Archive for June, 2010

Job Hops or lateral movements?

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010 June 30th, 2010 Lipi Mohapatra

Originally interested in a finance job, but struck in marketing profile! This may be the situation of many of those trying to get their foot in the door. There’s nothing wrong or right about a situation like this. Unless, as a young executive you fail to pick up the right kind of learning from any job.

As the rookies gradually gain experience from their first job, they learn more about their professional self than anything. It’s like a litmus test for all their strengths they vouched for during their interview process.

Though blessed are those who know what they want, for the rest who are standing at crossroads, their first jobs could be pretty much revealing.

I have noticed a lot many students unable to hold their first jobs for more than 3 months. The reason for each is different yet similar.

Thus I couldn’t help but ask my friend Satyendra K. Mallik, VP (HR & Planning), Infinity advertising Services pvt. Ltd, who is an advocate of Internal Job Postings (IJPs) for his take on fresher’s job hopping habits, lateral shifts and its vicissitudes.

Mallik declares its not experience which makes a person fit for a job.

True. As a beginner, it’s your involvement, your keenness, adaptability, ready to learn attitude and most of all, ones willingness to come out of the comfort zone that makes a person appropriate for any job.

Finding your field of interest can be a daunting task. And recruiters insist that one should be clear about the path right from the period of traineeship. Else, frequent job hunting reflects badly on the CV of a new professional as the person gets dubbed as someone who is not sure of what s/he wants.

Probably, the freshers may assume that they have the luxury of exploring, though a little reality check reveals that 80% of people land up in a job by chance and start finding that interesting and 20% land up by choice. Hence, the best way to inch closer to one’s interest would be via lateral movement through IJPs, job enrichment and turn key projects.

In fact, Mallik suggests that the best time for lateral movements are during the period of traineeship – here one gets oriented to different domains and tends to perform the best when it aligns with your area of interest. That’s when you really like doing a job.

However, at mid level managerial position – after establishing oneself as a domain expert and team manager, one can explore other domains, which are closer to the erstwhile domain.

While at senior level having varied experiences would be a big plus, but at junior level, it gives a sense that the person is indecisive.

There are obvious drawbacks to being in an experimental mode like this. Then, should it not be the HR’s responsibility to help the fresh executive to find his interest area? Mallik suggests that it is the responsibility of all three – the HR, line manager, and the individual himself.

The first job for a fresher should be a platform to plug career gaps, understand his expectations, capabilities and explore ahead for a lateral move.

The readers of this blog are encouraged to share their experiences and help the rookies in their search for that perfect haven and stop prevent career accidents.

The author is Director, IILM - Business School, Mathura Road, New Delhi.

Scattered — pl collect

Monday, June 28th, 2010 June 28th, 2010 Joydeep Ghosh

No, lesser beings like me don’t have a writer’s block. But after writing 200 words on some ‘n’ number of topics for some time, I just decided to put together something (out of sheer frustration and khunnas).

Brazil just missed scoring its first goal against Portugal!

Ok, after losing the battle with Irda, Sebi Chairman Chandrashekhar Bhave blasted the mutual fund industry a couple of days back.

Poor fund houses, first, they have been unable to attract enough long-term money – whether because of mis-selling or lack of understanding among investors is irrelevant – then, they get ‘jhapoed’ by the market regulator regularly.

Insurance companies, on the other hand, have to become more stringent but I have a feeling that their commissions will continue to be much higher than mutual fund distributors. Sebi’s actions, though, have ensured some transparency.

Match drawn! Brazil was quite violent.

Just wondering, since Ulips are being sold as mutual funds or their replacement, why should there be a difference in commissions?

Monday! Yesterday’s matches were great. Germany versus Argentina in quarters will be sad, as one team will go out.

The mid-field magic is missing during this World Cup. None of the teams seem to have magical mid-fielders. In the absence of the Zidanes and Figos, mid-field football has been quite average. Messi is only one looking decent.

Yesterday’s match confirmed my conviction that the so-called golden age of English football is quite a sad team. In the last two decades besides Linekar and Owen, all English strikers have looked average, at least in my memory.

