Introspection is critical to select your specialization

After finishing with the class XII Board examinations, or your college degree, students in India and their parents spend a significant amount of time deciding which stream they want to pursue further. After speaking to several such students and their parents, I realized that we tend to spend a lot of time taking advice and doing research. However, the choice is more personal than anything else.

 

Instead of agonizing over what is the “right” choice, it’s more important to reflect on who you are, and what you want from life! First, focus on the following 3 things. The choices will follow.

  1. Self Awareness: 

Take the time to think about what your interests are. Which subjects do you truly enjoy studying? What do you like to read about in your free time? What kinds of people do you admire and what news do you actively try to keep up with? Any path requires hard-work, so if you enjoy the subject you are more likely to put in the hours. What are your strengths? What comes naturally to you? It’s a competitive world, so you want to be good at the stream you pick.

Now think of the intersection between your interests and your strengths and look for streams accordingly! For this, you need to believe that there is something that you truly love doing and you will find it.

 

For example, if you are passionate about music but cannot sing, it’s probably not a good choice. If you are excited about numbers and are also a math whiz, that makes sense for you!

 

  1. Life vision:Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? Identify your end goal and work backwards. Your degree should only be an enabler in helping you meet your larger goal. It’s not an end in itself. If your parents have a vision for you, understand their perspective and see whether you are aligned with them. If not, work to convince them because their support will make you more confident and happier about your choices.

 

  1. Bridge to Career: If you are picking something specific to study like a Masters in English or a Graduate Degree in Physics, find out what the career prospects are before getting into the program. Understand which companies  hire candidates from those streams on a regular basis and see if you are interested in those kinds of jobs. This is important especially to avoid herd mentality. People tend to follow either their friends, their older siblings and cousins, or their parents and often overlook the reality of what jobs are actually going to be available if they pick a certain stream.

 

Ultimately you have to live with the choices you make. Getting into any program be it Engineering or an MBA program is one thing, fitting in to that program is another. So don’t give in to pressure to pursue something if you aren’t convinced it is right for you. Stay true to yourself and find what you love! There is something out there for everyone.

 

Link to the published article: http://bit.ly/2d7faUc

 

jld-a4030392-large-2

 

Dainik Bhaskar weekly: Does ‘will’ matter more than ‘skill’ at your first job?

 

While the perception is that people are hired for their skills, their ‘will’ once they join actually differentiates one newbie from another! Based on conversations with ~200 managers over the past 2 years, we have found that there are several aspects that matter to them when someone new joins! Here are some tips to keep in mind as you enter the work world, whether it is your first internship, or your first job.

 

1) Be open-minded and flexible

 

Irrespective of the role that you were hired for, as a fresher, all sorts of tasks will be put on your plate. Be open to all kinds of work, no matter how big or small. By being flexible, several freshers found their true calling – you may think you are the right fit for analytics, but might enjoy more creative work that is given to you! It is only when you try out different types of work and experience different projects that you will recognize where you are truly happy. Additionally, being positive to take on work helps you build your reputation as a good team-player and employee. How your colleagues perceive you is important because most jobs require you to be working on various projects in teams.

 

2) Ask for feedback and approval

 

Every week, reach out to your manager for feedback on your performance. How are you doing? Is it as expected? What more can you do to improve? Try and understand the kind of person your manager is and how he or she is reacting to your work. Understand their working style and adjust to it.

 

During a feedback session, your manager will highlight areas you are doing well, as well as areas you need to work on. Take the feedback as a gift. Do not argue or get defensive. If appropriate, you can ask clarifying questions but keep your tone calm and positive. Don’t take things personally. Feedback is critical to improving performance, because since it’s your first time doing many things there is no way you will be perfect!

 

Before you roll out anything, especially to external customers or clients, make sure to get your manager’s approval. It’s better to check-in with him or her on a daily basis (both morning and evening) to ensure both of you are on the same page. At the beginning of every project, create an execution plan and run it by your manager to ensure the timelines and deadlines are also aligned!

 

3) Seek out mentors

Learning from others in your career is of immense importance and value. A mentor can guide and help you excel at your first job. Seek out someone either within or outside your company who is well-respected and someone you can connect with. You can have multiple informal mentors if your company doesn’t have a formal mentorship program. They can be across ages (either recent graduates who have been in your shoes or older, more experienced corporate professionals). Both kinds of mentors can add value in their own way. Seek out a conversation at least quarterly with this person and share any questions or concerns with them!

