20 Nov 2021 18:11 IST

Five lessons to future-proof your career

Industry experts share views at 20th All India Management Students Convention.

“The human body has 78 organs and we have added one more organ — the mobile phone,” said Gopi Kallayil, Chief Evangelist, Digital Transformation and Strategy, at Google, and Board Advisor to the CEO for Plaeto.

Delivering the keynote address in the 20th All India Management Students Convention held on November 18 by Madras Management Association in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, on the theme, ‘Future-proof your career for success,’ he spoke about the indispensable mobile phones and argued that it generates incredible job opportunities. He prescribed five lessons to students to future-proof their career:

Find Your ‘Ikigai’

“Choose a career that gives meaning and content; find your Ikigai through your job which should be an intersection of four things — a job that you love, a job that you are good at doing, a job that is in-demand, and a job for which the world will pay for. Embrace curiosity and experimentation; and fail well,” Kallayil said.

While there are nine highly successful Google products that are being used by over a billion users today, there are hundreds of Google products that have failed, he pointed out, bringing out the need to learn from failures.

Earlier CV Subba Rao, President, MMA and Managing Director, Sanmar Shipping Limited delivered, the welcome address. He stressed on the need for learning as distinct from education, using the management education as a keyhole to open the doors to more avenues while being aware of its limitations, to count one’s blessings, and to manage one’s time effectively.

K Mahalingam, Convention Chairman and Director, TSM Group of Companies, presented an overview of the convention. Gp Captain R Vijayakumar (Retd) VSM, Executive Director, MMA announced the winners of the paper presentation, business plan presentation, management quiz, and debate competitions held in connection with the convention.




The special session on ‘Building Careers in a rapidly expanding tech space,’ was chaired by Sridhar Narayanan, Founder, Grand Alliance for Management Excellence (GAME). Juergen Hase, Chairman and CEO, P-ton, Germany, discussed the digital services offered by P-ton to bring people together, and the career opportunities available in the technology space.

Four big trends

In the special session on the theme, ‘Fuel your Skillsets Full Stack in AI, ML and IOT,’ Mithun Sundar, Chief Transformation Officer, Microsoft India and Kumar Ramanathan Founder, CEO and Managing Director, Positive Integers Pvt Ltd were the speakers.

Sundar said that the pandemic has revolutionalised healthcare through telemedicine and the digital wallet system in India. However, he noted, there are challenges in navigating the AI-driven world due to four trends — optimising performance in the hybrid world, managing hyper-connected businesses, transforming businesses to digital, and protecting all of these in troubled times.

On taking care of data, he emphasised the need to focus on providing infrastructure on a secure platform, building resilience within the organisation, and solving for risk.

Era of ecosystem

Kumar Ramanathan argued that in the world of technology, people will collaborate and compete; and data will be available to any and every organisation.

He spoke about Big Data, analytics, the future of education, and employability. Data and analytics is both a science and art, he said. He suggested focusing on 4Vs to manage Big Data — volume, variety, velocity, and veracity. Quoting an online report, he said, even the US government loses a couple of trillion dollars due to lack of accurate data.

Beware of the cycle

The special session on, ‘Financial preparedness for tough times,’ was chaired by V Shankar, Founder, CAMS & Director, ACSYS Investments Pvt Ltd. Sankaran Naren, Executive Director and Chief Investment Officer, ICICI Prudential AMC Ltd, highlighted the fact that all investments go through a cycle which goes from one end to the other like a pendulum and that those who are involved in the financial market must be extremely careful when the pendulum is very optimistic, as is the scenario now.

He advised caution in dealing with derivative market and in leveraging equities. “When the pendulum is extremely pessimistic, that is the right time for an investor to be aggressive and pick up equities, as was the case in 2002 after the 9/11 incident, and 2008 following the Lehman Brothers episode,” he said.

No money in the air

Recalling how in the nineties people invested in teak trees only to see all their money getting lost, he said, there is no money hanging in the air to be reaped easily. According to him, many scrips are overvalued now and they may be due for correction.

He regretted our education system does not teach us how to make money. “Continuous learning is a very important part of financial preparedness. However, mere knowledge about financial management is not enough to be a successful investor. What is also important is a very good temperament for which we must know how to manage our emotions."

The special session on the theme, ‘Appreciation of Life,’ was chaired by R Ramaraj, Founder, Sify Technologies Pvt Ltd. Viswanathan Anand, Indian Chess Grandmaster and Former World Champion and Viren Rasquinha, Former Indian Hockey Captain as speakers in the session shared their wisdom of handling both success and failure.

Ranking, ranking, ranking

Viswanathan Anand said that being the first Indian to reach many milestones in Chess, he had the luxury of not matching up to someone’s expectations. "In the beginning of my career, my three goals were just ‘ranking, ranking and ranking,’ which is similar to the need for placement for graduating students. In the initial learning phase of your career, it is very difficult to achieve work-life balance. But in my middle phase, I realised that pushing to your limits is good for short term results but it is a not a long term strategy. I set aside time for family and focused my attention to things which I had neglected for long," said Anand.




Viren Rasquinha said that he comes from a normal conservative middle class family, growing up in Mumbai in the early nineties. “My mom was a doctor and dad, an engineer. I have two elder brothers who loved sports. As my parents were strict with them, they eventually became engineers. I was lucky as my parents were liberal with me. I passed my SSC Board exam in State merit list but I loved hockey,” he said.

Describing the role of his school and coach, Rasquinha said, "My school has produced great hockey players. My hockey coach in school Marcellus Gomes was an Olympian and he taught me the importance of team work, discipline and commitment. Most importantly, he taught me to believe in myself.” On the role of coaches, Viren said that we all need mentors, good teachers and coaches in life. “My coach changed my life when I was around 11 years old,” he said

On having fun through a strict regimen, Rasquinha said, “Though athletic training is exhausting, I enjoyed it and never thought of it as a sacrifice. One thing led to the other and I played for India, captained the Indian hockey team, and played in the Olympics. As Anand said, I was only focused on hockey and nothing else in my initial years. At 19, people thought that I led a very glamorous life — flying and playing across the globe. But it was hard to tell them that all I saw was the hotels and the hockey grounds.” Rasquinha also spoke about why he quit hockey at 28 to pursue management education.

On handling failures in matches, Anand said that he practised recovering from the loss in two steps — first, recovering emotionally and recovering technically. Emotional recovery is very important to find my balance, and technical recovery is to find out why I lost, he explained.

(The author is a freelance writer based in Chennai, a corporate trainer and a visiting faculty for B-Schools)