Model Viveka Babaji’s unfortunate suicide was front page news for most general papers. Tabloids are still going full throttle… Just think they should let the incident fade. Do we really need to know what other socialites thought about her? Or, what is the legal position of her present/ex boyfriend?

Awaiting today’s matches. Hope the referees are better. Three cheers for Saina … Can newspapers please ignore first, second, third round exits of Sania?

Can I have my football back?

Monday, June 28th, 2010 June 28th, 2010 Aabhas Sharma

This might sound absurd as we are in the middle of non-stop football action played at the highest level by some of the most talented players in the world. But please can I have my football back? Ask any football fan who invests a lot of his emotional, physical, mental as well as financial energies into the game he loves or the club he supports, the World Cup is just not the real thing.

Doesn’t make sense, does it? Let me try to explain how the mind of a football fan works. And by fan I mean someone who watches the game with a passion from August to May every year rather than wakes up once in four years. Listening to some of these people, who haven’t seen football in four years, who won’t be able to tell the difference between a free kick and a goal kick, acting like football lovers is excruciating. But this is not a rant on football lovers, so I will leave that for some other time maybe.

I ‘tried’ to support England yet again in an international tournament but soon after they were convincingly beaten by Germany I was over the defeat in 15 minutes flat. Even my wife had this amused look on her face which said “Was he really supporting England?!” If United would have been knocked out in the same fashion which England did, I would have been the last person you would want to be around with.  It’s been six years since United were knocked out of Champions League by a disallowed goal against Porto and to be honest I am still not over that call. Last night I was furious when Frank Lampard’s “goal” was not given but the level of disappointment was nothing compared to what a Chelsea fan would have felt when Luis Garcia’s “ghost” goal was given at Anfield in 2005 Champions League semi final.

As England were completing the formalities of being knocked out of the World Cup, my mind was racing with just one thought “I am glad the Manchester United players will have more time to rest till the next season starts”. That’s not too bad actually and I am not the only one who thinks like that. Most club fans put their clubs’ players and interests before the international games.

But what I felt really terrible about was a text message that I exchanged with a friend and fellow football fan. “Never mind…it’s Brazil from now onwards”. Changing teams every second day is something loyal football fans can’t do and it’s just not right. So while I would wish that Brazil win the World Cup, I won’t be shedding a tear if they don’t lift the trophy.

Sport is as much about emotions as it is about entertainment. Of course I applaud the genius of Lionel Messi and love watching teams like Uruguay defying all odds and toppling the applecart. But it just doesn’t seem the football I love, the football I watch and the football I cherish.

World Cup is a tiring, exhaustive distraction that gets me through the time when “real” football begins in August. Watch it with a lot of interest sacrificing sleep and entering the workplace like a zombie but the passion is missing. As I said it might sound absurd but that’s how most fans would feel whose lives are consumed by their passion for the clubs they support.

Facebook faux pas

Friday, June 25th, 2010 June 25th, 2010 J Jagannath

“I left Facebook because I want to be taken seriously,” said a woman to New York Times. This must be the closest digital equivalent to “throwing the baby along with the bathwater”. Here’s why. While there is a lot of pap floating around, Facebook also allowed me to know people with whom I share similar interests.
Now, this woman, who has an account since her college days, suddenly had the epiphany after joining a job that her ‘embarrassing’ pictures taken at college parties might send out wrong signals to her bosses. Here are a few thumb rules where you can have your Facebook cake and eat it too.

* First things first, stop those stupid status updates like “my kitten just purred” or “I am applying red nail polish” followed by at least seven exclamation marks. You are not Paris Hilton, live with that.

* I know it’s tough but stop playing FarmVille, Mafia Wars and their various clones. These games are like junk food but your brain is so conditioned to them that you can’t wait to milk those jersey cows. However, I would implore you to refrain from playing these games for a more important reason. Understand that your Facebook account is an extension of your CV. No company, unless it’s Zynga, will appreciate an employee with the highest Mafia Wars score. Here are a few numbers:  one per cent of the population of the world is an active FarmVille user, eight per cent of white-collar workers are playing FarmVille, it has more users than Twitt-ah. Got the drift?

