Thursday, October 17, 2013

Letter to the New MBA/PGDM Entrant


 
Dear Friend,

                          Congratulations! Welcome on board. You are now a part of the family of new MBA entrants having sailed through the rough seas of CAT/MAT/PGCET/KMAT/”X” AT (Any X Admission Test) and having joined various B-schools across the country. This is a huge family of nearly 8 lakh + students across India. This is a family having common ambitions and common problems. Unless you have secured a coveted seat in one of the High I M’s , or the top 10-20 B-schools in India, you have a tough life ahead. Having been a management student for 5 years in a tier 2 (as the pundits say) B-school, and having gone through all the allotted ordeals, I decided to write this letter as a word of advice (probably unsolicited but necessary).

The challenges you face are galore. I don’t want to scare you. But I want to be factual. You are NOT on a level playing field. You have a road that is mostly uphill, tardy, rough and bumpy. You will encounter several speed breakers in this journey ahead. Please be mentally prepared.  Barely 25% of your faculty members will meet the standards you have set for them. Your college may not be great on the infrastructure side. You may come across a library that seems ‘namesake’. You may find that the placement data your college has put up on the website/brochure is misleading/faulty/ factually incorrect. The placement department in your college is actually non-existent and consisting of a person who also doubles as your marketing faculty. But then, you can’t do much about it. Because, it’s a man-age-ment decision. You college manedgement decided so. You may also find that the peer group is not that great, because there is a seat sharing ratio between government and your college management.

However, the good news is that there are a several other things that you can do, and you should do. Let’s get started. Since you have joined a management course, you will have to manage the current situation. Here are a few pointers in this regard.

·         First, get additional reading material. There are several things you need to know and are not taught in the classroom. Invest in good books like, “The Google Story”, “Go Kiss the World”, “It happened India”, “Rich dad, and Poor dad” and several other books. This is, apart from the text books prescribed in your syllabus (which is most probably outdated by 5 yrs at least)   which you will have  to read,  whether you like it, or not! You can browse for a list of must read business books and decide on reading 10 books at least every semester. One important link in this regard is, http://eventualmillionaire.com/10books.  (Maybe you will end up reading 6, which is still a good number.)

·         Build a network. Get in touch with the alumni. Organize an alumni meet if your college already doesn’t have that on their calendar, get the database and get in touch with them. Invite them to give guest lectures, to judge events in your college and so on. Chances are that they may not respond because they are miffed with your college. However, you will still need to impress upon them and establish a connection. You may even organize something like a informal meeting/ gyaan session/party in your dorm/canteen and they may respond to this kind of an invitation.

·         Create common interest groups. It helps to have people who share common interests like photography, entrepreneurship, print advertising, training and development and so on. It good to hang out with all kinds of people. But it’s better to hang out with the right kind of people. You can also create forums/clubs in your college based on the specialization you have chosen. There are other avenues to get into common interest groups outside of your college. Meetup.com is one such great avenue to get into common interest groups, learn , share and excel.

·         Get additional certifications in your area of interest or career pursuits. For ex: Finance professionals could pursue NISM certifications, HR professionals could pursue courses from SHRM/ISTD and IT enthusiasts can get certified from NIIT. Keep your head out and look out for right certification opportunities.

·         Also, ensure that you attend as many conferences, seminars, training programs and workshops possible. This will take you a long way in terms of skill development, an essential supplement to knowledge.

·         Become student members of professional bodies like NHRD/ISTD/NIPM/SHRM/AIMA etc. It doesn’t cost much (the annual membership), but gives you an advantage over other students in terms of networking, placement opportunities and industry exposure more importantly.

·         Organize management fests, events and activities in your college and take leadership positions like cultural secretary, placement secretary and so on. They give you a good simulation business functions like planning, organizing, control and so on. Also, participate in fests/ activities organized by other colleges/institutes. If all of this is not happening at your college, request for all of this. Meet your director/dean/HOD and demand all this. When you are proactive, they may at least be reactive. All these activities are a great value add to your profile. If you don’t do all this, your resume may end up looking like a bio-data, without anything great to project/talk about

·         There are several free online courses available which are run by prestigious universities like Course era, EdX etc. Go online, check for relevant courses and get that edge over your classmates.

