to industry. Most of the activities are faculty driven and your performance is judged on the basis of the grade which you get. But in internship, you know that every deliverable of your will affect firm’s business which was not the same when you were handling case studies in college. Just wonder if you happened to contribute in a fashion which catches the eye of the top management!! Well, half the battle is won. So, morale of the story is train yourself for becoming ‘a vital cog’ in firm’s wheel of fortune. You will get the visibility and appraisal accordingly and you are en route a great career.

It is of utmost importance to master the art of trade before actually going into battlefield. An internship presents before you the opportunity to internalize the way business works without the fear of being judged much because you will be mentored by some senior person in the organization (who can be your future boss). I have observed the trend that when a firm goes for recruitment in a college, the preference is given to the students who have done internship in their firm. On top of that, they don’t hesitate in offering a higher package to those interns just for the simple reason that they can be straight away deployed on to the field without much handholding, in turn increasing their productivity.

Why focus is important in an internship because only then you will be able to invest in yourself. Try and get hold of as many things as possible which are important from the perspective of business model of the firm. This will increase your competency because then you will be able to connect the dots between various functions of the business. Recruiters are looking for the candidates who have this edge of being a generalist. And this is the only skill which ‘makes or breaks’ the career of a professional when it comes to career growth.

MBA InternshipAn internship is as important as spending your time in college activities, for strong networking. As has been rightly said, ‘Your network is your net worth’, you will grow at a rate proportional to the growth rate of your network. Even if you don’t join the company in which you did internship, chances are very high that you will end up in the same industry. Having good contacts in other leader firm of the industry is strategically very important for business development purposes. You might get hold of a potential opportunity because of a contact which you won’t be able to pursue otherwise. If you are able to create value for the firm during your internship, it won’t go unnoticed and this will take your networking to the next level strategically.

Now, how to go about searching for internships? So, it boils down to prioritization and channelized efforts. Start from prioritizing the firms in the industry of your interest. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket i.e. keep trying in other industries of relevance. Regular follow-ups or keeping a track record must be in your skin. Since, it is ‘buyer’s market’, try to show them the value that you will bring to the table by relating it to your skill-set and most importantly show the ‘Energy’. You can take the help of various job sites. There might be an opening for you if the company is continuously posting requirements on the portal, which you can leverage through your contacts (if any). Since, competition is tough, it is advisable to back your-self every time and have a go-getter attitude.

All said and done, a candidate is not the same person once he comes out of an internship as he/she was before joining internship. In a two year MBA set-up, candidate gets a chance to relate the concepts learned in classroom to what he was doing in the internship. This whole process of internalizing and re-internalizing proves to be very value additive when a candidate faces interview for final campus selections.  If the candidate is able to articulate his takeaways during internship by relating it to the business model of the interviewing firm in a lucid manner, the job is done. But real ‘job’ starts from there to implement the learning of internship effectively to create value for your employer, which in turn will stamp your capability, credibility and adaptability as a resource and a successful professional.

Contributed by Sthita Sahu

Career in Academics: Teaching MBA

freelance corporate trainer.Shruti is a 35 years old freelance corporate trainer. In her 10 years of corporate career, she has trained service line managers to top level executives, on various aspects of doing better in the B-world. From teaching soft skills to business communication, Shruti has fared quite well professionally. After finishing her MBA in HR, she gradually moved from recruitment to make her mark in training. With her passion for teaching, she now feels, it is time for her to go back and return the favor and use her experience of corporate training for teaching MBA-HR students.

Being a teacher in India is mostly perceived as a “fallback” career by most of us. This post, however, is intended to clear some of the misconceptions about taking up teaching as a profession. With no constant pressure and strain of achieving targets, I’d say, this is one of the most stress free professions. With increasing competition to excel in the corporate world and mad race for earning the highest incentives, work place stress is a very common problem among those who have just moved into the professional work zone, especially in IT, sales, marketing and finance. Therefore, many decide to take up a career in academics, in search of a better life, after working in the industry.

In order to be able to teach, one needs to possess thorough knowledge of the subject, clarity of thought, confidence, ability to articulate and passion for the profession. An MBA is one course where the class of students is most diverse. We all come from different background of education, experience and age. Everyone has a different approach and thought process. Therefore, equally diverse is the need of the faculty. A B-school faculty may comprise of from retired corporate executives, sharing their knowledge and wisdom earned during years of industrial and corporate experience, to specialized and well trained faculty with expertise on the particular subject.