* Don’t try to be overtly funny. The ironical relationship that you are in with a friend (of usually same sex) might not go well with your prospective boss. For laughs, imagine this: An aunt who joins Facebook, looks up her nephew and, even without sending a formal “friend request” discovers, that little Rahul was listed as ‘married’ to someone of the same sex. And his mother hadn’t even told her he was gay— let alone invite her to the wedding!

* Facebook group is the best thing that happened to me in the recent past. It’s an amazing lift to know that there are people in the world, who read this arty gay magazine called Butt. However, it’s the existence of groups like “Thank you Pakistan for taking Sania Mirza, now take Rakhi Sawant also” or “Orkut murdered Facebook” that vitiates the social networking atmosphere. If you think that joining these groups makes you funny, I am the tooth fairy.

* Like the New York Times source, you too might have uploaded pictures of yours taken in the spur of the moment. You can’t expect to point it out. There are many things that one might comfortably pin over a desk or hang on a wall, but that would best not be made visible to just anyone online. And please, job or no job, delete your display picture that impersonates Andy Warhol’s over-rated painting of Marilyn Monroe. Warhol doesn’t deserve this kind of adulation, his patronistation of Velvet underground notwithstanding.

* Stop accumulating those ‘friends’. A survey says that you can at most have 150 friends in a lifetime. I see teenagers totally at home with at least 800+ friends. As William Deresiewicz, recently argued in The Chronicle of Higher Education:

“We have turned [our friends] into an indiscriminate mass, a kind of audience or faceless public. We address ourselves not to a circle, but to a cloud…. Friendship is devolving, in other words, from a relationship to a feeling.”
Hope this detox helps you to lead a healthy social networking life. 

PS: How could anyone’s parents be their ‘friends’ on Facebook? It’s like being chaperoned by your dad to the disco.

Re’tire’ment: Who is tired?

Thursday, June 24th, 2010 June 24th, 2010 Ushamrita Choudhury

The French government’s decision to raise the retirement age for those employed in public and private service to 62 years earned the ire of a majority of the worker unions there. This seems a rather boorish reaction on part of the French, considering France itself, along with several other member countries of the European Union, is under a deluge of debt.

France, whose budget deficit is currently 7.5 per cent of its GDP, however, is at a marginally better position than other EU countries such as the UK, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Ireland. The euro crisis has sobered sentiments across the European continent. Spending has trickled. Governments are trying hard to resuscitate their respective economies, but their efforts seemed to have yielded naught thus far.

France’s pension reforms, analysts say, are a welcome move. The French government proposes to raise the retirement age bar from 60 to 62 years over an eight year window. With a low percentage of the youth entering the workforce, and an ever-increasing ageing population, a constructive action such as this will enable France to answer at least some, if not many, of its fiscal infirmities.

An annual pension deficit of approximately 32 billion euros threatens to burden the French bourses further, with projections estimating that this amount will touch nearly 114 billion euros by 2050.

Upping the retirement age in France signals a positive trend, irrespective of the resistance generated by labour unions there. The advantages can be enumerated thus: first, France’s pension liability will be reduced to a certain extent, facilitating a quicker return to acceptable fiscal statistics.

Second, there will be a greater utilisation of human capital. An aged, or, rather, experienced population can bring more to the table by way of sound knowledge and a mature skill-set, which can benefit public and private organisations alike, because experience is a highly-valued asset across the board.

Third, at a psychological level, the aged will have avenues to make their lives more secure, because an increased retirement age will also mean better post-retirement facilities provided by the government, due to improved public finances.

The Indian government, too, is contemplating increasing the retirement age, from 60 to 62, for those who are employed in the public sector. In the private sector, the retirement age bracket is 58 to 62 years. However, considering the rate at which the Indian economy is growing, it would make sense for the government to mandate a higher retirement age in the private sector at least.
Given the fecund service sector in the country, if companies allow for a retirement age bracket of 65 to 70 years, it would translate into a golden opportunity for senior professionals and firms alike. Today, the mature population seldom wishes to retreat from an active professional life. By provisioning softer taxation policies and simple, safe and profitable investment opportunities, the government can encourage senior professionals to contribute significantly to the growth mechanism of the country.

