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Career Planning


MBA Students

Transitioning from Business School to Workplace Rajeev Agarwal
Founder and CEO, MAQ Software

Copyright 2013 by MAQ Software. Please send feedback to All rights reserved. Career Planning for MBA Students in India/ Rajeev Agarwal July 2, 2013 ISBN 978-0-0000000-0-0

Introduction ................................................................ 3 Perspectives and Trends ........................................... 5 Managing My Leadership Journey .......................... 8 Management Myths ................................................. 17 Setting Myself Up for Success ................................ 22 Recommendations.................................................... 44 Seven Decisions ........................................................ 49 Admirations .............................................................. 50 Suggested Reading................................................... 55 About The Author ................................................ 64 About MAQ Software .......................................... 67

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.



I received my MBA 20 years ago from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in May 1993. As I was preparing to graduate, I could remember that, shortly before I started the program, the Wall Street Journal had run an article that intrigued me. The article told the story of recruiters from leading companies offering cruises on Lake Michigan to MBA students. The recruiters hoped to lure the students into lucrative jobs. In the two and a half years that I worked on my MBA, things changed. From the time of my application to the time of my graduation, the U.S. economy had changed for the worse significantly. The U.S. was in the middle of an economic recession. The Iraq war had started unexpectedly and oil prices had shot up to historic levels. The old debate about the value of an MBA had restarted.

Before starting my MBA, I had assumed that, in the worst case, I would be able to go back to my pre-MBA employer because I had done well there. But after I graduated, my previous employer did not have a suitable position open for me. That door was not open. With graduation just two months away, many of the second year MBA students did not have a job offer. I was one of them. Getting a job was not easy. Eventually, I was able to land a job in a dynamic industry that was growing rapidly. Since then, I have worked with hundreds of graduates from various MBA programs. I have given guest lectures to MBA students over the years in the U.S. and India. I have also interviewed and hired many MBA graduates. Having been on the other side, I can relate to the concerns and anxiety of MBA students as they prepare to graduate. In this document, I share my learnings, observations, and reflections based on my industry experience and my knowledge gained in working with many graduates. I discuss my leadership journey, management expectations, and perspective on successful leaders in the industry. It is my hope that some of these insights will benefit you as you move along in your career.


Perspectives and Trends

In May 1995, two years after I finished my MBA program, legendary Harvard Professor John P. Kotter published the results of a longitudinal study of Harvard MBAs. As a part of the study, he followed 115 members of the Harvard Business Schools Class of 1974 for over 20 years. In his book, The New Rules: How to Succeed in Todays Post-Corporate World1, Professor Kotter describes how the oil crisis of 1973 altered career paths, wage levels, the structure and functioning of corporations, and the nature of work itself. Although a lot has changed since the research was conducted, Kotter showed that conventional career paths through large corporations no longer automatically lead to success, as they once did (New Rule #1). He explains that globalization is creating new opportunities for those with education, motivation, and talent (New Rule #2)

and large hazards for others that fear competition and overvalue security. Through year-by-year analysis of the choices, actions, successes, and failures of the 115 MBAs, Kotter documented that the greatest opportunities had shifted away from large bureaucratic companies to smaller or more entrepreneurial ones (New Rule #3). Kotter concludes that those who are successful show a willingness to continue to learn over an entire lifetime (New Rule #8).

Chaos and Uncertainty

Since the publication of the New Rules, the Internet appeared and everything changed again. As Kotter predicted, globalization facilitated by advances in telecommunication created enormous opportunities. Huge companies were created. Since then, the dot-com boom was followed by the dot-com bust, and we have had several global economic crises. Experts are now saying that the turbulence we have seen in the past 15 years is the new normal. We should plan for and embrace that new reality.2 At Michigan, there was a huge emphasis on globalization trends. But there was no way I could understand its impact at the time. I never imagined that I will be part of a company that has a globally distributed workforce working in two times zones nearly 12 hours apart. Many countries, including India, have benefited tremendously from globalization of industries. Low-cost

