A day in the life of a Research Analyst!

Working as a research analyst requires a number of key competencies and skills. Research professionals conduct research, analyze data, and help organizations find solutions to various problems. Accurate knowledge of situations and circumstances, markets, industry sectors, emerging issues, and priorities are crucial to examining a project’s goals and success. As a student, it’s critical to understand the skills that are crucial to a research analyst:

  1. Stay updated: Read both sector-specific and general happenings from newspapers, magazines and other sources such as twitter. Additionally, analysts track reports, developments and trends from the sector, government and academia. If you have all the relevant data at your fingertips you will be able to analyze it well.
  2. Conduct analysis: Analysts conduct quantitative and quantitative analysis. Qualitative include statistical modelling, extrapolation of graphs, regression models. Qualitative analysis includes key informant interviews, focus groups, and expert panels. Research is important in sectors such as consumer products, equities, startups, IT, medicine and more. Research analysts conduct extensive but highly-focused research on a topic of interest and then present the present the results to the stakeholders and partners.
  3. Know your tools: You require sources to collect your data for market research. There are primary and secondary research sources. Primary includes methods like survey, interviews, questionnaires, observations, focus groups and field trials. Secondary research involves summary, collation and synthesis of existing research data. Secondary research coils also include sources such as reports and articles by external agencies – government or non-government sources.

Typically, a day of a research analysts depends on the sector they are involved in. For example, consumer research might involve designing a questionnaire, reading articles, examining online discussion forums, industry and government websites, or crunching numbers, consulting with industry leaders, presenting findings and recommendations in a report. Usually, research analysts work by themselves as opposed to a consultants working in teams. So before you take the plunge, understand the nuances of the sector where you plan to do research. It’s a rewarding and academic profession, with the added benefits of papers and patents to your name!

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A day in the life of a Social Media Intern!

Social media has taken over the world over the past few years.  It is often seen as a reflection of a company and its primary marketing vehicle. Young people today are active on social media platforms and are also inclined towards social media marketing as a career option. While the prospect sounds exciting and fun, it can also be technical and demanding as a role. You will need to be on your toes all the time, especially if you’re working at an agency for a variety of clients. Let’s see what are the different aspects of social media marketing as an intern.

  1. Skills required: A social media intern is required to create posts and visuals across different platforms. Therefore, having an eye for detail and communication skills are important. A social media marketing intern should be deadline oriented and punctual as campaigns are time sensitive. Being aware of the audience preferences and trends on different social media platforms helps too! Creativity and ideation go a long way in differentiating your product or company from others.
  2. Platforms and tools in use: Social media platforms that one should be aware of are GooglePlus, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, Skype, Pinterest, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Quora, LinkedIn amongst others. Additionally, Canva helps you design posts for the different platforms. You can create cards or e-invites on Paperless and send them to your contacts. Flipagram makes videos in just less than a minute! Mailchimp makes email marketing quicker by creating a template in an organised manner. Instagram and Facebook also now allow you to broadcast live to connect with an audience! You can even run paid campaigns in order to advertise on Google, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
  3. Measuring success: Make sure you’re clear on the objective of each campaign, and also conduct analytics to measure the performance of your campaign. Check on the engagement and reach of your posts. How many people watched the live video you posted? How many people did your advertisement reach, and how many clicks did it generate to your website? What were the sales generated and leads created through your social media campaign?  Understand your brand positioning and strategy. You can position your posts and target them to different audiences leveraging the data and filtering tools available. This will ensure maximum relevance of your content to the audience reached.

The typical day of an intern is spent on the actual social media platforms, posting and exploring. Their morning starts with brainstorming on current trends and creating posts accordingly. Checking various social media updates on a daily basis, scheduling posts, creating engaging videos and new content is critical. Working with experts where relevant to get content and going for shoots could also be part of your experience.As an intern in social media marketing you’ll be able to develop your creativity and apply your interest to boost the marketing of a company. It’s a growing field and one where lots of young talent is desired!

A day in a life of an IAS Officer

Becoming an IAS officer is one of the most desirable and sought after career paths in the public sector. It gives a candidate a chance to be part of the bureaucracy and work for the people. Every year lacs of aspirants apply for UPSC. In 2015 around 9 lac applied while only 1078 candidates could qualify the mains. New IAS, IFS, IPS, IRS, and other central officers are trained after their recruitment and allotted their regions.

So what does it take to be an IAS officer?

Step 1: UPSC every year conducts the civil services examination that screens candidates for selection in the IAS, IPS and other central services. Being one of the toughest examinations of India, Civil Services Examination requires rigorous  preparation and training. Civil Service Examinations are conducted in three steps – Prelims, Mains and Interview. Prelims test the basic understanding and aptitude of the candidate through quantitative reasoning and logic and knowledge on world affairs. Mains is an in-depth test on a particular subject chosen by the candidate. Based on the results of Mains and Interviews ranks are allotted.

