our internal job vacancies are posted on our intranet and
anyone is free to apply"
Vice President, HR/ HP
the last three years, Prasad Kompalli, 32, Senior Vice President,
sap NetWeaver Development, sap Labs, has morphed from managing
a small 20-person team to heading a 300-strong team responsible
for key strategic decisions at the German enterprise software
giant's global headquarters in Walldorf. And he isn't the only
one. Rather than being content with operating in a restricted
geographical or operational framework, many execs such as Kompalli
are leveraging India Inc.'s global expansion to evolve into global
managers. This change is happening on two fronts: one, Indian
companies are going global like never before, compelling their
managers to adjust to working on a larger scale; and secondly,
MNCs are tapping Indians for many global positions.
These are lucrative positions and often the
first step in the climb to greater heights in your employer's
global pecking order. But it is important that you equip yourself
thoroughly for the task at hand before going ahead and applying
for the position. Bear in mind that apart from your core competence
in your chosen field, you will also need a host of soft and cultural
skills that you either took for granted in your job in India or,
worse, didn't even know you needed.
are encouraged to take responsible positions outside India"
Kompalli, who credits his meteoric rise to
support from his employer, says: "There are many opportunities
if you're willing to hunt around and take risks and face challenges."
hr execs at large multinationals add that the best opportunities
may often be right in front of you and it's only a matter of making
the most of them. "All our internal job vacancies are posted
on our intranet and anyone is free to apply. We encourage people
to apply for jobs anywhere in the world and there are no geographical
restrictions," says Zarir Batlivala, VP, HR, at HP India.
Companies such as sap and hp provide extensive
cultural and business reorientation programmes that train executives
for global positions; and senior managers are often mandatorily
put through these courses. Satish Venkatachaliah, VP HR, SAP Labs
India, says the company has a variety of programmes for its executives,
ranging from two-day workshops on "the global software professional"
to one on "managing virtual teams" conducted in six
Being able to work with a multi-cultural
and multi-racial workforce is perhaps the most critical characteristic
that needs to be acquired. "This was a gradual process for
me and it took 12 to 18 months, before I became comfortable with
the work culture," says T.V. Hariharan, Managing Director,
Europe, for 24/7 Customer, who relocated to London four years
ago from the BPO operator's Bangalore operations. He points out
that the changes can be basic cultural alterations related to
work-life balance (mixing the two is a strict-no-no in the UK)
to more specific issues of business ethics and code of conduct.
Adapting to different cultures, understanding employee attitudes,
work timings and respecting their work styles are also extremely
important. "Five years ago, Indians taking on global roles
used to face tremendous hurdles gaining acceptance from their
peers, but the situation has improved now," says Praveen
Kumar, Vice President, Nortel Services, Asia, who works out of
| HOW TO GO GLOBAL
The Ambitious Manager's Checklist.
Look around for opportunities; your company's
intranet is a good place to start.
Equip yourself to operate outside India; learn inter-cultural
and soft skills. Learn a sport like squash, tennis or golf.
Make sure you take crash/longer courses on the compliance
and regulatory issues
Prove your worth by taking up and delivering on difficult
assignments no one else wants.
Have patience: getting used to a new environment takes time
According to executives, becoming a global
manager involves a diverse set of skills and traits, which can
be learnt within the confines of a classroom and on the job. "Having
a global mindset is perhaps the foundation of this entire process.
Having worked in different cities and markets is an added advantage,"
says Subash Rao Director, hr, Cisco India. Some companies have
institutionalised this process. "Our managers are encouraged
to take responsible positions outside India and are groomed accordingly,"
adds Bhaskar Das, VP, HR, at Cognizant India.
Companies in sectors such as financial services,
infrastructure, hospitality, engineering and metals are also following
a similar path. "While cultural sensitisation is a pre-requisite
for these relocations, the more critical quality is the ability
to quickly understand and be able to operate in a more dynamic
and competitive environment than is available at home," says
Sanjay Jain, Head of Marketing, Bajaj Allianz.
worked in different cities and markets is an added advantage.
A global mindset is perhaps the foundation of this entire
process of becoming a global manager"
Director, HR/Cisco India
In sectors such as financial services, the
rules and norms covering areas such as risk and compliance (and
the ethics involved therein) can vary widely from country to country.
HR heads and executives say that at least a crash course (and,
if possible, a more detailed programme) on these issues is a mandatory
step. "Executives need flexibility and strong domain knowledge
not only in the operational aspects of their job, but also an
understanding of global trends and how to customise broad strategies
for a local market," contends Jain.
