Tuesday, 17 July 2018

The Foreign Choice

For years the Masters in Business Administration is the most commonly recognised degree in India today. An MBA is a generalised degree and the main reason for the abundance of takers is because it can be ‘paired’ with a Bachelors degree from any stream. Another reason could be the abundance of specializations offered viz. finance, HR, marketing, operations, relations, logistics, SCM etc.

A foreign MBA is still seen by most as an exotic offering. In the olden times, ‘expensive’, ‘unnecessary’ and ‘apne yaha bhi toh hai’ were the common phrases associated with any mention of a foreign MBA in an Indian youth’s family. Ever since, there has been a paradigm shift in outlook towards an international MBA degree and many more takers can be seen for this.

An international degree, as the name suggests, spans multiple areas of dominance, especially in terms of curriculum and validity. More so for MBA, which is a generalised degree on it's own, containing a bit of every process that takes place in your average organisation.

Tabulated below are some features between an Indian and a foreign MBA:-

Indian MBA
Foreign MBA
Degree from the perspective of Indian markets, people and businesses.
Broad based perspective.
Enabler in case of settlement in India.
Preferred for placement in foreign companies.
Expensive, but well worth the returns in the long term.
Campus placements.
No campus placements but higher industry interface.

As opposed to an Indian MBA, an international degree offers many more advantages.

  • Firstly, the terms of exposure are good; a multicultural faculty and student body always have a chance of offering a different perspective for the studies and their application as it stands in different countries.
  • Industry interface is on a scale larger than those offered by Indian degrees as there are MNCs functioning with a far broader scope of work and operational pedagogy. Moreover the internship procedures/research papers during the degree speak ‘worldwide recognition’.
  • Degree functionality and validity is more than that of an Indian degree. A company based out of India will show more of a chance to pick you up if you have an international degree than if you have an Indian degree as they would prefer someone who has already had exposure to the foreign work processes.
  • More of a personal touch, studying in a foreign university will offer more of a chance of the student opening up as a person and broadening his horizons than say, admission to a cross state-MBA college in India. It is a different country, not accessible merely by ways of a flight or train ride.

As opposed to the advantages, a foreign MBA has its own share of disadvantages too:-
  • Cost is one of the main factors that deters students from going for foreign studies. An MBA in a good foreign school (for the purpose of equality in terms of degree preference) will set a student back by about 60 lakh to over 2 crore rupees. The RoI graph for these degrees takes a long time to even turn grey, leave alone green.
  • The competition for admission to universities abroad is harder than that for premier institutes in India. The student pool is larger, the screening process is longer for overseas candidates (e.g. an extra exam like TOEFL or IELTS for most post graduate courses), and there is always the ‘disadvantage’ people associate with an Indian candidates.
  • The unavailability of campus placements means the only way students can get a placement is through internships or networking with professors and alumni. Most students work a part time job and aim to convert it into a full time payroll application.
  • Statistics speak volumes. To end all debates about standalone consummate academic excellence, one needs only know that the top B-schools in India are quite a ways behind their international competitors, though that gap is lessening by the day.

The important question here is not about the quality of degree, but as always, the interest of an individual. Notwithstanding how the person plans his future, if we only compare them side by side, we come to know that they have subtle differences. Mostly similar in their study offerings, foreign degrees only differ from Indian ones in terms of scope.

-Aditya Bhargava
Musician, writer and otaku with a professional interest in gaming.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Emergence of Virtual Workspace

India, just like other parts of the world, is witness to a change in the way employees work. Mobility is becoming important and physical presence in office is no longer a measure of productivity. The advent of smartphone technology, PDAs and portable pagers has decreased the requirement of work to be done sitting at one place. This has given employees more flexibility and freedom to choose the environment they want to work on, while workplaces have started moving to the clouds.

