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CAT Myths and Facts

The author is a PGP from IIM Ahmedabad and has 5 years of experience in education consulting. Early this year, Vivek turned entrepreneur and has launched Endeavor Careers in Ahmedabad, an educational enterprise dedicated towards guiding MBA Aspirants in their endeavor to make it to IIMs.

Most of the CAT aspirants have already given up hope on IIMs even before starting preparation for CAT. Why? Well, this is a result of twin factors. One, most of the students taking CAT, in their 20 years of upbringing have never been exposed to an entrance exam. To add to this, the kind of aura that has been attached to CAT by the media, students and the bunch of coaching institutes mushrooming in the market makes the aspirant vulnerable to succumbing at the slightest confusion caused by the myths making rounds in the market about CAT. Lets expose these Myths! Myth 1: Success ratio in IIMs is 1:120 Here, we will have to separate IIMs from CAT. By my experience I can say that almost two-third of the students taking CAT are not targeting IIMs in the first place. They are targeting host of other institutes affiliated to CAT. They would not have even applied to IIMs if each IIM were charging a separate fee for entrance forms like the other CAT affiliated institutes. So this leaves us with 40,000 students and a ratio of 1:40. Lets go a step further. CAT is an exam that requires a lot of perseverance. However roughly only 50 per cent of students are able to persevere through the preparation period and are prepared to their best level on the day of CAT. So if you are taking CAT and seriously targeting IIMs and are ready to sweat it out till the CAT day, your chance of making it to IIMs will be 1:20. Feeling Better?!! Myth 2: Maths Genius + Vocab Stud + 800 wpm Reading Speed = IIM Call Contrary to the popular belief, CAT is not a test to gauge mathematical aptitude and verbal aptitude. CAT is recognized as one of the best tests in the world to check the management aptitude of the candidates. The candidate needs to be good in mathematical and verbal ability but if those were the only areas IIMs were testing, there was no need to design a complicated exam like CAT to test the same. Myth 3: The exam is getting tougher every year Well, CAT 98 had 180 questions divided across 4 sections to be solved in 2 hours. So, a candidate was required to clear 4 sectional cut-offs and one overall cut-off in 2 hours. CAT 2004 contained 123 questions divided in three broad sections; hence a candidate was required to clear three sectional cut-offs and an overall cut-off in two hours. So a CAT taker in 2004 roughly had 50 per cent more time per question compared to a CAT aspirant in 1998. Of course, CAT in this period has moved from fundamental based test format to application-based questions. So CAT has evolved into an application based test which in its course not only checks the basic fundamentals but also how you apply these fundamentals, given the pressure cooker exam environment with multiple simultaneous goals. Myth 4: Speed and Accuracy match is what you need to crack CAT An aspirant may have a great accuracy level and high speed, but if he does not possess the right exam strategy and the right selection of questions he will land up in no mans land. For a CAT taker one key trait is self-analysis. He needs to analyse his skills at regular interval and accordingly arrive at the right exam strategy. A CAT taker, who carries his ego up his sleeves on the day of CAT, will never be able to crack it. Rather he should use his presence of mind and keep an eye on the war (i.e. individual sections) rather than let his ego fight out each battle (i.e. each question) till the end. Now, when the big myths have been shattered, lets analyse why is CAT what it is today? CAT a test to check managerial aptitude CAT checks the exam taker on the essential traits of a manager apart from the quantitative and verbal fundamentals that are prerequisite for anyone joining the MBA programme. These essential traits include adaptability, stress management, analytical approach, decision-making skills, self-analytical skills, and competitive benchmarking. All these skills are required to crack CAT in one way or the other. Apart from these, a manager is supposed to be a team builder, growthoriented individual and have good ethical values. He should be able to look into a problem from multi-disciplinary angle.

These skills are tested in the attitude tests viz. Group Discussion and Personal Interview. So if you are able to get through the aptitude and attitude tests of CAT, you already have the right management aptitude and are fit for the revered team at IIMs to shape your future. CAT What it takes? Lets understand what it takes to be a potential CAT cracker. Unlike college exams where one can slog it out, burn midnight lamps for 15 20 days, solve last 5 years question papers and can still be sure to get a distinction, CAT preparation requires a single-minded effort, disciplined approach and a lot of perseverance. To be prepared for CAT, one needs to have maths & verbal logic as well as fundamentals in place. Mathematical and Verbal logic are a product of the way one has exposed himself to these logic areas over a period of time and cannot be mastered overnight. So, one should not be shocked if couple of people claim relatively good scores in Mock CATs without much of preparation. It only goes to say that their mathematical/verbal logic is in place. These candidates now need to work on capitalizing their logic upstart by giving due stress on mastering the maths/verbal fundamentals, striking the right exam strategy and getting that split second decision making in place. Remember, its not the most intelligent, most diligent or the most spirited who cracks CAT. Intelligence, diligence and motivation pay only if you are a smart test taker. So Happy CAT hunting!!

Relative weightage of Gd & Interview

A CAT candidate has requested more info on relative weightages of GD and interview from IIM Bangalore. Deep into this article it says "Senior IIM officials said the GD has one-and-a-half-times the weight of the interview." This is an interesting comment as it reveals the relative weightage. Otherwise most people assume the weightage between GD and interview to be equal!

Here's what the CAT 2006 100 percentile holder Arti Nihalani had to say on the IMS website:
"Over time I have realized that you cannot just do things you like. To crack the CAT it is necessary to keep your mind open. After taking the practice tests you will know how much time you need for each section. Thus, you will be in a position to strategize and distribute the time for each section. Stick to your strategy. Do not make any last minute changes in the strategy on the CAT day."

20 hours and 300 seconds - A day in IIMA

20 hours and 300 seconds - A day in IIMA B-School Life By Ashutosh Kar

IIM Ahmedabad Class of 2007

20 hours and 300 seconds!! "I looked at the clock. Fifty-five past eight. Hell, No! My heart skipped a couple of beats and I landed thud into the reality, with all traces of sleep vaporizing in a flash. Less than 300 seconds away from the first lecture! ". A blatantly inconsiderate sound pierced through my subconscious sense, which, until the mishap happened, was playing the moving images of a distantly possible yet infinitely adorable event. The images, which so desirably played somewhere on a little screen in the intricate alleys of my brain, were switched off in a flash and a warm darkness poured into me. The sinfully punctual sound bleated incessantly as the frail images of sheer bliss broke apart behind my sleep-sealed eyes. I groaned in anger. Eyes still closed, my hands were frantically scanning the scattered area around my pillow, trying to feel the source of the sound. A dropped mobile phone, a few open casemats, couple of closed books and an all-weather note later, my probing fingers finally rested on the small digital alarm clock that had went off, unconcerned about the little surreal joy the night chose to bless me with. A couple of random hits, and the sound stopped. I buried my face into the bed pulling the pillow over the back of my head in a desperate bid to go back to the state of ecstasy I was in, only a few unfortunately unidirectional moments ago. Sandwiched by the warmth, I began to slowly slip back into the calm wrapping of sleep, until Peeeeeeeeeeep Peeeeeeeeeeep The deafening shrillness of the sound hit my ears hard. I let out an inaudible cry in semi-conscious frustration and wrapped my hands around the pillow, pressing them harder over my head. The sound still churned my insides. This time it seemed to come from the floor below me - a piercing monophony that drilled a hole right through the bed to enter my sleep-deprived brain. I extended my arms and probed again. This time, my fingers only moved through the air, way above the floor level, collecting the mockery that the sound below threw at me. Moments later, suddenly, the beep stopped as if out of absolute pity for the hapless victim. The mobile fell silent. Its back-up alarm still worked, amazingly, even as it regularly got dropped onto the floor at an average rate of 0.9 drops per night, slipping from the inclined mumbo-jumbo of brown-covered spiral-bound torture-texts, bouncing off the floor as a winner every time, infinite scratches on its now defaced body not withstanding. By this time, my comatose head was coming back to normalcy and I had started rolling back to the unromantic mundane reality - the reality of undesirably waking up to another eighteen non-stop hours of classes, meal-skips, quizzes, assignments and seminight-outs. And this day was even worse. I looked at the clock. Fifty-five past eight. Hell, No! My heart skipped a couple of beats and I landed thud into the reality, with all traces of sleep vaporizing in a flash. Less than 300 seconds away from the first lecture! Coming late to class is not exactly celebrated here and it was particularly unthinkable for todays lecture. I jerked my length out of the bed while the demure morning glow, softened by the translucent window panes, bathed the grim chaos of fallen notes and books, a 24X7-running restless computer, a roof-kissing stack of management books, a coffee mug, a phone fighting for space on the side-table, few pens looking for their caps, chairs almost invisible under a pile of stale clothes and a towel, and some twisted cables of the computer hanging down from the black-top table of my new-campus room. Time wasnt running fast. It was zooming past like an F-16 fighter plane. I fumbled for the toothbrush and paste and pulled out my towel, five percent visible from the pile of clothes. Before I realized, I was running towards the bathroom adorned with all the morning-routine paraphernalia, including an unlikely accompaniment my wristwatch - to help me fight the losing-but-yet-not-all-lost battle against the 9 am deadline. The next 180 seconds were action packed like a bizarre action movie in fast-forward. 70 seconds to 9 and I was already inside my cargo pants pants that afforded me the least putting on time - so crucial for survival when you wake up frighteningly late on a fateful morning with Prof RC taking the first lecture. Slamming the door behind me, unlocked, I took five long jumps to the flight of stairs leading out of the dorm. As I took 3 steps down, my heart chocked. It unceremoniously dawned on me that I had left the casemat in the room. The casemat was an absolute survival kit that rendered an array of services in the classroom, including providing a

