Friday, October 31, 2008

MBAs During Recession : Advice From Gautam Ghosh

Its a great pleasure to present a guest post from Mr Gautam Ghosh on a topic which is currently on the top of the mind of all MBA students who are facing a dull placement season this year.

Gautam Ghosh is an HR Consultant based out of Delhi. An MBA in HR from the prestigious XLRI Jamshedpur, Gautam had an illustrious career in organisations like Deliotte and Touche, Hewlett Packard, Dell and Satyam before venturing into the field of HR Consulting.

An expert in the field of Human Resources Management, Gautam is also an avid blogger. His HR Blog is listed among the top 25 best HR blog by HR World. You can read his blog at and

I am sure that readers of marketing practice will greatly benefit from the insights and advice from Gautam

How to prepare for placements in tough times .

First of all Harish, thanks for giving me this opportunity to write a guest post. As we all know the economic scenario worldwide is yo-yo'ing and is not one for the faint hearted.

When Harish asked me if I could write a post for students who are looking at graduate into a tough job market, I wondered what I could say to these young bright students.

Then it struck me. Placements are a time for marketing yourself, and in this tough market the principles of marketing become relevant more than ever.

So here are a few thoughts:

1. Be a quality product. As any marketer worth his salt will let you know, there is only so much you can do to sell an average product. Being an outstanding product goes a long way to make the marketing easier. That means not just raw intelligence but a lot of emotional quotient also. The ability to build relationships and get things done. The courage to take decisions. All these matter in addition to your ability to analyze numbers and define processes.

2. First generalise then specialise. Brands and marketers live and breathe segmentation. However, as an individual in the brand bazaar it's always better to generalise more and more and then decide on when to specialise. The upsides of specialisation is that during boom times you can command a premium, but the downside is that during a period of slump the generalists are the last to get laid off. Take the decision depending on how much risk you can take

3. Keep developing and evolving - Brands need to continuously develop and be relevant to the context. As a professional that is imperative too. Building skills and keeping an open mindset (to new horizons, mobility etc) is key to developing as a professional.

4. Prove your worth. As the economy slows, people's perception of what you can do would be different than what they would have assumed a year ago. Their risk taking propensity would have reduced, so be prepared to prove your worth before any additional work is given your way. Credibility would have to be earned and not assumed.

5. The start is just the start not the end. I know how stressful placement days can be. I lived through some of the most harrowing days of my life from days 1 to 3 in my campus placement season when 'dream company' after 'dream company' rejected me. Looking back, I can only see what seems obvious now. The first job has little or no bearing on where you are in ten years. The only case where it has a bearing on is you're lucky to join a job which you stick to for decades. Yes even in this day and age. There are some lucky folks like that too.

Gautam Ghosh

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MBAs During Recession


  1. Nice initiative to have a key HR practitioner's perspective to the situation. As a marketing pratitioner and business person, I have been speaking to students in colleges and working professionals. Having gone thru the Placement Jambourie myself at IIM, one can imagine the student sentiment. I have been speaking to students to look at the situation holistically - we are all caught in a Once-In-Century-Occurence;

    - Introspect and look at what one seeks from life in general. Listen to your own drummer's beat.
    - And as Harish mentions in his post, revisit your 'specialisation' and welcome sales postings. They will serve you well in the long run. I shall always relish my postings in far flung rural Bihar, rural Rajastan in my sales stint before my getting onto seemingly fancier big budget marketing roles.
    - Seek inspiration from diverse professionals in their own lives. Prof Randy Pausch of CMU can be a strong case in point. ( you would know of his story already. If not, could google him up. I have a post on my blog for my reference. Think it might be very pertinent for your students as they prepare for their own lives.

    Good Luck..

    May The Force Be With Us!

  2. that's a good post...


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