Games companies play: While employers
try every trick in the book to woo B-school grads, it's usually
frank talk that works
remember," says Sanjiv Lamba, MD, BOC India, of a memorable
moment wooing B-school students, "we once placed a dozen oxygen
cylinders on the stage, and turned them on in front of a hall full
of management grads, and asked how many would be interested in selling
the product." This presentation was part of the Pre-placement
Talks (PPTs), and competitive recruiters had already moved from
clickety old slide-shows and yawn-inducing speeches to SFX-enhanced
razzle-dazzle. Students had to be hit between the eyebrows, went
the prevailing wisdom. "There was stunned silence for close
to a minute," recalls Lamba, "apart from the satisfaction
of giving them clean air to breathe, we didn't get much of a response.
Maybe we should try laughing gas next time." At least nobody
would forget it.
But Lamba and his fellow recruiters are going
easy on the confetti-n-hoopla shows nowadays. It doesn't work. On
campus after campus, it's back to the basics: the 'talks' part of
PPTs. What used to be the mandatory Q&A session is transforming
itself into something of a dialogue. "We talk to them about
what we expect from them and what they can expect from us,"
says Lamba, who holds himself up as an example too, having made
it to the top swiftly after signing up as a management trainee with
the company just 11 years back.
Shaping The Talks
Before getting to coffee at midnight with students,
though, recruiters have to do their 'market research'. For companies
such as Maruti Udyog, this means engaging first-year students long
before they're actually up for jobs. Company managers routinely
take guest lectures, and encourage students to visit their plants.
"The idea is to co-create a sense of rapport and value,"
says S.Y. Siddiqui, Chief General Manager (HR), Maruti, "and
thereby establish a clear lead during placement time."
There are other interaction devices too. "An
MNC last year did a two-day workshop at IIM, Bangalore to convey
their initiatives in different product categories," recalls
Y.L.R. Moorthi, professor of marketing and placement coordinator
with IIM-B. And B-schools are only too pleased to have such corporate
involvement. "We ask companies to get involved with the students
at a more direct level-by organising classes, guest lectures, discussing
case studies with them etcetera," says Professor Abbasali Gabuli,
Chairperson (External Relations), S.P. Jain Institute of Management
and Research, Mumbai. It's an exercise in mutual learning.
Sometimes, the spadework takes the form of
formal surveys. Beginning 2003, TCS has been using commissioned
research reports to gauge motivations. "Job content is going
to be the primary driver this year," discloses Dilip Mohapatra,
head of recruitment at TCS. The other drivers, in order of preference:
one's own growth prospects, learning opportunities, take-away pay,
work independence, market value enhancement, corporate ethics, market
performance, company's growth prospects, favourable work environment
and cross-functional mobility.
Remuneration is always a hot issue, and this
year, TCS expects fresh MBAs to assign greater weightage to take-home
pay than cost-to-company packages. This could be because they expect
their first jobs to be of short duration, and are thus less concerned
about career-span benefits. This is an insight TCS expects to make
the most of in its PPT pitch, currently under rehearsal.
The dialogue gets the adrenalin pumping only
once the substantive issues come up. Thanks to the info-glut, students
are already tuned into the basics. "Students who turn up at
these interactions also study the background of the companies concerned,
and appreciate recruiters who level with them," says Gaurav
Nagpal, member of the placement cell at IIM, Calcutta. And 'level
with us' is often a demand for a credible disclosure of just how
much management-say they'd really get. Will they really get to formulate
strategy? This, says Sanjay Muthal, Senior Group VP (HR), Hinduja
Group, is what's on their minds.
According to Sanjiv Goenka, Vice Chairman,
RPG Enterprises, qualitative aspirations have become quite crucial
to fresh MBAs, and the more sensitive ones must be approached with
a silken touch. "We talk to them about career progression and
the amount of freedom they can expect in day-to-day operations,"
In all, the aim is to generate pre-nup enthusiasm;
and some recruiters do this by dropping the inhibitions of formality
to convey a sense of intoxication with their own jobs. If students
get the 'high', they'd probably do well. Cadbury, for instance,
tries to besot students with visions of the 'Cadbury taste of life'.
According to Sharad Gangal, GM (HR), Cadbury India, the company's
PPTs are getting increasingly informal. It helps attracting those
who'd bring more than their analytical skills to the business.
Eventually, though, for any enduring vision
alignment to occur, it's good old honesty that must seal the deal.
Both signatories need to be utterly convinced of the mutual gain
in consummating the talks.
|Ma Foi's Chhabra: Delving deep into grey
Ever been put through
a psychometric test for a job? If you want to be on the other side-as
a test administrator-you would have to be a specialised recruiter.
According to Shruti Chhabra, Consultant (Assessment Practice), Ma
Foi, Delhi, the discipline needs post-grads in psychology, though
"non-psychologists need rigorous training before they can be
licensed to conduct the tests". Ma Foi holds a licence to the
16 Personality Factor (or 16pf) 5th edition test, issued by the
Institute of Personality and Ability Testing in the US, from where
officials visit India every six months to grant licenses. Statistical
training is a must. You'd need soft skills too, to interpret subconscious
expressions. The money? Veteran testers "charge a substantial
sum by the hour", says Chhabra.
I am a 39-year-old working as a senior personnel officer with a
PSU for the last decade. I also worked with the Railways earlier
as a legal assistant for five years. Now, I want to join an MNC
in the HR department. But despite my experience and a good educational
background (Masters in social work and Bachelors in law, with specialisation
in HR and labour laws respectively), I haven't got a good offer
so far. Will it help if I do an additional course in HR from an
institution such as XLRI? Also, can my age be a hindrance? Please
Honestly, given your age and PSU work experience, you're an unlikely
candidate for an hr position at an MNC. However, it's tough, but
not impossible. It can be done if you follow a few steps. First,
a full time course at an institution like XLRI will surely help,
but for that you have to be able to take two years off. If that
does not seem possible, try looking at personnel/IR (industrial
relations) jobs in factories in the private sector. After accumulating
some work experience there, you can then attempt to move to hr.