life-saving opportunity to look busy while trying to avoid the professors attention. The selected pages of the SFI casemat had been sleepily marked last night with a highlighter pen, in an anything but neat manner. However, these highlights could save you some terrible embarrassments in the class, provided you get those luxurious 20-30 seconds before the question is passed on to you. If you are the first one to be asked a brand new question, well, the casemat along with the colored highlights is pretty much close to useless. Panting, I rushed back, almost tripping near the door. I flung open the door and frantically sifted through the pile of casemats lying on the bed. SFI was missing. The nerves in my brain tightened below the skull and I was losing my ability to think and act. Heart pounding, I bent down and looked under the bed. There it was! Neatly tucked in the little crevice between my bed and the wall! The spiral binding, with diameter understandably greater than the thickness of the mat, had kept it from falling down to the floor. As I came out running from my dorm and climbed up the stairs to the classroom building, I could see a couple of my classmates scrambling their way towards the class, a half-consumed banana or an empty coffee cup in hand, sandwich partly stuffed into the mouth, partly sticking out. I ran, trailing fifteen steps behind them as the countdown began. 20 seconds, 19, 18, 17 My hands were now working me up harder than my feet did. I was flying on the final set of stairs, pulling my weight by grabbing the railing and jerking my body up, skipping a couple of stairs below. 9:00:05. That is five seconds past 9. I burst into the classroom screeching to a halt before the stocky, rotund guy, standing at the centre of a three-quarter circle arrangement of benches, The Well in IIMA parlance, could see me. As I started the precarious journey towards my seat, he looked at me with a scornful dismissal, probably cursing himself for having to teach such morons like me who enter the classroom a gigantic five seconds late. I quietly slid myself into my seat, breathing ten times faster than I did when I won the Arithmeticrace at school, a rare feat by my running standards. Of course, I won that race primarily because of my arithmetic skills, not running. A heavy silence had descended on the room. Cold air, mixed with a calm nervousness, flowed from the airconditioning vents above and settled into the room, depositing itself on the pale faces, turning the whole room into a cold concentration chamber. The horror on the faces was more than just palpable. I opened the casemat, which until now was clinging to my body, and started sifting through the pages, silently, blending myself into the neighborhood as much as possible. Attracting attention by making a rustling noise was the last thing I would dare do at this moment. The professor spoke. His sarcasm filled sharp voice ripped through the silence like a siren in the still of night. He thought some of us were missing. We were asked to perform a headcount so that he could ascertain as to how many of us dared to think that his classes were worth a miss. The count started at the extreme left-hand side corner of the innermost ring of benches, closest to the professors table. One; the next one looked up; Two. Then the next, and so it continued like a Mexican wave with people looking up before their turn came and immediately looking down after they got themselves a number. No one wanted to lock eyes with the professor, given that he wasnt exactly a girlfriend material. Most chose to look busy by turning back and forth the casemat pages and flipping through the notebooks. Yet some others pulled pens out of their pockets and started writing the date, time and the subject on their notebooks, something they never usually do for a class, to keep themselves busy with a plausible reason. I was among the last set of people, drawing lines repeatedly below the topic heading till I thought it was outrageous. I mean, nobody underlines texts with 15 lines. One of our batch mates was absent from the class. I didnt know why. In fact, no one did except for one poor chap who, by some cruel twist of fate, happened to be the dorm-mate of the absentee. Who are his dorm-mates? blasted professor RC. With reluctant trembling hands one guy spoke from the dumb audience I am, sir. The next 15 minutes were probably the tensest moments of his life as he tried to defend his room-mate who hadnt returned to the college from a weekend sojourn. Time didnt seem to move in his class. When it did, it was like a rickety road-roller moving on you - slow and painful. We didnt move, nor did our lips. Only he did - marching from one poor victim to another like a modern day Alexander, taking pleasure in subjecting some of the best minds of India to 70 minutes of absolute helplessness. Unfortunately, this time, 80 minutes had already passed. And also did pass an array of condescending remarks, reprimands, part-baked jokes, self-inflicted laughter, new inventions in torture techniques and yes, some teachings too, though heavily colored by his own (mis?) interpretations. I surreptitiously looked at my watch. 10.20 am. A shot-put ball was being dragged through my caved gut. Having skipped the dinner the last night and now the breakfast, I was seething in pain and hunger. It was already 10 minutes past the scheduled time. Yet he showed no signs of stopping.

10.30 is the time when the over-enthusiastic and purposely punctual mess guys close down the breakfast. Two seconds late and the door closes right on your face and you lose your righteous claim on the cold cereals that had waited so long for you. 10.25. The hands moved on. 10.26. The ticking of my watch now synchronized itself to the throbbing in my stomach. My stomach was almost bleeding now and I felt unconscious. Each second grew increasingly painful. Finally the Gods smiled on me and it dawned on the only motion-enabled person in the room that it was time he stopped teaching the egocentric, immature and money-worshipping bunch of management wannabes. At 10.28 am the class ended. The rest of the case, we will discuss tomorrow. Also come prepared with the next case and the readings were his musical parting words. 120 seconds and more 500 feet to go before I could land up at the mess door. That asks for more than 4 feet a second. Not easy. Not impossible either. I ran, leaving everything else behind. I had just one thing to take care of. My ailing stomach - deprived of its due for the past 21 hours. A huge queue greeted me at the door. The misaligned heads in the queue repeatedly and anxiously lifted themselves up as if to take a sneak peek at the large hot iron plate, on which some ten Uttapams sat, each slowly browning its circular thinness. The queue increasingly got impatient and some members broke away, unable to take any further the endless wait. I counted as I always did. There were still 12 guys in front of me. Assuming each guy consumed 1.5 Uttapams on an average (this is slightly on the lower side, but I had no other options than be desperately optimistic), at least 6 guys needed to leave the queue before I could hope to earn myself an onion sprinkled, half-cooked delight. That seemed as possible to me as Prof RC teaching anything substantial for more than 20 minutes. I looked back. I was the last man standing. I dont know if it came as a package with my birth, but whenever I join a really long queue, I am always the last person to be standing with no one else joining behind me to make things a little easier for me. I still have this doubt carried along with me from my childhood days. 10.32. Economics class must already have started. If I waited for my turn, I would miss both the Uttapam and the class. I decided that I had to decide. Sometimes hard decisions like these needs to be taken, even if it means keeping yourself inadequately fed, in writhing pain, for the next 3 hours till the classes get over and lunch becomes available. I guess that is what management is partly about. Or at least I understood it that way. I left the queue, grabbed from the breakfast table two trimmed pieces of bread, joined by a thin layer of jam slapped on their inner sides, and left the dining room, running and panting, again, to return to the classroom or rather the CR. CR-7 to be precise. 10.36. I entered the class. The economics professor was into writing something on the green-board. Yes, you read right. The boards in our CRs are green, probably because there is otherwise a serious lack of greenery inside the class. Like a cat having sighted a delicious rat, I entered the class in silent steps, calculating the pressure of each, while simultaneously feeling guilty for entering 6 minutes late. Though the professor is chill IIMA term for all such nice chaps who dont bother you unnecessarily to make you realize that they are still very much the professors and you, the student - adorable and a real nice guy, the class is perfectly soporific - worthy of a recommendation from doctors, if you ever had sleeping disorders. Rest assured. You would slip into a slumber even before the first PowerPoint slide got over. The professor was teaching something on Nehruvian economics, the pre-liberalization India and things like that. Keeping yourself awake through these 70 minutes of anesthesia is probably the biggest bet you would ever play with yourself. I tried hard. Not that I didnt want to sleep. But I was among the very few people left in the class by the end of three grueling semesters, who didnt sleep during lectures. To keep the rare reputation intact, I tried not to sleep. I pinched myself, squinted my eyes to read the board and tried to decrypt the indecipherable lines projected onto the white screen pulled from above. Nothing seemed to work. The lower half of my eye had turned into a magnet, pulling the lids hard into closing down. I fought against an overwhelming feeling of losing sense. To keep myself busy, I looked around. It seemed as if the breakfast served some sleep tablets too. 60% of the class, in some way or other, slept, dozed off or prepared for similar in-class crimes. The guy at the extreme left hand corner of the outermost bench had fallen backward, head resting peacefully on the backrest and glasses reflecting off the light, hiding behind them his eyes closed much before the class started. The lady sitting right in front of me had leaned forward, head on table between both her hands, her tresses crossing the width of the table and hanging silkily on the other side. A guy on the front-most bench was looking at the professor, frozen, leaning forward sporadically and going back again with a quick instinctive jerk. Another girl in the extreme right seat in the middle row was wagging like a wall clock pendulum as if nodding a yes to everything the professor said. She was the most consistent of them all, behaving in a remarkably similar manner in each class, not differentiating between professors, the subjects or the time of the day for that matter. Nevertheless, some alert guys lent their voices to what was otherwise a

monologue. They asked questions, most of which were answers by themselves. Some repeated in their own language what the professor taught and yet some others asked doubts whose answers they knew themselves. I jotted down whatever I could hear. I filled my note with disconnected series of words. In my half-sleep, complete sentences didnt register on me. Only some words did. I copied graphs unconcerned about what they meant or showed or whether I drew them completely. Notes were important, I thought, no matter how they were taken. As the professor kept on rolling through slides after slides, my all-weather notebook filled itself with half-drawn graphs, with several lines precariously hanging here and there fairly unconnected to the axes, that could represent anything from the economic growth of India to the inventory in a warehouse. The 70 minutes of class-time lumbered past with tortoise-fast pace. The third and last period was Finance. I was losing patience and my ability to think straight. So did many others in the class. The fin (IIMA short for finance) professor, though quite chill otherwise, insisted that we workout each case in detail before coming to his class. Worse, he called people at random to photocopy their notebook solution onto the green-board, in front of 80 seemingly probing eyes. A scary thought, even if you knew that 80% of them have least interest in what you write. I took a break and went outside the classroom before the third lecture was scheduled to start. I drowned my face in the cold drinking water and asked myself to feel better. When I entered the class, the professor was already there, though it wasnt time yet. He was doing some small talk with people in the front benches, while the guys themselves probably tried to figure out if there was a finance quiz that day. From what I later heard from them, the professor, in some convoluted way, hinted at no quiz; or so they thought, unfortunately. The third lecture was not exactly eventful except that some people were frantically asking around for notes from the regular guys who had put together what looked like a solution. As long as you are armed with A SOLUTION, no matter how terribly idiosyncratic it is or who it belonged to or who the owner of the note got it from, there is high chance that your heartbeat reduced by one-fourth, irrespective of whether you possess the ORIGINAL copy or you did a quick manual Xerox of the note in the 20 minutes of recess time before the class started. While I was out, splashing my face with water, some guys kept themselves busy inside the classroom, doing the later. The sandwich had melted away in my stomach the instant it was thrown inside. The raging hydrochloric acid boiled inside, burning down my stomach lining. The pain was once again getting unbearable. As the professor left the class, I started heading straight towards the dining hall. While I kept moving past the talking, chatting and shouting crme-de-la-crme of Indias brains, the dreaded word quiz hit my ears. One guy said, I am sure there is going to be a fin quiz today. SFI has no quizzes; we had the quant quiz yesterday. Marketing is in-class only and EEP also doesnt have a quiz. And we are done with MIS. OM wouldnt have a quiz until the current module is over. That leaves us with just fin. The other disagreed. Boss, last year there were only two fin quizzes before the mid-terms. Moreover, the professor hinted at no quiz today in the class. I dont think there is a quiz today. As the second guys words wafted into my ears, my heart was plastered with sandalwood paste. A cool assurance enveloped me. Right, there cant be any quiz today. Last year there were only two fin quizzes before the mids. We are already done with two this year. Moreover, if the professor has hinted at a no quiz, it must be true. My renewed faith in God threw in the final dose of assurance there cant be a quiz if I am so under-prepared. God, we can have the quiz tomorrow and I promise, I would prepare well. I was entering into a celebratory mood. Couple of my friends anxiously sought my comments on the possibility of a quiz, probably not to seek an answer but to hear what they so desperately wanted to hear. Nevertheless, like an expert, I explained to them why there couldnt be any. They seemed more relieved than me and thanked me for saving them as if I was deciding their quiz-infested fates! Normally, during lunchtime, the dining hall is a little kumbh mela with most of the 300-odd first-years gatecrashing at the same time. Things were different that day. It was oddly deserted. The second-years were chatting away idly while watching the newly-installed television sets. I swept my glance across the floor. Only five were from my batch. The alarm bells started ringing and my heart-beat grew louder. Is there really a quiz today? My worst fears were confirmed when I asked a fellow batch mate. Yes, we got a mail. Fin short quiz, 2.30 pm. Given my level of preparation, I should ideally have left the place immediately and gathered whatever little was possible within the next one hour to manage a non-D grade in the quiz. However, my burnt stomach was crying for food. I heaped my tray with whatever laid on the table and swooped down on them, unheeding the noise I was making. Pieces of ice were dropping inside and the fire was cooling down. I ate to my hearts content. And the upshot was brutally predictable. It was a dangerous 1.50 pm by the time I was

