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The pebbles are the other things in life that matter, but on a smaller scale. The pebbles represent things like your job, house, or car.
The sand is everything else, the "small stuff."
"If you put the sand or the pebbles into the jar first, there is no room for the rocks.
The same goes for your life. If you spend all your energy and time on the small stuff, material things, you will never have room for the things that are truly most important.
Pay attention to the things that are Important in your life and spend time on the Important. Some more important takings are
- Spend time with your Family.
- Spend time with your People.
- Spend time for your Customers.
- Take your partner out once a while.
- Take time to renew yourself.
- Find time for maintenance.
- Spend time on Preventing than on Solving Problems
----- Take care of the rocks first - the things that really matter.----
Set your priorities, the rest is just pebbles and sand.
Believe in yourself, know what you want, and make it happen (Shabbar Suterwala. 2006). After finishing the school studies (SSC) I choose commerce for my HSC (Higher secondary certificate) because I had vested interest in commerce and learning about business. While doing my HSC only I was thinking about doing MBA and started laying foundation for the same and this is what I wanted to take care of "rocks". Soon after my higher secondary Certificate I took admission for bachelor of commerce because most of the subjects studied in Master of Business Administration are being covered in BCOM. Due the Bachelors of commerce I was able to have deep insight of the subject which I knew I have to specialise in management studies later in my life. In graduation I learnt the subjects like marketing, accountancy, management, economics, business laws etc. Also while doing graduation I was very active in playing chess. I was University representative in our college chess team. I have also taken participation in National Cadet corps (NCC) In NCC I learnt the basic military training, which is Indian military cadet corps and also is engaged in grooming and the cadets of the country into develop character, discipline , leadership, develop the character, spirit of adventure and motivation. While being in NCC I attended the annual training camp and national integration camp. Annual training camp is of 10 to 12 days camp in which I learnt basics of NCC e.g. what is its aim, what are the activities take place etc. National integration camp is conducted on all India basis and in which the main aim was to bridge the cultural gap among various state of India.
However where to pursue your MBA? And when to pursue MBA? These were the biggest and challenging question in front for me. To answer where to pursue MBA I started doing the research about the business schools in India. However I came to conclusion that MBA in India is not as diverse as compared in MBA in countries like US, UK, Canada because in the today era working in corporate world cannot be classified in any specific work culture or style e.g Indian environment or UK environment, Current business world is unity in diversity, in order to work in this diverse culture I have chosen foreign education, which does not restricts its student from one particular country, on the other hand these Universities invites students from all over the countries in the world e.g. China, Japan, Turkey, United States of America. In order to gain the experience in these wide and culturally diverse Universities and I can get the global exposure so as to become the leader of the future, opting for foreign Universities were the only option left for me. After graduation I enrolled for the post graduate diploma in banking operations(PGDBO) in this course it was dedicated for the overview of the banking industry and the products offered by banking, financial services which leads to understand the concept of money and banking as well as various functions of Reserve Bank of India, impact of globalization on the banking. PGDBO lead to development of professional and behavioural skills. Financial accounts and maths, Professional skill-grooming, effective business communication. Regulator environment, customer service skills and retail banking- product and processes are the other subject covered in this course.
As of now it was decided that I am going to pursue my MBA in foreign location and the biggest obstacle for me to get into any good University was, minimum three years of work experience required and which I didn't possessed at that point of time. Therefore after bachelor of commerce and PGDBO, I joined ICICI Bank India Private limited as officer so as to get practical work experience. I started working in ICICI Bank international banking group, remittances department. ICICI Bank is India's largest private sector bank and second largest bank overall just next to State Bank of India. ICICI bank was the place I could learn all about international banking, operations and compliances (Banking regulations act. Sarbanes and Oxley act, Reporting of Reserve bank of India) in international banking, Working in teams, coordinating with other teams, giving training to new joiners, keeping track of the work of subordinates, preparing productivity sheets. However when I joined ICICI Bank I was very satisfied with the work which I used to do as well the culture of the company. Gradually when I started thinking about my growth in professional life it was very limited just because of I didn't have any professional degree e.g. MBA, CA because when it came to promotion and appraisal organisations are looking at the level of education rather that the hard work done me. To speed up the growth in professional life climbing the ladder of MBA was the best solution at the given point of time. This was the added reason for doing MBA as well as it was my dream to pursue MBA.
So finally when I started applying to UK universities I just concentrated on AMBA accredited universities, because these are the Universities where I can get good exposure from faculty as well as the students who are having wide variety of experience in different field. AMBA accredited business schools are finest business education available. All the programs which runs into the B schools are tested by AMBA(mbaworld, 2012).
