Forum: 10 commandments for career success

1st of November, 2010 Bookmark and Share
At the fourth edition of the Corporate Connect Series for MBAs, top CEOs and CMOs shared their tips and experiences on how MBAs can build successful careers. The keynote address was delivered by Mr. Ravi Swaminathan, Managing Director and Regional Vice President (Sales and Marketing), AMD South Asia.
Mr. Swaminathan is a chemical technologist from the University of Bombay and an MBA from the IIM Ahmedabad. He holds an Advanced Management Diploma from INSEAD, France.
In his earlier assignments, he was President (Personal Systems Group) at Hewlett Packard; Director (Consumer Products Group) at Compaq and Business Manager at ICI Limited. With over 30 years of experience in general management, sales, marketing, planning and distribution, he has the knowledge and expertise to guide MBA students on how to achieve success in their careers.
Sharing his experiences with the gathering of MBA school students at the Corporate Connect Series on October 30, 2010, Mr. Swaminathan, listed out a distinct, yet practical list of ‘Ten Commandments’ that would help MBAs to be successful in their chosen career paths.
1. Ownership
Take ownership seriously. There are two kinds of people – those who drive and those who are driven. Ownership is all about the ability to take charge and drive change. Do you want to be the one who gives excuses or the one who gives results? The biggest key indicator is not the name of the B school that you came from, your background or how well you speak or dress, but it is about what you ultimately bring to the table – your performance. Ultimately, it is your performance that will differentiate you from the others.
2. Set High Standards
David Ogilvy used to give Babushka dolls to new joinees to teach a simple lesson – always set high standards for yourself at work. When hiring, always hire someone who is superior to you. When that becomes a practice, you will build a company of giants. If you hire someone who is inferior to you and that becomes the practice, you will have a company of pygmies.
3. Think Big, Plan Small
Plan big. Just as you have team sessions, go ahead and have dream sessions where you can talk about your biggest dreams, but at work, always have an eye for detail. Remember, a small leak can sink a big ship.
4. Power of Team Work:
Boss management, peer management and project management – it is all about team work. There is no ‘I’ in team work. The power of team work should never be underestimated.
5. Power of Networking
The same applies to the power of networking today. To cite an example, a decade ago, you could find jobs mostly through newspaper ads or job sites. In the coming years, the top headhunters are likely to spot the best talent and recruit through networking and social media than through the conventional medium of newspaper or online ads. About 90% of recruitments will be based on the power of networking.
6. Reinvent Yourselves Periodically
The pace of change is accelerating probably every two or three years. Therefore, we have to reinvent ourselves periodically. We have to manage the risk that comes along with such change. The biggest risk is in continuing status quo.
7. Change the Rules of the Game
In B-schools, what typically happens is that we do most of our learning from the rear view mirror, from successes of this and failures of that. However, you, as MBAs, have to change the rules of the game.
8. Play to Your Strengths
You all have great strengths but tend to focus on the areas of weaknesses. Make sure that your weaknesses do not jeopardize your performance. Be comfortable with your weaknesses and play on your strengths.
9. Manage Risk Responsibly
We all have to manage risk in our life, whether it is a job change or a decision that needs to be made.
10. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
Remember, it’s a marathon ahead. Don’t take yourselves too seriously. Health and family is very important to your happiness. Learn to have a good time. Managing stress is something very critical, so look at life with 360 degree vision.
The session was followed by a brief question and answer session, wherein an MBA student asked, “You mentioned that it is ultimately performance that matters but most companies when recruiting raw MBA students, give utmost importance to their marks in deciding whom to hire.”
To this, Mr. Swaminathan replied, “It is a fact of life that the first time when MBAs are entering organizations, their grades will be critical. Two or three years down the lane, that will not be the case. For example, when I recruit mature MBA professionals, I look at their values and their performance, not their grades. As you gain experience in your domain, your grades become less critical but your performance becomes most important.”
Earlier, in his welcome address, Mr. Amit Agnihotri, Chairman,, stated, “These sessions are essential for MBA students to connect and learn from the professionals. Try and reflect after the session. What is your passion? What excites you? These are sessions for you to take the wisdom and connect.”
The fourth edition of the Corporate Connect Series for MBAs was addressed by many CEOs and CMOs, including L.K.Gupta, CMO, LG India; Manish Mittal, Business Head, Cognizant Consulting; Ranajit Ghosh, Category Head, ITC Personal Care; Rajiv Sahdev, Vice President HR, Moser Baer and Amit Tiwari, Country Head, Media, Phillips India. Each session in the event was followed by a brief question and answer session wherein MBA students from various schools asked questions directly to the speakers and had their career related queries cleared by the learned speakers.
Stay tuned to for more insights and highlights from this knowledge event.
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