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For all the MBAs out there

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Every year during July-August, the Corporate World  readies to provide a red carpet welcome to the MBAs. These MBA (PGDBA, PGDHRM and MMS) students having completed two years of professional management education are now on the verge of  exciting careers. An enviable clan, since not only do companies woo them during campus recruitment with fancy salaries but also nurture them with well-designed induction programmes and such.

Inputs by Prof R S S Mani, VP-Institutional Development, ITM Group of Institutions

Whilst companies do their best to retain these 'High Flyers'; let us also advise these young MBAs on how they could settle down and contribute to the company they have joined.

Keep your feet on the ground
MBAs are often accused of being people in a great hurry and carrying a chip on their shoulder. It is true that MBAs are well-trained and groomed in their institutes but this still does not make them perfect. A sensible MBA should bide his time and learn as much as he can on the first job. The sooner he settles down, the impact of the 'Reality Shock' is reduced. Reality shock is that phenomenon many a new employee suffers from because of deviations about what he expected the company to be and what it actually is. They should also learn to respect their seniors and indulge in active listening and not showing off their power of theories and concepts. Let us appreciate and accept that indifference, resistance and resentment would get you nowhere; Infact some humility would help you cross several hurdles.

Be patient and persistent
Patience is one virtue that can help MBAs do a lot better in their organisations. Very often, MBAs who join as management trainees complain that the training appears to be an extension of their MBA education. This may be true to some extent but organisations have their own complexities and specific characteristics and a sound awareness of these would help the MBA a great deal. Let us also remember that for the MBAs this is their entry point into the organisation; hence they have to develop virtues of patience and persistence. An old file they wanted or appointment sought with a senior manager may not be available at the first attempt but, try, try until you succeed. This would also send positive signals to various seniors about your sincerity and dedication. Further if you think that you are still doing an extended MBA; DO IT; don't forget you are now being paid a salary to do so. Hence do not complain!

Focus on performance not preaching
For the initial few months, the best strategy to be followed is to learn as much you as can, complete all allocated tasks on time and display a high level of enthusiasm. No task should be perceived as mundane or routine and must be completed meticulously. As it is often said, 'Be seen not heard'. Till you settle down in the organisation and gain the acceptance of peers and seniors it is advisable not to shoot off one's mouth on sensitive issues like policies, procedures and practices of the organisation. Further criticism, judgement passing and bragging should be completely avoided. Also, the "I know more" arrogance should be judiciously avoided. Do not try to prove yourself right by proving others wrong. This very often leads to situations where you end up digging your own grave. Remember that seniors /colleagues too have their competencies and are capable of doing things as well as you or even better.

Prove your mettle
If you think you are great; then prove it. This should be the sole objective of the new incumbent MBA into the organisation. Do take up projects and assignments and complete them successfully. Ensure that deadlines are met and quality is of the highest standard. Prepare for every meeting you attend and this can increase your own confidence and also impress your superiors. Let us realize that the blue chip company you have joined has been running successfully without you and concentrate on how to add value and not fault finding. Conciseness, Brevity and Enthusiasm can go a long way in fuelling a positive impression about you in the minds of seniors. Yet another important aspect to be remembered is that WORK COMES FIRST; picnics, fun, dates, films and surfing the net should take a backseat.

Review and feedback meetings
Ensure a continuous communication channel with your immediate superior. The normal tendency of many superiors is giving negative feedback when things go wrong; else keep quiet. You shall continuously solicit feedback from your boss about your performance and develop on your strengths and eliminate the weaknesses. Talk to your boss about your performance and develop on your strengths and eliminate the weaknesses. Take your boss into confidence and never bluff. It is this continuous interaction which would often fetch you objective appraisals at the end of your probation than a subjective one. It is also important to realise that in life you could even choose your spouse but not your boss. Hence the best strategy is to maintain the best of relations with him. Draw inspiration from his strengths and ignore his weaknesses. Make him aware of your competencies and see how the synergy between you both could help improve your performance and that of the department and the company.

Survive, stay on, succeed
If you are a high-profile MBA then have the guts to stay on and contribute to the organisation. It is very easy to show off your mettle by boasting that you have another job offer within 3 months so but the real challenge lies in your ability to combat the odds and contribute. You must prove your loyalty and commitment to your current organisation first; lest you are accused of being a job hopper. By loyalty, I am not referring to the number of years you have spent in an organisation but to the contribution you have made to that organisation. Job Hoppers grow faster in the short run but disappear in the long run. I would say that a period of about 1.5 to two years is optimum time to prove oneself and contribute back to the organisation that hired you. To conclude, follow the good old adage 'Well Begun is Half Done'. At the campus itself choose your company with care. Do not be carried away by the hype or glamour or salary/perks. It is best advisable to choose a job where you have a fair degree of independence and responsibility in a professionally managed organisation. Once you settle in and start contributing you will enjoy your job and succeed too. The real acid test would be when years down the line, your resignation is accepted with a heavy heart and not gladly (as good riddance to bad rubbish).

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