Smart devices these days have a host of applications that facilitate in-device processing, creation and review of work related documents. Indeed, mobile data has now become faster than most broadband offerings. Phones serve the same purpose as the bulkier, less portable laptops and the new line of products being launched is aiming to please the younger markets who are tech-savvy and much active in terms of their networking capabilities solely due to the fact that they practically live their lives online.

As a result, many companies are shifting to workplaces situated online. These virtual workplaces have many advantages over traditional workplaces, the most prominent being the non-requirement of an employee’s physical presence. IT support systems have to support a wider array of devices, varied both in hardware and software specifications.

Take the case of a company, Buffer, which went completely online after it realized most of its employees opted to work remotely than stay in office. Ever since it has noticed quite a few changes.
  • The employees are happier as they get to be in an environment of their choosing. 
  • Shuttering the office saved the company over $7,000 every month. 
  • They were able to provide round the clock tech support services as their employees live in different time zones, eliminating the need to worry about shifts. 
  • Team meetings could be scheduled easily without the possibility of logistical problems. 

Working online also had its own share of demerits, namely

  • The energy that comes from physically present team members was found wanting often. 
  • The office atmosphere tended to get to the employees, making them lax. 
  • For people who did not live with their family, the job seemed lonely. 
  • It was difficult to build social relationships. 

The employees nevertheless persisted with the online workplace as the benefits far outweighed the demerits, not to mention the obvious economical advantages this offered to the company. Not having a physical office meant the company saved on rent for the office and peripherals needed to keep it running. Moreover, time complexities also disappeared as important team events like meetings and brainstorming sessions could be started without the cause of employees being late due to troubles while commuting to work.

One of the biggest advantages virtual workplaces have to offer is the flexibility and the freedom to choose one’s own work hours and the savings made on salaries by employees. Automattic, the parent company for Wordpress, gives out it's employees 250$ for renting a co-working space. The employees can choose when they want to work, for how long and where. 

The lack of an informal workplace and regular working hours takes some getting used to, but once it's set in stone, employees discover their productivity increases manifold, as compared to a stock office they would be cooped in day in and day out, as is the case with a physical workplace.

- Aditya Bhargava
Musician, writer and otaku, with a professional interest in gaming

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Innovation In Recruitment

The recruitment process in India has been smooth flowing for over a decade. Indians are a social people, so they set more stock by referrals than any other country.

About 65% of employee referrals in India are followed upon, higher than the 39% world average. This is in addition to the traditional ways of recruitment. Of which, the most prominent in today’s time is sifting through online job portals.

Easily the most affected by the lack of innovation in recruitment are the start ups. At its infancy, any company needs all the help it can get. The most flexible, potentially risky but also potentially the most profiteering and hands down the most important resource of any organisation, leave alone start ups, is the human resource. Other resources may be in abundance but they will not amount to fruition if the person utilizing them is not talented enough. This makes it all the more important for start ups to find a person who's the perfect fit for their organisation.

Start ups typically place a lot of emphasis on flexibility. As opposed to established jobs, start ups may require extra workload to be distributed among existing employees without notice. As such, the candidate that start ups look for is ideally someone who does not stick to the job description. In addition to the job description, the candidate, when they apply, should be ready for any changes, albeit minor, to the job description, as per the requirement of the company. In addition to qualifications and on-paper prowess, start ups also require people of impeccable mental mettle.

Thus, filling job positions in a start up may not always be consummately fulfilling through conventional methods of sifting through a job site. A number of start ups are changing this industry, revolutionising the recruitment process in their own way. The last such shake-up came in 1997, with the inception of Naukri.com. This is an opportunity the following seven online recruitment start ups have poached.

1. GrownOut - Sumit Gupta and Harsimran Walia, Gurugram. Website

The company has a network prediction algorithm which sources publicly available information into a job profile for the selecting a job profile for the candidates based on places where they have studied/worked using active/passive prediction rather than keyword search.

The system is far better than manual employee hirings through referrals as it is completely automated, removing any human error that could have been incorporated, had it not been so, while still working on the same principles as employee referrals.