 

4) Be willing to work hard

The harder I work, the luckier I get.” – Thomas Jefferson

Hard work and humility are critical as you enter the workforce. The ability to recognize that you don’t know everything (which is why you have a manager!) is important. Taking the time to understand what is required and then putting in the hours to complete your tasks are critical. Initially, you might be expected to stay late, work on the weekends, and be the first person entering office. These are all part and parcel of being in your first job at several organizations. Don’t get intimidated by the time commitment – you will slowly adjust to it! If you find that you cannot manage your work hours after a few years of trying, you can always switch to a company with lower expectations. However, your commitment and your rewards / recognition are usually linked so keep that in mind as you think about how much time you want to put in!


Remember that your first job isn’t going to be easy. Ups and downs will be part of the journey. Don’t get emotional and involved with company politics. Find activities and friends outside work that help you manage your stress. This will bring you the required positive energy to do a fantastic job!

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

 

jld-a3997621-large

 

How to prepare for your first job interview?

On average, every corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes*! In a scenario so competitive, applicants should be aware of what is required of them on their first interview or job.

Research with 400+ college students from the top 50 colleges in India shows that the following steps make a huge difference in acing your interview:

1) Preparation can go a long way in acing an interview.

  • Background Research and pre-work: Ensure that you research the company well before you sit for the interview. What position you are applying for? This will help you in answering smartly in the interview and also asking relevant questions at the end of the interview. There are certain questions that you can prepare beforehand, such as: Tell me about yourself, Why should we hire you, What is your 3-5 year plan going forward, what are some of your leadership experiences at school or college, Tell me about yourself and what is the most challenging situation you’ve faced.
  • Practice makes perfect: Make sure you practice some basic questions with a friend or in front of a mirror before you go for the interview. This will improve your knowledge and  your confidence. Prepare your resume, carry it for the interview and practice going over all the points on it.

2) On the day of the interview, how you present yourself is 55% of your first impression!

  • Dress Sense: Unfortunately, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Ensuring that you are dressed appropriately is a good start to making a lasting first impression at an interview. Make sure you are in proper business attire and know the difference between Business casuals and Business formals. We recently had a student interview with a large business conglomerate at Talerang and he was rejected because he was in jeans and looked too casual for the interview!
  • Punctuality: This is the most important aspect. One should always be on time. Make it a point to reach at least 15-20 minutes before the time of your interview.
  • Body language: Introduce yourself, speak clearly and confidently, a firm handshake with the interviewer and most importantly, eye contact. This reveals a lot about you. The way you carry yourself is the key to be remembered at an interview. Never forget to smile. Keep your body calm and mind too. Your body language should reflect your inner qualities. Smile, shake hands and thank the interviewer for spending their precious time.

3) Next steps from the interview:

Send a thank-you mail to your interviewer expressing your interest in the job.

Ankit Samdariya, VP at Xander group says, “Preparedness is one of the major factors that I look at while interviewing students. If you’re going in for an interview, make it a point to look up your interviewer on LinkedIn, have 2-3 intelligent questions prepared, present yourself well, exuberate confidence and you should be good to go!”

Pooja Aggarwal, Deputy General Manager at Aditya Birla Group says, “It’s extremely important to know yourself very well; your biggest areas of strength and how it will help the company. Ensure your basics are strong, they will help you throughout your life!”

A ‘first interview’, is like scaling a mountain. It seems difficult because you don’t know what’s on the other side. It’s scary at first, but with preparation and practice you can reach the top!

*As cited by Glassdoor for employers

Link to the published article: http://bit.ly/2c9lh7m

 

jld-b4091483-large

Hire based on the talent of the candidate, not the location

 

Hello everyone!

We are extremely delighted to announce our weekly column on the most widely circulated newspaper in the country- Dainik Bhaskar!

In our attempt to conduct continuous research to update our curriculum based on the industry’s needs, having a weekly column on Dainik Bhaskar has really helped us spread awareness about the concept of work-readiness among a wider audience!

Here’s our latest piece for Dainik Bhaskar where we talk about how things need to change in tier 2 & 3 cities in India and the Employability Research study in Andhra Pradesh we were invited for.