Internet bandwidth and cheaper computing enabled work to take place anywhere in the world. And the pace of change is only increasing as globalization increases. Today, when I talk to senior managers in almost any industry, they face commoditization of products and services. Their profit margins are shrinking. Senior managers tell me, Look, everybody is selling the same thing, and our only differentiator is price. With those two driving factors increased global competition and commoditization of products and services the role of management has become more important. As Jim Collins mentions in Good to Great3, a few practices are common among great companies. They hire disciplined people. They practice disciplined thought and act on it in a disciplined manner. Overnight success may take 25 years or more to achieve. If we are like our parents generation, we can look forward to another 40 years of working life. When I think about the career that many MBA graduates can expect, I am very optimistic. There are many more opportunities for qualified students today than ever before. Despite all of the naysayers, an MBA education still offers a lot of useful skills and perspective. The usefulness of knowledge is sometimes not apparent to us. And our newly acquired knowledge may not be immediately applicable or relevant. But over time, education does not go to waste.


Managing My Leadership Journey

I was born not knowing and have had only a little time to change that here and there.
Richard Feynman

On Monday, June 28, 1993, as a fresh MBA graduate, I reported to my first day at work at Microsoft Corporation. My new title was Associate Product Manager in product marketing group for the Visual C++ product. After the customary HR orientation, I met with my manager, who had a Harvard MBA. As was customary at Microsoft, he took me to the cafeteria for lunch. During the meal, he asked me what I would like to work on at Microsoft. I had spent two years at the University of Michigan Business School, where legendary Professor C. K. Prahalad had led the Corporate Strategy mantra for corporate America. I was enamored by Corporate Strategy as a function. I told my manager that I would like to

work on Corporate Strategy without realizing how little I knew about my new employer. My manager was puzzled. In those days, there was no Corporate Strategy department at Microsoft. He said, So, you want to work on product strategy? I was humbled. In the early 1990s, products defined the company strategy for most software product companies. I eventually ended up working on product planning specifically on whether there was a viable business opportunity for a Japanese version of Visual C++ software. In my first few days at Microsoft I learned a valuable lesson. All of the buzzwords and core competency of a corporation had little relevance to me as an entry-level product marketing person. I had to get over my MBA. I started learning about the features of Visual C++ compiler and the size of the compiler market in Japan in a hurry. I had to learn that there were two standards for PCs (NEC and IBM) and two language versions (Kanji and Katakana). Even though Microsoft had hired me for my marketing skills, I needed to learn more about a very complex product. Since I did not have C++ programming background, I had to accelerate my learning about the product I was marketing. I took a C++ programming class at the University of Washington, which was held on Saturdays at 11 a.m. for working professionals. To learn about the customer support issues, I signed up for a week-long


class that was conducted by a great instructor, Paul Johns, for C++ technical support engineers. As far as I could tell, I was one of the few marketing people to voluntarily attend a technical support class. Since I was responsible for marketing a very technical product, I needed to know our product as well as a product manager. My position required taking on a leadership role in the context of a very technical customer base. For technology-oriented companies, typical leadership (e.g., Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Jeff Bezos, and many others) emerges from technical ranks only and not from business backgrounds such as finance or marketing. With MAQ Software, I have found that people with strong technical backgrounds with business knowledge are successful with us (not the other way round). In our context, for MBA graduates with experience in the software industry, the position starts with leading a team of talented software engineers to deliver software solutions utilizing cloud computing, mobile, and web technologies. Because they have both a business background and knowledge of the global software industry, we expect them to help us scale.


