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Listen Up, MBA Students!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Finishing your MBA is the hard part, but what about the expectations of your boss at your new job? The CII recently held an interactive and fun panel discussion for young MBA aspirants called, ‘What do CEO’s expect from young MBAs’, Dhriti Menon reports

Conferation of Indian Industry held an interesting CEO Connect for Management students titled, ‘What do CEO’s expect from fresh MBA’s’ at the NMIMS campus, recently.  The event was a basic panel discussion that included some big names from the industry giving their insight to a hall-full of MBA aspirants about what exactly is expected from them when they bag management jobs. The panel consisted of R Mukundan (MD of Tata Chemicals), Arun Nanda (Director of Mahindra Ltd), Anuj Puri (Chairman of Jones Lang LaSalle), Ninad Karpe (CEO Aptech) and Nilay Yagnik (Chairman of NMIMS School of Business Management). Apart from emphasizing on the general aspects of what a management student should aspire to be or do, the panelists kept the talk light hearted, some of who openly joked with each other which in turn kept the students eager and interested in what they had to say.

The panelists spoke about a variety of issues, but here are the key points of advice they urged the young ones to take - Customer comes first.
Arun Nanda explained this point well by saying, “It does not matter what you like. What matters is what your customer wants. Why is it our most prominent five star chains did not not succeed in the market? Because the owner could only think of Italian Marble, teak and brass and not anything else, and therefore could not lure in customers who wanted a room for just 1500 rupees. First learn to be a team player and learn to be humble. Nothing works better than humility.”

When working in this field it is advisable to brush that chip of your shoulder and realize that your profession is always about what the customer wants and needs and not vice versa.

No end to learning
The panelists gave a great emphasis to this point and continuously reminded the students to never stop learning. They noted that even though a person reaches a certain part in their career where they can say they’re quite successful, it is still not the end of the road when it comes to learning. “I often look towards my sub-ordinates to learn knew things. Things that I thought I had covered but was clearly mistaken. Your whole professional life is just another learning process. To tell yourself that you know everything is probably the biggest mistake you can make,” said Nanda.

Stick to your values
“What CEO’s look for in their sub-ordinates or what each employee should understand to move up in a company is their sense of values. Each one of us has a sense of values which have basically molded who we are and it’s very important to never let go of that. Every decision you take and every crossroad you encounter will be according to your value system. Do not get swayed by what ‘other people’ are doing,” explains R Mukundan. Another thing is that, using your values you take a decision and just hope that you have a boss  who is a little indulgent. Never forget that the goodness your boss has given you should be exactly the sort of treatment you give your subordinates when you are their boss. It’s important to pass that along.

Be indulgent
Another interesting point that was quite unusual to hear from an older group of panelists was their advice to stay indulgent with subordinates. R Mukundan said, “What everyone must remember is that younger recruits or subordinates come into a company as  a fresh mind with a better idea about what’s out there. They have skill that needs to be honed, and that’s your job. Try being indulgent with their ideas.”

Taking calculated risks are okay. Trying new ways are too. Infact that’s what a CEO looks at in a recruit, whether he or she has the chops to show their individuality in their work and decisions. That will make you stand out.

Have a sense of humour
Anuj Puri beautifully described the value of having a sense of humour by starting this discussion with a joke.  “In this profession you will come across various people, but you will notice that the really successful and popular folk come armed with a great sense of humour and the ability to laugh at themselves. With an attitude like this, it is easy to enjoy your work.”

He also added that apart from networking constantly and adapting to change it’s very essential  to know what to fight for and when to fight for it. There come times when people should realize to pick their battles so as not to drain their energy or interest. Anuj Puri, also highlighted the emotional aspect. He said,as one rises up the corporate ladder, it is important to have emotions, manage relations and trust as well as build a network. He added that with the changing and challenging times, speed is of the essence is today’s dynamic times.

The interactions gave students a much required perspective on what is not taught at a B-school but is most expected out of management graduates.

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