Step 2: Selected candidates are called in for an interview which is conducted by a panel of officers. Prepare by reading the news, history of India, foreign policy, economic conditions, geography of India, and more. You will need to be up to date with your general knowledge.

Step 3: Being part of the government machinery requires much more than academic qualifications and intelligence. Aspirants preparing to become IAS officers must possess certain qualities that are above the normal qualification criteria put down by the UPSC. An IAS officer is the representative of the  government at whichever position they are deployed. Hence, an IAS officer needs to show exceptional leadership skills and guide others towards a unified goal of development and betterment of people. One of the key responsibilities of an IAS officer is to look after the day to day administrative affairs of their jurisdictional area.

IAS officers with good work ethic set a precedent for their associates. A typical officer arrives at work by 10am and is done by 5pm. There is no work required on the weekends. Perks include government housing and other services over and about your salary. There are a lot of coaching centres that provide long and short courses. If you wish to study on your own, there is a lot of study material online. Take advice from people who have given the paper or  your fellow aspirants and get started with your applications!

A day in the life of an Entrepreneur!

According to a report by Nasscom, India will become home to 10,500 startups by 2020. With so many people taking on entrepreneurship, you may be wondering, is it the right path for you? Before we take a glimpse of a day in the life of an entrepreneur, let’s take a look at some demands of entrepreneurship.

  • Motivation: Do you feel strongly about an idea or vision? Can you keep yourself going through ups and downs? Are you ready to take risks and deal with difficult people? Being driven and self motivated will help you build resilience even during the tough times of your start-up!
  • Customer and team focus: As an entrepreneur, you’ll have to meet your client needs. Entrepreneurship demands customer focus because building a product that people buy is critical! Interpersonal skills and listening to  people’s needs are important. These will help build great relationships with your clients and also your team, suppliers, shareholders, investors and beyond.
  • Patience and persistence: As an entrepreneur, the ability to wait for your product market fit is important. Not everything clicks on day 1, so you may need to wait for building your customer base, product development and even payments from clients! You need to set regular targets, plan and organise yourself, and wait for those critical opportunities to come to you!

A typical day for an entrepreneur starts early checking the phone for emails and messages! The morning may be spent on planning the day, and then doing a team meeting to set the priorities for the day. The rest of the day often includes meeting with key stakeholders such as customers, team leads and investors. Many entrepreneurs are in the field promotiny their organisations and working to get partnerships. After some me-time and dinner, they’re often back to replying to their mails and messages! Running a company is clearly not a 9-to-5 job, but at the end of the day the buck stops with you. So you can plan your day as you see best and make it work for you!

What’s a day like of a Consultant?

Consulting is often the default career option of most graduating students. Companies such as McKinsey, KPMG, BCG, Bain and Co. are the dream job of many. Ever wondered how a consultant spends the day? Ever wondered what they do? A consultant is a professional advisor in different fields such as management, education, accounting, IT, human resources, marketing, finance, engineering, amongst other areas. As an outsider, they are often able to offer a fresh and unique perspective to a company and solve internal problems from the outside in.

Let us understand their skill set:

  1. Intellectual curiosity: Being hungry to learn is an important skill required in consulting. Being an ardent reader will help you go a long way. Inculcate the habit of reading relevant magazines, books and being aware of the general trends in industry. As you will provide an outside lens to the company, it is advisable to be knowledgeable and aware to give unique insights!
  2. Communication and teamwork: Consulting involves working in a team. One of the most important skills is the ability to work well with others. You have to be able to get along with, listen to, speak to, and handle other people in order to consult. Your communication and interpersonal skills must be effective in order to be patient with varied personality types. You will also need to influence different people, some who might be older than you, and that is often a challenge!
  3. Problem-solving and structuring: You will deal with different types of businesses and unique issues. You will need to break down the issues into bite sized pieces and then work in a team to solve them. Structuring the solution and putting it together in a presentation is also often part of the role. How to present your findings in a way that your manager and client understand is critical.
  4. Patience: As a consultant, leadership skills and the ability to take be patient are critical. You will need to motivate your client to make changes to the way they are working, and if you are not driven and excited about the work you will lose interest very quickly!

Let’s see what the clock of a consultant’s life holds. You will often be required to meet your clients daily and work at the client sites. For example, you may have to work at a bank branch or office if you’re consulting a bank. Travel is a must as you will have to visit the client wherever they are. An MBA from a good business school or an undergraduate degree from a Tier 1 college is where most management consulting firms hire from. So now that you know what consulting is about, if you’re interested, get ready to prepare for case interviews and many rounds of personal interviews before you get hired!

A day in the life of a Marketing professional!