The very first requirement to apply for faculty position in a college is a Masters. Most institutes prefer NET (National Eligibility Test) qualified candidates. NET is conducted by UGC (University Grants Commission) twice a year. Depending on your specialization or master’s degree, you can choose your subject to appear for NET. Preference is also given to M.Phil or PhD candidates.

One of the reasons, the young brigade hesitates from taking up teaching as profession is because of the low salary offered. However, with the pay commission, teachers these days get salaries that are comparable to the industry standards. Even private colleges these days have handsome salary packages to offer.

Another inhibiting factor for most of us is slow career growth. Although different institutes may have different ranking levels, usually the hierarchy is Assistant professor > Associate Professor > Professor/Reader.

mba program

B- Schools hire both visiting and regular faculty. Depending on your interests and choice, you can make yourself eligible for both. The current scenario of teaching at good B-schools these days however has changed. The eligibility criteria and qualification norms for faculties at B-schools have now become more stringent. Management now looks for a mix of experience and qualifications. This is due to the reason, that teaching MBA curriculum is different from the conventional mode of tutoring because of the need of equal emphasis on both theory and practice. It calls for using a variety of teaching methods like case studies, seminars, simulations, guest speakers and group projects to facilitate the learning process.

Some institutes, prefer hiring people like Shruti (at the beginning of this post) as part-time/visiting faculty. For those who do not want to leave the industry as well as hold a passion for teaching, working part time is a good option. They rely on their industry experience to teach and bring in fresh ideas from the field, offering students a more hands on experience of learning about the corporate world.

This is true that for some core electives, like economics, quantitative ability, accounts etc, institutes prefer more conventionally qualified faculty. Usually a master with PhD or NET qualification is the gateway to the academic field. Yet there are some electives, like business strategy, business ethics, business communications, sales and marketing and some components of human resource management that demands the insight of someone from the industry.

Teaching is a continuous learning process. In due course of time, it has evolved from being just an art to a more professional stage that today holds the potential of catapulting you to a different level academically.  If you have the patience and willingness, you don’t have to restrict your academic ambitions to just tutoring. There are many opportunities these days that are out there for academicians to consider. For instance, many lecturers and faculty members have their doors opened to the field of consulting as well.

Often, institutes have industrial tie ups to facilitate faculty research, consulting and technology exchange programs. This way a faculty member may get exposed to doing something like his/her industry counterpart and also get appropriately paid apart from the salary. Although this calls for some experience and time in the career and has limited scope of vertical growth, yet it gives you a chance to work independently as well as stay in touch with the ongoing development in the corporate world.

Another highly potential field for teachers these days is in corporate training. The way, institutes call executives from the industry to conduct lectures and seminars for their students, likewise, companies sometimes ask senior college faculties for organizing training sessions at a corporate level. They are asked to conduct sessions on topics that employees might not have learned during their formal education, like presentation and communication skills, business writing and other job specific functional and technical skills. There are also training certifications offered by academic bodies like Indian Society of Training & Development and XLRI Jamshedpur. With absence of too many academic programs to train the trainers in soft skills and personality development, there is a huge dearth of corporate trainers. This leaves the companies to invite B-school faculties and help them conduct such programs for their employees. To embark in the field of corporate training, however, one needs to be well aware and updated, confident, spontaneous, mature and creative.

The field of research also offers great opportunities to those in the field of academics. Many universities now conduct Faculty Research Programs encouraging faculties to engage in research activities. Although one might have to put up with stagnant growth and low salary, the satisfaction lies in the ability to think out of the box and contributing to the knowledge pool by getting the chance to get your research work published.

We have seen that how being a faculty these days is not just restricted to classroom teaching, thus breaking the stigma of stagnation and limited learning curve, that was once associated with the field of academics. Today’s educationists diversify their portfolio by venturing into new avenues. They work as freelance academicians, offer online tutoring, conduct career counseling at a professional level and much more.  With the high demand of well qualified and deserving candidates in India, this field is full of opportunities which are also always unaffected by the state of economy or recession. If you have the zeal and commitment towards your passion to teach, then there should be nothing stopping you.