Why Kent Business School: After taking all aspects such as ranking, faculties, accreditation, fees I selected Kent Business school as my destination for my MBA aspiration also because of the class size was small. In KBS, MBA program was also having consultancy management, Paris and Brussels study visit was also attractive for application. On the other hand KBS ranked by The Guardian University Guide as one of the top 30 business schools in the UK(kent.ac.uk, 2012).
Obstacles for MBA: While applying for MBA time management was one of the toughest task for me because I used work for more than 10 hours on an average in ICICI Bank and then I need to prepare for applications, shortlisting the universities of my choice, preparing for IELTS exam, applying for bank loan, applying for Visa. One fine day I came to know that my bank loan is not getting sanctioned and then I thought it is getting impossible for me to do MBA, I was broke at that moment with the feeling of not able to pursue MBA, however with all support of family and friends finally I came to UK to do MBA. Getting admission was also one of the biggest achievement for the middle class student like me. However due to my bank loan not getting sanctioned on time and ninety days' notice period at my bank I was not able to join the course on time and I ended up missing Induction week and corporate environment module.
Section 1. The life during MBA: Finally I accepted the challenge and enrolled to pursue MBA which was offered Kent Business School, one of the top ranked University in UK. The day my flight landed on Heathrow airport, feeling full of thrill and anxiety about what is going to happen in next one year? It was totally new world, new education system as compared to Indian education system which I followed till that time. First time when I came to University of Kent Canterbury it was such a pleasant day and I thought this is the place where I would like to be and explore my MBA days. When I see all the students around then I felt that the students here are from all over the world studying variety of subjects e.g. Engineering, Actuarial science, Arts, management.
My first day when I entered symposium room I could see that some kind International conference is going on because everybody was having some different nationality. I felt that how will I settle in this class where everybody knows each other since last 15 days and myself being knew in this environment was the biggest challenge for me. However with the help my good interpersonal skills and communication skills I was able to cope up with this problem. On the other hand my MBA colleagues were also helpful, they supported me a lot in my initial days as they knew I was late and I need some guidance.
The first lecture was about Marketing analysis and planning in which the session was very interesting because of the case studies which were given were live case studies, about the products which we know as well as theory is linked with the practical example and which made the subject understand very easily. After studying this module I am able to understand key concepts and theories in marketing.
Being having the background of accounting and finance I was wondering what I am going to study hear? However when the module was started it was very well paced so as the student who never studied accounting they can learn and analyse the subject very well. During the course there were lot of activities e.g. Analysis of the financial statement of Burberry Inc and presentation of the same. In accounting and financial management after learning the module I was able to analyse the financial statements. Until the module was taught I was only able to prepare accounting statements however after the module I am able to analyse the financial statements of the company so as to make decision e.g. short term, long term, investment, distribution, cash flow statement, valuation of business etc. Management accounting was the helping me to create the base for corporate finance.
In Managing Process I learned about the customer orientation and operations, understanding the relationship between different processes. Project management was one my favourite topic studied in managing process, initially I felt it is tough but later when I practised it became easy. It was the first module where we were supposed to give group presentation instead of course work assignment. It was very nice experience to work in group for five days and night preparing for the presentation, coordinating within the group and competing with other group, this is where the foundation for my leadership was started in Kent MBA, trying to do our best to get good marks.
Having my own prejudice about Human resource management and its activities just I was thinking about that Human resource manager's job is just limited to hiring and firing and taking care of salary and it is uninteresting etc. however when the lecture started it was proved that I was wrong and I discovered Human resource management is really interesting and HRMS is beyond hiring and firing, it is all about Strategic human resource management, leadership, learning, career development and enhancement. HRM can contribute to increase organisational capabilities.
The classes of Corporate environment was being taken while study holiday because I missed the module as stated earlier and it was the time when I was under lot of pressure because my first assignment of marketing was also due for submission and I have to attend the classes as well, eventually I tried successfully to manage both. In Corporate environment I learnt about the porter five forces, PESTLE analysis, Macro-economic factors affecting industry, micro economic factors, affecting the business, networking effects, corporate governance and corporate social responsibilities and economics. The live case studies made this subject easy to understand the subject.