over with my lunch. There was no point in running back to the dorm. I already had run enough since morning. Moreover, I didnt want to. As I started to walk slowly towards my dorm, some passing runners threw a surprised glance at me. Upon reaching my room I realized that I wasnt in the shape of mind to open the fat B&M (A finance book) and try to remember formulas out of pages of unfortunately un-highlighted text. In short surprise quizzes like this, if you havent highlighted the important texts on the book, you better pray that the quiz is more about how our finance minister looks than about calculating the portfolio risk. Till 2.25, however, I flipped through the pages, pausing at graphs and formulas, pressing my head hard to mug them up. There wasnt much I could have done at that moment. No working out of past quiz papers, no discussing with neighbors, no revisiting the class notes (there wasnt any). Though I still cringed at the thought of appearing for a quiz and hoped everyday that a quiz, if any, happened any day starting the next day, the surprise quizzes offered little surprise to me. Quiz or no quiz, I was increasingly growing tolerant to the uncertainties of the campus life. On instruction from the Teaching Assistant (members of the TA class, in IIMA parlance, whose only job in the campus is to take attendance, conduct quizzes, including sending mails notifying them, award a random grade depending on their perception of how closely your paper tallies with the standard solution handed out to them by the concerned professor, distribute the answer scripts and vehemently refuse to accept all possible valid concerns one might raise about his/her paper), I turned the quiz paper over, exposing the text. In finance, I remembered beta to be the only Greek letter. However, quite cruelly, almost all characters in the paper looked Greek to me. The next harrowing 15 minutes were spent sifting through the drifting formulas in my mind, with words disintegrated from their expressions and flowing into one another to form a single gigantic formula the formula of confusion, of mess and of the feeling of not being able to attempt a single question. I gave up, submitted the virgin answer paper and left the room. A severe guilt was ploughing through my mind. Only if I had bothered to read the chapter earlier! Walking back to my room with heavy steps, I climbed into the bed and dumped myself. I felt tired and battered. My eyes were closing down. I didnt know for how long I had slept when I woke up to the intermittent beep of a Dbab (IIMA messaging system) message on my computer. Ashutosh, lets go collect our quant quiz papers the message said. God! These guys had to distribute the papers NOW? I had slept for 15 minutes. Getting up from the bed was the last thing I wanted to do at that moment. But if I didnt go to collect the papers, though I would eventually get to know my grades, my paper would remain a tantalizing secret to me, forever, and I wouldnt know which correct answers were shot down by the randomly shooting TAs. I needed to know, and needed to fight for them. Not for a better grade, but for dignity; for not taking nonsense silently. I looked at my paper. Marks had been snuffed out mercilessly. Though what I wrote was absolutely correct, the method I employed wasnt exactly familiar to the TA and hence he doled out to me an infinitely familiar grade. Any argument was futile. I told him that I was unhappy with the grading and needed a re-evaluation. He nodded helplessly; I wrote a crib on the paper itself and deposited it back, carefully inserting it into the middle of the stack so that my fabulous grade doesnt become a public figure. More than anything else in the world, I needed sleep. However, I knew I could sleep only after sending a group meeting request. Unless I sent a request immediately for the meeting that was to take place later in the evening, it would provide a perfect excuse to 75% of my group mates for not coming to the meeting on the pretext that they werent intimated well in advance. I opened my dbab and saw two of my group mates online. I drafted the message, put meeting time as 7 pm and hit the send button. As the message was sent, one of them went offline in an instant. Coincidence? Not really. That happened almost every time. I closed the door latch, put the phone off the hook and muted the computer. I couldnt have allowed anyone within and outside the material world to disturb me at this moment. However, the architectural arrangement of my room ensured that during the only time I could afford myself some precious sleep, the scorching rays of Ahmedabad sun entered my room through the glass window panes (there arent any window screens to cover them up) to land exactly where I kept my head on the bed, with barbarous precision. I folded the hand-towel into several longitudinal folds and covered both my eyes with it. The fans noise tended towards a jet engines, as if it had some square bearings inserted into it. With only the digital alarm clock in apparently functional mode, I tried to sleep. Though I was perpetually sleepdeprived, I didnt ever have any sleep disorders. I thanked myself for being able to sleep so easily with a jet engine roaring over my head and the sweltering heat making a bakery of my room. A one hour sleep at this time wasnt

just an absolute need it was why I have so far survived in this place. 7.00 pm. That is when I woke up, not to my digital clocks alarm, which had stopped trying to wake a dead man up about an hour ago, but to the instinctive alarms built into my body over the past three terms. I had overslept by one hour. This meant one more hour of study added to the piling backlog. I sent another reminder dbab to my group mates regarding the meeting now, and waited. I knew nobody was going to come before at least 7.15 pm. I started the online file sharing program and checked out dbab notice board (nb for short in IIMA) for any new movie added to the share. I started downloading some Hollywood rips. As usual, I browsed through the dbab nbs; most of them were in bold, announcing the arrival of new messages. I couldnt tolerate a dbab nb stay bold for long because that gave me an uncomfortable feeling. I made sure that I read, or at least browse through, all the messages in the 70 or so nbs that were added to my screen. I browsed through Perspectives, IIMAs own online photo blog, and marveled at the fabulous photographs taken by the students; checked out the birthday nb and my jaws dropped looking at the extremely creative work of some of our batch mates who had put together an awesome birthday invitation PowerPoint. The best minds at work, I thought. A few stops at the marketing nb Niche with some really intelligent and humorous advertisement clips, the adult humour nb, prevailed by one particular guy of our batch, and my fist group mate entered the room. It was 7.20. Over the next 20 minutes, 80% of my group mates dropped in one after another while the rest of us kept on talking about anything but the group work. After I realized that the rest 20% were probably in no mood to attend, the real work started. Most came fully prepared. Some only half. Arguments and counter arguments flew and what was supposed to be a short 1 hour meeting threatened to spill over to beyond the 8 pm dinner time. I checked our progress. We had hardly made any. The meeting was for making a marketing strategy presentation, in preparation for a random call in the marketing class the next day. Everyone had his (there was sadly no her in our group) own strategy in mind and was unwilling to experiment with others. Consensus wasnt what we were looking at. Perspectives were what mattered. Ultimately, just one guy (which ultimately and unmistakably turned out to be yours truly, almost every time) might sum it up all, but the arguments helped for sure. Till about 8.45, we were discussing just the first case point with three more remaining to be addressed. As we ended up doing every time, we divided the questions among ourselves, 0.5 per head while I kept the responsibility to merge individual works into a projectable, coherent and plausibly single-source presentation. When the meeting formally ended, it was about 9 pm, time when the dinner stopped being served and you needed to find alternatives in the TANSTAAFL (short for There Aint No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, IIMAs private food plaza located right beside the mess and run by the same caterer). The rules of breakfast applied to dinner too. Reach after 9 pm and you witness the food being dragged away into the kitchen right in front of your eyes, to be later fed to the management dogs and probably to some MBA wannabe monkeys trying hard, by dwelling in the IIM campus, to move into the next level of Darwinian evolution. Dinner is probably the only high point during a day when you sit back, relax and enjoy the average and sometimes delicious meal while watching the overhead televisions playing channels that you absolutely have no control on. Back from the dinner, I looked at the class schedule. Marketing presentation, SFI case readings and all related analysis and calculations, an MIS submission and case preparation for finance for tomorrow, Marketing and WAC submission in the weekend and the SFI Project review the day after. Top it up with the backlogs that have been piling over the weeks and the week-long packaged honeymoon was ready. I smiled to myself. A remarkable similarity with the pending court cases in India, I thought. If the judiciary were to resolve all the pending cases without handling the new ones that popped up each second, it would take about 36 years for the backlog to clear I read somewhere, some years back. If I were to clear only the backlogsI shuddered to think further. Settling down into my chair, I tried to prioritize things. The first criterion was the in-class dangers, including the genetic build of the professor who took the lecture; second, the possibility of a quiz, or an assignment delivery, the next day; third, the quantum of grade that is affected, and finally whether I could tolerate any backlogs in the subject (tolerance depended on how bad one is in the paper and what was the other subject being tested on the same day during the term exam) SFI by professor RC was by far, quite predictably, the first priority. As I opened the casemat to locate the case, I felt terrible looking at the sheer number of pages that needed to be covered before I could call myself halfprepared for the MBA-eaters class. I switched off the monitor, flashing comfortably semi-clad beauties as screensaver, easily distracting me from the lines and lines of texts, interspersed occasionally with graphs and tables. I knew I needed at least three hours before I could, albeit reluctantly, certify SFI as done for the day. That makes it 12.30. Assuming I sleep at 4, I could have another three and half hours for putting together the marketing