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

Top 5 Ways To Pitch Yourself To The Recruiters

personal interviewThe metric of how well you’ve done in your MBA usually boils down to this one thing- a big fat job. And when you land one, you feel that weight has been lifted off the shoulders. You’re able to enjoy the last few weeks of your MBA that much more, knowing that your future is secure.

But what if you strike out the first few times? Desperation sets in. Morale goes down. And doubt replaces self-confidence.  Making a comeback from each interview that didn’t go your way gets harder and harder.

While you’ve prepared yourself academically over the course of your MBA, ask yourself this: Have you prepared your sales pitch? The recruiters are, after all clients, and the candidate i.e. you, the product. What good is your academic understanding when you won’t get the opportunity to get to the interview table? And the times you do, you can’t close because you couldn’t get the recruiters to ‘buy’ into you.

In cricket and in life a few sessions of net practice can make all the difference. Of course, you need to maintain your cool and not get bogged down by the occasion, but if you know what shots to play, which ball to duck, the chances of a good match performance get better.

So here are a few tips that’ll help you pitch yourself better and close a job interview:

  1. Get The Basics Right: YOUR RESUME

How many times have you read a career objective that goes like “Seeking an innovative and challenging career as a professional in the field of marketing/finance, which provides opportunities for professional development and broaden my horizon in diversified manner to be a key player in a challenging and competing industry.”

I mean what! If you have a career objective like that you don’t deserve a shot. Keep it really simple, preferably one line that is clear and precise. And write from your heart. What is it that you really want to do. How you can fill a need gap for the industry you’re applying to, if not that particular recruiter.  But whatever you pen down keep it non-ambiguous.

Follow it up with a neatly formatted work-ex in chronological order, your professional and personal achievements and your hobbies. Hobbies show the recruiters your personal side and can become an icebreaker in an otherwise pressure cooker interview situation. So give it due weightage.

Mention your contact details such as your phone no. and email id right at the top. Don’t bury it inside make the recruiter go through your resume again when all he wants to do is pick up the phone and offer you the job.

  1. Research The Organization And Fill The Void

You are a prospect because you can fill a hole in the organization. Needless to say, you have to be the perfect fit. But you’ll fall short if you haven’t done your homework.

Find as much as you can about the role you’ll be applying for and the organization’s culture. Get in touch with your alumni who might have worked there. Work some contacts and talk to a few people. Make notes as you go and pen down the job role and organization’s cultural values. Then write down how you fit the role. What is it that you bring to the table that no one else does. Tune up your strengths accordingly. More the clarity, better your confidence levels when you walk in. It’s okay if you haven’t got everything right but the least it does is, tells the recruiter how serious and enthused you are to be a part of his organization.

  1. Pay Attention To Body Language

Again one of those things we don’t give much importance to. You should come across as competent and confidence who knows what he/she is doing. Dress up nicely for the day. Looking and feeling good is half the battle won. Sit straight, maintain eye contact while talking and smile. No one likes a brooding face and a serious disposition. You are not interviewing to be a commando. People want to hire and work with other friendly people. And your body language tells them more than you think. It shows you are easy to work with and have good people skills.

body language

  1. Make A 30 Second Elevator Pitch

By this time you’ve got the hang of what you need to do in an interview room. But what if you are literally in an elevator with a top guy of a company you really want to work with. Or at a dinner party. These are perfect occasions to get someone interested in you. At the very least you make a high profile connection, which can come in handy some day.

How you strike up a conversation will depend on the situation. But a good way to start could be starting with a warm hello and telling them how impressed or inspired you were by one of their accomplishments. More recent the accomplishment, better it is. It tells them that they have a fan in you and will lower the resistance of talking to a stranger.

So what is an Elevator Pitch? It is basically a crunched down version of your resume, keeping the most impressionable bits and leaving out the rest. It’s conversational and doesn’t try too hard. It’s casual yet assertive. The only way to arrive at the perfect pitch is to write it down and practice it with family and friends. Afterwards ask them what was it that they remembered and keep tweaking it until you’re sure that you’re making the impression you had set out to.

  1. Innovate: Your Personal Business Card :

You can think of this as a written down version of the elevator pitch. It’s short and punchy and answers key questions the recruiters have such “Who are you” and “How are you different”.