2. Zlemma - Ashwin Rao and Madhav Halbe, Pune & Palo Alto, California.

This company was acquired by fellow California-based techie marketplace Hired, formerly known as DeveloperAuction. It had two products ZSort and ZCloud, that had algorithms which assessed candidates with backgrounds in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths connect with employers. The candidates are scored based on a lot of parameters, among them the level of activity on social media sites like GitHub and StackOverflow and are located and matched to companies looking for a profile matching theirs.

The Hired philosophy works exactly opposite to the usual way of  ‘candidates looking for jobs’. Hired is a platform where employers look for suitable candidates.

3. Recruitro - Neeraj Kumar and Chetan Chopra, New Delhi.

Recruitro offers a software that is essentially a consolidated Application Tracking System and a resume sourcing system rolled into one. It provides the companies an efficient, collaboration platform that offers accurate, relevant and contextual information about the candidate to the employer for a cost, thereby reducing the time and costs spent on the recruitment process.

Recruitro focuses on bridging the gap between the company and the candidates. It aims at servicing both the candidates needs as well as its companies. They currently have plans for the IT sector, moving on to banking and finance later.

4. HackerEarth - Sachin Gupta and Vivek Prakash, Bangalore. Website

The HackerEarth approach to recruitment is completely skill based. They offer a tool that gives recruiters, albeit unskilled in programming assessment to devise tests for comprehensive marking of candidates and decide their suitability for the organisation.

The ever-growing HackerEarth community routinely organises competitions meant to evaluate the programming and technical prowess of the candidates. These hackathons are of high import as the rankings given to candidates are coveted by recruiters. These rankings are displayed along with their publicly available coding data and any past education or work experience.

5. Talview - Tom Jose, Jobin Jose, Sanjoy Jose and Subramaniam Mani K, Bangalore. Website

Talview is an impersonal interview service offering candidates the opportunity to take part in pre-recorded asynchronous interviews which allow them to record their answers in response to similarly recorded questions by the hiring managers of the companies.

Previously known as InterviewMaster, Talview was started in 2012 with the aim of connecting alumni and industry experts with students for the purpose of training and industry feedback. In addition to the asynchronous interview system, they also offer hiring analytics, talent engagement and written assessment modules.

6. MyRefers - Lalit Bhagia and Kashish Bhagia, New Delhi.

MyRefers is an online referral follow up service. It gives users an opportunity to recommend the best suited profiles within their network for a vacancy every time a company posts it. Applications are sorted through big data intelligence.

Users who recommend are given a two stage reward system. The first, when they recommend a lead to the company and the second, when the candidate recommended by them gets hired for the post they recommended him for.

7. Venturesity - Prashant Koirala and Subhendu Panigrahi, Bangalore. Website

Venturesity describe themselves as a “peer learning and challenge platform.”  It offers “LearnUps” which are basically learning sessions organised by companies to help candidates learn and engage with them through hackathons learning and assessment sessions.

The company is seeing immense opportunities in the US and Southeast Asia with a plan to conduct over 1000 LearnUps in the next 12 months with indulgence in lateral hiring.

-Aditya Bhargava
Musician, writer and otaku, with a professional interest in gaming.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

6 Management Lessons to Learn from Lord Krishna

On this auspicious Krishna Janmashtami ( Birthday of Lord Krishna ), let’s have a look at the 8 management lessons that we can learn from the God himself.

1) Never take side based on relations
Being an upholder of Dharma, Krishna would never take sides based on relations. An attribute similar to the concept of Internal Equity in management terms.
So, Krishna not only gives both of them an equal opportunity to take him into their sides(and Duryodhana pretty much knows it, the reason why he approaches Krishna), he also decides to be fair again and asks Arjuna to make a choice between himself and his entire army. Arjuna chooses Krishna himself, and the entire army is given to Duryodhana.

