Thursday, May 21, 2015

To do or not to? :)

A lot of people who are 1 or 2 years old in the IT Industry grapple with the question constantly worrying their looped up minds. Should I do a MBA or not? Should I continue in my current job? Is an Executive MBA worth it? Will giving up my salary for 2 years be worth it? I hate my current Job and I want to get out of it. What do I do? My parents are old or retired and I don’t have enough money. Will I be broke after my MBA? Will getting a job after MBA be much better than my current Job?

All the above questions plagued my mind 2 years ago. Nobody gave proper answers. It wasn’t as easy. Finally I took the plunge.

So, Do IT professional need to do an MBA?

The Answer to this is not that simple. It depends, as to what priorities you have in your life.

A lot of them get frustrated. And by mere getting frustrated, join the MBA Bandwagon. That may not necessarily be such a bad thing but it is important to know what one is getting into. Advice to such people would be think and think it over another time. Are You really cut out for it.

If you can't think enough, may be the below pointers might help :)  

Having completed 2 years of my MBA here are some answers.

When should you NOT do a MBA?

  •        Do you depend too much on Money from your Job? Are you content with the money your IT Firm pays you? If Yes, Do NOT do a MBA.
  •        Do you like what you are doing and see yourself as a mentor to junior techies by being an effective Team Lead or a Project Manager. Do NOT do a MBA.
  •        Most Importantly, You like being a techie. You like Coding. You like to be in a challenging environment of Codes and Software. Do NOT do a MBA.

When should you do a MBA?
  •        If you want to go beyond the world of Software and explore about what goes on behind a business strategically. Why is IT needed for them? Do a MBA.(though experience without a MBA will eventually teach you that.)
  •            If you want your salary to increase and you do not want to switch onto another company and want a break from your Job. Do a MBA.
  •       If money is not an issue and you can be well off by not working for a whole 2 years, do a MBA.
  •       If you think you do not have a future in Coding and it you cannot switch because you feel Coding is not your thing and you want to get out of that world and management is something you would want to do. Do a MBA  
  •           If you want to work for a Non-IT Firm and switch onto a different Industry, Do a MBA. (again one can without an MBA, but MBA just gives a different platform)
  • Most importantly, do a MBA if you can get into a GOOD College. Good College gives you two advantages.

-          A Reliable Brand name which means decent professors and better education.
-          A good Profile when you are placed and a head start with good money to boot.

So there you go, That’s my take. If it's not your thing it is NOT your thing. But if you want to genuinely give it a shot, then just go for it :)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Will you go that Extra Mile?

During my MBA, I had an interesting lecture on Transportation Management where the Professor talked about the Trucking Business. In his lecture he said, there are lot of truck drivers from Haryana, Punjab who form the majority of the people driving trucks and there are not many from other parts of the country who are into it, because of which there is kind of a vacuum which gets built up wherein people who would want to be in the trucking business, cannot do so since they have to depend on people from Haryana and Punjab willing to do a certain kind of a job and not people from their own state for that matter, which is assumed to be more convenient method of working or doing business instead of the other way around.

So, here’s the million dollar question?

Are there people made for certain type of jobs and hence are more sort after?
Do the people who are “at it” kind of people, at it in their jobs and by “at it”, I mean at it for Decades all together, bound to be “successful”?


Having been in a job for 41 months and now having completed my MBA, I can certainly vouch for it that people who are not those “at it” kind of people get easily frustrated. And this frustration stretches and stretches and gets to a point where in you make a decision. The Decision of staying in the firm or not. How long will you be “at it”? How long will you do something which doesn’t give you that kick? How long will you eat the same food in the office canteen? How long will you keep staring at the same pay cheque every month?

But for some reason people who are “made for that job” don’t seem to have any problem with the above thing? They seem to be, let’s say “Acceptable” to their jobs and won’t just quit. May be they don’t quit because they are just happy and content. For truck drivers, they are happy or let’s say OK with driving trucks, for people in the South, presumed to be good in Programming, Maths and Science are seen to be either people working in the software Industry or are people working for ISRO. They just don’t quit. They retire. Yet Infosys or ISRO as an organization don’t face a resource crunch. A resource which could take their businesses ahead. Yet a person who would want to start a logistics business in say West Bengal would face so many difficulties. It’s not only about logistics. It’s about mindset of people who would not want to do certain kind of work and even if they do, they don’t sustain in that job for long. For Example, We find several such people from UP & Bihar working as Taxi Drivers, Press walas and other service kind of jobs in Mumbai which either Maharashtrians refuse to do may be because they find it “smaller” in comparison or are just not sustainable in it. The Plumbers or Cooks who come from Orissa, Jharkhand and work in cities like Bengaluru or NCR, Culturally inclined Singers, Artists or Musicians who come from West Bengal to make their name in Bollywood, there are umpteen such examples like that.