But for it to work effectively, you have to position yourself well. Bring it down to one word that best describes you such as “perfectionist”, “eye-for-detail”, “team player” etc. Once you have the right adjective, illustrate it visually. Look up innovative business cards on the internet to get inspired. Get a few made and keep them in your breast pocket. Hand them out to close the elevator pitch or to leave it at the front desk of the company you’re interested in.

However, none of these will help if you don’t practice. Keep at it till the time you can recite your spiel in your sleep. Then, practice some more. It’s the edge you have over your competition and something you can master easily. Start now and should be ready by the time you hit the placement season.

Contributed by Himanshu Saxena ( Class of 2009, IBS GURGAON )

When Banks refused me Education Loan for MBA Program

IBS mba graduatesI was walking hastily towards my office building in Hyderabad when i received a call from my father. He informed me that all the banks he had approached have refused education loan for the MBA program. I was flabbergasted. How could that be possible? Something must have gone terribly wrong.

First, The Good News

A week back, I was selected for the MBA program at IBS Hyderabad. I was glad that my career was traversing the path as planned byme. Only fact that slightly dampened my spirits then was that I had to quit my corporate job. It meant no salary crediting in my account at the end of every month. I was soon to lead a frugal life of a student, living mostly on my meager savings. Despite this, the decision to pursue MBA was well-thought of, considering my long-term goals.

On the day of the personal interview in IBS, Hyderabad, I had visited the kiosks of various banks set up in the college premise, offering education loan. Every bank had then agreed for an education loan. Since I had toquit my job and be dependent on my parents, as per guidelines, the education loan was to be applied in my hometown with my father as its guarantor. This must be a cakewalk, I exuded confidence, and considering that the b-school was such a prestigious one.

Next Comes the Shock

After receiving confirmation onmy selection, I asked my father to apply for the education loan in my home town of Bhagalpur (Bihar), a state then infamous for loan defaults and high rate of NPAs (non-performing assets). The ‘cakewalk’ was proving to be a nightmare as my application for education loan was rejected by all the banks in my hometown. However we tried explaining and negotiating with them, they remained adamant. By all accounts, I qualified for an education loan. We met all criteria of the loan, except this ‘self-professed’ one, which I fail to understand even now. Still the loan was refused to me.

Reasoning Proved Futile

During my employment, in the name of credit or loan, I had only possessed a credit card from a reputed bank. And used it very judiciously too, never defaulted on the payments. For many of you, without any prior work experience, you will have no bad credit history. This means you will be in a much better position while applying for an education loan with your parents as the guarantor. But so was I, with excellent credit history. Nor my parents had ever applied for any bank loan or possessed a credit card. So, the credit history was definitely not the reason for their denial of education loan.

My father had not retired and was still few years in his job. He was supposed to act as the loan guarantor. Hence, even this factor was good enough to qualify for the loan.

Loan repayment too was never going to be a concern. After having studied from a reputed b-school like IBS, and worked three years in one of India’s most admired and biggest organizations, a well-paid job post-MBA was almost guaranteed. Hence, this factor alone should be ample a reason to offer the education loan.

Few days back to this incident, I had read in the newspaper about the directives of the finance minister. He had advised the banks to simplify the process of education loan and to make it available for all the students of this country, especially to them who cannot afford higher education. An MBA program is by no means an inexpensive affair. Coming from a middle class background, I too had to take this route to fund my education.

mba graduates

A New Criterion for Education Loan?

More than the shock quotient, I had a wry smile on my face when I got to know the reason for loan refusal. Every bank in my home town -private and public sector banks – had replied tersely that since we do not possess a home of our own, banks cannot process the loan application. Your own home for education loan? Why the Home?

It was so frivolous. I had never known that to apply for the education loan, one needed to have own home. We had always lived in a rented house and hence, never constructed our own house though we possessed land for that purpose. We were even ready to mortgage our land for the loan security but the banks insisted on the house only. In this competitive world, where each bank is fighting for its share and using all kinds of strategies to offer loans and credit to eligible working professionals, this reason seemed quite bizarre to me.

Sitting in Hyderabad, I could have hardly done anything. Except, scanning the web pages of banks and reading their and policy on education loan. But the clause of own house figured nowhere.