Given a chance to work post-retirement, most service-sector professionals would lap it up. Sentiments in this regard have been strong. If insisted upon by the service sector, a higher retirement age could soon translate into reality. This move, in turn, would indicate a developmental trend in the growth dynamics of the economy. Although a far way off, if this idea is mooted at the right time and place, by service-sector and industry oriented bodies like the CII and Ficci, it would herald an important socio-economic development in an otherwise unpredictable economic growth story.

The “threat” from austerity

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010 June 23rd, 2010 Rajiv Shastri

If one were to read blogs and columns of, well, pretty eminent US economists, one would be forgiven for thinking that the next major threat to global recovery was Germany. When Angela Merkel announced that the German government would strive to achieve a fiscal balance through austerity measures, Dani Rodrik, Paul Krugman, Brad DeLong, Mark Thoma et al exclaimed in shock and disbelief. They believe that the global economy needs all the demand that it can get right now, even if this demand comes from governments spending more than they earn. And they are partly correct.

The global economy is short of demand at the moment and additional demand won’t hurt. But that’s where it ends. The global economy also needs stable governments. And with Germany’s debt inching closer to 80% of GDP, the Germans want to tighten their belt. Despite the high debt-GDP ratio, Germany has been extremely disciplined in recent years. It has generated a primary surplus for six of the last 12 years and its average fiscal deficit over the same period was 2.3% of GDP. In four of these 12 years it has ended the year with lower relative debt than the previous year.

But the “progressive” group believes that this is wrong. They use Germany’s current account surplus to assert their belief that Germany isn’t ready to pull its weight in inducing a global recovery. Germany is third on the list of nations ranked by their current account balance. The first two are China and Japan. But there are critical differences between them. China is a known currency manipulator and suppresses domestic demand as a matter of policy. By making imports more expensive and exports cheaper, it lends systemic support to the continuation of its trade support. This policy is at the root of the world’s consternation with China.

At its peak, Japan openly intervened in the currency market to intentionally weaken its currency. But since 1990, Japan has been going downhill with fiscal woes of a magnitude not imagined earlier. No one can ask the Japanese government to do more than what it already does. Which brings us to Germany. Germany doesn’t own its currency anymore and cannot manipulate its value unilaterally. It has managed to achieve its current account surplus, not through low wages and currency manipulation, but through innovation and productivity. It has remained fiscally disciplined through good times which gave it the ability to exert countercyclical support to its economy in bad times. Which it did, but if you take Dani Rodrik’s logic, it didn’t do enough.

It didn’t do enough because it didn’t allow its fiscal deficit to rise as much as the US. But Germany doesn’t own the Euro and doesn’t have the ability to monetise its way out of fiscal hell like the US. So while the US can spend merrily, secure in the knowledge that it can monetise its way out of debt servicing and current account deficits, Germany has to think of earning its way out. Or would Mr Rodrik rather see Germany in Greece’s position in a few years just so that it can help Greece recover? Does that make sense at all?

And Dani Rodrik isn’t alone. Paul Krugman also agrees.

Really? Time to get tough with what, Prof Krugman? It’s one thing to threaten a currency manipulator like China, but completely another to extend the threat to Germany. If everyone is counting on the US to become the consumer of the last resort, what steps is the US taking to protect itself? The US is able to run sustained current account deficits because, unlike other lesser nations, it owns the global currency and cannot face a balance of payments crisis. What these economists want is a continuation of the system with other nations adjusting their economic policies and costs so that the US current account balances. But why should they? Is the US doing them any favour by owning the world’s reserve currency?

If the US wants its current account deficit to shrink, the US dollar will have to stop being the world’s reserve currency. Once capital flows to the US slow down, or are denominated in another currency, the US’ ability to pay for its imports will shrink, causing the currency to depreciate and the US will be a few steps closer to a current account balance. And it doesn’t take much for that to happen. All the US has to do is institute capital controls. The US is completely and totally responsible for the position it is in. It wants the US dollar to continue as a reserve currency because it suits its profligate ways, not as a favour to other nations. Changing this is in its hands. But rather than take this route, which will require it to change its ways, the US wants its trading partners to change theirs. Rather than act to weaken its currency, the US wants its trading partners to act to strengthen theirs.


