Sunday, April 24, 2005

EuroTelcoblog.. Future of Analysts


Saturday, April 23, 2005

Peer Pressure . You are the best buddy..

Second in class! So X came first again? What's wrong with you - aren't you good enough?" Perhaps you've grown up hearing lines like this through childhood. I did.Comparisons like this can be the most noxious things to happen. It took me a long while to dig myself out from the mess of others' expectations. But emerge I did - with a clear belief that not just will I steer clear of such benchmarking in my adult life, I will never submit my kid to such psychological warfare.The horrible habit doesn't end at school. I've seen college students wrenching their guts over some classmate who got the best-paying job at placement time, someone else who got the university gold, some other applicant who got the full overseas tuition waiver. And in all my talks at colleges, I spend more time on this than on any other fundamental of business.It's hard to tell people that comparisons are a waste of time - so deeply-ingrained in our psyche is this peer-pressure nonsense. But two things clear up the clouds. One is a statement (and I have no hard statistics, only overwhelming anecdotal evidence) that most of these toppers, gold medal winners, - the envied ones - typically end up nowhere, compared to where you are or where you can be.And even if they've, it's not where you want to be. Sure, your roommate at Powai ended up earning $150K at Goldman Sachs writing research reports on stocks he knows nothing about, living on a lifestyle conveyor belt he can't get off. But is that why you went to IIT to do your B. Tech? Careful what you envy. You might actually get it, and regret it for the rest of your life.The second is a more basic belief: that all human beings are unique. Nothing too earth-shattering, except when you apply it to your career. Think about it. You're different from every one of your batchmates, aren't you? Your combination of talent, personality, likes and dislikes is what sets you apart from everybody else. You haven't met anybody like you - and you're as individual as your fingerprint, to sound like bad advertising copy. You'll agree that your perfect career is one that will 'fit' your talent and personality to a T. And by the same logic, your perfect career won't suit anyone else - just as anyone else's perfect career won't suit you.But if all this were true, as you're nodding in agreement, why the heck did you apply and fight for the same jobs and write the same exams? Why are you benchmarking yourself against that colleague from MBA class who is a VP while you're still an assistant vice-president? Why should you bother that X has a better car, that Y was given a bigger company flat, and that Z married into a richer family than you did? Would being in X, Y or Z's place really make your life suddenly more meaningful?It's a hard one to get your head around. But that doesn't make it any less true: envy is a pointless emotion when it comes to your career. Or even life. At the root of envy is your insecurity about yourself - and your true worth. And insecurity is a great mirage that the system (including us marketing types) have a vested interest in seeing continue.If you really believed (like many of us do) that people should judge you for your brains and not your looks, you'd put Lakme and L'Oreal out of business. Advertisers, parents, the establishment - all know their job is to make you feel insecure - so you're conned into thinking that only if you use the right shampoo will you find the right guy, or use the right cologne to find the right girl, or top your class to find the right career. Balderdash.What sets successes apart from also-rans is not the right fairness cream or education or marksheet - but the strength to reject the notion that there's anything wrong with you, or that you need to be like anyone else.Read up about biographies of people you admire. You won't find wardrobes or accents or family pressure in common, but a common belief that they didn't give a damn about wanting to be like their peers.

Investment Banking

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Why not everyone can be a CEO

Why not everyone can be a CEO

When you come out a good B-school, you get a headstart of a few years over those who have either not done an MBA or have studied at a lesser institute.

That's because you get trained in tactical capabilities -- you learn how to correctly approach problems. You become an 'individual contributor' to the success of the organisation; you perform well because all that you learnt during the programme is still fresh in your mind.

Within a few years, you become a team member. There are different dynamics at play -- you seek and give information, dependent on your individual skills.

If you succeed at that, you move to the managerial level, where you direct people. And if in your climb up the ladder, you haven't honed your people skills, you're not going to be able to do your job well.

You need clarity of vision and the ability to energise people to perform better. B-schools prepare you for the first step, but not the next three or four stages of corporate growth.

What you need to examine is why only some management graduates become leaders, and why some non-MBAs make great leaders. The trouble is that B-schools don't impart enough leadership skills.

Of course, these are not skills you can learn in the year or two that you spend on your management programme, but B-schools need to set the direction for people to learn and inculcate.

How to motivate people, how to influence them and how to get the best out of them are indispensable skills in today's -- indeed, any -- corporate environment.

How do management institutes prepare leaders for the future?

There's more to leadership. In the global economy, leadership is about running global teams. In such a scenario, 'secondary' issues like ethics and values then assume overwhelming importance.

When you are working in a team -- especially a globally diverse team -- it is necessary to demonstrate the right kind of values and behaviour. I'm not sure that MBA programmes equip their students adequately in these areas.

Are B-schools turning out students who are globally sensitive? Do they possess the critical capability of linking globally? Do they have global mindsets? Will they respect the values of the organisation, rather than attempt to maximise their short-term gains?

One way of achieving all this is by not restricting the curriculum to just Indian case studies. Teach management students more about what's happening -- currently -- across the world.

That will also help address the issue of technology. Technology today is very fluid and fast changing. How are B-schools preparing individuals for the need to constantly reskill themselves? I said at the beginning that you get a few years' headstart if you complete your MBA from a good school.

But keep in mind that the constant churn in technology means that you will soon lose the headstart and find yourself at par with, or even below, your juniors.

That's difficult for many upcoming executives to accept. But equally, it's important that the MBA programmes teach their students to accept change as inevitable and move forward.

That said, it is also critical that B-schools teach their students that not everybody makes it to the CEO slot. Don't allow students to graduate with the mindset that anything less than the top job is unacceptable.

How should B-schools go about making these improvements? Most management institutes adopt the case study route, and there's nothing really wrong with that.

But it is necessary to include programmes that focus on the issues discusses -- leadership, change management, and values and ethics development.

A leader's acid test lies not in the profits he earns or corporate successes he engineers, but in the number of leaders he coaches and nurtures in the organisation. The barometer of leadership is the depth of leadership potential.

B-schools need to emphasise that it's not enough to use the skills you're taught. Can you help others use theirs to the best of their abilities? Can you develop leaders across levels in the organisation, regardless of whether it is a non-government organisation or a for-profit outfit?

Monday, April 18, 2005

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Monday, April 04, 2005

Yahoo 360 Invitation

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