Last-ditch Effort

Finally, I decided to escalate the whole matter to the head offices of these banks. I spent half a day, searching for the email-ids of senior management of these banks, including local branches, regional offices and head offices. I collected details of 8 such banks which we had approached for loan. I also noted the contact details of Reserve Bank of India, banks’ ombudsmen and finance ministry, which were to form the Topart of the mail. Rest all was inCC.

Having empowered by technology, I wrote an email to these banks, their ombudsmen, Reserve Bank of India and Finance Ministry. Clearly stating my problem in the email, Isought to know if a working professional, working in one of the best and most admired organizations of this country, and aspiring for an MBA course, is refused a loan, then who else would qualify for such a loan. Does it mean that students, aspiring for higher studies but not having their own home, will be denied an opportunity?

It took me few hours to draft a professional email communication and finally, sent it. I was hopeful that someone in the echelons of an organization will pay attention to my problem and provide me with a pragmatic solution.

And It Worked

Hours after shooting this mail, I received email responses and phone calls from the head offices of these banks, trying to pacify me. Almost all of them tried to trivialize the matter and explained how local banks must have misunderstood my requirement and thus, committed this faux pas. They assured me that my application will, in all certainty, be approved. A couple of them even sent a written confirmation to me, directing their local branches to approve the loan.

Now I had all these banks offering me the loan, and that too within a day of the escalation. I had choices now, and hence, chose a bank with lowest interest rate. Within a week, I traveled to my hometown, and the loan processing was done in a day – all in a jiffy. On 1st May, 2008, I was attending the MBA course at IBS Hyderabad.

Had social mediabeen even half powerful then in 2008 as they are now in the areas of customer grievance and redressal, my choice of medium would have been different. In my case however, the good old email proved very effective. Things have evolved today. We know ‘140 characters’ rule our lives.

The Management Lesson:

It was about reaching the right person through the right means of communication.  And when it comes to escalation, it is an essential characteristic. That was not all. Very soon, I learnt in my MBA course that in an organization, discipline must always percolate from top to bottom. Invariably, top management of the organization lays its foundation by defining ethics and values of an organization. And discipline is an essential working principle, which is most often set as an example by the top management. Going into my MBA program – well in advance – I had already tested this management principle, successfully.

A word of caution here. My intention while doing this was not to blow the facts out of proportion and fashion hype or a publicity stunt. But it was an honest and desperate attempt, when I was faced with limited options.However, this should not be misconstrued as the only standard solution for all such problems.

I sincerely wish that such an impasse does not arise in your life. But think for a moment, if you are confronted with such circumstances, how similar or different your response will be? Let this be a case study for you, till then.

Contributed by Suyash Chopra ( Class of 2010, IBS HYDERABAD ) can be contacted at twitter: @suyashchopra1

Your first job post after your MBA, what to expect?

first job after mbaThese months are the most trying months for MBA aspirants. If the pressure was not enough, you will also get information on placement offers made by various companies at your favorite B School campuses.

For many aspirants, the whole rigmarole of the process, the Group Discussion, endless rounds of Personal Interview and of course the busy schedule during the two rigorous years indicates a leisurely life ahead.

Well, here’s to belling the cat-both literally and figuratively. Things will become only harder, you will be more hard pressed for time than you ever were the moment you finish your MBA.

Our graduation courses hardly prepare us for a life after formal education. It is important to keep our expectations in check post completing the MBA. Most of us are expecting (and rightly so!) a cushioned, comfortable first job once we pass out. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The moment you land in your first job on the first day, reality will set in. It has to, otherwise when it does set in, it will be too late. So, here goes.

Firstly your colleagues, rather your new colleagues at work will be wide mix of people from various backgrounds, including educational qualifications and work experience. You can expect to be looked at and inspected at by the existing employees on your first day at work. And yes, you will be grilled by the others on your salary and pay package, since MBA grads invariably get a different package from other candidates.

Be very careful while divulging your salary details, primarily because it’s something which your employer regards as confidential and secondly because it is too much of a personal information to divulge.

Your first job post your MBA will also lead you to face an unlikely and least expected behavior-jealousy at workplace. You will be hounded by naysayers who will try their best to put down the company and well, you.

There will be people who will pass snide remarks against your boss, be very careful not to respond to any such malicious remarks. Remember, you will probably be one of the younger members in the organization, and you will be expected to catch up to the experience of your colleagues in very little time.

