Success does not come to you. You need to go after it. Success is an outcome of well thought out and effectively implemented plans. Success is the result of your love for and belief in your work. Please note that earnest and conscientious hard work often accomplishes more in the end than brilliant genius. Here is your road map for successful completion of MBA and for landing up in a career of your liking.
1. Optimise your learning experience
The best of the schools offering management education provide excellent opportunities for students to optimize their learning experience. You must realise that your school may not belong to this category. Hence you need to take the ownership to optimize your learning experience. After all, it is your career that is at stake. Here are the ways to optimise your learning experience.
A. Businesses are dynamic. Your textbooks may have some dated material which does not give you a feel of the contemporary business environment. You need to keep yourself updated. Make it a habit to listen to business news channels such as CNBC, NDTV Profit, etc. You get a chance to listen to business leaders, business analysts and business news that will keep you ahead of others. Top it up with reading one business newspaper such as Business Line, The Economic Times, Business Standard or Financial Express. Focus on reading the annual budgets, credit policy announced by the Reserve Bank of India, reviews of latest books, etc. The publishers of these papers have schemes to supply them to students at subsidised rates. Check if your college library has subscribed for some business magazines and journals. It is a good habit to stay in touch with business by regularly reading a magazine of your choice such as Business World, Business India, Business Today, etc.
B. Business management is a professional course and hence it involves lot of practice elements. Try the concepts and theories discussed in the classroom in the market place through operation workouts, live projects, internships, case studies, etc. Discuss your field experiences with your teachers, classmates to improve clarity of your thoughts and for reinforcing your knowledge.
C. Attend guest lectures by industry experts. If your college is not organizing them, you could take the initiative to start them. When the experts from the industry come and speak to you, your learning is beyond the textbooks. They give you a feel of what is happening around.
D. Take up challenging internships. Most colleges pay lip service for internships. Research studies have conclusively established that a good internship by a management student paves way for a good placement. Don’t run away from challenges. Focus on your learning and take up internship which would optimize your learning.
E. Attend seminars, conferences, workshops, etc. conducted by professional bodies, industry associations, academic institutions, etc. It is a good habit to take membership in one of the professional bodies. You would get access to information on what they are doing and also subsidized fee for participation in the programs organized by them. Develop the passion to write and contribute papers for such programs. You would have to write several reports when you practice management. Start this right away. In the initial days you can start with writing letters to the Editor for any newspaper to hone your skills.
2. Organize yourself and manage your time
We often hear people claiming that they do not have time. When you start working during your internship, you will realize time is the most precious thing for all managers. But the fact is God has given this one resource equally to all human beings. It is also true that some people have practiced the art of managing time effectively and consequently created better value. Time management is nothing but forming a habit of acting on one’s priorities. Put your priorities on what matters for your goals two years from now. Cut down on what does not contribute to it. To ensure this it is a good habit to write your daily activities and set priorities on them. Don’t worry if you come across hurdles in the beginning. You may not be able to do what you wanted to do. Don’t give up. You will learn it over a period of time. Practice it time and again. Make it your culture to manage your time.
3. Acquire professional and life skills
Education is a continuing process and more so when managers operate in a dynamic business environment. The skill sets required to be effective as a manager are distinct and you must master them. Peter Drucker, the famous management guru, made the vital distinction between ‘efficient’ and ‘effective’ business skills. Performing an activity swiftly and economically is efficient, while doing the right thing well is effective. Good business management skills guide you towards the right goals, and achievement of those will be highly effective. The skills required of a manager are the following:
B. Strategic thinking
C. People management
D. Communication and interpersonal
F. Problem solving and Decision making
G. Conflict resolution
H. Observation and monitoring
K. Life skills such as stress management, work life balance, willingness to learn and improve,
L. Soft skills.
The best way to acquire skills is not by discussing them in the classroom, but by going into the field and experiencing them. Hence create opportunities for yourself through projects, assignments, internships, workshops, industry visits, interactions with experts, etc. where you learn through experience.
4. Acquire additional qualifications / certifications
The best way to create value for you is to differentiate yourself from others. If all your classmates are just sticking to MBA degree, you achieve something more. There are several value added qualification that you can comfortably acquire with marginal effort. But you need to be focused on which qualification you would acquire. This requires clarity in your career goals. There are certificate courses offered by various institutes and agencies in the sectors such as Banking, Insurance, Financial Markets, Retail, etc. When you finish your MBA and one of the certification courses in your chosen area, you will have advantage over others in a competitive situation.
5. Track the placement opportunities
Markets are dynamic and so are the opportunities for placement. Therefore there is a need to track and understand the trends. Don’t wait till the end of your course to decide on your placement. In fact the preparation for placement starts the day you commence your course. Even if your college does not offer structured placement support, take the initiative to have a placement committee of students who share responsibility for enabling placements to students. This would include collecting data on industry trends in placements, recruitment policies and procedures of companies, training on preparation of resumes, group discussions, personal interviews, preparation of placement brochures, approaching companies for placements, and finally achieving success in securing a dream placement. Read placement news regularly in business papers, analyse the job specifications in the advertisements, keep in touch with your senior students and alumni, if any, to know the developments. All this would help you in a smooth sail for your placement.