Thursday 28 June 2018

Know What You Want To Do, Before You Choose What To Study

In my last blog I covered a simple topic – How you choose to write your job advertisement can determine how many potential candidates you will have to apply for that job? The words you choose and the criteria you specify talks a lot about you as an employer.

Today, I want to turn tables and talk about average, mediocre students who believe they are meritorious, the ones who will be job seekers soon or will be picked from campus and miles away from entrepreneurship - How their words, online behavior, daily activities/ routine and social interaction talks so much about them. Regardless of what they pursue – PhD or Master’s degree abroad, it is such a giveaway that they are just after "feeling important" which is a very me-centric attitude rather than being resourceful for family, society and greater good.

It is okay for a generalist to behave like that – go with the flow and see what life throws at you. When you spend 20 to 25 lakhs on education and sometimes with an education loan to pay off, it is very important to know what you want to do with life, before you enroll for a degree.

We know most of the traits millennial generation have - the way they think and their priorities. It is like a flow chart or you can call it a blue print which means it is common knowledge now. In short, most of them are easily predictable. You almost know what they will do next and what is going on in their mind. With a deep sense of self entitlement and being a little low on patience, they are not very security driven souls.

Some of them are surprise package though. The brighter ones in this lot are purpose driven, with a huge need to express their thoughts and opinions freely. Lastly they are hungry for recognition, which is rightfully theirs.

Here are a few who belong to that population - You can draw your conclusions about their future and their ambitions.

In my residential complex I see an engineer who has graduated last year play football every evening, chauffeur their family here and there in their new car and prepare for government/ bank jobs. Why Engineering then?

A couple of months back I happened to hear two girls speak in excited tones about their forthcoming exams and I was in the same public transport, on a seat opposite to them. I wanted to know more about what they study and casually asked what would be the scope of the degree that they will acquire – in terms of industry use. One of them fell absolutely silent, not knowing what to say and nudged the other to explain. The other one did give me a rough idea about how the degree helps in pharmaceutical industry, Fisheries etc. I could also imagine the girl who fell silent will be the one who will score higher marks. That is her goal. Her goal is definitely not learning or making use of her learning.

Just a month back, I met a lady in her early thirties, who wanted to do Masters in Political Science but ended up doing in Education, because her friends asked her to stand in that queue when the form had to be filled. It will take me some time to digest this one. Each time I tell her to make use of it, her standard response – “I have the degree, that is enough”

I know a young engineer who got a job immediately after he graduated and after five years in that company –he quit to prepare for higher studies – and attempt for Government jobs and civil services.

I know a young girl pursuing Law from a reputed college in Kolkata while her interest is in dancing, fashion and performance. I will not be surprised if she takes up acting course this year.

I have a friend’s daughter who is pursuing Masters in Physiology and while I am happy to know that she is keen to do PhD, every Tuesday I see her with a friend  of hers going to learn dance from a local studio. She can practice para medical as she is qualified for that however as the pay is negligible, she prefers PhD. because of the scholarship. Can anyone study a subject for years and submit a thesis, if they do not feel strongly connected to it?

Image Design: Canva
The New Meritorious: Someone with 60% across multiple Intelligence 

If the adage, morning glory shows the day, holds true one bit, I find most of these people clueless about what they want to do and have been like that since morning, I mean, since childhood. Can anyone connect the dots? What they studied, what they like doing and how they want to earn their livelihood?

As they are not quite security driven, they see no reason to stick to a job or work on building relations in work place. Not many have what it takes to stay, perform and succeed. The percentages are still in their heads and will be there for a while.


Will a degree from a foreign university make any difference to attitude or bring mindshift? If the 16 years of education that you had in India could not even teach you how to build a vision first, how will higher education that is built on that myopic base do great things?

Blended learning and use of multiple intelligence can shape higher education - Physical and virtual learning


Even if they are doing a very simple job functionally, even as an entry level resource, they will talk about the education they are keen to pursue that year or how they cracked a tough B School, rather than why they chose that subject, what they plan to do after MBA. All internships are experiences and displayed in social media channels lasting 3 months or 6 months - Are they waiting to be taken seriously? What do these brief stints exactly say about them? Patient to learn and perform or ready to quit and start afresh?

Moving to hybrid model

There was a time, even I was confused  - I flunked in B Sc Physics (H), I wanted to just get a degree in Arts, which I did however I had also enrolled for Cost Accounting around the same time. I was clear about one thing - I will not spend a thousand years on education and yet, decades letters the only thing that keeps me going is - learning.

Internet is huge today with many learning opportunities, particularly easily accessible online Learning Courses. We take it readily at our own pace and we explore options to use it effectively because there is an outcome to be achieved - Living, Lifestyle, Assets, Legacy. If the outcome of a pursuit is limited to "feeling important" or "need for recognition" it is a different narrative altogether.

It is never too late, find your IKIGAI today and streamline education, career and learning. 

Wednesday 20 June 2018

Your Job Advertisement Speaks About Your Organisational Culture

I noticed this job advertisement recently. I have just slightly tweaked it here and there to be able to put my point across more effectively

The company is a startup in Education/ Training industry that basically needs someone for business development and marketing.

That is it.

They begin the advertisement with a little bit of blowing the trumpet

How many institutions?
How many programs?
How many students?

What you will never get to know is the reality behind those numbers!

Wanting to have a part of your entity under every mango or banyan tree in the country to build your presence and prominence can speak nothing about how good you are, as a company.

The more programs you have, the better insight we have about your intentions. You just want it all as your market share. You do not specialize and you do not care. What any prospect needs, you have, if you do not have, you will include it within hours and churn content almost like factory model but you cannot let the prospect switch to another institute. In short, this approach is way too commercialized.

How many students have achieved something in life or reached a point worth mentioning? Is there any data or stats around that? 

Then the AD specifies requirements

Optimal knowledge of social media platforms desired.

Now if you have X number of programs, you sure must have one on Social Media. Why do you need someone with optimal knowledge? They can join you and bridge the gap in house. In all probability they realize what they teach is mainly for the certification, not for the real time work in real environment

MBA/ PG Diploma from recognized institution/ university

How exactly will this help the applicant or the company identify prospects, strategize and close deals? The point is what skills do you want the applicant to exhibit after his MBA from a recognized institution or is it given that a business grad from a recognized university will automatically have specific desired skills for the role?

Minimum 4 years of experience in marketing with excellent communication & presentation skills.

This part is fair enough and the only section in the whole advertisement that can make sense to applicants

Now comes the best part:

Candidates having throughout 1st Div. marks only need to apply.
I choose to pick the following words:

1st Division
Only they can apply

Does this mean?

Someone who scored 2nd division cannot market or sell? For all you know as their academic intelligence is slightly weak, they may be twice as hard working with their social intelligence.

Why will somebody who scored 1st Division throughout with 5 years of marketing experience be interested to develop business for an education company when he has the potential to develop his independent business?

Will it serve the purpose of hiring and the company's strategic agenda if they get an applicant with 1st Division throughout, having five years of marketing experience and an MBA from a recognized university however with no past track record of closing deals?

How many potential candidates will this company lose only for this kind of Job Advertisement?