Don’t get disheartened though, workplace friendships will be the ones which last a long time and will prove to be handy even when you decide to move on. Tips, and help provided by your colleagues will help you tide over the initial work pressure and load.

Often, the new recruits are given the dreariest of jobs and often the maximum volume of jobs and targets. Invariably, the new recruits will also be loaded with extra work from colleagues and coworkers and yes initially you will be hard pressed to refuse them. But, you will have to learn to say no- and therein is your second learning-saying no politely to work which doesn’t concern you is an important skill which will stand you in good stead in your professional life.

Every organization places a premium not on the marks you got or how well you performed in the Group Discussion (or the personal interview for that matter), but instead on personal integrity. Never ever add fictional references or make up past work experience just to bulk up the resume’.

Organizations, especially the ones in financial sector do a thorough background check of the candidate and the details given in the resume’.

Continuing on the topic, there will be times when you will be faced with a dilemma involving ethics-whether to lie to a customer, whether to misreport figures, just to save the day. You might see some colleagues resorting to such means, but you should probably make the choice in your first job itself-the choice to never ever use such means to escape problems in short run. Believe me, the ability to sleep soundly without the fear of any future recriminations is worth the little hard work and extra effort.

Always remember, people will be asked to leave from companies not because sales targets or targets any other were not achieved. But they will certainly be asked to leave once it’s a question of integrity-there is no compromise on such matters.

Your first job, while giving you experience in dealing with people, customers and peers will also teach you a thing or two about personal finance. Remember, the money you save in your initial years is the one which will stand you in good stead throughout your life.

Ultimately your personality and your outlook will be a sum of all your experiences, interactions with colleagues and peers.

Make sure your first job has all the essential elements with right amounts of hard tackles and fouls thrown in. Because, life as they say, is not fair, and even more so, in your job, you can expect a fair share of disappointments at having been passed over for promotions,

Your first job will make you constantly unlearn your formal education tenets, challenge widely held myths, help you form new bonds and friendships. Aside from teaching how to handle impossible deadlines and targets, valuable tools like time management, people management will be of much use to you.

Just as the famous food critic in Ratatouille -Antoine Ego calls for “Perspective” when asked what is to be served, your first job will provide you with a fresh perspective on the skills you currently have, the skills you would like to equip yourself with, and hot manage multiple responsibilities and roles.

Possibly the best learning will come from interacting and managing the most difficult resource of all-People. You will realize its not technology or the marketing budget, but the people whom you work with, colleagues, juniors and superiors who make or break a successful venture.

Ultimately, your quest for learning will be a continuous one, and every new job will teach you something new and give you something to cherish. While you should take something of value from every job, do not carry any excess baggage, learn to shed unpleasant experiences and instances while moving on!

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

What company looks in a candidate ?

mba aspirants

All set to enter into the corporate world? You must be excited — and tensed too.  And I am sure several questions must be swimming in your head: which profile to choose, which course to join, which technology to study and, of course, that big fat question — will I get company of my dreams.

Folks, I’ve interviewed a lot of candidates, for my current and previous organization. Amazingly, I fail to understand the thought process of an applicant during the screening process. Essentially they forget most of the tricks taught during their management program.

When we believe Google knows all, you search the web and end up with so many confusing ideas, like what’s your body language telling? Are you showing your real self? Do you have the personality to do the job? Are you resourceful?   These may puzzle you but organizations these days are clever in selecting a candidate.

We usually give a simple case study to solve and judge the candidate on different parameters and surprisingly we find most of them scoring low. I’ve put in my thoughts around 5 big common but so uncommon notions around the interview process which I thought will be helpful for you.