Traditionally, we learn about the 4Ps of marketing – product, price, promotion and place. Today, marketing involves so much more. Marketing professionals in the digital world need to understand the full spectrum – from branding, PR, internal communication, digital marketing, content development, blogging, social media, designing, websites, data analysis, strategy, market research, product design and more.  – everything that promotes you and your company! So what are some skills that marketers need?

 

  • Creativity: As cliche as this sounds, marketing requires creative people. This is the team that comes up with new ideas and out of the box concepts! Creative thinking combined with aesthetic sensibility and an eye for design will take you to the next level. Strong marketing professionals are constantly thinking of new ways to differentiate their brand from others.
  • Consumer connect: Marketing requires you to research and understand the end consumer to whom you are selling. You would be required to put yourself in their shoes and think from their perspective. Your campaign ideas would eventually be communicated to the sales team and the effectiveness of your ideas would be measured based on the return on investment in terms of product purchase. If you can cater your campaigns according to what the user is looking for, you will see maximum return and appreciation for your work!
  • Communication skills: Written and spoken communication forms a vital part of marketing. Be it PR communication, blogging, email marketing, newsletters or pitching your firm to external stakeholders. The marketing team is often out meeting clients and using powerpoint, prezi or other tools to present and pitch the company to various stakeholders. Getting the right messages out and articulating them effectively is critical for this department.
  • Detail-orientation: An eye for detail is a must when it comes to graphics, content and design. Uniformity of text and design, proper branding and persistence is important in marketing.

 

Beyond these core skills, a day in the life of a marketer requires making connections, keeping up to date with current trends, dealing with crises and client issues, budgets and planning. It is a fast-moving department so be ready to be on your toes! If you are keen on this career path, you can apply for jobs at marketing agencies or branding departments of companies directly out of college. Given the current focus on digital and online, a Master’s Degree is not required for a career in marketing! If you already have a Master’s in Marketing or an MBA, that would also work as a platform to apply for marketing roles. All the best!

A day in a CEO’s life!

With budding entrepreneurs in the pipeline, there will be a whole package of  great CEOs in the country. Ever thought about what a CEO does on a daily basis? What  skills do you need to possess and how can you get work done? This week we have looked at the key skills required to make it to the top and will give you a glimpse of how a CEO spends his / her day! Let us first understand the role of  a CEO:

A Chief Executive Officer is responsible for the every-day management and implementation of a company’s long-term and short-term plans. He is the leader, visionary, decision-maker, and manager of the company and its employees. Someone who the employees look up to.

In order to execute such responsibilities, one needs to possess the following skills:

 

  • Leadership and motivation: A CEO advises the Board, promotes the organisation and looks into the operations of different departments. He / she delegates projects to the managers on the basis  of their skills and strengths. He / she chiefly motivates the employees in the organisation and creates a vision!
  • Team-work and people skills: It is the CEO who is the interface between the Board and company, between the company and community. Assures the organization and its mission, programs, products and services are consistently presented in strong, positive image to relevant stakeholders.
  • Management and decision-making: It is the CEO who recommends the yearly budget for and prudently manages organization’s resources within those budget guidelines according to current laws and regulations. Implementation of plans and management of  human resource is among the key role of a CEO. Eventually the buck stops with the CEO so they need to feel fully responsible for all outcomes, whether good or bad!

 

Let’s take a closer look at the day of a CEO! According to a survey conducted by CEO.com, about 80% CEOs wake up at 6 am and work an average of 57.8 hours hours a week (10 – 11 hours per day). CEOs spend around 2.5 hours in meetings everyday, interacting with executives, stakeholders and customers. The CEOs travel often for work. On average, 86% spend between 1 – 10 days of the month on the road or in flights. When tallying up the amount of time they spend on projects or activities each day, a CEO is busy far more than 24 hours every day, while remaining positive about what they can achieve in that time period.

The youth from smaller cities should dream big!

India has 8000 towns, and yet we tend to highlight the few key metros. The youth belonging to smaller towns and rural parts of India are extremely hard working and talented. However, many companies and opportunities are often situated in bigger cities, and seem inaccessible to them. On recent trips to Nasik, Patiala and Chandigarh I saw the tremendous potential of our youth. They can still get to their dream jobs if they put in some  additional effort on reaching out to the right people and tapping available resources!

Here are some ways they can approach the access gap:

  • Leveraging technology: Students can leverage the internet to research different job opportunities and create a strong LinkedIn profile. They can undergo training to upskill themselves online and connect with mentors who inspire them via email. They can leverage whatsapp video and Skype to undergo interviews with companies who may not be located in their area. Further, they can download apps to improve their communication and English if that is an area of anxiety for them.
  • Government and non-profit offerings: The government and several non-profits are trying to reach out to the youth and help them improve their skills. Do some research and see if you can avail of any opportunities such as the UNDP’s Disha program or skill trainings of the National Skill Development Corporation.
  • Connect to industries: MNCs are constantly seeking fresh talent to join them as interns or employees. Keep a track of various openings in neighbouring towns even if it’s just an internship.It will give you a foot in the door to build a network, gain experience and build your resume for opportunities in the future.