presentation, solving the finance case and spend some time on the SFI project to be submitted the day after tomorrow. It was 3.30 when I was done with SFI and the Marketing presentation. My eyes were closing down frequently as I involuntarily kept on lurching forward, every time almost banging my head on the computer screen. All efforts to keep awake including browsing the dbab and the internet, fast-forwarding through some downloaded Hollywood flicks, visiting some muggus who didnt have the time to lift their heads up from their books to acknowledge my coming to their rooms, had failed. Finance, for the next days class, was almost completely left out. Half in my consciousness, I staggered the highlighter across the texts. As some letters, on the magic touch of fluorescence, rose from the texts, I felt happy. I was preparing a SOLUTION for the class! It was 4.30 now and the overhead light had grown progressively dimmer. At least it seemed to. Things around me started to encircle me in a haze and I was awake only in staccato moments. I knew I was sleeping. Could be pretty similar to dying I suppose. The campus dogs howled at a distance. Through the open balcony door, other dormitories shone as rectangular equi-spaced blocks. The golden campus light added a sepia glow to the monolithic classrooms sitting gigantically across the walkway. A chorus of tempo shouts dislodged the silence of the night. IIMA was very much awake at this otherwise ungodly hour. As I had come to realize, the evening in the campus had just started. A cool peacefulness wetted me. It felt like the touch of an antiseptic aftershave. An afterthought for me, I suppose. For the past several months I had complained about the highhandedness of the professors, the stupidity of the teaching assistants, the extreme study pressure, the unnecessary submissions and resubmissions, the terrible grading patterns, the meals, the facilities, the readings and every other thing about this place. Yet at this hour of semi-conscious tiredness, all that mattered no more. Its a place I worshipped. A place I longed to come to. There was pain, but with pain came sweet memories. Of watching the whole night pass by, half studying and half chatting, of sharing cold maggis, of running to the quiz without the calculator, of ordering pizzas and tearing apart its sectors, of group meetings that discussed more on girls in campus and those outside rather than the case for the next class, of predicting quizzes and getting it wrong, of getting drenched on a cold birthday night, of kicks from the ones you love and love from the ones you kick, and of cakes that were less for consumption and more for a face-wash. I was learning to manage friends, their arguments and disagreements, frustrations and criticisms, the pressures of study, competition and expectations, the difficult decisions, multi-tasking and prioritizing, the negotiations with TAs, the fighting for justice (read grades), the mad regard for deadlines, the absolute respect for original work (though we all slipped occasionally) and punctuality down to the seconds. It was almost 5 now. Before the final strand of sense snapped and I started my free fall into the abyss of the dark empire of sleep, I felt I was probably growing into a manager, with each passing 20-hour day; with each nonexistent night. Peeeeeeeeeeep peeeeeeeeeeepI looked at the clock. 8.50 am. I smiled; a hell lot of 300 seconds to go before I needed to wake up. I pulled the blanket over me and retreated into the night; or whatever was left of it. IIMCATWALK suggests you to read his article on preparing for CAT if you are an aspirant. Click for his article on CAT preparation here. -------------About the Author: Ashutosh Kar is a 2007 batch PGP at IIMA. He worked in TCS and IBM before joining the management programme. He has a very strong inclination towards art and literature and has an eclectic mix of hobbies including painting, sketching, writing, handicrafts, electronic hardware, reading and photography. He can be reached at get2reach at ____________ [ login or register to post comments | send this story to Friends ]


1 AM, Cafe Tanstaafl IIM Ahmedabad Another hot summer night. Three people over chai. Heated Discussions.... What they share ... a Passion for management, excitement in being at IIMA, immense opportunities ahead of them and a strong sense of belongingness to the campus. The discussion centers around what it was like getting into this place. The whole process of gaining entry into the hallowed portals...the passion that drove them and five hundred others! One of them smiled through his description of the "philosophical discourses" he had with a professor during his interview. Someone else talked about a friend's interview where a lawyer was kindly requested to derive a mathematical formula (Needless to say minutes later the professor derived it himself). On a different note one of them talked about a graduate student who had recently visited the campus. He had travelled 26 hours all the way to IIMA to get information about admissions. His only motive was to hear it straight from the people inside. He had the drive, passion and capability ...he could make it! With that little extra information to direct his hardwork and commitment. This led to the discussion about lakhs of young grads who write CAT. Do all of them have the required information and inspiration? Can we do something about it? One of them was a strong believer in the power of internet. Another believed that information can make the difference and the third had conviction about real development happening through community and sharing. An idea was born ! With the vision of breaking the information assymetry and thus enabling thousands of young graduates from all parts of the country to dream and achieve, the journey began. The mission is to provide a platform for the achievers who made it into the best, and aspirants who strive for the best to share their knowledge and experiences. Happy Catwalking, The IIMcatwalk Team [ login or register to post comments | Send this page to Friends ]

How to Choose Your MBA Specialization

Most students getting their MBA in popular fields such as finance, marketing, and management, but these are not the only the specialization of MBA programs offered by colleges or universities. There are far more specializations in MBA offered for individuals in various industries; any fields that you can think off, there will be an MBA specialization for it. By knowing the full range of MBA options, you have better chances to pick the best MBA that best fit your career goal. In most career paths, people are planning to achieve their highest career achievement in managerial positions or become entrepreneurs who are going to run their own business. Although an MBA is not the ultimate requirement for managerial positions, employers generally prefer to promote or hire people with an MBA degree for higher position because MBA degree holders generally have better leadership and communication skills which are important in managerial position. MBA programs also prepare students to have the ability to think analytically and strategically. Hence, if you are combining your undergraduate degree or non-business degree with an MBA in your career field specialization, you will sure obtain higher marketable skills that are desirable to employment of your career field. Let's look at some of common MBA specializations: MBA in Health Care Management Health care industry is one of highest growth fields with 2 digits growth rate projected toward 2010 by US Bureau of Labour Statistics. This indicates a good career opportunity if you are interested to start your career in health care field. An MBA specialized in health care management will prepare you for mid- to upper-level management positions in health care facilities, pharmaceutical firms , insurance companies, long-term care facilities, and public health agencies. MBA in Marketing If you are working in marketing, advertising or public relations, you know that these fields are very competitive. You need to have good marketing knowledge and skills in order for you to be success in this challenging career. MBA with marketing specialization can increase your knowledge and enhance your skills so that you are well prepared to face the challenges along your marketing career path. MBA in Communication If you work in communication fields such as media & advertising, journalism, public relations and you are looking to advance your career to next level, an MBA that specialize in communication will prepares you for mid- to upper-level management positions in these communication career fields. MBA in Entrepreneurship You don't miss understood that MBA in Entrepreneurship is only for people who want to be an entrepreneur. Many organizations especially companies in dynamic industries such as technology and media require degree holders with MBA in Entrepreneurship for their managerial positions to lead the companies toward continued development. Basically, this MBA courses will focus on business administration strategies that encourage innovation and flexibility. MBA in Hospitality & Tourism Beside the health care industry, service industries such as hotels, restaurants and tourism focus areas are booming as well. The high demands in these fields require people with expertise that can employ management techniques in all levels to lead the industries to go inline with the boom. MBA in Hospitality & Tourism can be your open door to move your hospitality or tourism career to a higher level with better earnings. MBA in Human Resources (HR) Employees are the most important asset for an organization. HR department is responsible to select, recruit, train and cater to the needs of employees. Hence, management personnel in HR department require to good management of people, effective communication with employees, and good labor relations. An MBA in Human Resources will combine the generic MBA with specialized human resources training such as employee training & recruitment, planning and mediation. You will also learn how to integrate HR strategies with the company overall human resources allocation plan. Summary You must select the right specialization in your MBA program in order for your MBA degree to carry the most value that can help in your career move. By knowing the options of MBA program's specialization, you will have better chances to select the best MBA program that best fit into your career goal. Amelia Turner, an educational article writer for You can find more details information and free resources about online MBA programs, distance learning universities, financial aids and other online education programs that can help you to make decision to earn your degree online.

The Executive MBA Alternative

The continued growth and popularity of the Executive MBA across the globe reflects the attractive rewards for both participants and their employers, ensuring both accelerated professional development and enhanced corporate performance. Companies are realising more than ever that they must invest in employee career enhancement to retain top managers, says Bernadette Conraths, Head of Kellogg-WHU Executive MBA (EMBA). And recent conversations with admissions directors at top business schools worldwide suggest the executive education uptrend will persist into 2009, an indication that companies are taking this investment seriously. According to the 2007 Executive MBA Council survey of member schools the percentage of students who received promotions increased from 34% in 2004 to 43% in 2007. "Based on feedback from our alumni and corporate partners, I believe that EMBA numbers are picking up as companies invest more in retention. The demand for quality executives is high," says Conraths. Targeted at senior managers and young executives on a fast-track managerial career, the Executive MBA has been the growth area in management education over the past five years. A growing number of schools, including Cass Business

School in London and University of Virginia's Darden School are launching new programs. Meanwhile, other schools are developing partnership Executive MBA programs such as Rotman School at the University of Toronto and St. Gallen in Switzerland, INSEAD and China's Tsinghua University, and London Business School and Columbia Business School, catering for an internationally mobile audience. International arena Kirt Wood, Director of Marketing and Admissions at the RSM Erasmus Rotterdam School of Management, notes that demand for the program is no longer regionally based. Fast-developing economies are looking to train the new generation of internationally experienced senior managers to manage growth. "We are seeing more enquiries and students from new markets," he explains. "Central Asia in particular is entering the pool in a big way." As more and more EMBA participants are crossing frontiers, EMBA programs are unlocking the potential of the internet for distance learning. Online tutorials, groupware, simulations, and virtual group assignments all play an important role in the learning model. George Hill, Chief Technology Officer at Bell South International, has been impressed with the richness of the distance-learning segment of Emory University's Modular Executive MBA Program. "It is a virtual extension of the classroom. The ability to have discussions via the web is a powerful tool and has allowed me to participate frequently as I travel internationally. I found the online discussions as engaging and intense as the classroom case studies." Women and EMBAs The international audience isn't the only group attracted to Executive MBAs. The accessibility of the programs means more and more women are considering studying for this prestigious qualification while balancing work and family commitments. Several EMBA schools are now looking to accept highly qualified women with slightly less work experience than they have traditionally targeted. Columbia Executive MBA Dean Ethan Hanabury sees EMBA demand trending younger as women check the MBA box. "They'll do this while advancing professionally before they start to think of children and other family obligations. And when you think about the average age of somebody attending an executive MBA program, it's right during the peak of child-bearing years." Career enhancement But what is the driver that is sustaining the demand for the Executive MBA? After all, the program requires a considerable investment of time and money from both employer and employee. Frank Bertuzzi is now an EMEA representative for Teraware Communications in the US. When he began his Executive MBA at ESC Lille in France he had spent 12 years in his home country as an engineer. "After 12 years in engineering, I decided to enrol in an Executive MBA program to take charge of my career and expand my horizons. I had acquired skills in sales and management at work, but I gradually realized that I needed a more theoretical knowledge of business, which one can rarely find in companies. I chose to enrol at ESC Lille because of the reputation of the school, its expertise in project management, and its exchange program with UTS in Sydney. I completed my EMBA in France and Australia and passed international certifications in project management and cost engineering. My career turned international, and I now work for a California-based global manufacturer that provides solutions in optical networking." For the majority of Executive MBA participants, the intense schedule is just part of the trade-off that sees them able to earn more and move ahead, without interrupting their careers.