The blogger is an independent macro-economic consultant and has been a part of the debt market for over 15 years. He also blogs at Views are personal

Hindi-Chini.. Bhai Bhai…?

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010 June 16th, 2010 Praveen Bose

When Foxconn’s, the largest manufacturer of electronics and computer components worldwide and mainly manufactures on contract to other companies, some bones are falling off the skeletons in the Chinese cupboard. With signs of employee frustration and disgruntlement coming out in the open, the western media has begun to celebrate the beginning of the end of the factory floor of the World.

The spate of suicides, allegedly due to employee frustration and work pressure, is starting to tell on the reasons for the success of the China model. I have seen some China-baiter Indians rubbing their hands in glee. They feel it’s only a matter of time before its India’s turn to dominate the world stage like China is doing today.

Only a couple of summers ago, there were the ‘experts’ who were saying that while China is the factory of the world, India only complements it by being the back-office of the world.

The worker riots are on the rise in China and hundreds of factories are said to have suspended work as a result of the worker unrest. All a result of the long working hours and poor wages. They have no way of venting their ire. The only worker unions are those controlled by the Communist Party. The frustration among workers that had been suppressed… and suppressed over the years is boiling over.
But, has this woken anyone up in India? I doubt. The backoffice of the world could also come to this one day. The BPOs and IT services firms are many a time said to be glorified sweat-shops. The concept of employee rights is often considered anathema. But, all have a facade to show they are great places to work in… and so on…,

While organised unions are frowned upon. But, employees have no one to fight for their rights.
Unions destroyed Bombay’s cloth mills. So, are we set to see an era… perhaps a few summers hence… when the IT/ITeS firms may find itself in the same position that the manufacturing sector in China is in today.

I am keeping my fingers crossed. The Americans are set to face tough times…, of rising cost of manufactured goods and also higher cost of the IT services they require.

The economics of plenty - II

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010 June 16th, 2010 Rajiv Shastri

In my previous post, I argued for India discarding its existing economic policies formulated in times of shortages. India’s problems have changed and we now face a problem of plenty, especially when it comes to foreign exchange inflows.

Capital inflows, have outstripped our trade deficit over the last few years. However, India’s polices remain rooted in a time when capital inflows were miniscule and India was subject to a full blown balance of payments crisis.

In continuing with these policies, India is ignoring its changed position in the  world and its changed circumstances. It isn’t accounting for its strengths, overemphasizing its weaknesses, ignoring opportunities and losing sleep over threats.

India’s strength today is its population. After years of fearing India’s population problem, we are now in a beneficial demographic period. The rising middle class and its capacity to consume positions India firmly as one of the largest markets in the world.

So why does this not show in our GDP? We need to look no further than our currency. India’s weak currency policy has many repercussions and an understatement of our GDP in terms of other currencies is just one of them.

A weak currency makes all products more expensive for the domestic population. It is futile to say that it affects only imported goods. In an economy which imports most of its fuel, currency related inflation is all pervasive.

In addition, India’s domestic market for commodities is closely linked to international markets and a weak currency also causes domestic prices of locally  produced commodities to rise. If it weren’t so, most of India’s domestic commodities would be exported. These increased prices reduce the ability of our domestic population to consume, reducing domestic growth.

A weak currency also makes it more expensive for Indian companies to buy foreign companies. While this is not an end in itself, it is a means to a very important goal; the ownership of Intellectual Property. When Tata bought Corus and Jaguar-Land Rover, it didn’t just but their capacity to produce steel and cars. It bought the technology which allowed production of superior quality steel and cars. Profits follow technology. Tata Steel and Tata Motors will show that to be true. 

And there is no better example of this than Apple. The iPhone says its designed by Apple in California and assembled in China. Guess where the profits reside. India’s technological disadvantage can only be overcome by buying technology and then developing it further. If we start from scratch, by the time we reach where the world is today, the world would have moved on.