 

Over the decades, big ideas and successful entrepreneurs from small towns have made a mark. For example, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the founder of PayTM comes from a small town near Delhi. He was able to bridge the access gap and set up an organization that not only achieved national but global recognition. With technology, you may not need to leave at all to make your mark. For example, Robosoft is a start-up based in the town of Udupi in coastal Karnataka that has managed to raise venture funding from the likes of Kalaari Capital and keep their base in Udupi itself! So set high goals, let your dreams unfold!

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Ethics are essential for long-term career success!

The recent media coverage on bank scams and frauds has put the entire business and banking sector under a magnifying lens. We have all heard of Satyam, the Fodder scam, and the telecom scams that got citizens questioning known corporate and political leaders. Sometimes, it seems easy to take a short-cut but the smallest mistake can lead to a massive fall from grace and affect your professional reputation. Here is how you can ensure you protect yourself from being part of a major scam:

  1. Professional code of ethics: A professional code of ethics sets a standard for which each member of the company can be expected to meet. Every organization needs to set in place a code of ethics and you should check on this when signing a contract with your employer. A company with high character is worthy of trust and respect, acts honestly, and stands by its promises. If this is not in place, customers lose their interest and trust as the company is involved with a scam and following legal issues. As a result there is a fall in share purchasing which effects the stock market. There is a decline in the product purchasing and company adheres to cost cutting leading to unemployment of many workers. The rating and reputation of the company is at stake in the market. The company loses its credibility, and so will you.
  2. Personal code of ethics: Character drives what we do when no one is looking. We can build our character through the way we live – by thinking good thoughts and performing good acts. A person with character has high morals and will act morally in all situations by choice, not force. A person with character will honor his or her commitments.

To retain a positive reputation and image, businesses must be committed to operating on an ethical foundation. If an employee does his work with integrity and honesty, it will eventually benefit the company. For example, companies like Starbucks, Accenture, PepsiCo have been listed as the most ethical companies by ethisphere. This creates goodwill and builds trust with employees and customers. Ultimately, goodwill leads to increased financial value as well, allowing for a long-term and sustainable approach to wealth creation!

Link to the published article: http://bit.ly/2EWiR8F

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The art of delegation!

Work-life integration has become the new workstyle of the 21st century. People are always working – at home, in office, while traveling and even at the dining table! Generation Z loves to be dynamic and can’t stay without having work to do. However, to stay healthy and manage stress, either as a team-lead in a college society or at work, you can learn to delegate work where necessary. Delegation shares the workload, builds your managerial and leadership skills and gives a sense of responsibility to the team. However most perfectionists and passionate leaders struggle to delegate for fear of the work not getting done properly. Here are some ways you can delegate and ensure your work gets done!

Let’s see how can we delegate certain roles effectively:

 

  • WHAT to delegate: You need to focus on work that plays to your strengths and that is critical for you to show results.  Keep in mind that some tasks are easier to explain and hand-over to others. Break down your work into parts and delegate components that you are comfortable giving to someone else. If there is critical work that you feel you cannot afford to make mistakes on, perhaps do that yourself. Think about the roles of different people on your team and if something on your plate should actually belong in a different department or with someone else, make sure that the right person is allocated the work.
  • WHOM to delegate to: Observe the strengths and development areas of your team and manager. Learn the traits, values, and characteristics of the people you are working with. Once you have a fair understanding, assign work to people who will get your work done according to your expectations. Assign the tasks to those who have a reputation of  delivering quality. Trust the person and their workstyle but  guide them to get the work done effectively. For example, you can delegate content work to someone who has a flair for writing. If you feel you don’t know how to do something, you can also delegate upwards to your manager or seniors. Getting support and guidance from them in order to complete the job perfectly is also an art!
  • HOW to delegate: Clear instructions is the key to perfect delegation. Provide enough details and ensure there are clear expectations. Establish a specific deadline at the beginning, with milestones. In this way you can check up on progress before the final deadline. Keep some buffer time so that you can clean up any work that is not done to your satisfaction.

 

That being said, remember to delegate responsibility and not just the task. Ownership of work leads to quality work. If you build a trusting relationship between yourself and your associate, you will see a difference in output. Give them feedback on their performance and applaud them for their effort. It will inspire loyalty, provide real satisfaction for work done, and become the basis for mentoring and positive performance reviews. All in all, giving you more time to have a healthy work-life balance.

Link to the published article: http://bit.ly/2EQ84Qm

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