Monday, November 9, 2009

A Practical Guide To Finding Your Passion

We frequently hear the prophesy - follow what matters to you most or do what you love. However, I always wondered (like most of us) that how important it is for me to follow what I love. I grew up with a thought that stabilizing my family is the sole purpose of my life. What that meant to me was getting into top engineering school to get a well paying job. What could be better than not having them worry about their child's future? So I relentlessly and quite successfully did that and frequently experienced the pleasure of providing them the best. But, within seven years of professional career, I begin to question myself - now what? I had accomplished what I wanted and my accentuated career progression curve started to flatten. The energy inside was anxiously telling me to make the next stride. Spot check at job satisfaction clearly exposed a feeling of emptiness even though I was doing the best throughout the day. I begin to wonder "what is it that I want" and in quest for finding that "what", i came across a book - success build to last.

A very few are fortunate to know what they are passionate about and little out of those follow what they love. This small elite group of people comprise of leaders who enjoy eternal sense of satisfaction and often they  shape this world. However phony this statement sounds, this is the ground reality. I am not saying that I am following what I am passionate about, but, with the help of this book, I have started to pave the way for that. Some of the things I liked about this book and that have already helped me shape my thoughts are:

  • A Practical Way of Finding What You Love: Often, we are already following what we love, but, in a mild and suppressed form. We just have to clear the haze and shine that piece of our life. For example one can say I am passionate about basketball. I practice and watch the game every day, read news, follow it more than anything else. Well, you could very well be a basketball fan, but, think again. What is it that can energize you to get up and do something even after a tiring practice session of basketball. Is it a discussion about new venture? Is it acting in a play? Or is it playing with children? Your passion can very well be one of these. What can you do for a stranger for free? Is it researching a business idea, designing a house or clubbing with him to paint a wall? When you look for your passion ask these questions to yourself , look for signs and you will get it. One last thing, you passion could very well be left behind with your childhood. But, there is always be a thought of that thing still living in some remote room of your heart which is locked by everyday life. Dig deeper and do not deny yourself. Consider and eliminate everything before you get down to just ONE thing.
  • Urgency to Follow What You Love: The author said one statement that stick in my mind. If you don't love your job then someone who is passionate about that job will snatch it from you. Brutal example of that is the current spree of layoffs. If you do not follow what you really love, you are bound to fail and the reason is simple. A person who loves his job will put earnest efforts to chisel his skills to perform the best on this job. On the other hand, you would merely be making it through the day. Result...catastrophic!
  • Finding a Propeller: Recall the pleasure you experienced when you last time did what you love. Use a collection of such memories as the primary driver to make this transition. It could be a drastic change, but, chances of your failing in making this change are extremely rare. Remember, when you follow your passion, work becomes leisure and you do not even realize how quickly you become successful. Money, recognition, popularity -they all come with time. They do come in abundance, but, you have to be patient and persistent - irrespective what people around you think of you.
Here is the link to this book:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

GRE Scores and Schools

Free GRE admissions resources:

1. Testmagic forum
2. University Research:
3. Programs and profile of people getting into your choice of university:
4. US News graduate ranking for science
5. Financial Times (FT) ranking for 1 year finance programs

Friday, November 6, 2009

Test Post Via Email


Vishal Goel

Motivating Employees

Mckenzie quarterly recently published an article about motivating employees in this economy. I think its by chance that the article was published in this economy and it became so important to understand. With all the companies in dearth of cash and depleted reserves, following were cited as three main ideas that can help manage employees anxiety and motivate them to do their jobs enthusiastically:

1. Appraisal from immediate manager - works wonder in any situation irrespective if economy. Important to get things done in the right way.
2. Interaction with senior leadership - Senior leadership has to be immensely sensitive to employees anxiety and keep in touch with them via emails, regular (weekly / bi-weekly) updates, personal meetings and appraise etc.
3. Opportunity to lead tasks if not projects - This brings the sense of worth in any employee as he gets energized to accomplish the assigned task / project.