2) Everyone should feel equally appreciated & safe within realms of organization culture
The Raas Leela happens in dark forests, where the girls are away from security of home and family, yet feel secure enough. They dance around Krishna, not for any duty or custom, they do so for the love of him, at their own free will. Krishna is believed to be giving complete attention to each and every girl, and the moment they try to gather more part of his attention or feel Krishna loves her more, Krishna disappears for her.

3) Commitments First
Once Krishna knew he was to kill Kansa and then be crowned as the King, Radha chooses to stay back and keep alive the memories of their love together. A staunch believer of Karma, Krishna knew his destiny was now different from Radha and their love would never be the same once they are together in the palace. Her staying back would etch their eternal love forever in the Vrindavan.

4) The Strategist
As a smart strategist, he never broke any rule, but bent the semantics of the rules much to the benefit of the Pandavas against the mighty Kauravas

5) The Motivator
And finally the Bhagvad Geeta. For the sake of upliftment of Dharma, and the destruction of Adharma, Krishna would never shy away from taking any step. Even if it would mean destruction, it would be creative. Arjuna was worried that the people he is fighting are his own family, and there will be blood shed. Krishna not only motivates him to gear up for the battle to follow, he emphasizes on creative destruction. He controls the entire army of Pandavas under his single command and guides them to victory, in spite of facing the mammoth Kauravas.

6) Good Manager
Krishna had vowed not to play any combative role in the entire war. He was there as a strategist, motivator, a guiding force, never really taking part in the war physically, the qualities a good manager ought to have. In-spite of a smaller workforce, he guides them to success, purely based on his management skills. Skills, which no one taught him,which cannot be imparted, he learnt it himself. Each chapter of his life, be it his friendship with Sudama, his friendship with Arjuna, his fight with Kansa, has a lot to teach us.

Source: Lord Krishna

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Top 10 Job Interview Tips and Tricks

Interviewers are people to, and like people they can be manipulated into doing your bidding until you’ve taken over the world! Okay, not really. But there are some tips and tricks that will help you win them over in the job interview. Below, in no particular order, are the top 10.

How to Ace the Interview
·         Mock Interviews
Mock interviews are fake interviews that you conduct with a friend. We have several posts that go through exactly how you can get the best learnings out of your mock interviews. How to Conduct a Mock Interview –  Part 1 is here, do enough of these and no interview will make you nervous.
·         Research Company AND Competition
Thoroughly researching the company is extremely important. Have a look at our full report on how to research a company effectively before you start your research. Research the competition  just as thoroughly, this will teach you much more about the industry. Before the interview review the company’s website, social assets,  get a copy of the annual report and run a general Google search. Contact the prospective employer and request details on the position you are interviewing for. Memorise the job description, it is what you’re being judged by. 
·         Find Additional Skills
You may also want to look at what other companies say in their job descriptions for the same job. This gives you a way to show what additional skills you can bring to the role on top of the ones they have listed. Think about including Soft Skills too. For example if you were applying for a role in Marketing, soft skills like embracing change and identifying opportunities are critical. If you are an engineer than focus on communication skills and lateral thinking etc…
·         Be Outgoing From the Start
First impressions can make or break the interview. No matter how nervous you are, start off strong by actively shaking their hand and talking. It may help you make up for any mistakes later. You also need to look the part. Make sure you are dressed professionally and appropriately for your industry. Download our FREE eBook – How to Dress For Your Interview and make sure you look right.
·         Ask Friendly Questions
“How’s your day so far?” “Have you been in CITY for long?” These questions build rapport so the interviewer begins to like you on a more personal level. Interviewers are not robots, they are people, and therefore their opinions can be swayed slightly by how likeable they find the candidates they interview.  You want to make sure they warm to you on a more personal level.
·         Eat, Drink, Sleep and Arrive Early
While these may seem like they should not need to be listed you would be surprised how many candidates arrive late or do not perform well because they have not eaten properly. Basic interview preparation like eating and sleeping and using the bathroom beforehand, will all help you be more confident in yourself during the interview.
·         Memorise Your Best Points
Take the time to think of examples where you have successfully used the skills you’ve acquired. Compile a list of responses to both background and behavioural interview questions which highlight your skills, values, and interests as well as your key strengths. Have a look at our list of the 15 Most Common Behavioural Interview Questions to help you prepare.
·         Ask Amazing Questions
The better your questions are to the interviewer, the more they will remember you and feel that you’re someone they need to hire. Put together a list of question that relate specifically to the company you are interviewing with and if possible targeted to the department you are hoping to work in.