Of course Money and one’s livelihood is the MOST important factor. Agreed. But is it only about the Money? Doesn’t even that saturate after a while? Either ways, it seems if you are just there and there for good, you rise in any organization. Just be there and Walk that Last Mile, Question is how many of us really have that kind of Patience?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

MBA : Are the right "skill-sets" being tapped into?

And so I complete my Post graduation. Not that I ever thought it was important, but to have it in my kitty makes me feel, well let’s just say a little more “educated”.

So now that it’s over, I kind of ask myself, was it really needed? This MBA Degree of mine. Now I have to confess, I did very little research before getting into MBA, which can be a good thing because it could be start of a new adventure of finding out things but also an uncomfortable thing if you get to discover things which you may not have foreseen. I for one, wasn’t really prepared for 20 year olds sitting besides me just out of their BBA’s or BSc’s to be my classmates. Not that I thought I was much superior to them but yes it meant me and they were in the same platform learning the same thing. But this blog post isn’t about them, rather it seeks to ask a fundamental question. Question being, what are the expectations from a MBA? And what are the actual skillsets expected from a MBA Graduate?

I will answer that but first let me go through my own experience.

Once I was into my MBA, I always knew after the 1’st odd month that I would be taking up Marketing. Philip Kotler’s “bible” with picturesque products and one liners fascinated me. Financial Numbers, Operational things and Human Resource never really excited me as something like a Maslow’s theory or a Porter’s 5 forces did.
Now 3 months into my MBA, I get a “Connect with me” request on LinkedIn from a girl who had taken up Marketing and whom I knew from college. Curiously I go to her profile and see that she had done her BBA and worked in the industry before that for 2 years. Then I read her one line Summary which basically gives everyone a heads-up as what skill-sets they have and where would they like to see themselves etc. Now that read something like this.

“I am a confident and effective communicator with strong interpersonal skills and am able to build a rapport with people from different backgrounds and interact well.”

Subsequently there were other non-engineering colleagues of mine who wanted to connect with me via LinkedIn. Curiously, I go and check out their profile details and that read, something on these lines.

"Popular for my strong communication skills, I am a true believer of the fact that “The art of communication is the language of leadership”. Always reckoned for the fact that "I can sell ice to an Eskimo & sand to an Arab”, I am constantly looking to hone my skills to better suit any environment I am in."

Now that clearly is copy, pasted from somewhere. Given my experience as a Techie, I could clearly make that out:-D.

Reading those summaries, I actually was mesmerized. There were several things running on my mind. These were some of them.

  1. Is that it? An Effective Communicator. In other words are you saying to me that MBA’s are the ones who can speak Good English? Yeah, sure you got to know about Economics, your financial jargons, the service industry around you. But nobody is talking about that in the Summary. All they are saying is “Effective Communicator”. That actually gave me an unexpected form of confidence.
  2. Now say you are a 10’th/12’th grader. You speak well. You have this great “interpersonal skill” and you can build a great rapport with people and make them instill confidence in you. Yes you may not have been introduced to the world of Economics and Balance Sheets yet but hey, you can “sell” your ideas well. Now I was kind of curious to know. What would then be the difference between you and a suited booted MBA? Only the “experience” and the “knowledge” part right? Knowledge about say, Finance, Economics and the Industry. Now is that really important? Can that be easily learnt and “effective communication” cannot be?
  3. Is this “skill” of being this effective communicator or having an interpersonal skill a rare phenomenon? Are there very few people around who can communicate that well? Is marketing for example only about that? Or is it much deeper and complex than that?
  4. On a lighter note I thought, As a Software Engineer earlier the skills on my resume had to be proficiency in any programming language say a Java or a Dot net. Now I just have to be this “effective communicator” with great interpersonal skills and get a job which pays higher than a coder. Now the latter sounded much more enticing to me rather than the former.

Having completed these 2 years I realized, Marketing is all about convincing the other person. You do that with your communication skills, you do that by putting up facts and figures or you do that by any other way possible, at the end of the day it’s all about how much you sell and help the business grow. A person who doesn’t know how to speak, may have great strategic marketing ideas which have the potential to take the business to the next level. He may not be able to articulate it well but he may understand the market or the sector better, more than the person having this great “interpersonal skill” and give out sensible marketing ideas.

But I realized that this unfortunately is not the reality. Once I had this conversation with an elderly gentlemen, who when told I was doing MBA, retorted back with disgust and said, “So you are the ones who come in suits, speak Good English (his spoken English was bad), make lovely powerpoint presentations and go out of the board room making us all look like assholes.”

The above perspective needs to change. It’s not about the Good English. Yes, Language is important but so is the understanding of Economy, Market, Industry and what goes into making an effective strategy work in this ever changing VUCA world. How you communicate is important, yes, but can you as a MBA come up with ideas, come with solutions to make a change. MBA’s should be looked at as being problem solvers. Unfortunately, the outlook now-a-days is more to do with how they speak and not what they speak which is unfortunate.