·         Utilize your faculty members: Ask them, question them, plead with them and get the maximum value from your faculty members. If you really find someone very impressive, approach them and request them for research opportunities/tie-ups, and they may mentor you. So go the extra mile in this regard to discover new destinations.

·         Be shameless. Make mistakes, and correct them. Take feedback from your faculty and friends and improve upon your grey areas. Be it communication skills, confidence, numerical aptitude or social skills. As a future manager, you need everything!

        EVEN AFTER ALL THIS YOU MAY NOT BE PLACED IN A JOB YOU WANT.BUT YOU CAN CARVE A PATH FOR YOUR SELF.  JUST KNOW THIS!

·         Between all this, don’t forget to have fun, rejoice and be careful. Don’t get into relationships that may not last long. It hurts at the end. Tread a measured path.

You have questions? You liked this? You hated this? You want to add to this?

You can write to me @ vijaypadaguri@gmail.com. I irregularly blog at www.vjbreathes.blogspot.com

Wish you a happy Management Career Ahead. Yours, Vijay G PadaguriJ

 

Monday, July 29, 2013

UR Ex...

 







Your 'ex' is like your karma. Its impossible to wish her off. However hard you may try. She will at least take that 12.5 kb of space in your existence. Just like the desktop icon you may never use, but its a default icon, co-existing with the other icons you use. She can bring back old memories, act as a benchmark, act as a medicine, act as a warning/disclaimer, act as a motivator, act as an anchor, act as a virtual consultant, act as a reminder and act as an insulator from the reality of the world you exist in. She is a lesson. A lesson you did learn the hard way Yes, it hurts. But what's life without a little sorrow, without a little hurt and without a little darkness? Today, it doesn't matter what happened. But it was necessary. It was meant to be that way. No, its not God's way of humbling you. But its his way of giving you an orientation in detachment. The essence of life, the ultimate truth of life. Its not so much about companionship, love, feelings or sex. Its about 'notions'. The ones you have in your flash memory. The ones which get auto refreshed.The ones which have a larger font size than others. The ones which are italicized. She is now  a part of your existence. You may want to take her off like your beard. But she will come back to you just like your beard, in a day or two. Sometimes she makes you look bad. When you trim her down , she may make you look good. You may re-shape her according to your convenience. She may turn grey.But she exits And she will continue to do so. She will crop up. She will trouble you, tease you, please you, warn you and challenge you. You cannot  'force shut down' her. She's necessary. She's natural and she's evident. She lingers on. She's your body odor. There's no way you can take her off. And deep within, you like her. You despise her, but you are contented and she is, too.

It doesn't matter if you did it. It doesn't matter if she did it. It doesn't matter if there was a choice or not.  It doesn't matter if it just happened. All that matters, is what exists.  All that matters is a peaceful co-existence. Doubt it not, even today, 'you' are to her what 'she' is to you. At least that what's wrong in believing so? What's wrong in feeling so? Let her linger on. Let her live on , in you.....

Monday, July 8, 2013

Monday, June 3, 2013

Getting Started...

                                 Be it Love or War, getting started is an issue for a majority of the masses. Many a tasks we intend to do and accomplish get lost in the background noise of what is 'routine' and 'imminent' upon us. We are in a constant hurry to 'finish' what is urgent and mostly mundane. 'Unexplored talent' is no more a cliche'.  The need to discover the other side of you is now becoming a pressing need for many. Modes like reality shows have seen steady growth over the past few years in India. We are also witnessing a rapid rise in the number of dance classes, music classes, art classes and writing workshops happening across India.  This is certainly a significant development, because it goes on to show that the growing interest of people in discovering new hobbies and interests.

