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 This is, apart from the text books prescribed in your syllabus (which is most probably outdated by 5 yrs at least)   which you will have  to read,  whether you like it, or not!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