Traditional motivation comes from (in sequence):
1. Cash Bonus
2. Basic Salary Hike
3. Stock and Stock Options

With traditions in jeopardy right now, follow the modern trends and get the most out of your organization. Here is the full story:

Which MBA?

After months of struggle with a trivial question, Part Time or Full Time MBA, I have decided to utilize some of my learning from prior posts. But, let me first analyze what the real deal is. The points below are things I understood by talking to many full time and part time current students and alums.

Further, I am thinking from the standpoint of a guy who is 30, with minimal business background at best, not an executive already and needs MBA to learn finance, strategy and running a sizable organization. This may not be relevant for an executive, who just need a degree to climb the ladder.

Why Full Time MBA?
After talking to many current part time students, some common pain points expressed were:
  • No time for a detailed study of subjects - Each subject requires atleast five hours and up to 10 hrs of reading outside the three hour class. If you are taking 2 subjects per quarter then you are already engaged for two evenings for classes. Rest of the three evenings are insufficient to complete outside classroom reading/learning.
  • No time for club and social activities - Well, most of the people have work related things going on in the evening. Tough to schedule group meetings / dinners / socials etc.
  • Fatigue - Initial enthusiasm is soon (within 3 quarters) overshadowed by fatigue. With slight lack of enthusiasm playing people tend to miss events, avoid group meetings. After all, a minimum of 12 Hrs workday schedule is fixed. Surprisingly, everybody mentioned family commitments as well. I did not think that would be a concern as (most of the) partners understand. But, who knows how things shape-up.
  • Implement B-School Lessons- I can't say alot on this, but, most of the Indian IT guys are working as some sort of programmer or team leader. There is hardly any opportunity to contribute to business side of your org. If you are in consulting, it makes your life further difficult as company is billing you for a project. So, you may not be the most appropriate guy to participate in corporate strategy development or marketing. Remember, your day is already stretched, its not going to be easy to find extra time to contribute to any organization wide initiatives or start your own business. But, this is all very personal and your org. dependent.
  • Recruitment - probably the most important aspect for most of us. People said that recruitment events are mostly during the day, when you are in office. So, most of the part timers can't attend. Huge advantage for full timers. With so much going on in life, its tough to maintain contact and network with industry guys.
  • Credibility and Network - FT definitely has more credibility. But, I am certain now that it is very slightly more, of not equal. You have a lot more time to network, write to people, meet with them etc.
  • Super fun and not Burden-  FT is fun as well - many many events, traveling, interaction points, a lot of alcohol etc. After all ya all will be together for two years FULL TIME.
Seems like everything is going wrong with part time MBA. So, why go Part Time?

  • Finances - Most of the people who are in this dilemma have 5+ years of experience and are near 30 years of age. It is a high time to get settled, start a family, have kids, take care of your parents, move out of an apartment and buy a decent house and what not! At this point imagine the cost of full time MBA - huge! Life is short, and there is so little time to fulfill all the responsibilities and lead a comfortable life. Taking the plunge of full time MBA at this point would mean shifting life events by minimum 4-5 years. 2 years of MBA and 2 Y of residual loan pay off before you can commence what you would have at the age of 29-30.
  • Poor job scene for visa seekers - Well, its not a huge concern as such but with this economy and protective govt. policies, it has become a concern. If you wanna go to Mckinsey, BCG, Bain - fine, no visa issues there for full timers. But, if you plan to say start a new business, go into IB or corporate functions like strategy, finance etc. or industry jobs say in JnJ, its tough to get visa sponsorship. Again, very personal decision and also depends on how much time you have left on your H1B. BUT, the very fact that you can continue pursuing your GC and MBA parallel makes a huge difference. When you graduate out of a PT MBA program and your are a GC holder, you can easily crack one of those corporate and industry jobs.
  • You can overcome everything I said about full time - The more your stretch yourself the better you become. No extra explanation needed, but, you have to be reeeaaaly... committed.
In the next post, i will apply lessons from Prof. Thaler (Chicago Booth) lecture on behavioral economics and decide on which way to go. After all, I am a consumer and need to decide what to buy.