Looking at our conundrum from another angle, the capital needs of India’s infrastructure sector cannot be met domestically. We need global savings. Our policies should reflect our need to attract savings and the strength of our domestic market.
Our current policy framework, in contrast, is making a case for capital controls which will stop global savings from reaching us, to allow us to continue exporting goods and services to other markets. Infrastructure is key to ensuring that our rural population benefits from growth. In most parts of the country rural connectivity is atrocious.
Rather than taking our prosperity to our villages, we have succeeded in bringing our rural population to our cities. In a distorted understanding of urbanisation in growing economies, we believe it is normal for our cities to grow and our villages to shrink. We seem to ignore the possibility of basic urban comforts reaching the villages instead.

If we persist with our current policies, India will always remain an infrastructure-starved nation which can only dream of inclusive growth, not achieve it. And why are capital flows inferior to trade flows? Is it because the ones we focus on are those which can be reversed easily? FII flows can be reversed at the push of a button. So we design policies to allow only those flows which are subject to substantial market costs if reversed.

If we were to look beyond these, its easy to recognise the impact of our weak currency policy on long-term stable flows. Who will want to invest in a currency, or in assets denominated in a currency which is intentionally weakened by policy. Our currency policy increases targeted returns and reduces targeted time span. So rather than
incentivizing investors to start new companies in India, we are content with
allowing them to own our existing companies. A perversity, if the stated intention is to achieve growth, isn’t it?

Times have clearly changed and our minds have to keep pace. Its not India’s growth which is at risk. As mentioned in my earlier post, India will continue to grow regardless. But whether it’ll grow enough to satisfy the needs of a young nation will depend on what drives our policies. Fear or self-belief.

The blogger is an independent macro-economic consultant and has been a part of the debt market for over 15 years. He also blogs at Views are personal


From everywhere

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 June 15th, 2010 Pablo ChaterjiPablo Chaterji

‘Where are you from?’ asked the German man I had struck up a conversation with at the dive shop on Havelock Island. I smiled wryly and prepared to deliver my stock answer, to a question I’ve been asked countless times (and I’m sure lots of you out there will identify with this situation) – ‘Oh, I’m from all over.’ I like this answer, partly because it has a slightly mysterious, jaunty air to it and partly because it’s true – I am from all over. I was born in Madras, soon after which my parents took me back to Calcutta, where they lived. This was in the late ’70s, a heady, tumultuous time in Calcutta (although it must be said that the city always seems to be in nothing but a state of tumult). It was still the hippest city in India, with probably the best clubs, restaurants and live music in the country. The advertising industry was largely based there, with some of the best creative minds anywhere essentially having a good time and doing some work on the side. It was also a city in the grip of unending political upheaval, with Naxalite violence blending in nicely with Communist thuggery and their mass dumbing down of the population, and the Congress lobbing a few bricks of their own. I was too young to comprehend all this, of course, but I clearly remember a real buzz and a distinct edge to the city, and I’m glad I spent my first 11 years there.

In the middle of all this, I went off to boarding school when I was nine, which meant spending eight months of the year away from home in the cool, laid-back atmosphere of Ooty and the left-field, non-mainstream ethos of the Blue Mountain School. Soon after this, Calcutta’s decay became a bit much for my parents, who decided to shift to the seaside in Madras, a city I was familiar with because of trips there to visit relatives. Thus I settled into the overgrown-village vibe of Tamil Nadu’s capital city, where staunch conservatism existed quite easily alongside liberal thinking, where the best damn coffee in the world was brewed, where the chief form of entertainment appeared to be Jayalalitha vs Karunanidhi and where the number of good eateries could be counted on one hand.

It didn’t end there – my father decided to accept a 2-year assignment in Sri Lanka, so I ended up calling Colombo home for a large part of that period. Although an uneasy truce had been declared, the country was still very much in the grip of civil war, but all of us had a fantastic time there anyway, making wonderful friends and travelling extensively throughout the beautiful island nation. After his assignment ended, we shifted back to Madras, where I spent three (rather stressful) years going to undergraduate college and another year after college doing absolutely nothing in order to recover from the experience. Sufficiently freshened, I took off to Australia to do a Masters degree in film and television, and the time I spent there was a real education in every sense of the word – on how going to college should really be, on living in a foreign country (Sri Lanka doesn’t really count) and on how much beer you can drink in one sitting.