·         Be Positive
Never say anything overtly negative about anyone you have worked with in the past. You want to be seen as a person who is positive, upbeat and great to have around.
Acing a job interview involves a lot of practice, a lot of time reviewing questions and answers, and a lot of preparation. The above tips will help make sure that you’re more than ready for the interview and give you the best chance of success.

Upraisal recruitment services - India's finest recruitment service - Visit - www.upraisal.net 

Friday, 15 April 2016

Ten Tough Interview Questions and Ten Great Answers

Ten Tough Interview Questions and Ten Great Answers

The best way to prepare yourself for the interview is to know what may be coming and practice for it in advance. Fear of the unknown can only exist when there is an unknown. Take the time to understand some of the "standards" when it comes to interviewing questions.
The following are some of the most difficult questions you will face in the course of your job interviews. Some questions may seem rather simple on the surface—such as "Tell me about yourself"—but these questions can have a variety of answers. The more open ended the question, the wider the variation in the answers. Once you have become practiced in your interviewing skills, you will find that you can use almost any question as a launching pad for a particular topic or compelling story.
Others are classic interview questions, such as "What is your greatest weakness?" Questions most people answer improperly. In this case, the standard textbook answer for the "greatest weakness" question is to provide a veiled positive such as: "I work too much. I just work and work and work." Wrong. Either you are lying or, worse yet, you are telling the truth, in which case you define working too much as a weakness and really do not want to work much at all.
The following answers are provided to give you a new perspective on how to answer tough interview questions. They are not there for you to lift from the page and insert into your next interview. They are provided for you to use as the basic structure for formulating your own answers. While the specifics of each reply may not apply to you, try to follow the basic structure of the answer from the perspective of the interviewer. Answer the questions behaviorally, with specific examples that show that clear evidence backs up what you are saying about yourself. Always provide information that shows you want to become the very best _____ for the company and that you have specifically prepared yourself to become exactly that. They want to be sold. They are waiting to be sold. Don't disappoint them!

1. Tell me about yourself.

It seems like an easy interview question. It's open ended. I can talk about whatever I want from the birth canal forward. Right?
Wrong. What the hiring manager really wants is a quick, two- to three-minute snapshot of who you are and why you're the best candidate for this position.
So as you answer this question, talk about what you've done to prepare yourself to be the very best candidate for the position. Use an example or two to back it up. Then ask if they would like more details. If they do, keep giving them example after example of your background and experience. Always point back to an example when you have the opportunity.
"Tell me about yourself" does not mean tell me everything. Just tell me what makes you the best.

2. Why should I hire you?

The easy answer is that you are the best person for the job. And don't be afraid to say so. But then back it up with what specifically differentiates you.
For example: "You should hire me because I'm the best person for the job. I realize that there are likely other candidates who also have the ability to do this job. Yet I bring an additional quality that makes me the best person for the job—my passion for excellence. I am passionately committed to producing truly world class results. For example…"
Are you the best person for the job? Show it by your passionate examples.

3. What is your long-range objective?

The key is to focus on your achievable objectives and what you are doing to reach those objectives.
For example: "Within five years, I would like to become the very best accountant your company has on staff. I want to work toward becoming the expert that others rely upon. And in doing so, I feel I'll be fully prepared to take on any greater responsibilities which might be presented in the long term. For example, here is what I'm presently doing to prepare myself…"
Then go on to show by your examples what you are doing to reach your goals and objectives.