Executives head back to the classroom further education may be your best investment yet.
By Marie Field If you've told yourself that changing careers or going back to school simply are not options for established professionals, you may miss out on the one thing that will bring back the enthusiasm of a fresh graduate. Executive education may be what you need to surpass that career plateau. Whether it's enrolling in an Executive MBA (EMBA) course or simply taking a 15-day course in management skills, business education can only brighten your career outlook, even if this just means meeting people outside of your regular network. The realm of executive education encompasses a huge range of options. You may want to improve your negotiation skills or take a class on leadership, or focus on personal development. If you're looking to pick up new skills - whether in finance, marketing, or information technology - there is sure to be a business school that can help. The Executive MBA As Business schools continue to respond to strong demand for their EMBA programs, the results of a recent survey confirmed the return on investment for those who have made the commitment to an Executive MBA. The percentage of students who received promotions increased from 34% three years ago to 43% last year, according to last year's Executive MBA Council Survey of their member schools. The EMBA is a popular program amongst the over thirty group, as it equips the experienced manager with a sophisticated set of diverse skills and strategic thinking that can be immediately applied on the job . In comparison to full-time MBA programs, the EMBA is focused on gaining a broader understanding of the business as a whole, with the confidence, leadership and communication skills required to reach the C-suite. Further, the executive programs are tailored to the professional with a tight schedule weekend classes or modular weeks of study are the norm. The other attraction of the EMBA is the networking and the opportunity to learn about business methods practiced in other industries and countries. "With the diversity of companies, functional areas, and geographical representations, students gain insight and unique perspective from their classmates. It's like having potentially 87 free consultants looking at a problem not to mention expert professors!" explains Arnold Longboy, Director of Recruitment and Corporate Relations at Chicago GSB Most EMBA programs are open only to those with comprehensive experience in the professional world. Many courses exist, from 18-month programs to 24-month programs, to programs with specific focuses like global business. The

Global Executive MBA at Duke, for example, focuses simply on this area through sending its students to "Asia, South America, Europe and the United States with Internet-enabled distance learning allowing students to live and work from anywhere in the world," in addition to offering conventional classes. Jason Price, Director of EMBA World (, and an EMBA graduate from Fordham University, explains how the EMBA is much more than just "an MBA for older people": "The beauty of the EMBA is that you will not only study a company facing real challenges but the chances are that you will also have classmates who have worked in that company and were involved in senior-level decision-making." For Jason, the reward of the EMBA was phenomenal. "I feel the EMBA classes and projects are what helped me win the 2001 Microsoft Global Technology Award and build a solid and fast growing consulting firm." The Executive MBA may just give you that extra push. Take, for example, a 43 year-old IT manager who wants to make it to Director status but doesn't yet have the organizational or analytical skills to pull it off. This is exactly what the EMBA is for. "The Executive MBA gives you the extra push you need to make it to boardroom prominence.", says Nunzio Quacquarelli, Director of QS, the educational and career specialist network that organizes ExecMBA Villages in many US locations as part of the World MBA Tour, "After gaining a number of years work experience, the EMBA is maybe the only thing that will give you what you need to reach your professional goals. Entering an EMBA program after being in the professional world for a number of years presents you with a unique advantage over a 27 year-old with a lack of experience of business dilemmas and undeveloped management skills."

Corporate Perspectives on the Executive MBA

Corporate recruiters, hiring managers, and career professionals are beginning to recognize the Executive MBA as one of the best and fastest growing options in professional development. In the past five years, an average of five new programs have launched from prestigious schools such as Cornell University, Columbia University, and the London School of Economics. Enrollment continues to rise and now it is possible to continue working and growing professionally while earning an MBA in just two years. People who are hiring or supporting staff growth should learn how this type of training can groom middle managers, boost recruitment and retention, and enhance company competitiveness. A recent survey indicates that some employers are not familiar with the potential benefits of support an Executive MBA program for their most promising employees. According to the Executive MBA Council, approximately 6,000 full time working professionals including business managers, doctors, lawyers, men and women, and people in non profits graduate each year through any of the 200 EMBA programs throughout the world. However, according to the Department of Labor these graduates represent only 5% of the total 101,000 MBAs conferred annually in any given year. Despite the apparent wide appeal to various disciplines and the practical hands on training for many business professionals, it remains relatively unnoticed. In a recent survey by EMBA World, an organization that provides employees and employers an understanding of business school options, many employers agree more information is needed concerning the Executive MBA. Many employers are confused or operate on misinformation about the education, its value and benefits to the company. Many firms incorrectly believed that employees must be fully funded to attend an EMBA program. As corporations have withdrawn financial support graduate students have picked up the balance. Now approximately eighty-percent of EMBA graduates self-financed part or all of the education. Many employers did not understand that EMBA programs are designed to accommodate the working professional and are generally weekend or evening programs. Many enterprising employers report they view and use the EMBA in a variety of ways. Top 25 banks, media companies, and pharmaceutical companies surveyed report:

Corporate sponsorship can be used to recognize and reward exceptional performance and serve as a potent recruitment and retention tool. Using EMBA sponsorship as a reward, senior managers can create competition to motivate employees. The EMBA can be used as a tiebreaker when evaluating key employees and determining the appropriate career path. The Executive MBA is the most rigorous MBA an individual can earn. A senior level corporate officer must ask, "How is the competition grooming mid managers for the senior level? Are competitors sponsoring candidates for Executive MBAs and if so, am I being left behind?" The education creates networking opportunities that the savvy employer can treat as a recruitment pool for access to the best and brightest The education creates new perspectives and draws from the experiences of other managers which can lead to new concepts and business practices at the company

According to James Cecere, a graduate of Duke University Global Executive MBA, "JP Morgan Chase offers a tuition sponsorship program and the application process was incredibly rigorous. I was so impressed by the organized sponsorship application and selection process, I told myself that if I can accomplish this than I can accomplish anything. I went into the EMBA with the backing of my colleagues, my boss, and president of JP Morgan Chase. It became such an honor to represent my company in class and to this day, continue to value JP Morgan Chase for sponsoring me."

The Executive MBA is a fully accredited two year program that allows employees to work and attend school on a full time schedule. In addition, the practical, hands on training, compared to a theoretical education geared for a much younger, less experienced group of students, represents a significant benefit for the employee and employer's investment. Synthia Molina, CEO of Alternative Link, a healthcare intelligence company in California says, "I think the EMBA is an incredibly valuable degree. It means that the candidate is someone with tremendous practical experience, the kind of experience I desire in those I hire. I also think the EMBA offers the company, along with the individual, a richer and more thorough perspective on the issues facing an organization in the internal and external environments and, in particular, in the competitive environment. The EMBA attracts better candidates, retains better employees and results in better performance."

The Executive MBA

How much are you worth? That is not an easy question to answer, but it is very important. Now more than ever, we are all independent contractors, responsible for managing our own career. We must take charge, develop our own job skills, manage our own destiny, identify areas in need of change or improvement, and move forward with courage and confidence. So professionals who want to grow must ask themselves how much are they worth at their present place of employment? And how can they increase their value to either the current employer or a future employer? We have seen time and time again the demise of firms, industries and technologies. Yet with all of that, most people have exhibited a remarkable ability to adapt and survive, finding within themselves the strength and determination to move forward. Some do very, very well. Others have not done as well. Sometimes we take for granted the will to succeed and the energy people pour into building new careers, or picking up the pieces of a career that has been temporarily sidelined. When considering the entire set of job search challenges, the list is actually quite short. With many their weaknesses in succeeding with a search is often due to a poor career choice or a lack of motivation exacerbated by limited options as a result of limited education. The Executive MBA is a powerful means to stay competitive. It is also an opportunity to enhance positioning with the opportunity to strengthen your contribution as a productive and competitive employee. The program can provide enhanced skills leading to expanded job expectations enabling employee value to the company to increase. Colleagues and managers can benefit from educational dividends as ideas, creativity, and enhanced effort are genuinely appreciated and applied in the workplace. Skills and versatility can significantly increase net worth as a valued employee, a powerful assist in a highly competitive business world. When it finally dawns that a new start with a new career choice is necessary, that revelation can have an enormous impact on morale and motivation. Personal job satisfaction increases when people see that advanced education can provide a new beginning enabling them to start building toward a new set of goals. Finding a new career choice can be an immense motivator. Frequently individuals feel guilty because they are successful and productive, but are nevertheless miserable. They don't want to rock the boat, but have to make a change. For others, lack of motivation could be related to a string of unsuccessful efforts. For all of these groups, education in the form of an Executive MBA is an enormous motivator, enabling working professionals the opportunity to continue working while learning. As they learn, they will be able to see new opportunities in their current organizations or in a new environment. Either way a new door will open to career satisfaction.

Influence of Internet and Information Technology on Work and Human Resource Management
Introduction The influence of the Internet has caused a change in the way we communicate, learn and shop. The Internet is probably most famous for the ability to spread information, fact or fiction. We were once limited to news editors of a local paper, then to national cable news. Now anyone can search the globe, visit local papers in foreign countries, and see the views of all sides. This ease of information has also brought with it a large amount of hoaxes, money schemes, and fallacies. Internet has transformed our lives and the way we communicate, how we learn, how we work and spend free time, in essence it has more or less changed every aspect of human society one can think of. The significance of the Internet and information technology (IT) in both business and private field has grown considerably in the last years, with exponential growth of Internet users and services offered. Since in today's business environment people and their knowledge are company's key assets; it is obvious and expected of each company to be aware and prepared for such changes. Not only (or not at all) are the IT specialist's ones that should be aware of the new trends and understand them, but also (or even first and foremost) the manager.