I returned to Madras after completing my degree and spent another eventful year there, making a documentary film, before moving to Bombay to try my hand in the world of advertising film-making. The city astounded, annoyed and dazzled me all at once, with its always-on culture, its slightly desensitized spirit and its simultaneous capacity to be warm and giving – it still does, actually. The stint in the ad world didn’t last long, of course, which is why you’re reading this; given my ‘from all over’ background, perhaps it’s no surprise that I became a travel writer.

A job or placement?

Monday, June 14th, 2010 June 14th, 2010 Lipi Mohapatra

Finding a job is not placement. For an MBA graduate, a job that aligns with  long-term career goal is placement in the right sense.

Then comes the big question of how to find a job that helps in terms of career goals. Also, how does one plan a career with slowdown crippling the economy and its repercussions yet to wear off?

1. Manufacturing and construction
2. Telecom
3. BPOs/KPOs
4. Banking & Insurance Sectors
5. ITeS
6. Services Sector

There may not be a clear one line answer to this question. It needs an elaborate understanding of ones area of interest, academic background, and where one sees the career graph moving in three years’ time.Newly-minted MBA graduates are often confused about which career path to choose, even at a stage when they are about to complete their MBA. Most students have come to terms with the fact that random choices made early during their career can decelerate their career graph.

Early in their career, most management graduates make the mistake of turning down offers and waiting for that perfect job to land in their plates. This is utopia. Though, it may happen in some cases, most of them should accept offers well in time and make the most of it.

In other words, accepting a job well in time is one of ways to find out ones true field or area of interest. Even better is to get into rotational positions. Though apparently not lucrative, in rotational positions an MBA graduate gets to work in few functional areas in a company such as marketing, sales or operations for a few months before getting into a management role.

But to nab that dream job, one has to do more than studies. With the job market just beginning to recover, a student serious about his career must focus on what s/he brings to the table compared to others in competition for the same job.

In various B-schools, finding a job during the recession period last year was a rage. And why not. The campuses saw fewer companies coming up with offers. Overall, the industry grew at a slower pace than expected. But things look upbeat now. Now is the right time to pursue a career in management as by the time the economy fully recover, one has the necessary skills required for the job market.

Other than the elite schools, students who are in the second rung colleges with average academic background, should either seek help from career counselors who can help a student to find their area of interest. And having identified that special area, commit to it.

For graduates, an important point to keep in mind is that the recruiters know that fresh b-school graduates need further training and seasoning. HR managers then believe that it is best to tap former interns since both the parties know each other.

Understanding that a crucial preparatory timing for final placement is during internship is key to career planning. Though many students may not take internships very seriously. Giving due importance to internship in career goes a long way in marinating a student for that dream job which he expects during the final placements.

A report by Kelly Services, which conducts the “Global Workforce Index” annually revealing opinions about work and the workplace from a generational view point, says that due to global economic slowdown professionals are reinventing themselves as independent freelancers and consultants. Today, people are taking charge of their own careers and view self-employment as a way of achieving personal and professional success.

In fact, at most of the international b-school campuses, placement search is dubbed as “the year of the networked job search.”
Gone are the days when job search used to be only school-driven activity. Now, students are expected to take charge of their careers, attend various corporate seminars, build on their networking skills during their study years, and always be in touch with alumni.

Often students think that just because one has managed to pay the course fee for pursuing MBA, s/he is entitled for a job. Employability skills are almost an integral part of any management course in these times. Attending these classes seriously will only benefit the student. Other than studies, equal importance has to be given to life skills training.

Over the period of two years when one is pursuing management studies, the process of learning, developing, growing, being trained to be a manager finally leads to the process at the end of their fourth semester of program called placement.

Placement is never measured by package only!

The author is Director, IILM - Business School, Mathura Road, New Delhi.