Fundamental of corporate finance and investment was the subject in I was the most interested to learn and pursue as my career aspiration however after studying Kent MBA I have decided that there are lot of other good as well as interesting subjects which I should think about career. In this module all the fundamental of finance were taught e.g. introduction to risk, portfolio theory, capital structure, sources of finance, efficiency market hypothesis and valuation. This module helped to create the foundation for the elective module. However one thing I would like to mention is the pace of the module was very fast and I think module like this should be taken for two weeks same like the module of accounting and financial management because lot of financial theories are involved.
International business is one of my best subject ever I learnt Thanks to Dr Fragkiskos Filippaios who has made subject so special, simple and interesting. In International business lot of concepts are applied e.g. economics, finance, human resource management which I learnt in previous modules. After studying this subject I was able to analyse the international business environment, trade theories. For me the biggest challenge was applying the theories in International business to real world cases however the same was solved in the analysis of Cummins Energy solution business which was live case study. I was really good experience for preparing the presentation and providing solutions to Cummins ESB about their future expansion plan. In module negotiations exercise was also there in this simulation we acting as team Microsoft and Politicians of Germany.
Strategic management is one most interesting subject for me and I would like aspire to do my career in strategic management related areas. With the help of strategic management I am able to learn the theories and framework and apply the same to the variety of organization. While doing the presentation to the Cummins ESB it was very good practical exposure for me to apply theories learnt over the period of time.
Corporate finance was an elective module and the next step for the fundamental of corporate finance. This module I selected as elective because of my interest in corporate finance. In this module I learnt about the capital structure in which Modigliani and miller approach, traditional theory, pecking order theory, weighted average cost of capital. This module mainly having practical view for the corporate finance.
Managing complexity is one of the unique subject I ever studied, this subject is best for organisational problems which involve people, however being totally new to this subject therefore I had to face lot of problems in coping up with subject.
Plagiarism: As I mentioned earlier due to some unavoidable reason I was not able to join Kent MBA on time and I missed the induction lecture, I was not aware of the plagiarism and I was new to this education system. Due to which I was found guilty in the Managing people and organization in spite of me giving the valid reasons for the same, I have even contacted the concerned professor about my ignorance of the Harvard style referencing and basic things about the preparing the assignments however there was positive response on email but no action in reality. As I came to know that I am going to get zero mark in the assignment I was shocked and didn't even knew what is this and what to do next. I can still remember that while facing to the disciplinary committee, they were looking so harsh on me in spite of me telling them that I was not aware of the UK system e.g. Turn it in and I got affected because of this incident very badly. However after this incident I learnt the things on my own and started doing the assignment. If I would have been aware of things well in advance then, I would have copied the work of others and which resulting into the plagiarism.
Brussels-Paris study visit was the best experience, studied lot of things like European economics taught by Roger Vickerman in which I was able to understand the environment in Europe, European policies, Brussels being the de facto capital of European Union all the decision regarding the EU are taken in Brussels. David Demetrius's (President of European Management Development Institute) lecture was also very informative. After Brussels we headed to Paris and the first lecture was taken by our own director Rajendra Shirole on the spirituality and how it affects and effect business form. Overall the whole Brussels and Paris study visit lead me to the added knowledge and experience of current world scenario.
In consultancy week me and my group has consulted three clients were there. The clients briefed us about their problem or future goal as well about their business and later we all group members discussed about the situation and provided solutions to the clients applying our know gained in MBA.
William Betham, from St Dunstan's area development association in Canterbury which is an extension for the existing high street, the main purpose of the association is to develop the area so as to become commercially attractive to the businesses e.g. store of Rebook, Addidas as well as to for tourist attraction because of the Cathedral. The challenge is that small business are not able to spend time and money on the development so as to assist them St Dunstan's has formed the association so as to provide the services which the small businesses cannot concentrate to provide. They want that local people should do shopping in Canterbury instead of going to Blue-water Mall. .St Dunstan's association want to develop their own area benchmarking the success of Whitefrairs and Blue-water. The consultancy was provided on Developing the St Dunstans area which is a shopping area. The client was in the need of increasing the number of member and also attract more customers with the limited resources and we have provided the solution in the form of marketing solutions, strategies about the future course of action e.g. advertising on facebook, websites.
Yogaworks was the second client a Yoga service provider, in this area Sarah the owner of yogaworks is the self-employed and expert in Yoga, Provides training and healing services to her clients. Her requirement was to generate some new ideas for the business development. We have provided the consultancy on business development e.g. 4p' of marketing, creating the website, membership card, social networking.