Current Influence of the Internet and IT The number of Internet users has grown over 400 million in year 2008 (predictions for year 2010 are set for more than one billion). Any potential advantage of the Internet-usage, that a company can exploit to recruit, develop and retain these types of personnel, is even more important due to the fact that there is a shortage of highly profiled people in the workforce market. On the one hand, since the primary use of the Internet is communication, some people might speculate that the Internet will have positive social consequences in people's everyday lives because it increases the frequency and quality of interpersonal communications among people. People with easy access to others would feel better connected and more strongly supported by others, leading to happiness and engagement in families, organizations, communities, and society more generally. But, on the other hand, the ease of electronic communication may lead to weaker social ties, because people have less reason to leave their homes and actually interact face to face with other people. The Internet allows people to more easily work from their home, to form and sustain friendships and even romantic attachments from their home, to bank from their home, to vote and engage in political and social issue based discussions with others (from home).

Use of Internet for Staffing

Research from the Recruitment Confidence Index (RCI) has found that the number of firms using their corporate web sites to recruit board directors has almost doubled over the past year, rising from 12 per cent to 27 per cent. 79% of companies from the Global 500 group (500 largest world companies by revenue) at least to a certain extent use the Internet for seeking new personnel.

The main advantages for Internet supported recruiting are:

Lower costs of recruiting (savings in invitations for application, postal-costs, data- processing costs). Quicker process of recruitment: period from the point when the need for a new employee is sensed until the point when he starts doing his job is, according to the research, cut for twelve days. Possibility to attract better and more candidates invitation for application published on a website can also be spotted by those, who are currently not seeking new employment actively.

Besides the corporate websites, third-party websites are gaining importance. Not only that they act as "work- force exchange" where supply meets demand and vice versa, many of them also publish relevant business news, articles on job-hunting, CV writing etc., which acts as additional pull mechanism for web users, which ensures headhunting companies that their call for applications is seen.

Use of Internet for New Ways of Work

With Internet and (more broadly) Information-and-Communications-Technology (ICT) development in the full swing for the last two decades, organisations have been provided with 'a whole range of new possibilities for performing work and structuring organisations' , which will undoubtedly extend even more in the future and therewith grasp even wider sphere of employees.

Two of new ways of work are discussed below..

1.Teleworking Telework is a wide concept, whose 'common element' is 'the use of computers and telecommunications to change the accepted geography of work'. It means that we are 'moving the work to workers instead of moving the workers to work', with help of information technologies.

2. Project-oriented work with subcontracting

According to economics theory, two of the main reasons for pooling of human resources into companies are the cost reduction that is achieved with partitioning of work and the need for management of work, which is divided between numerous employees.

Though, today's ICT enables efficient collection of people with similar interest and complementary skills, and their cooperation in short- or long-term projects. All that without necessarily being a formal part of the company. Use of Internet for Employee-Development

Acquiring new and supplementing existing knowledge is one of the top- level motivational factors for a person that has covered his basic existential needs, therefore as it a key success factor for an individual it is also critical for successfulness of organization as a whole. Internet-based technology offers numerous possibilities for getting hold of new knowledge and skills. information technology has an impact over Organizational Learning as IT facilitates OL at both the individual level and the organizational level in creating knowledge which ultimately enables organizations to improve capabilities and enhance performances to cope with change. Companies are using various IT application or tools to promote OL either through knowledge depository database, online training, staff rotation planning or various IT based communication channels. The use of knowledge management strategy and the role of IT on OL coincide with the strategic objective set by the company. Companies also use different combinations between tacit and explicit knowledge in respond to the strategic goal. Both tacit and explicit knowledge are always used in all companies but the mixture produces different results. It is the management that has to determine the right combination between them to create the maximum impact on OL. IT can be a tool help managing tacit and explicit knowledge but people are more important in the process of knowledge creation as it is individuals who possess the critical minds led to learning. It is important to realize a fact that organization will never learn if its people do not learn.

Changes in employee-control

The importance of control as continual observation of work performed by employees will be lower. On one hand, due to the fact that such traditional control is impossible or at least very difficult (how to control teleworkers?), and on the other hand, because of individualization of employees that will also bring demand for higher level of autonomy in their work; ceaseless control would demotivate them. The solution for the problem is, according to (Drucker, 2001), management by objectives and self control. Business performance depends on how each task is directed toward the objectives of the whole company. The number of highly educated specialists will increase dramatically and at the same time, the new technology will demand much closer coordination among specialists. Furthermore, the performance of the manager is also measured by the contribution he makes to the success of the enterprise; "the greatest advantage of management by objectives is perhaps that it makes it possible for a manager to control her own performance" (Drucker, 2001), with help of state-of-the-art technology that enables fast gathering, analysis, synthesis of data and retrieval of relevant information

Effect of ICT and Internet on Organization

Information and communication technology and the Internet have not affected only the IT professionals and those employees that use IT for their work on a regular basis but also the environment of the organization, organization itself and the "social universe" (Drucker, 2001). Managers need to be aware of these changes, try to sense them in advance and adapt to them appropriately Especially in the field of employee-motivation we can expect essential changes. Even though visionaries predict deep and fundamental shifts in society, authors believe that first and foremost task of managers will remain motivating employees: firstly to arouse needs in employees and secondly to show them the way how to satisfy those needs in a manner, which contributes to achievement of organizational goals.

Conclusion "Some people have tried the internet and given up, but the technology is only a decade old and still in its infancy. Employers need to step back and look carefully at how best they can use the current offering on the Internet." Nowadays the world is shrinking in all major respects. People, goods, capital and information are moving around the globe as never before. Companies are trying to become global players just to survive, let alone prosper. They have also been sending key management members to attend global seminars, workshops, and training sessions regularly. India has become a sourcing centre for many global giants are utilizing the services of skilled labour here in order to create distinct cost advantages for their products. Agility pays rich dividends and HR managers have an important role in creating a favorable work climate to initiate and implement changes quickly with the help of growing technology. To remain competitive, most HR managers nowadays anticipate such cyclical changes in advance and initiate proactive steps that are less painful. In the long run, how effectively a company uses it human resources can have a dramatic impact on its ability to compete or survive in an increasingly competitive technological environment.

MBA - Communication Articles

1. Building Your Leadership Skills
There are many myths about leaders, one being that "leaders are born and not made." The truth is, several factors contribute to the development of a leader. Obviously, the leader's personal qualities are important, but also critical are the needs of the people being led and the objective they are pursuing. Certainly, some personality types thrive better in leadership roles than others. Even so, the good news is that leadership skills can be learned. Moreover, leadership is never a finished product; it's an ongoing process that needs continuous nurturing and refinement. What You Need to Know How can I be more of a leader in my job as an operations manager? The fact that you're in a management position means your leadership role is already established. If the people you supervise seem unmotivated or unproductive, it's your leadership capability that may be in doubt. You or your team may need to display more energy and commitment, or you may need to think less about what you're doing and spend more time planning how you do it. Think, too, about how your boss and those you supervise perceive you and whether or not their perceptions are accurate. Be sure to seek your boss's input and advice. But how do I actually practice all this? Finding the right opportunity is important, so you may want to make it a point to tell your boss you feel ready for more responsibility. Demonstrate your readiness by proposing to lead a specific project or expand your responsibilities in a way that will enable you to take a leadership position and test your skills. Plan carefully to acquire the resources and support you will need. One valuable acquisition may be a coach or mentor to offer guidance. Leadership capability rarely emerges overnight; it takes time and practice. The process includes learning about yourself and how you respond to situations calling for leadership. Use this knowledge to evaluate what worked and what didn't and to help plan what to do (or avoid doing) when the next opportunity arises. I am comfortable before an audience, but will I make a good leader? Commanding an audience is a great skill that many effective leaders have, but it's by no means the sole contributor to their success. Leaders need to be problem solvers. They also need to possess originality and flair, confidence, self-knowledge, strong interpersonal skills, an ability to listen, an ability to create a vision, and good organizational skills. Your speaking ability suggests you're articulate and self-confident. If you possess the other qualities too, you're probably an excellent candidate for a leadership role. Why can't I translate my successful leadership role outside the workplace to my work environment? Some experiences in our lives encourage and foster leadership; others do not. Perhaps the outside leadership role is voluntary or arose because of your passion for a project and your willingness to take charge. Your work environment might be very different, with little opportunity to show passion and even less for shouldering authority.

Examine what allows you to thrive in your outside leadership role. Understanding your motivation, the nature of the opportunity, and the support you receive from the group may help you to see what's missing at work. Then use this information to create the right context there, too. What to Do Understand the Various Kinds of Leadership Required There are different types of leadership. Think of three shepherds: The first opens the gate and walks through, allowing the flock to follow. This shepherd leads from the front. The second shepherd stands behind the sheep and pushes or guides them through, demonstrating a supportive leadership style. The third moves from front to back and sometimes to the middle of the flock, demonstrating an interactive leadership style. Leaders cannot exist without followers, and the needs of followers change depending on the context. Knowing how and when to utilize different leadership styles can help you respond effectively, no matter what the situation demands. Another school of thought recognizes the following four leadership styles: directive, creative, facilitative, and process-oriented. Whatever the model, specific leadership styles work best in particular situations. A structured leader, for example, is likely to succeed in a situation where process is important, such as running an operation. The relaxed or facilitative leader is especially well suited to managing a group of professionals, while organizations focused on creating change may need dominant leaders. Acquire and Refresh Your Leadership Knowledge Business leaders need to understand the imperatives of their respective organizations. Business schools continually offer programs that provide a foundation for such understanding. These courses in leadership usually range from business theory to shaping strategic vision and understanding risk. Some might also cover organizational behavior, which analyzes what makes people tick and, in turn, suggests ways to best manage them. Build Your Self-awareness Your leadership style is the means by which you communicate. The more self-aware you are, the more effective your style will be, which means knowing the following about yourself: What you're like as a person What your preferences are What your goals are How others perceive you and your objectives What motivates you to achieve these objectives Numerous tests and questionnaires are available in books and on Web sites to help you explore your personality, preferences, and inclinations. Surveys (including the "360-degree" survey that allows employees to give you feedback) are also useful. Business schools have valuable data about expected leadership behaviors. By combining information from all these sources, you can establish benchmarks for yourself. Other leadership-building tools include: Coaching to address evident gaps in skills, behaviors, or confidence