—-

As of the 2011 census, there are 8 tier 1 cities in India and as many as 3,133 tier 2 & 3 cities (as well as 1,233 rural hubs). Ensuring access to good quality jobs and work-readiness training in small town India is of utmost importance if we want to ensure sustainable growth for the Indian economy.

This past week, as part of an Employability Research study in Andhra Pradesh, we travelled to several colleges around Vishakhapatnam and Vijayawada. The study was conducted in association with professors at Harvard University and Stanford University, as well as the Ministry of Education. We interacted with close to 1000 students who will soon be sitting for placement season. As expected, the colleges in smaller towns tend to be homogeneous and conservative, but extremely welcoming and hospitable of external researchers and trainers.

 

We sat down with several placement heads in these colleges to get their thoughts. For them, getting companies to visit colleges often involves traveling to their offices and convincing their HR heads to make the trip to recruit. The placement cells have put in significant effort (as compared to tier 1 colleges) to get the students placed.

Here are some trends that we observed:

Firstly, India was one of the big players in manufacturing when colleges in AP were set up. But now, most of the recruiters that visit colleges are IT Services companies who are looking to hire for software development jobs. Since the college curriculum trains students in core engineering, there’s a major gap between what the students are being taught and what companies are looking for. If we could revive Make In India and increase spending in the manufacturing and infrastructure space, more jobs could be created in these sectors.

As Mr. M. Lakshmi Deepak – Placement head, Sir CR Reddy College of Engineering (Eluru) shared, “If the government could increase emphasis on creating jobs for these core engineers, that would be a great solution to the current situation. Our curriculums also need to be constantly updated according to industry needs.”

Secondly, girls are doing better than boys when it comes to placements in these regions. The job offers rolled out to girls is much higher, and companies also want to increase their ratios so conduct additional events for recruiting women.

Thirdly, the students were fantastic academically, with extremely high grades and significant grit and hard-work. However, confidence and exposure are the main differentiators between students in larger cities. This can be overcome with effective training and mentorship. When asked their fears of placement season, students cited their key challenges as confidence, communication skills and English fluency. When asked what their vision and career objectives are, most of them are looking to be respected in society and are keen to work for any reputed company and have a good role.

 

In conclusion, the colleges were impressive and the students have significant potential and drive. They are sincere and very eager to be hired. While it might take some effort to travel to smaller towns, it is time that companies across industries started hiring from across India instead of only from the big brand colleges!

 

Epaper_Article_29-08-1613_08_25

 

 

Shibika’s Internship Experience at The Aditya Birla Group- Bangalore

As a second year student doing a Sales internship at The Aditya Birla Group, I have learnt a lot! Starting from strategizing to making pitch-in report to companies, I have grown as an individual. This internship has also helped me improve the quality of my PowerPoint presentations. I am presently working with the Corporate Sales department under Mr. Amit Shekhar Nayak (Sales Manager), who has been a very supportive mentor. 
 

IMG_20160519_155051235I plan out strategies as to how to tie-up with other companies. I am responsible for making presentations and reports on how to make a pitch in to other companies for an alliance. Thank you Talerang for giving me the opportunity to explore the world of Sales and Marketing through such a well structured internship!

IMG_20160520_104738505

Internship Experience at Talerang

My main projects at Talerang were redesigning the website and creating content for the social media marketing campaign. Additionally, I worked on recruiting Campus Delegates, and collating material for training and placements.

Kanika with cds

Photo: Kanika (L) with fellow campus delegates and internship manager Kartik Chaturvedi (second from the right)

Talerang is a start up, hence the work environment was fast paced. I got a lot of exposure through the diversity of my projects. My marketing projects honed my writing and design skills. The Campus Delegate campaign required me to interact with new students – this improved my confidence and interpersonal skills. I also improved my organization skills and work style efficiency through collating information for training and placements. Dealing with multiple projects and multiple deadlines taught me how to prioritize my work without being overwhelmed. I believe that these skills are a step towards becoming more work-ready.

The atmosphere at Talerang was positive and inspiring! The managers acted as my mentors and guided me throughout my internship. They ensured that I made the most of my time by giving me responsibility for concrete projects. Additionally, I was always encouraged to give my input during meetings.