Still, for several people 'getting started' remains an issue.  Getting started with things they always wanted to do .. like  the gym routine, getting started with 'music classes', getting started with 'painting' and getting started with 'acting' remain an area of concern. the stoppages are mostly psychological. Sometimes they are also financial and circumstantial. However, majorly the reasons are within the span of control of individuals. Essentially, for many its a matter of self-prodding and the need becoming more intense and demanding. Until such time, it's just another thing 'I wanted to do'.

5  tools that can be used to overcome this phenomenon:

-Use peer pressure to your advantage. Make a public announcement of your plans in pursuit of your passion/hobbies. So that your friends can do the necessary in case you don't execute your plans.

-Have conditional rewards to motivate you. For ex: In case of blogging,I can have  a reward of eating out in my favorite restaurant in case I complete 10 blogs this month.

-Give a countdown for the task/event to start and build up excitement along the way.

- Have the precursors and enablers in place for the task/event ie; Invest in the task.Ex: Buy Nike sneakers and tees for the marathon you are planning to attend next month.

- Put your thoughts/ aims on paper. It helps to be more concrete and focused about what you intend to do.And don't forget the timelines scheduling!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The biggest influence to productivity-People

The biggest influence to productivity-People


Hi,

        Let's do a small exercise. Answer the following questions with a Yes or a No.

  • Do you think your biggest influence towards growth at workplace is a process/system?
  • Do you feel that people in your team are important in terms of helping you develop?
  • Do you opine that mostly people influence they way you perceive your workplace?

Well, if you have honestly attempted to answer the above three questions, undoubtedly you would know that "People Matters". I have overheard innumerable people blaming their bosses their failures. I have heard several people praising their bosses for the encouragement. I have seen several people saying that they extremely proud of the team members they work with. I have also heard several people say, "He makes our workplace, look like hell."

Sample this:

"Some people are just unfriendly ass-holes"- Fabiola Lenz

"There are some people who always seem angry and continuously look for conflict.Walk away; the battle they are fighting isn't with you. It's with themselves."- Anonymous


"I love it when people underestimate me.Seeing the stupid expressions on their faces after they see what I can really do is fucking priceless."-Anonymous-

 It's not possible to control/contort/suppress human behavior but you can predict, manage and set norms for human behavior at workplace ..(That's what i read in the Stephen Robbins text book on OB or was that Fred Luthans? Doesn't matter.....)
It's a very evident fact that people matter the most when it comes to influencing productivity and efficiency, especially in the service sector, which is purely people driven, in most cases. Organizations should have a robust component of measuring "people skills" of the candidates they are selecting, which should go beyond the normal psychometric tests that can be easily cracked. A mix of scenario analysis, focus discussion and micro body language analysis could do the trick. So, companies can save on time considering future people issues. The leadership should have a very strong view point with respect to what is acceptable in terms of behavior at the workplace. There should limited tolerance to abnormal behavior patterns.People in the organizations should know and believe that their behavior at workplace is being observed and considered. The appraisal forms need to have a strong behavioral component which is neglected in several cases, despite claims of 360 degree appraisal being in place, making 'exemplary behavior' critical for growth and in the long run, RETENTION. Yes, you heard it right, that's what I said. In matters of behavior if people are unwilling to learn then organizations should be unwilling to retain  static resources in the long run.

People matter the most and this matter should not be neglected if organizations wish to create a better workplace for a better workforce.




 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Preparation for meEATings

Preparation for meEATings.

                                            I know preparation for meetings can be a pain. And the intensity of the pain depends on the duration of the meeting, the purpose,agenda, and more importantly the attendees;) for ex: If we have a performance review meeting with a stringent boss, it can be as painful as it can get.. In some rare cases, the meeting can be a pleasure too. Ex: If you have a strategy meeting with your crush from the other vertical , it just can't get better that, especially if she/he is seated bang opposite you. In such cases, its like ..The longer the better.