  1. Be smart not over-smart
  • You need to put in all your efforts to ensure you don’t behave like a fool. Perhaps this is an important life lesson. Most people think just to dissect words, by giving wrong references and exchanging peculiar examples will help them crack an interview. They are absolutely clueless about how much the interviewer is silently mocking their idiotism. Basically, detouring never fetches great results.
  • The idea is to answer what has been asked, it’s good to back your statement with an example but the pattern should match. Say you are talking about vendor risk, you should not suddenly jump and link it to payment processing. This confuses the interviewer and put you at risk.
  • The theme is KISS (Keep it simple stupid)
  1. Get off my back 
  • Many candidates are rejected because of their casual attitude to answer the interviewer. Even though they don’t have a fitting reply to a question, their tendency to speak more and eventually digress leads them to a downfall. By telling “I don’t know, but can I come back to you with an answer if required” will make you a bigger and a better person.
  • Don’t steer in a circle to find a corner i.e. by bugging the interviewer with your vague illustrations, lecturing him on the learning you have in your MBA classes will not work.
  • Organizations prefer smart idiots over a stupid genius any day. Perhaps a person, who doesn’t know, can be trained but a person with an incorrect knowledge will be a disaster. Even the great champions acknowledge they don’t know everything.
  • The idea is not to stretch the envelope.
  1. Sell yourself
  • I’ll tell you a secret. Organizations these days are desperate for talented and dynamic professionals. Leaders go an extra mile in terms of compensation, joining date and employee benefits to pull in the right candidate. It’s all about how well you fit the bill and how keen are you to fit the bill. But it’s quite sad to see the applicant miss this loophole.  
  • Be prepared to sell yourself. Applicants should carefully read the job description, research the market dynamics, organization vision, mission and core values. Align your sales pitch in accordance to the Job description. No one knows you better than you. The true sign of intelligence is the imagination to sell.
  • The goal is to sell ice to an Eskimo.
  1. mba graduatesHigh and mighty Attitude
  • Organization accepts that a candidate with a constructive attitude is a rare find. I’ll give you an example. I interviewed a candidate who had amazing communication skills, unexpected domain knowledge and immaculate interpersonal skills but we observed one imperative behavioural characteristic. During the interview process his attitude towards life and work was found to be very indecisive. He hemmed and hawed when we asked direct questions.
  • Organization don’t like when they are kept hanging in the air. They judge you on your attitude. They constantly look if the candidates can handle problems without cribbing, be a potential billable resource and fit in well with the team. You ought to have an attitude which is positive, constructive and inspiring.
  • The notion is don’t carry “devil may-care-attitude”.
  1. Be a Leader
  • One of my all-time favourite sayings is “Leading is like a love affair, every fool can start one but to end it tidily requires considerable skills”. Today organization suffers from a leadership crunch. Business units often complain about the lack of talented people who can lead their vertical. Perhaps they constantly look out for candidates who will lead the team, who will inspire and motivate the team members. This is one quality which gives you an edge over others.
  • You need to show your leadership quotient to the interviewer, request a moment to talk about the activities and initiatives wherein you have demonstrated leadership skills. In those 30 minutes they really want to see the leadership quotient in you. They primarily consider if the candidate can roll up his sleeves and turn the game or if he’s a kind of a person who just enjoys his past laurels.
  • Rally the troops, don’t become a case of blind leading a blind.
  • The mantra is “You can’t make an omelette without breaking the egg”. I’ll prefer a candidate who doesn’t necessarily be a great fit for the role, but if he’s proactive, has the ability to lead, above all has a great attitude towards life. He or she essentially should be a cog in the wheel for the organization.

THINK plenty before taking the plunge. Once you take that leap, start swimming. Don’t let the thought of gain or loss or success or failure distract you. It is important that you play the game seeking the goal you have.

If you act just for the boss at the workplace, you cannot act your role with dedication. Act not for the boss in the cabin but for the Great Boss within.

All the best! I’m sure you will be a great success.

Contributed by Vaibhav Chandra ( Class of 2007-2009IBS HYDERABAD )

Career Options in India

mba graduates

As one of my favourite authors Chandrakant Bakshi rightly said once that every young man who is about 25 years old have to answer three fundamental questions of life.

  1. Selection of right career
  2. Selection of right life partner and
  3. Selection of right Dharma (how does he want to live his life)

Yes, I know and understand the difficulty while answering each of above questions. However, here I want to restrict myself to only first question, i.e. selection of right career. This becomes the most important question of life. Though I am a strong believer that even if you end up with the wrong selection, the life does not stop! But it is important to go for the right one from the beginning and not to leave any chance for any wrong selection.

The difficulty of being a student and that too a graduate is just atrocious! I can see a hamlet in every fresher graduate who is always in confusion about his or her career options.