The third client was Jonnie Jensen of liveandsocial is an entrepreneur in social media who provides the web designing services to the companies who want to create their internet presence e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. The requirement of the client were that the company need quality contractors with specialist skills, the owner want to concentrate on planning, promoting and selling, required right tools, efficient selling and delivery. For every of the above mention problem my group has also provided the solutions. Overall consultancy week was very wonderful experience because the subjects which we studied in MBA the same with need to apply in this consultancy week. The clients were also satisfied with the ideas provided by my group. It was very helpful because we got the opportunity to study live business and their problems and later we as a group need to think about the solutions. Sometimes we felt that how we are going to give the solutions to these businesses because they all were different from our work experience and which we never had experience however later things very going as per our expectation.
MBA Internship: After having whole year of educational experience and finishing the first two semester is was the time to start internship, to gain the practical experience of the business Internship is one of the best way. While doing Kent MBA also I have gained lot of real world experience via consultancy week as well. However internship helps to gain the real live experience which is essential to gain a good job in current job market. Internship will help to check whether the field is really suitable for me or not. The experience which we get into the internship we can add the credibility to our resume for better prospects of getting selected in interview. With the help of internship student can complete the degree and also get the work experience. Internship helps into getting the hands on work experience on the other hand while doing internship we can create our new contacts in the desired industry and which can be very helpful to achieve future goal. While working with supervisor it will be great exposure as well, supervisor can become mentor. Finally internship allows us to practically apply the knowledge gained over the period of time.
My internship is with BankMuscat and the topic is international banking group's evaluation of remittances, operations and risk management. I started my internship from the month of June I had a meeting with my supervisor who seemed fantastic. He had guided me with the list of articles to be read to have a command over the subject and solid foundation to write the essay. These included the reading the books, journal articles and research papers. Initially I was worried about the dissertation and gradually when started working on the same it became easy. I have to coordinate with the BankMuscat operations team in Oman for data required for research this was sometimes challenging because the team was busy and they had some issues with data sharing complications. However "When the going gets tough, the tough get going" Every day it was a new challenge and new experience and also I was learning something new. It has been more than two months that I am working on my internship, I have learned about the International banking operations and remittances, risk management associated with the operations. The module which were covered in my internship are Corporate finance, International business and Corporate environment.
Section 3. Post MBA-Skills
After spending enormous amount of time, money and energy and pursuing MBA to develop the skills that are required by the business and which make me better leader and manager of future. In order to stand out from the other students in competition, skills have to be developed.
Leadership: Leadership is the process of inspiring people to do their best to achieve a desired result(Michael Armstrong, 2009). Leadership is the process of setting a vision or a set of goals and influencing people be an individual, a group, an organization or a community to work towards achieving those visions or set of goals. Leader have to achieve the task as well maintain relationships between other leaders and individuals. However there are leaders who are task oriented who only concentrates on the task which has to be completed and other leaders are more concentrating on the people oriented, the main aim is people should be happy (Hania Zeidan. 2012). As far as my leadership tendencies are concern till now I used mainly focus on task which are assigned to me. I was bay leader while working into ICICI bank India and sometimes I used to be harsh on people who are not maintaining five S.
Theories in Leadership
BLAKE MOUTON - GRID BASED THEORY: Blake Mounton- grid can identify the two important and fundamental drivers of leadership/mangers behaviour : the task leadership or people leadership. The theory provides the management behaviour and two variables of the same are concern for production and concern for people, which are plotted on the grid and indicates the degree from 1 to 9 which from low to high. There are five position available on the grid which indicates managerial behaviour at the different situations.
Anonymous. (2012). Leadership Grid. Available: http://www.mbaknol.com/management-concepts/managerial-grid-model/.
Produce or Perish (9,1): Leaders in this category are very strong on the result and they will get the result by making dissatisfy their workers. The leaders who get produce or perish rating are very harsh on workers to get the work done., very particular about the deadlines, employees are given less importance than work. So as to achieve organisations goal produce or perish kind of leader will use all the ways e.g. through creating pressure or punishments. As far as my skills and past experience is concerned I think produce and perish is suitable for my personality. I am strong on result and however sometimes weak on maintaining human relationships.
Country club(1,9): Country club style of leadership is more emphasised on human relationship and weak on performance. The manager is more relationship oriented but low concern about the performance. Country club leaders use reward power of the organisation to maintain the spirit between the employees as well as to encourage the subordinates for performance enhancement.
Impoverished(1,1): Impoverished leaders follow delegate and disappear management style. These leaders are least bothered about the people as well as their results of the team. Impoverished leader try's to avoid all trouble and no willing to be held responsible for any mistakes. Due to these all qualities of impoverished leaders the team they are leading will be disorganized and dissatisfied.