 And meetings are also socializing sessions, an exercise of your vocal skills, your lingual skills and your acting skills too. I know a lot of people who act their way out so brilliantly in a meeting to avoid the humiliation of failure/non -performance(psst....... yes, me). Meetings can also be occasions of fun and gaiety. Like the extremely humorous occasion when all of you forgotten why the meeting was scheduled, you discuss something else for 1.5 hrs and when you are walking out, one of the smart chaps(yes, me...hahaha) tells you all that the meeting was scheduled for a different purpose.Deviation is OK, but radical U-turns are not, you see..And any which ways, most people dont prepare elaborately for meetings. They just prepare on the way to the meeting hall/venue!(pheew, it's not me this tym, its you!)

The funniest part is when beverages and snacks are served. You prompt someone to take the snack, because you don't want to be the first , at least in this respect. You don't want to sit near the projector because you may be blocking peoples view of slides while tying to borrow the Krack-jaack! You don want to sip too fast, because you want to keep pace with the team.  You want some of the butter cookies and meanwhile you look at her/him and decide to not take more, in case it appears uncivilized. One of the interesting parts of the meeting is also when someone jokes and you really don't understand what it meant, if it was sarcastic and even if it was indirectly offending someone. Without knowing all this, you laugh! Because everyone else is laughing..

Finally, when the meeting is supposedly being concluded, rarely you have met the objectives of the meeting and you decide on the date for the next MeEATing. Ok guys, I have a meeting to attend this afternoon. the PAIN kindL:) Wish me luck. .....

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

COMMITment quests


Vince Lombardi once said, “Individual commitment to group effort-That is what makes a team work, a company work, and a civilization work.”
As I ruminate on this quote, I can’t help but admire the effective moral that this quote summarizes. Getting the best, many a time means giving the best. For me, ‘giving the best’ to whatever, whoever, whenever is a form of considerable commitment. When you demand commitment, an automatic implication is to also commit commitment. Brilliant feats have been achieved through extraordinary commitment, in the fields of sport, social service, research and so on. Nadia Comaneci’s feat of the first perfect 10 in gymnastics, the example set by Red Cross society, having delivered humanitarian aid to nearly 600 million people in the last one year and the discovery of the God particle seem to reinforce the fact that extraordinary commitment is possible.
But then, what are the issues confronting people who are not able to vouch commitment?  The answer lies in the ‘attitude’ of these people. It’s mostly the attitude of people which prevents them from offering commitment. In spite of lack of resources and infrastructure there are several ‘student wonders’ and achievers throughout the world. Meet Prema Jayakumar and Dhanraj Jayakumar, children of Jayakumar Perumal, an auto rickshaw driver from Mumbai. Both Prema and Dhnaraj cleared their CA exams in the first attempt.  Prema topped the CA exams for the year 2009.Read, (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-01-23/mumbai/36504939_1_prema-final-exam-tough-exam) for a detailed story on the same. What is the noticeable element in this feat? Yes, “CoMmItMeNt” is the noticeable element. So it is, in several cases world-wide. The story of Jyothi Reddy, the CEO of Keys Software Services, who was once a farm labourer, is equally interesting and surprising. Read, (http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120325/jsp/7days/story_15292192.jsp#.UVvVdlG9vTo)   for the detailed story on the same. The beauty of commitment is in being ‘unconditional’. You don’t complain, you don’t curse, you don’t feel constrained and you don’t regret. You can get the best from yourself through ‘commitment’. Any external intervention from any quarter to get better performance cannot be as powerful as commitment, which is an internal mechanism and is sustainable. Commitment is extremely subjective, personal, intense and engaging. Challenges may seem like minor incidences and feats when commitment kicks in. Can you ensure commitment to a job/task? Yes and No, depending on the person-job connect and the intentions of the person. In spite of having ability, talent and resources, some people choose not to deliver. This is no coincidence; it’s just expressed intention of a ‘not too bothered’ attitude/outlook. Can you change your attitude/outlook? You can change your outlook, but then changing your attitude is not easy. The best way to ensure commitment is to introspect regularly and get critiqued. You may formulate a personal mechanism in this respect, considering what works best for you. All in all, you need to ask yourself aloud, Are you committed to BEING COMMITTED?