Kanika - Ticker

My internship was not only a glimpse of the corporate world but also a chance to meet new people. I will always remember my time at Talerang as an important learning experience.

-Kanika Jain

Internship Experience at Talerang

At Talerang, I was in charge of two projects – the weekly internship newsletter and social media marketing. During my internship, Talerang’s Facebook page reached 10,000 likes. We created deadline posts that brought in many applications for the Campus Delegate position and the Talerang immersion program. We came up with several themes for the Facebook posts that could be used in the future.

Aashna - TickerI improved my written communication through the Facebook posts and newsletter, and I polished my verbal communication through the phone pitches for Talerang’s program. Since I was working at a start up, I had a great level of responsibility and accountability. The execution plan helped me carry out my tasks efficiently. I learnt how to complete my work before the given deadline.

Aashna with team

Photo: Aashna (third from the left) with internship manager Kartik Chaturvedi (fifth from the left) from Talerang. 

Talerang’s team was young and cheerful; they were willing to teach me even the smallest of tasks. I worked with Apurva Damani and Kartik Chaturvedi during my internship. The managers acted as mentors and guided us on becoming work-ready for the future. I realized that weekly feedback should be taken seriously.

I truly enjoyed my work, it was an insightful experience!

-Aashna Bhimani

 

Internship Experience at HBS IRC

My main project at the Harvard Business School India Research Centre was to manage and update ShareSite, an online archive of the research cases, and create an inventory. Additionally, I had to gather data, conduct research, create exhibits for certain topics, and create a research brochure for the center.

Rahael - TickerThe internship was a holistic learning experience. I learned that a positive attitude benefits everyone, and that each task should be given its due importance. Initially, managing an online archive seemed like a task of relatively less importance but it ended up being one of my major projects as it supported other projects.

IMG_20141029_104926

I organized my work effectively through applying Stephen Covey’s time management matrix, which I learned about at Talerang. I had a good professional relationship with the team. Everyone involved wanted my internship to be productive and insightful. The managers took keen interest in assigning high quality projects that gave me the right exposure. I got the perfect opportunity to understand how a research center works.

-Rahael Mathew

 

Internship Experience at Eros Labs

I was a Research intern for Indulge, a discovery platform for services that Eros Labs was planning to launch. I researched the database for the potential back end of the product and looked at strategies for the sales division, three of which were finalized for the launch. I also worked on the pitch that would help with sales, and screened internship applications for Eros labs.

My relationship with my manager was comfortable. The atmosphere at Eros Labs was work-oriented and everyone was open and friendly. It was easy to fit in, which made me more productive. Each week brought a new experience since the product launch was close. I intensely researched the idea’s compatibility in the market before finalizing the idea. Through this, I developed confidence in the product and learnt how to highlight its unique features.

The Talerang training helped me greatly during the internship. I aimed to prioritize tasks carefully and ‘always stay in the second quadrant,’ which became difficult on days when I had multiple responsibilities. I also learnt the perfect way to make, review and screen a resume – this helped in screening the applications for interns from different colleges.

2 (1)One of my most important lessons was perfecting my communication skills. Additionally, one of the biggest takeaways from the training and internship was to be thorough with my work; nothing comes out of a job half done except chaos and the impression of being unprofessional.

-Mithila Velamala

 

My Talerang Journey

Talerang transformed me. Usually, people jump off a cliff and grow wings on the way down. But Talerang gave me the opportunity to grow my wings on the cliff.

Priyanka ShahI completed my Talerang summer internship at FoxyMoron, where the managers acted as my mentors and also gave me recognition for my ideas. Every week we had feedback sessions with the team leader and organizational partners, during which we could ask questions about the organization and industry. Work gave me the chance to meet new friends, where I realized the importance of making and sustaining connections at work.

I learnt how to stand up for my ideas and discover my own untested potential. One of my Facebook posts got 57,000 interactions and 54,000 likes, becoming one of Facebook’s top performing posts. My manager gave me the title of ‘Most hardworking Intern at work’ and offered me a full-time job after college.

Priyanka bloggThere are many things I learned at my internship. I learnt the value of proofreading all client emails and completing my work by the deadline. I had weekly feedback meetings with my manager to discuss areas in which I could improve. I also learned it’s best to be over-prepared, especially being well-researched on upcoming trends related to my work as it is handy during brainstorming sessions.

-Priyanka Shah