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APRIL 8, 2007
 Cover Story
 BT Special
 Back of the Book

Mobile Security
Today, it is all about information and how the right information is sent to the right people at the right time and right place. Uncertainty about how to secure mobile phones in the face of increasing threats is slowing individual adoption of mobile applications. There are many facets of mobile security, including network intrusion, mobile viruses, spam and mobile phishing. Analysts expect big telecom companies to develop security solutions on various security platforms.

Rough Ride
These are competitive times for the Indian aviation industry. As salaries zoom, players are scrambling to find profits. Even the state-owned Indian is now seeking young airhostesses to take on the competition. It is planning to introduce a voluntary retirement scheme for airhostesses above 40 years. On an average, they draw a salary of Rs 5 lakh a year. The salaries of pilots, too, are soaring. According to industry estimates, the country needs over 3,000 pilots over the next five years.
More Net Specials

Business Today,  March 25, 2007

How To Be A Super Executive
Caught in a stressful, 80-hour-a-week job? Don't moan. Instead, just find interesting ways-like these execs have-to beat stress.

"Despite a hectic schedule, I make it a point to book myself into hotels with well-equipped gyms"
Darshan Mehta/CEO/VF Arvind Brands

Every time Darshan Mehta, CEO, VF Arvind Brands, jets out of the country on one of his innumerable overseas trips, one of the first things he packs into his travel bag is a pair of gym shoes and his workout clothes. While he spends most of his working week shuttling between Mumbai, where he lives, and Bangalore, where he works, he also spends considerable time on the road meeting clients, partners and employees across globe. Despite this hectic schedule, Mehta makes it a point to squeeze up to an hour, thrice a week, on working out-he prefers to sweat it out at the swish gym at the tony Bangalore Club, but travel constraints mean that he has to often settle for a hotel gym. "I book myself into hotels with well-equipped gyms," says Mehta, who also burns calories with a twice-weekly game of squash.

While it was initially only select professions such as investment banking where executives spent seemingly endless hours at work, a booming economy means that people-across all levels-working in several fast-growth industries such as it, retail and financial services are now compelled to work long and stressful hours to keep pace with this rapid growth. So, executives have to find ways to fulfill their professional commitments and still find time for family, hobbies and self, i.e., in other words, become super executives, who don't grumble about long hours, family commitments (and the lack of time to fulfill them) and the absence of time away from work.

"I consciously take three or four short holidays every year with family"
Saugata Gupta/CEO, Consumer Products/Marico

How do they do it? IT companies were among the first to offer employees destress options, including gyms, sports facilities and lounges, to help them unwind and maintain efficiency levels; now other firms also offer similar facilities. "Employees need to be as competitive as possible. So, we emphasise practices like flexitime and job rotation to help ease the burden," says Kalpana Srinivasan, Head (HR) at Aspire Systems, an outsourced product development company.

"It's just as important to make time for yourself as it is to make time for work and family," says Renuka Ganesh, Associate Manager, Tavant Technologies, who took six months off after quitting her last job, to pamper herself and unwind from almost a decade on the job. A licensed student pilot, Ganesh has learnt to manage her time to meet her changing lifestyle demands (from being a member of the Air Wing of the National Cadet Corps or NCC to being the mother of an energetic five-year-old).


Activities that are top of the charts with today's super executives.

Gymming, circuit training

Yoga and meditation

Dance, especially calorie-burning ones like Salsa

Trekking, hiking and weekend trips to the great outdoors

Sport; everything from horse riding to biking to squash

Do you do all or any of the following? If you don't, it may be time to start.

Find time for your preferred activity, ideally after work on weekdays or on weekends.

Make the effort to spend some quality time with your spouse and children.

If you find yourself speeding to work and then back home at the end of a day, check your company notice board or the internet for groups you could join.

If you're planning to hit the gym with a vengeance, for example, find good instructors and take it one step at a time. Ditto for Salsa or Meringue; if you feel you want to dance, look around for reputed instructors.

It may be more fun to go trekking or rock-climbing when you are among a friendly bunch of colleagues or friends.

Make it a point to get together with friends and other like-minded people for social interactions at regular intervals.

A.L. Rao, coo, Wipro Technologies, uses a distinctly less active way to relax; he follows a strict regimen of yoga and meditation to unwind. An ardent fan of the Art of Living school of Yoga, Rao can often be found meditating at airport lounges when he's flying to important business meetings. Rather than enjoy an easy Sunday, Rao prefers to drive to the Art of Living campus on Kanakpura Road, on Bangalore's outskirts, and spend a day quietly meditating, away from the chaos of the city. "I meditate for 40 minutes every morning and 15 minutes every evening, wherever I am; over the weekend I go running with music, since this helps me release toxics and tiredness," says Rajnish, Head of Digital Marketing and Revenue, msn India

"We work long hours and riding is a great way to get away from the heat and dust and traffic in Bangalore"
Indivar Reddy/Project Manager/OnMobile

"Prioritising work as soon as it is allocated is the best way to find time outside the confines of your cubicle," says Indivar Reddy, a 33-year-old Project Manager with OnMobile, who spends his weekend riding his BMW F-650 motorbike to destress. "We work long hours and riding is a great way to get away from the heat and dust and traffic of Bangalore," he says, adding that executives must make time for themselves and a hobby to maintain freshness. "For five days, we worry all day (and often all night) about work, so it's imperative that we have something to distract ourselves from work," says Reddy, who recently rode all the way to Ladakh.

