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Monday, April 10, 2006


The music has stopped and the TV channels are back to normalcy again. As all the hype is over let me sit down and analyze the complete scenario.

The so-called “1-crore” salary proved to be the biggest B-school news ever in the Indian B-school history. People suddenly started talking about ISB with a new aura. The number of aspirants must have increased manifold. And parents and relatives of the would-be “ISBians” have already started expecting a lot. Even a fresher, just fresh out of college wants to give a try for ISB.

Well, not bad to be ambitious but it is far important to be realistic. Did anyone sit down for a while and give a thought on what made an organization pay such a salary (let me write down the salary as 234,000 USD) to one individual. What goes to the making of such an individual? What traits such individuals possess to command such a premium?

Well, things like leadership and management are extremely subjective affairs. No single theory can precisely define such concepts. The definition of leadership and management varies from people to people and from one organization to another. Different companies have different requirements and these requirements can be filled by certain individuals with certain traits apart from the job-related skills. I will try to articulate my understanding of these traits (till date) with the following examples. ISB will help me realize how correct I am.

(1) For ages, people from defense sector are known for their leadership qualities while Indian civil servants are well known for their diplomacy. Now, ISB is a place where both these varieties of people who harbor corporate dreams can be easily traced by various companies for leadership roles.
(2) Coming to the financial sector, let’s say a person has worked in pharmaceutical and healthcare industry before joining the MBA program and aspires to enter the hard core finance and i-banking sectors in lateral roles. Now how practical is this? In ISB, there is a long line of quality CAs who have already hold lateral roles in top i-banking and consulting firms before MBA and their mission in ISB is to tune their ambitions further. Apart from CAs, there are top class economics grads who have honed their economics skills in universities of the stature of London School of Economics before spending a year in ISB. In such case, it might be slightly disappointing for the pharma guy to land up in lateral finance related job without any serious efforts.
(3) Similarly people with tons of international experience are valued for certain roles which can involve international operations while people from media have skills which match some other roles. Not to forget that profiles such as flight stewardess and air hostess are highly valued in a wide range of marketing roles, thanks to their abilities to get with people so well.
(4) The innovative nature of merchant navy people is always appreciated by the corporate world. These people, by the very nature of their profession are innovative as they normally face difficult situations in the mid sea where there are completely left to themselves.
(5) Academically brilliant people are the favorites of the consultant biggies (although other traits are also required).

This list can be really long and certain traits are appreciated more by one particular organization than another. The salary which these organizations offer depends a lot on their trust in the abilities of the person they are hiring. Sometimes the person’s past experience is a perfect fit, while in most cases organizations believe that they can groom the person in their required direction.

ISB is a place where talent is abundant. And this talent is of such diversity that almost all ranges of companies can find somebody or other who they trust can make a difference to their organizations. “How big a difference can one person bring” is perhaps the best question whose answer should be a response to “how much one should be paid”.

So, before thinking about all the big pay packs, I believe that it is time to concentrate within, to realize how big a difference one can make in an organization. Or rather, what it takes to build the set of skills which can make a person bring about positive change within an organization. And while doing this, one needs to be practical and realistic.


Venkat said...

couldnt agree more. m very happy that most of the ppl in our batch have straight thinking and realistic expectations when it comes to one crore :) Lucky to be with ppl like these



Venkat, Life is the best to live when expectations are real.