Training programs developed either within or outside an organization Networking to share ideas and techniques with others Mentoring to become more aware of how others respond to you "Stretch" assignments to learn on the job Lateral transfers to different parts of the company Benchmarking against peers in other companies Working outside your comfort zone to expand horizons and experiences Apply the Skills You Have Learned Leadership opportunities are often thrust upon one unexpectedly. As in most situations, your best bet is to start by analyzing the situation. Decide what is needed and how best to achieve it. Some leadership positions require you to set the objectives for others to follow. In these situations scheduling, consultation, and team building are essential for success. Leaders often need to work as intermediaries between two groups: those who want the results (a board or an executive) and those who will deliver them. In this case, you need to establish good communication channels with both parties. Try to pick teams that have a good balance between competent managers and energetic, loyal team members. Teams need consistent, positive energy levels to sustain momentum, and a thoughtful mix of talents, not choices based on friendships or politics, is more likely to succeed. If you are trying out new systems or approaches, first surround yourself with the right individuals (those comfortable with new ideas, for instance). Then create a framework for support and document the process so you can later evaluate how well you did. What to Avoid You Don't Appreciate the Changes a Leadership Role Brings People often try to maintain the same relationships they enjoyed before taking on a leadership position. Leaders, especially those in supervisory roles, must be careful not to let friendships interfere with good judgment. Be aware, too, that those who know you as a co-worker or peer may see you in a much different light once you become a leader. You Mirror Other Leaders Too Closely People new to leadership roles may try to copy a leader they respect because the person provides a ready-made model. This can create a false impression of what you're really like. Worse, it may make you look foolish trying to mimic a style that clashes with your own personality. Leadership behaviors come from within. Identify what it is you respect in the other leader and think about how you can best display that attribute. If it doesn't work, don't be afraid to try a new approach. You Fail to Work at It Many people hope that they have natural leadership skills and accept leadership positions without training or making mental adjustments. Sometimes this sink-or-swim approach works, but don't count on it. Building leadership skills, increasing your self-awareness, and developing a positive reputation throughout your organization offer far greater potential for success. You Aspire to Leadership for the Wrong Reasons One doesn't become a leader just to be able to orders others around, cart home "the big bucks," or soar off on an ego trip. Leadership does require a healthy ego and reaps great rewards, but it comes with a price. Leadership requires an earnest desire to achieve goals, to help others achieve and grow, and to enjoy seeing others enjoy the fruits of success. Books:

Hames, Richard David. The Five Literacies of Global Leadership: What Authentic Leaders Know and You Need to Find Out. Jossey-Bass, 2007. Kolditz, Thomas A. Extremis Leadership: Leading As If Your Life Depended On It. Jossey-Bass, 2007.

2. How to Become an Authentic Speaker

The Idea in Brief You rehearsed your speech thoroughly--and mastered that all-important body language. But when you delivered the talk, you sensed little enthusiasm in your audience. What's going on? You're probably coming across as artificial. The reason: When we rehearse specific body language elements, we use them incorrectly during the actual speech--slightly after speaking the associated words. Listeners feel something's wrong, because during natural conversation, body language emerges before the associated words. Key ideas from the Harvard Business Review article By Nick Morgan To demonstrate your authenticity, don't rehearse your body language. Instead, imagine meeting four aims: Being open to your audience Connecting with your audience Being passionate about your topic Listening to your audience

When you rehearse this way, you'll genuinely experience these feelings when delivering your speech. Your body language will emerge at the right moment. And your listeners will know you're the real thing. The Idea in Practice Morgan recommends rehearsing your speeches with these four aims in mind:. Being Open to Your Audience To rehearse being open, practice your speech by envisioning what it would be like to give your presentation to someone you're completely comfortable with. The person could be your spouse, a close friend, or your child. Notice especially what this feels like: This is the emotional state you want to be in when you deliver the speech. This state leads to more natural body language, such as smiles and relaxed shoulders. And the behaviours in turn lead to more candid expression of your thoughts and feelings. Connecting with Your Audience As you practice your speech, think about wanting to engage with your listeners. Imagine that a young child you know well isn't heeding you. You want to capture--and keep--his attention however you can. In such situations, you don't strategize; you simply do what feels natural and appropriate. For example, you increase the intensity or volume of your voice or move closer to your listener. During your actual speech, these behaviors will happen naturally and with the right timing. Being Passionate About Your Topic While rehearsing, ask yourself what in your topic you feel deeply about: What's at stake? What results do you want your presentation to produce? Focus not on what you want to say but on why you're giving the speech and how you feel about it. Let the underlying emotion come out in every word you deliver during rehearsal. You'll infuse the actual speech with some of that passion and come across as more human and engaging. "Listening" to Your Audience To practice fulfilling this aim, think about what your listeners will likely be feeling when you step up to begin your presentation. Are they excited about the future? Worried about bad news? As you practice, imagine watching them closely, looking for signs of their response to you. During your presentation, you'll be more prepared to identify the emotions your listeners are sending to you via nonverbal means. And you'll be able to respond to them appropriately; for example, by

picking up the pace, varying your language, asking an impromptu question, or even eliminating or changing parts of your talk.

3. Communication in Project Management - How to Communicate

Once, in the midst of a long distance relationship I had the grand idea of sending a Western Union Telegram to my girlfriend. From my vast knowledge of telegrams, based solely on movies and TV, I knew that every time you put a period they say . I envisioned a hand delivered envelop with the words "Don't loving me and I won't loving you" on Western Union paper. I think they took my $20 and placed a phone call instead. Telegrams were a great way to express you feelings in the 1800's but by the 1980's it was out dated. Sometimes you know what to say and when to say it but fail to be heard because of how you choose to say it. How to be Heard. When deciding how to get your message out, you need to consider both the method and content. The method does matter. There are the normal methods: Phone. Great for quick answers and to give initial direction. Not so good for detailed instructions or approvals. Voice Mail. Excellent for letting people know you called and for playing phone tag. Don't rely on it to guarantee the message was conveyed or that action will be taken. Instant Messaging. Good tool to exchange ideas and verify progress. Email. Reliable for giving more detailed instructions and receiving approval. Not very personal and can lead to chaos when everyone replies to everyone else. Teleconference. When your team is half way around the world, email doesn't cut it. It can take 2 days to convey a message. Scheduling a teleconference can clarify the conversation quickly. Webex / GoToMeeting. Web meeting tools that allow you to share your desktop information make it possible for you to run your business from practically anywhere. Get out of your seat. The personal touch allows you to observe the non-verbal aspects of communication like body language, eye contact, gestures and facial expressions. When other methods fail, it may be worth the trip down the hall or across the world. Video Conference. The next best thing to being there. Setting up a web cam on both ends of the world can be relatively cheap and net big benefits. Sometimes you have to think beyond the normal to get your message across. Go Big. The company I work for owns a plotter for printing poster size images. Some statements need to be loud. Skywriting might be a little much. Websites / SharePoint. A central location for communicating project updates is a great means to keep the team, management, end users and other key stakeholder informed. Hand Written. In an age of electronic everything, sometimes the best communication is a hand written note. It can be a card of encouragement, a sticky note of thanks or a message on the whiteboard. Content clarifies. Here are some simple things that will help get you heard clearer. Check the Spelling. I recently received a high glossy postcard from my insurance company. They spelled the word "their" wrongtwice. It doesn't instill a large amount of confidence in the company. Reread it for clarity. Some sentences make their own nonsenselike this one. Often I review what I think is brilliant writing and find it muddled. Shorten it. As you reread, look for simpler, more concise ways to communicate your thoughts. Communication in Project Management - When to Communicate Rarely do you hear a project sponsor say, "There is way too much communication going on here." Unfortunately a common complaint is the lack of communication. True, the loudest complainers are often those that opted out of the weekly status meetings and never responded to your emails. You are left wondering when it is appropriate to connect with them.

When to Speak Up This weekend I was listening to The Tech Guy on a local radio show. Google is piloting a new gmail feature that checks your sobriety before letting you hit the send button. You have a minute to answer math questions correctly to proceed. Evidently too many drunks were waking up in the morning with a hangover and some explaining to do. For the record, late night may not be the best time to send an email. Sleep impaired judgment can make the worst email look like Shakespeare. Status. Many factors go into how often you need to get the word out on your project's progress. The list includes: Project length Quick hit projects may be over within a week so weekly meetings are useless. For projects in excess of a year, weekly status meetings are too frequent during slower development phases. Development type Agile project development requires daily, fifteen minute, standing meetings. More traditional projects don't. Location of resources Co-located teams communicate hourly. World-wide teams require more structure behind their interaction. End Users. It has been my experience that the biggest potential failure in communication is with end users. We engage them to get requirements, flash some screens by them for User Acceptance Testing, and finish by dumping the product on them unannounced. Instead of being the central focus they are nearly an afterthought. Use touch points throughout the project to build to the product release finale. Electronic Arts and other entertainment related industries go all out. When EA Sports released "Tiger Woods PGA Tour" the world knew months in advance and they gave it a media show kicked off. Major motion pictures splash billboards, previews and internet sites long before opening night. Instead of the implementation date being just the point you are pushing your team toward, start a count down for the intended recipients. "NEWS BULLETIN: Only 47 Days until Dallas goes Digital!" Tease them with the features they will get. Road construction has the main route to our house torn up. A typical construction sign reads, "Reduced lanes from September 15 to November 10. Use alternate routes." That says "Your life will be painful for then next 2 months." Instead they should say, "On November 10 your pothole problems will be gone." Or "Coming soon: An extra turning lane to get you home faster." No Surprises. Ever the optimists, project managers tend to hold out on reporting bad news in the hopes they can right the boat before it sinks. If you foresee problems, raise them as risks as soon as possible. Be proactive in avoiding and mitigating them before they become issues. Rarely does an issue spring out of nowhere to crush a project. By not warning management ahead of time you eliminate any leadership they may be able to give (additional funds, better people or different priorities) and make them look bad at the same time. Not a good combination. Managers tend to remember such things. With advanced warning the Titanic might be retired to the docks in Long Beach, CA instead of the Queen Mary

4. Communication in Project Management - What to Communicate

Long before email, the quickest form of interoffice communication was the dial switch message tube. Plastic cylinders were sucked from one end of the building to a central switch board. From there they were placed in another tube and pushed to their destination. Instead of having a megabyte size limit for attachments there was a weight limit. Given the length of time that people have been communicating, the topic of communication is obviously huge. Methods have evolved from papyrus to paper and are headed to paperlesswhich just seems to create more paper. Communication is concerned with the entire package: what to communicate, when to say it and how to deliver it.