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Darkberry v/s i-phone

Look into the darkberry, you gotta see the pie, if you don't see the pie, then you're blind in an eye.....

Hey look into the darkberry, you gotta see the sky, if you dont see the sky, then you are a dumb guy.....

Now look into the darkberry, you gotta feel the high, if you don't feel the high, then you better go n die.

Did you buy a phone , or did you buy the spy, Move on Darkberry, Welcome i-phone 5!!!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Unavoidable?

I wonder, if free will were exercised fully, considering only the paramount consequences, our interaction with each other, our actions and deliberations would be so much different."The gullible human mind" is so used to behaving predictably and in a patterned manner. Amongst all my colleagues, I can predict the reactions and behavior of 90% of them with 99% accuracy. And, i don't enjoy it. Isn't this commonness UNAVOIDABLE? There needs to be some variety, you need to be irrational sometimes and you need to behave differently on occasions. I am not advocating "extremes" though. We need to develop an appetite for "outliers" and be comfortable with the idea of "outliers". When I wore a shade of pink to office the other day, some of my colleagues couldn't accept this deviation. They felt the color was "odd" and "girly". I felt devastated. I had spent 18 minutes(which is far above the average shopping time for men) in the Arrow counter at the brand factory store trying to find a shirt that was "different" and "uncommon" color.many of you have probably gone through such situations, when people say, "You bought this car? Its so compact..Its so strange.. It's so compact.., and things like that. But I had some solace in store. One of my colleagues looked at me admiringly and said, "Wow that's cool. This is a such a rare color."I felt somewhat compensated for the effort I had put into finding the shirt.

Inability to accept novelty  is definitely one of the biggest obstacles to thinking and behaving creatively.If we all could create and accept "uncommon" things and situations, the world would be so much more fun. Creativity is not a skill, but an attitude, very few possess. When you can break mental barriers to 'new', when you can adapt easily to 'new' , when you can think and talk 'new', you belong to valued breed of "few". Charles Mingus said, "Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that’s easy. What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity” .So the next stage is to make things "AWESOME".


Break the shackles and be creative.And when it comes to people, they will either ways comment/question.


Only "different" and "innovative" things create change value.They can lead to a bigger metamorphosis of sorts and help you  reach a stage of creative nirvana and satisfaction. Why be X when you can B Xciting?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Let Go

Let Go


The power to 'let go' is a very important for every human being. Especially in this age of ever changing lifestyles and priorities. At a philosophical level, it' s called "Vairagya" in Sanskrit.  Advancements in technologies like ICT have made it almost mandatory for people of this age to be able to 'let go'. To be able to 'let go' is now a skill and an ability, and an important one at that. 'Change or perish' is the need of the hour. Change from Windows XP to Windows Vista and then a shift to Windows 7 and finally Windows 8 is an excellent example of how the 'let go' principle has become a norm. Further, it is also being observed that companies are investing their time and energies in making people understand the importance of this principle, and they call it by different names like "re-skilling", "unlearning", "re-learning" and so on. This also holds true to conventions and beliefs of people, which are hard to "let go". In case you're not able to adapt you would need to sacrifice in many a cases.

The millennium kids (born post 2000) are an excellent example of a generation who are able to adapt fast and learn faster. From using the basic X-Box for gaming to using E3 Xbox, this generation seems to be in a stage of "Super Vairagya" where technology, relationships, thinking patterns, culinary preferences and even beliefs are fast changing, day to day and year to year. Though, this change cannot be attributed to one individual factor, media and communications have been a huge influence. We have a generation of people who are more expressive, confident, and ready to experiment. Testimony to this is the huge number of applicants for reality shows like Indian Idol, Splitsvilla and MTV  Roadies. 

The harder part though is to let go of beliefs and being able to accept rationality, especially when it clashes with your beliefs and values. The ability to understand that you are not "compromising"  your values but adapting to what is "right" should come in. This kind of a skill set could surely take you places, because this is the way next gen organizations would expect their employees to be!