Let’s begin with commerce graduates. Their confusion would be to opt for management study? Or for professional courses like CFA? Or to go for evergreen professions like Chartered Accountant? Or to prepare for competitive exams and appear in various governments entrance exams to get a government job.

Further, it becomes all the more difficult for engineering students who have to select the field they want to pursue their Masters in. Should they continue with the same field of their graduation or opt for something different that promises a good career. A good offer is expected if you are from a good college. So you have to apply micro economics 101(oops, is it too early?) and evaluate opportunity cost of leaving that job offer and to go for master degree?

For science graduates such as B. Pharma or B.Scs, it is can be harder to select their master’s degree. They have to decide whether they want to continue in science field and do Pharma or M.Sc or opt for a PHD? However, I don’t think that MBBS students would face any of these issues as they are different class of people and they do not live in any dilemma.

But believe me, it is easier said than done and it’s a solid dilemma wherein very few people actually can guide you, except yourself. Further, this becomes all the more difficult if you are dating someone since your college days and the sheer pain of leaving that someone special is making you so nervous and you cannot think anything else.

Anyways, let’s get back to some serious business as you have to find an answer for yourself. But before that I want to make you think so as to help you in selecting a right option for you.

To start off, observe and think what has changed in India in recent times. The way our businesses runs, work is done, the functioning of government, a change in technology, etc. Just about everything has changed at such a rapid speed that that we can’t ignore them.

In 1991, Dr. Manmohan Singh initiated reforms and freed up India from license raj and indicated for an open economy, the sleeping entrepreneurship of this country arose. Indian economy started functioning in full throttle and business environment became more vibrant. Private sector became an integral part of the economy. In addition, foreign multinationals started investing in India to capture a huge market. Furthermore, since the beginning of the 21st century, India has started shining, although backed by a global growth phenomenon.

All of these factors discussed above created huge demand for professionals with specific skill sets. The manpower that possesses knowledge of various subjects can run any business professionally.  There was a huge shortage of manpower of that calibre in this country for a long time. Thus, a new era started in which abundant opportunities became available for people who possessed such skill sets.

Can anyone guess which academic course in India provides knowledge of various subjects relevant to business in shortest time period? Yes, my friends, your answer is correct, MBA.

You might be aware that MBAs offer various specializations, mainly in the field of Finance, Marketing, Human Resource, Information Technology, Operations. Let us look at a brief summary of the potential opportunity for each of the specialization as shown below.

Specialization Areas to be strengthen during MBA Opportunities
Finance  Sound general knowledge, Good communication skills, Command in reasoning, Logic, Well versed with all the subjects of finance and daily reading of one financial daily, Strong hold on MS Excel, Power point and Word Public and private sector banks (Indian as well as foreign) Investment banks, NBFCs, Insurance companies, Public sector units, Consulting, Industry and Corporates, KPOs, High end back offices of foreign multinationals, Education
Marketing Well versed in marketing subjects, Good communication skills, Reading of one newspaper, Creativity, Willingness to travel MS Excel, Power point and word Market research firms, Advertisement agencies, PR department of corporates, Firms providing marketing support, FMCG companies, Financial Institutions like banks, Insurance companies, NBFCs, Industry and corporates, Education
Human Resource Good communication skills, MS Excel, Power point and word, Soft skills, Knowledge of labour laws and regulations etc. Recruitment firms, Industry and corporates, Financial institutions, Training and coaching institutes Education
Information Technology,Supply Chain and


Well versed in IT. IT companies, IT departments of industry, corporate and government, financial institutionsLogistic companies, government, industry and corporates, Education,

Government jobs, Industry and Corporates

The list goes on. But two things are certain that there will always be lot of demand for an MBA in future as India is the place for business and lots of MNCs are venturing into India. So don’t worry about a job opportunity.

It is important that one’s attitude should be of learning during initial period of career and not of earning. You will definitely be at good place in future but for that certain things are important. Continuous upgradation of skill sets and information, be it through reading, writing, or through any other medium is inevitable.MBA-students

Second thing is that even after the completion of MBA, an additional degree or any other course which is relevant to your field becomes utmost important as it will give you an edge and you will have a grip on your subject which will help you climb the corporate ladder faster.

In the end, I just want to say that there is an ocean of opportunities is available at the end of an MBA. So just do it!

Contributed by Janmang Menhta ( Class of 2010IBS AHEMDABAD )