Team Leaders(9,9): Team leaders are very strong on maintaining human relationship as well as strong on performing the task allotted to them. Team leaders always keep encouraging their subordinates so as to get the work done as well as gain the team goals within the target. Team leaders are very hard worker and because of which team leaders form one the most productive team in the organisation.
Middle of the road(5,5): Middle of the road leaders are the one who tries to balance between the human relationship and the organisational goal and while doing so leaders end doing compromise and people as well goals are satisfied properly. Middle of the road managers should lead to become the team leader in future.
Fiedler's Contingency theory: This theory describes the relationship between the leadership style and group performance under various different situations (Anonymous. (2012). Fiedler's Contingency Theory). Every leader has their own style of leading the team which depends on their personal character, skills, education. Fiedler suggest that to measure the above mentioned leadership qualities from the rule of least preferred co-worker. As per the theory every leader has to score on a scale of 1 to 8 with the every person they have worked with. The basis of measurement is Uncooperative, hostile, unfriendly. Higher the leaders personality control score show that the leader is more focused towards human relationship and lower leaders personality control shows that the leader has focus towards the task.
Kolb's Learning Cycle: Kolb and his colleagues identified a four stage learning cycle which been hugely influential in people development in HRM((Iain Henderson, 2008). This learning cycle deal with different individuals different learning styles
Concrete experience- This can be planned or accidental. In this cycle any person can concentrate on the experience and
Reflective observation- This involves actively thinking about the experience and its significance.
Abstract Conceptualization- Generalizing from experience to develop various concepts and ideas that can be applied when similar situations are encountered.
Active experimentation- testing the concept or ideas in new situations. This gives rise to a new concrete experience and the cycle begins again (Michael Armstrong, 2009).
Four types of Definition of learning style:
Diverging: Diverging people are very successful in looking things from different viewpoint. Divergent are very sensitive and they most of the time prefer to learn from others experiences, collect information
Presentation skills: When it comes to the presentation the first things in my mind come to the preparation of managing process's presentation, I was a bit nervous as well I knew that if something will go wrong my whole team's marks will get affected. To overcome this weakness we practised couple of times and then I was confident enough to give the presentation. Before coming to MBA I was not good in presentation because of the opportunities were not there, however in MBA there were lot of presentation e.g. managing process, International business, Managing complexity, Consultancy week etc. As the days passed I tried to improve my body language, voice, appearance.
Writing skills: Writing is one most important means of the communication in every organisation, my writing skills has developed because of the course work. Initially when I started writing the assignment it was very tough because of new education system, frankly speaking it took lot of time to finish my first assignment, however gradually I got the grip on how to write the assignment and result of which my writing skills got developed.
Negotiation skills: Every management student should have negotiation skills, because current business environment is having full of challenges as well as opportunities, if anybody have has good negotiation skill he can excel fast into the organisation. Negotiation workshop taken by Samuel Passow was very helpful to develop the negotiation skill. The case studies used in negotiation skill workshop were practical oriented and we have applied the same in international business case study.
Communication skills: Initially when I joined Kent MBA I felt a bit hard to communicate with the people with native as well as non-native English speaking people, however with all due support of my MBA colleague I developed myself so that I can communicate with them properly and later with group work, group presentation my communication skills was got developed. Kent MBA gave me opportunity to communicate with the people of diverse culture and due to which I came to know about their culture as well and in future if I need to deal with any of these culture then I can prepare myself according to the knowledge gained while doing MBA.
Team work: I was lucky enough to be in the MBA that is having diverse set of experiences as well as nationalities. As it is AMBA accredited MBA everybody is having work experience in different field e.g. Software, banking, finance, retail, entrepreneurs. Being with such kind of group I have learnt a lot from group activities, everybody shares their own real world work experience and tried to contribute to the group activities, this is what was the gist of getting ample of knowledge from the group work. Few people were good in computer, few were good in leadership, few were good in theories, with all the mixture of this knowledge the group was existed as strength. However I experienced some negative points as well while working in the team that few people not at interested working in the team and due to which the team spirit is lost.
MBTI(Myers-Briggs Type Indicator): With the help of the MBTI test I can check type of my personality after answering the questioner. After the questioner my personality type is INTJ which means introversion, Intuition, thinking, judging. INTJ type of personality have original minds and great drive for implementation of their ideas so as to achieve their goals. When committed for any job and carry it till the accomplishing the activity.