What to Communicate Simply put, as a project manager you need to communicate answers, accolades, applause, bad news, budgets, briefs, causes, critiques, costs, delays, dangers, decisions, earned valueand I'm only up to the Es!!! An estimated 80% of a manager's job is communication. So how do you know what to communicate? That depends on who needs to know. Delivery Team. To the team you need to articulate the vision and direction of the project. Begin with the defining documents (Charter, Scoping Document, SOW, etc.) to lay out the vision of the project. Use the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) to drive discussion of what needs to be accomplished and how to get there. Set delivery expectations by laying out a schedule with assigned resources, specified effort, and agreed upon dates. Since communication is a bi-directional exchange, require feedback. Collect status, effort, reestimates, criticism and suggestions. Don't accept excuses, complaints and whining without moving them beyond to solutions. Sponsor / Management. Contrary to popular belief, management does not always want a rosy picture painted for them. They need the truth told succinctly so they can make informed decisions. They also need bad news delivered as soon as possible so they can take action. On the other hand, management, if left to their own devices, will make assumptions that may not be true. Understand their expectations and work to align them with reality. Based on the scope definition of one project I was on, we successfully upgraded a software package. The directive for Phase 1 was "out of the box" and we and held the modifications to a minimum. At the end, the sponsor was disappointed she didn't get the new reports she wanted. I had failed to keep her expectations focused on the scope. Governance / Auditors. The job of the Governance (Program or Project Management Office) and Auditor groups is to ensure that the safeguards are in place to make the project a success. They want to know that you understand the processes are following them. If your project doesn't fit the mold, meet with them up front and carve out a new mold that everyone can live with. Communicate lessons learned and process improvements to make projects work more effectively. End Users. Usually End Users are ignored until the product is virtually complete and then they are brought in to ooh and ah over what we created for them. Your job is to understand their expectations from the inception of the product, align those expectations with the development, confirm them in the User Acceptance Testing and deliver successfully. Communication is the key through each of these steps. Others. There are always others. Some of them can kill even the most successful project. While speaking with my PMO counterpart on a mass transit project, I asked who was handling the communications to the ultimate end users: the people taking the trains and buses. The project was to implement smartcard technology into the public transportation system. If they were unprepared to use the system, it would be a failure. Who will be impacted by your project and how should you be communicating the changes to them? The ultimate purpose of communication is to eliminate surprises. Do that and you will be communicating the "what."

5. Why You Need to Stay Cognizant of All Communications on Your Project

I think most will agree that good communications are essential to achieving success in Project Management. Communication in general is essential in today's business world where everything is partitioned and every project requires a lot of coordination from different groups. Often, people in a

single project will range from your typical grunt worker to a middle manager to a VP and perhaps even C-level execs. Many people seem to forget that the level of information that they present and the way in which it is presented should be targeted to your specific audience. It seems common-sense that you will not explain the same technical problem to your grunt IT worker in the same terms and with the same level of detail as you would to your VP. And yet, this is what I see happening time and time again. People will often create a completely avoidable situation by simply understanding what information has to be presented. You know that saying: "It is not what you say, but how you say it that matters most." This is very true. We need to make sure that people on the project understand how information should be distributed, instead of leaving it up to them to make that choice. As PM's we have to know who our stakeholders are, and at what level they want information delivered to them. Some may care for specifics, others may care about the dollar figures, others about impact to schedule, etc. Understanding this is crucial, and we have to make sure that we have a handle on how the same information is expressed to these different groups. I have seen too many issues being escalated, unnecessarily and causing unnecessary tension between stakeholders on a project, after poorly thought-out statements were made to top-level execs, who interpreted the problem as being far more severe than it really was. It may be helpful to develop a communication plan at the very beginning of a project, to make sure that information trickled up and down appropriately. Make sure that you understand that there is a real distinction between not sharing all the information, by keeping things secret and sharing information in a matter suitably presented to different stakeholders. Ultimately, as Project Managers it is our job to know who on the team may act as a broken telephone and make sure that their communications do not disrupt or altogether derail the project. It is also up to us to make sure that communications we produce are clear and offer enough details to our target audience. Keep in mind that one size does not fit all, and learn from your mistakes, so that they do not continue to re-occur. Body Language: a Basic Interpersonal Communication Skill Why do jade dealers wear dark glasses? No this isn't the start to a bad joke, it's a serious question, with a telling answer. Jade dealers, and poker players alike, aim to hide what they're really thinking and saying by suppressing their body language. Unless wheeling and dealing is your game, it'd be wise to master the basic interpersonal communication skill of body language and be better understood. 93% of what you say remains unsaid How can this be? Stereotyping is short-hand decision making on whether you like someone and determines how you much effort you put into the conversation. Your hair colour, clothes, age, ethnicity and other features that don't change during a conversation, all add up to give an overall impression, which may be good or may be bad. The way you look speaks volumes - it's a communication skill in itself. So, start conveying a favourable message by getting your image right. If it works for chameleons Stereotypes can work to your advantage people who wear glasses are more intelligent right? So wear glasses to an interview. And people who wear revealing clothes are only out to find a mate and can't be taken seriously. (A quick expose - a recent study found that ovulating women expose more flesh than at other times in their cycle!). Learn from chameleons and change your appearance to fit your surroundings and your communication will be taken more seriously. Eye to Eye Contact We look less at people who make us uncomfortable. Conversely, when we are truly engaged in a conversation, we make loads of eye contact, making both parties feel interested and interesting. So, lift your gaze and make eye contact if you want your conversational partner to feel understood.

Okay, I don't mean intense starting that's just plain scary fix your gaze on the bridge of the nose and drop your gaze every now and again. If you're talking in a group, remember to include everyone in the conversation by scanning round and making eye contact with everyone. Mirror and Match Next time you're out at a restaurant or bar, take a look round and see how people sit when they're in deep, intimate, conversation. Chances are they are sitting in very similar positions almost as if one were a mirror image of the other, matching posture and position. To test your rapport building skills, strike up a conversation with a friend or foe, and see if you can mirror and then lead their movements. Take some time to mirror their body language if they've got crossed legs, make sure your legs are crossed too. If they are bouncing their leg, maybe tap a pencil in time. Above all, be subtle it's a delicate dance and no-one likes a partner who stomps over their party shoes. After some time, do a mini assessment. Maybe scratch your nose if they follow by touching their face in response, you know you've hit the mirroring jackpot. If not, don't worry, just take some more time to build a deeper rapport. It ain't what you say In difficult or uncomfortable situations, most people worry about what's going to come out of their mouth. Truth is, get your body language right, and you've mastered the most basic interpersonal communication skill. And the other 7% will take care of itself.

6. A crisis of communication - employee- management - Review Brief Article

Leadership requires an open give and take The big-screen workplace comedy of 1999, Office Space, offers great lessons on management and professionalism. In it, a division vice president relays information to his staff via memos and through the incessant haranguings of the supervisors who report to him. He also makes his rounds to individual staffers, issues a directive, and walks away without waiting for so much as a response, never mind a discussion. Not exactly the best method for fostering open communication--a key component of an efficient office, In the movie, this behavior is hilarious. In real life, however, it's disastrous, "Whether he or she intends to or not, a leader dictates the behavior of his or her staff by the way he or she communicates' both verbally and nonverbally, says Susan Annunzio, author of eLeadership: Proven Techniques for Creating an Environment of Speed and Flexibility in the Digital Economy (The Free Press, $25). For example, when a manager stays locked up in his or her office and withholds information from employees, he or she is fostering a secretive environment; "When you do decide to come out and talk with the staff, they will think you are lying to them. And that makes them think they can lie back to you." Communication is a huge part of a manager's job. And since most employees take their cues from management, it behooves the person in charge to convey all of the company's strategies clearly and properly. Communication Briefings, an Alexandria, Virginia-based newsletter, offers several suggestions to help managers get on the road to becoming communications masters:

* It isn't necessarily better to give than to receive. Communication is a two-way street. It isn't enough to just give orders; feedback from employees is crucial if productivity is to be maximized.

* Become a credible witness. If you don't have integrity, your employees won't believe what you say-no matter how hard you try to communicate with them. * Put in one-on-one face time. Don't use memos or e-mail as your main method of communication.

Arrange sessions with each staff member to see how you can help each other do your jobs better. * Take your cues from the good cops. Information from you to your employees should be used to "protect and serve" them, not be wielded like a nightstick over them. Crafting the Crisis Communication Message In the shock wave of a catastrophe such as the September 11 terrorist attacks, companies find themselves having to react to events moving at disorienting speed. There's little time to neatly tailor the message for the various constituencies to which management must speak -- not just the employees and their families, but also investors and customers. And according to some corporate communications experts, it may be better to not even try. Instead, the secret of crisis communications may be to speak to the diverse stakeholders with one clear, focused, timely message. "I'm a big believer in the idea that internal and external communications need to be strongly linked," says Linda Grosso, a veteran corporate communications specialist with Watson Wyatt Worldwide, a New York-based consulting firm. "But it's all the more acute in a crisis, when the interests of all these different people tend to blend together. Once you get the question of whether people are safe from harm, you get into other questions -- what does this mean from an economic standpoint for the company, and for me? The employee is wondering, 'Is my job safe? Can I go back to work, and when?' The investor is worrying about whether the company is going to be able to do business. And the customer is worried about whether he's going to get the things he needs to buy. So a lot of the messages you would send to them are the same as what you're trying to send to the employees." Additionally, there's a good chance that investors and customers will see whatever messages a company puts out to employees -- especially if they're distributed through the company's Web site, the latest trend in crisis communications. The most critical challenge in speaking to all these audiences, Grosso says, is establishing a sense of trust. To that end, it's vital for management not to blow its credibility by putting out incorrect or confusing information. "Until you understand the scope of a situation, you don't want to do a lot of detailed communication," Grosso explains. "You should get the first-stage message out as quickly as possible, but it should be brief. Basically, you say that you're on top of the situation, that you're concerned about employees' safety and welfare. You're doing everything possible to get more information, and you'll share more as soon as it's available." Once the company has compiled and provided a list of survivors and casualties, the emphasis should quickly shift. "You have to get the double message out that 'we're here for you,' and at the same time that 'we're all going forward.' One of the things I've seen companies communicate effectively to people who've lost coworkers, or lost their homes, or whatever, is that they're sensitive to their needs, and flexible, and that they're going to help. At the same time, they were also putting out the message that they're going to get people back to work as soon as possible. Those two things actually fit together -- you have to address people's needs so they can focus on their work, and getting back to one's routine can be very healing, in itself." That dual message speaks positively to investors and customers as well, even if it's not directly addressed to them. Says Grosso: "The key thing is to get people to feel that the company has a plan to take care of them." The final phase of crisis communication, says Grosso, is to provide some closure. "One company I know of is thinking about eventually putting out a special internal magazine, highlighting what employees have done to cope with the crisis, and recognizing their contribution. I think that's a really nice idea. It acknowledges the fact that they've all been through this terrible event that we'll never be able to forget. But also that it's time for us all to move on."