Essential skills that exist outside the ambit of fancy B-schoolsMathew J Maniyamkott
As another batch of college graduates march out, clad in their illustrious robes and beaming parents to match, there hangs loose, constantly, a dreary question - what plans for the future. The industrious few managed to snatch a campus placement, while others dearly waiting for their placement team to conjure up a miracle.
There has never been a doubt over the calibre of the workforce that India churns out. But the word 'churn out' points towards the conveyor belt-like manufacturing unit that many of these B-schools have become. There is no doubt that most graduates are moulded to work like drones and lack cognitive skills when they take to operations.
Apart from the skills that a business school teaches you, there are other sets of skills that can still make you a good fit for employment. Let us see some of the skills that are highly valued and when used properly one can make a career out of it.
One of the essential skill to broaden your horizon and market your ideas would be networking. Be it a salesperson or an entrepreneur it is always important to building relationships with the right people. If you ever think about it, our entire life is a gamut of dealing with people. You want a job, someone needs to approve your skills. Your success is entirely owned by how well you can handle people, while only a miniscule part of your success belongs to your technical skills.
Once you finish your business school, it is easy to fall for the assumption that it is a full stop to your education/learning. There are rapid advances happening in the world, so you need to be abreast of changing technologies in the industry. Your employer might be looking for a particular skillset, if you can get certified with a good record, I see no reason why you should not land a job sooner. Identify relevant sources from podcasts, blogs, videos, tutorials, etc.
Ability to take feedback
It is such an important skill but it is overlooked by everyone. The ability to take feedback can only come with humility, as it requires one to put aside their egos. People in all kinds of careers have to face the prospect of having to take feedbacks. Even if you are a freelancer or a consultant, there always will arise a condition where you have to sit across a client and discuss your performance. Never consider it to be beneath yourself, even though you might not agree with the proposed changes, but this is real life and things need to be taken seriously.
Regardless of the degree that you possess, the reports, thesis and test papers you worked on prove that you have developed a fair degree of skill in writing. Ineffective email responses is another flaw that haunts many in the Indian white-collar force. So know that even if your technical skills are rusty, a well-written cover letter could very well lead you inside the doors of a job you seek.
Ability to sell
If you can sell ice to an eskimo, then you're surely in contention to become the next big shot. If you have perfected the art of the hustle, then business opportunities and the courage to close deals with come to your naturally. Not only do you need to learn to sell products, you also need to sell yourself at an interview.
Always remember that B-schools are not your definitive guide to becoming a success story, a lot rides on your ability to think outside the box. These array of skills will help you stand out in the world and get a shot at working with leading firms.