4. How has your education prepared you for your career?

This is a broad question and you need to focus on the behavioral examples in your educational background which specifically align to the required competencies for the career.
An example: "My education has focused on not only the learning the fundamentals, but also on the practical application of the information learned within those classes. For example, I played a lead role in a class project where we gathered and analyzed best practice data from this industry. Let me tell you more about the results…"
Focus on behavioral examples supporting the key competencies for the career. Then ask if they would like to hear more examples.

5. Are you a team player?

Almost everyone says yes to this question. But it is not just a yes/no question. You need to provide behavioral examples to back up your answer.
A sample answer: "Yes, I'm very much a team player. In fact, I've had opportunities in my work, school and athletics to develop my skills as a team player. For example, on a recent project…"
Emphasize teamwork behavioral examples and focus on your openness to diversity of backgrounds. Talk about the strength of the team above the individual. And note that this question may be used as a lead in to questions around how you handle conflict within a team, so be prepared.

6. Have you ever had a conflict with a boss or professor? How was it resolved?

Note that if you say no, most interviewers will keep drilling deeper to find a conflict. The key is how you behaviorally reacted to conflict and what you did to resolve it.
For example: "Yes, I have had conflicts in the past. Never major ones, but there have been disagreements that needed to be resolved. I've found that when conflict occurs, it helps to fully understand the other persons perspective, so I take time to listen to their point of view, then I seek to work out a collaborative solution. For example…"
Focus your answer on the behavioral process for resolving the conflict and working collaboratively.

7. What is your greatest weakness?

Most career books tell you to select a strength and present it as a weakness. Such as: "I work too much. I just work and work and work." Wrong. First of all, using a strength and presenting it as a weakness is deceiving. Second, it misses the point of the question.
You should select a weakness that you have been actively working to overcome. For example: "I have had trouble in the past with planning and prioritization. However, I'm now taking steps to correct this. I just started a planner app on my mobile t better plan and prioritize…" then pull out your mobile to show how you are using the app.
Talk about a true weakness and show what you are doing to overcome it.

8. If I were to ask your professors (or your boss) to describe you, what would they say?

This is a threat of reference check question. Do not wait for the interview to know the answer. Ask any prior bosses or professors in advance. And if they're willing to provide a positive reference, ask them for a letter of recommendation.
Then you can answer the question like this:
"I believe she would say I'm a very energetic person, that I'm results oriented and one of the best people with whom she has ever worked. Actually, I know she would say that, because those are her very words. May I show you her letter of recommendation?"
So be prepared in advance with your letters of recommendation.

9. What qualities do you feel a successful manager should have?

Focus on two words: leadership and vision. Then tell of how that leadership and vision translated into your personal delivered results.
Here is a sample of how to respond: "The key quality in a successful manager should be leadership—the ability to be the visionary for the people who are working under them. The person who can set the course and direction for subordinates, keeping them focused on what is most important for delivering the highest priority results. The highest calling of a true leader is inspiring others to reach the highest of their abilities. I'd like to tell you about a person whom I consider to be a true leader…"
Then give an example of someone who has touched your life and how their impact has helped in your personal development.

10. If you had to live your life over again, what one thing would you change?

Focus on a key turning point in your life or missed opportunity. Yet also tie it forward to what you are doing to still seek to make that change.
For example: "Although I'm overall very happy with where I'm at in my life, the one aspect I likely would have changed would be focusing earlier on my chosen career. I had a great internship this past year and look forward to more experience in the field. I simply wish I would have focused here earlier. For example, I learned on my recent internship…" then provide examples.
Stay focused on positive direction in your life and back it up with examples.

In reviewing these responses, please remember that they are only examples. Please do not rehearse them verbatim or adopt them as your own. They are meant to stir your creative juices and get you thinking about how to properly answer the broader range of questions that you will face.