The rise of the Indian services industry means
that sectors such as hospitality, too, are leveraging the Indian
managers' global ambitions. For example, Taj Palaces and Resorts
has begun to globalise its presence and has begun to re-orient
its employees accordingly. "Adapting to a work culture in
advanced countries where the workforce is more aware about their
rights than their obligation to perform is the challenge; the
service orientation towards guests in many advanced countries
is more mechanical than natural. Adhering to high guest service
standards is, therefore, becoming increasingly difficult in advanced
countries. This is a factor that Indian managers need to adapt
to," says Yogesh Sriram, Head, hr, Taj Palaces and Resorts.
managers have a higher uncertainty-avoidance threshold than
their counterparts in the West"
HR Head/ABB India and
Part of the adaptation process, say managers,
is a drastic change in mindset. "Indian managers need to
develop a much broader outlook, both personally and professionally,"
says Murali Bala Subramanyam, Executive VP of RPO Worldwide, a
US-based recruitment process outsourcing firm and subsidiary of
Bangalore-based it solutions company iGate. "It's the nuances
of different markets and economies that Indians need to adjust
to: Australia has strict rules on labour and the time that people
spend at work; in Japan, removing non-performing employees is
an extremely costly proposition; and it is not as easy as people
think to hand over a pink slip in the us," says Nortel's
The good news for Indian managers is that
most of them already possess the basic skill sets required to
operate on the global stage. "Indians are masters of managing
chaos at home; so they can easily adapt to more streamlined markets
in the West," claims Neeraj Gupta, Executive Vice President
of Patni Computers, who has worked both in the West and here.
ABB's Head of hr, P.C. Rajiv, sums up the issue. "Indian
managers have a higher uncertainty-avoidance threshold than their
counterparts in the West. This ability to take quick decisions
in the face of ambiguity is something they must leverage on the
So, the next time your boss gives you a difficult
assignment, grab it with both hands. It could well be your ticket
to the world.
The hotel industry is recruiting by the thousands.
India has 160,000
hotel rooms (which are affiliated to Federation of Hotel &
Restaurant Association of India) and about 300,000 rooms, which
are not. The shortage: 100,000 rooms, according to an FHRAI study.
Given the hospitality industry's standard room-employee ratio
of 1:2, there is clearly room for the creation of 200,000 jobs.
"The indirect employment generation potential is five times
as much," says Rajesh Mishra, President, FHRAI. Currently,
281 star hotels with 30,000 rooms are being built across the country.
That means at least 60,000 direct jobs will be created over the
next two years. "We are still in a pre-boom stage. When the
hospitality boom reaches its crest, there will be a dearth of
trained manpower," he adds. So, if you're looking for a job
and meet the criteria, the hospitality industry could well be
your ladder to success.
WHO'S HIRING: Indian Hotels, East India Hotels, ITC Hotels,
Leela Group, and every other large, medium and small hotel chain
and even standalone properties.
WHO'RE THEY HIRING: MBAs and pros from rival chains and
graduates of hotel management institutes.
AT WHAT LEVEL: At all levels. mid-level, junior and entry-level
recruitments are most common. Some senior-level movements are
also taking place.
AT WHAT SALARIES: At senior levels: Rs 20-50 lakh p.a.;
at middle levels: Rs 8-20 lakh p.a.; at junior and entry-levels:
Rs 2-8 lakh p.a.
WHAT ARE THE NUMBERS LIKE: At least 60,000 jobs will
be created over the next couple of years; this may rise to 200,000
over the following three.
Q: I am a 21-year-old pursuing MSc (Operational Research). I am
interested in doing a management programme after completing this
course. Will it help my prospects? Also, name a few reputed institutes
I could consider.
A programme in management will definitely help and enhance your
career prospects. I would recommend a full-time mba programme.
There are several reputed institutes offering MBA programmes-IIMs,
FMS, XLRI, Symbiosis, ISB, etc. Most of them have stringent entrance
criteria-so you will need to be prepared. All the best.
Q: I have done my post-graduation in agriculture. At
present, I am working in an agro-input-based industry. I wish
to make a switch to retailing. Is there any training or course
I need to take to make the switch?
You must realise that the retail sector is very different from
the one you are in now. However, if you are sure this is the line
for you, there are certain things you must keep in mind. Retailing
is a fast growing industry. There are many career streams available
within the industry-sales, merchandising and purchase to normal
corporate functions like hr, finance, etc. So, you will have to
choose a specialisation depending on the function you want to
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
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