That will be a simpler, and probably the best, route to attain your
I am a 22-year-old agriculture graduate.
I want to be successful in a corporate job, and am slightly perplexed
about the right career path to choose. Firstly, I would like to
know what prospects are open to me if I do a course in agri-business
management. Also, I have two other options: one, I am interested
in being a stock analyst, and two, I have done a diploma in export
management from the National Institute of Export Management. Given
all these alternatives, what should I choose to do? Please help.
What's critical is: do you know what you are
good at? After all, agri-management, stock analysis and exports
are vastly different from one another. An agri management course
could lead you to agro-chemicals, fertilisers or other agro-based
industries in the operations or marketing side; to be in the finance/stock
market field, you need an MBA in Finance or a CFA degree; and your
diploma in export management will be able to get you a job in either
export companies/departments. All can lead to successful careers,
but you need to choose the one where your real interest and aptitude
I am a 25-year-old commerce graduate working
as an accounts assistant with a textile company for the last two
years. I am looking for a career in banking/investment or in foreign
exchange. Will a CFA course from ICFAI help me get a good job in
any of the sectors? Also, how do the prospects of a person who has
done a CFA course differ from those of a CA or someone with an MBA
in finance? And is it necessary to have work experience if I intend
to take up a job in any of these sectors? Help.
Let me address your last question first. In
any field of work, it is always an advantage to have prior experience.
After all, any company will prefer someone who already has some
knowledge about the job that he has to do. Having said that, however,
let me make it clear that it is not a hurdle you cannot cross. Regarding
your qualifications, a CFA course will certainly enhance your prospects
of entering the field of investment. But a ca or an MBA Finance
will have an advantage because both these necessitate two-to-three
years of fulltime activity and offer more career choices.
I am a 21-year-old science graduate with
specialisation in agriculture. Biotech is the field that attracts
me the most, and in this regard I would like to have your advice
on how best to equip myself, in terms of educational qualifications,
for a successful career in this industry. Between a Masters in biotechnology
and a specialised course in genetics or seed technology, which one
will be better for me? If I pursue a Masters degree, do I need any
additional qualifications as well? And what kind of compensation
can I expect?
To be frank, while a Masters degree is good,
if you are really serious about an R&D career in biotech, what will
truly enhance your prospects is a PhD. And between genetics and
seed technology, while the latter will limit you to the agri-field,
genetics will leave the field open for pharma-oriented biotech companies
as well as agri-oriented ones. Your choice will depend on where
you feel you have more aptitude and interest. Regarding your query
on compensation, while at junior levels the compensation in research
is not very high, specialised research does fetch very good money.
Answers to your career concerns are contributed
by Tarun Sheth (Senior Consultant) and Shilpa Sheth (Managing
Partner, US practice) of HR firm, Shilputsi Consultants. Write to
Help,Tarun! c/o Business Today, Videocon Tower, Fifth Floor, E-1,
Jhandewalan Extn., New Delhi-110055.
Summer Of '69
Pros and cons of hitching
your summers' employer.
|The summers firm: It's familiar,
but is that so good?
B-school students who fancy the comfort of familiarity, it's logical
to join the company at which they did summer training. "A summers
familiarises you with the culture, work environment and values of
the company. You work as an employee and get to know the organisation
in totality," reasons Kaushik Burman, Placement Secretary,
Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), Delhi. "Plus you get a
fix on the compensation."
But as Dr. Ajeetav Naik of FMS says, summer
stints are not exactly jobs, "but part of the academic curriculum
to provide an alive industry-interface". The idea is to use
real-world experience to figure out if one wants to switch target
companies (or even specialisations) before venturing out for good.
For some students, the whole point is to gain
diversified experience at the lowest possible career-cost (summers
is a 'free sample'). Their strategy? To flip sides. "It's a
no-strings-attached inside view of a company," says an ex-student
of Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management, Mumbai, "and that's
of solid value to its rival-so join the other guy."
The secret MBA list
of dropout role-models.
|Mani Ratnam: He's the one
who got away
you joined a b-school because you're smart enough, and want to hit
big time-not defined by a corporate jet at your disposal-rejoice.
You don't need a password for the secret list of MBAs admired on
campuses for opting out of business careers. Here it is.
Mani Ratnam: This graduate of Jamnalal
Bajaj Institute of Management, Mumbai, would top any list, for having
turned filmmaker with a rare passion for true differentiation.
Mallika Sarabhai: Armed with both a
PGDM and PhD from IIM, Ahmedabad she went for another kind of mudra,
turning Kuchipudi and Bharatnatyam artiste. So dancers can talk
economics, after all.
Ingrid Srinath: With a PDDM from IIM,
Calcutta and an 11-year ad stint (at Grey and Lowe), she joined
cry, to fulfil her dream "of serving the underprivileged",
in the words of Gaurav Juneja, student at IIM, Lucknow.
Harsha Bhogle: The IIM, Ahmedabad alum
cricket commentator's name comes straight to the mind of Rahul Gupta,
student of FMS, Delhi. For aligning his brains with his real field
Mini Mathur: With an MBA from IMT, Ghaziabad,
she used her head to capitalise on her looks and spunk as well,
opting for veejaying on MTV. She hosts 'Bombay Blush' on BBC in