Travel is another great stress-buster. If you're the adventurous sort, you could explore far-flung places, especially North East India, which remain unspoilt due to its remoteness. If you're on a larger budget, everything from Iceland to the Antipodes is fair game, say travel operators. A recharge break, though, doesn't have to be an expensive, long vacation. Many executives swear by the benefits of shorter breaks to recharge their batteries. Getting stuck at work for 12 hours or more may be an unwritten requirement nowadays, but taking short breaks helps balance the work-related fatigue. "I consciously take three or four short holidays every year with my family," says Saugata Gupta, CEO, Consumer Products, Marico, who makes it a point to spend time with his kids and take brisk walks every morning.

"It's just as important to make time for yourself as it is to make time for work and family"
Renuka Ganesh/Associate Mgr./Tavant Tech.

While many people prefer to unwind by meditating and trying to mentally shut out the daily grind, others prefer more unusual pursuits. Ashwini Kapila, Director, Barclays Capital, for instance, is an avid cyclist who also likes to go trekking in the Western Ghats and has even driven from Mumbai all the way to Leh, via Manali, Drass and Kargil. Sridhar Iyer, Senior Vice President, Consumer Credit Risk, Personal Financial Services, HSBC, plays basketball religiously every weekend (he's even on the YMCA team in Chembur, a Mumbai suburb). "I also get my hands dirty by working on my plot of agricultural land at Pali, on the outskirts of the city," he says.

If Kapila's experience is anything to go by, it may be a good idea to hook up with like-minded colleagues, since a large group often adds some extra zing to these activities. "I am able to undertake these activities thanks to my colleagues," says Kapila. One of his colleagues goes cycling with him in the morning.

While biking grew from a commuting necessity to a passion for Reddy, finding a hobby or activity away from work need not happen this way alone. Executives say a good place to start is often the company notice board, which could list gyms that offer company discounts, and provide news on dance, drama and music classes. Then, there is the wide world of the internet and sites such as or even the more local, which offer local listings to work-weary executives. Within companies, there are often groups of employees who have common interests and some water-cooler-side gossip is perhaps the easiest way to get started.

"I get my hands dirty by working on my plot of agricultural land at Pali, on the outskirts of the city"
Sridhar Iyer/Sr. VP, Consumer Credit Risk/HSBC

"I am able to undertake these recreational activities thanks to my like-minded colleagues "
Ashwini Kapila/Director/Barclays Capital
At the end of the day, it is important to take a long-term view of things and demarcate well-defined boundaries between work life and activities away from it. "Work is stressful and we tend to get completely spent by the end of every week. To be prepared to go back to work energised every Monday, you must be able to disconnect (and then reconnect) with the daily grind," says Reddy. Arvind's Mehta adds that while it's important to find a way to relax, it's important to be as dedicated to your preferred activity to really unwind. "Working out is like an addiction for me; I must spend time in the gym or on the squash court regularly," he says.

Engineering Finances
India Inc is looking for financial engineers.

Deal Street is getting increasingly complex and difficult. It's no longer enough for companies to dip into their cash reserves or approach banks for finance to buy up other companies. Cross-border, and even domestic, deals now require complex financial arrangements that are increasingly becoming the domain of a niche group of specialists. Financial engineering, as this is called, is already an accepted, and very lucrative, domain in the West. Now, Indian companies, too, are beginning to scout for people with this specialisation. The preferred candidates are MBAs with a specialisation in finance, or Chartered Accountants, or someone with both qualifications. Says Shiv Agarwal, CEO, ABC Consultant: "Even Chartered Accountants are now increasingly coming out of accounting mindset and becoming finance specialists."


WHO'S HIRING: Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Kotak Mahindra Bank, ICICI Bank and a host of other companies.

WHO'RE THEY HIRING: MBAs with specialisation in finance and Chartered Accountants.

AT WHAT LEVELS: Mostly at the senior or middle management levels.

AT WHAT SALARIES: A middle-level executive, with 5-10 years experience, can get salaries of Rs 30-40 lakh P.A; at senior levels, the pay can touch Rs 1 crore. They also get hefty commissions.

AND THE NUMBERS: Industry-wide figures aren't available, but given India Inc's appetite for M&As, demand is expected to explode in the years to come.

Help, Tarun!

Q: I am currently in the final year of graduation in commerce. I want to direct TV commercials in future. Is there any course I can take up? Please suggest.

You can do courses in advertising and media relations as well as film directing. For example, Xaviers Institute of Communication, Mudra Institute of Advertising and Communication and various other institutes offer courses in film direction. There are also several schools offering these courses abroad. Also, you can start by assisting someone in the field. This is a trend that has evolved over the past few years and it provides a great opportunity for newcomers to learn the craft.

Q: I am doing a one-year PG diploma in marketing. I want to explore opportunities in logistics management in retail chains. What are the job opportunities in retail, and are there any specific courses? Please suggest.

There are short-term courses in Logistics and Operation Management. An MBA with an operational leaning may also enhance your career prospects in this field. There are plenty of job opportunities not only in the retail industry but in all industries involving manufacturing, stocking and selling as well as in the consulting and shipping industries.

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.

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..