My Education
When I was an MBA student, I took many required classes on Organizational Behavior (OB). During my first semester as a MBA student, I took Organizational Behavior 501 -- one of the core classes required for all MBA students. The class was taught by Professor Jane Dutton. Being an engineer, I did not have any background in solving problems that did not have only one right answer and that required judgment, not technique. I was fascinated by the OB 501 class and the cases that were discussed. Years later, as I was setting up MAQ Software, these skills helped me put many things into perspective. In one of the classes, Prof. Dutton discussed a conversation she had had with a Ford Motor Company executive. She had asked him what she could teach her MBA students that would make them more effective at Ford. The auto executive replied that what he needed could not be taught by her. He needed students who were passionate about cars. They should love cars. They get excited about cars. The business skills that students pick up in gaining their MBA are important, but passion for automobiles was the most important quality that Ford was looking for. Many students did not want to take OB classes because they did not immediately translate to full-time jobs. Being an engineer, I had limited prior knowledge of how people and organizations worked. Since many


jobs related to finance and marketing, I focused on selecting classes related to those disciplines in hopes of securing a job. What I did not know and realize in the beginning of my career, was that I would be hired on the basis of functional skills. As I progressed in my career, as a manager, I needed to learn how to 1. Select a person 2. Set expectations 3. Motivate the person 4. Develop the person Earlier in my career, I had managed budgetary resources but not people. As I progressed, I accelerated my learning to ensure that I could perform the basic tasks of a manager.

Titles Vary By Industry

As I gained work experience and interacted with customers in many industries, I realized that leadership and titles vary by industry, organization, and individual. Those titles usually are very subjective, and are not consistent across all situations. For example, I have yet to meet anyone who works for a bank and does not have the title of vice president. In most banks, that title is held by a department manager. The reasons that banks hand out titles liberally


may range from customer expectations some customers might only be willing to discuss their finances with a senior person to the need to meet regulatory or legal requirements. Meanwhile, in a company like IBM, the vice president title is given rarely and is usually only given to very senior executives. That person is responsible for managing hundreds, if not thousands of people. Similarly, a manager of a research-and-development team of PhDs manages very differently than a manger of a customer service department. Both managers are doing similar managerial tasks, but the expectations and the power structure is very different. Also, I did not realize that I did not need to be the CEO to become a leader. All of us have an opportunity to take initiative and improve the performance of our department and our company. As I observed some of the successful people in the industry, I came to learn that they understood and began practicing leadership early and consistently in their careers. They did not wait for a formal title to become a leader.

Leadership Skills
As I tried to grow myself, I read many of the books on management and leadership published over the past 30 years. Many of these books discuss leaders in the context of their time, industry, and prevailing culture. As Intels Andy Grove stated, Most people rise to their level of incompetence. Personally, I rose to one


level of incompetence early in my career, which meant I had the necessary skills required for entry-level MBA graduates. Since I had focused primarily on improving my marketing skills to that point in my career, I was not aware of a gap in my skills or what was expected of me in order for me to reach the next level. Very few books discussed the progression of leaders in their careers and additional skills needed by role. In my review of business books, I came across The Leadership Skills Handbook4, written by Jo Owen. He describes how leadership expectations change across different levels. We must adapt at each level to the new rules of success. Owen explains that many individuals do very well at one level, and fail to do well when they reach the next level.

Top Expectations of Leaders at Various Levels:

Recent Graduates Hard work Middle Managers Ability to Motivate Others Decisiveness Industry Experience Networking Ability Top Leaders Vision

Proactivity Intelligence Reliability

Ability to Motivate Others Decisiveness Ability to Handle Crisis


Ambition Delegation Honesty Source: Owen, The Leadership Skills Handbook: 50 Key Skills from 1,000 Leaders5 Based on how hard it is to get admission into a top MBA program, the expectations around high intelligence and ambition are a given. Many MBA graduates work hard, are proactive, and are reliable. They do not wait to be told what needs to be done. Managers can rely on them to complete their work on time. They are reliable and are not late to work. These expectations are easy to convert to habits. However, I have seen many fresh graduates stumble over basic expectations around hard work and proactivity. They fail to focus on the basics. By the time we move to middle level roles, we may have people that report to us. So, the ability to motivate a team becomes important. As I grew into middle management, I also learned additional skills and behaviors, including industry knowledge and the ability to make decisions and delegate work. Finally, at the senior levels, crisis management is a huge part of the job every day. As an operating manager, every day is different for me. I come into office with a plan for the day but there is always something new. I end the day with something totally different. Over the years, I try to stay calm and handle each crisis. As Owen explains, if a senior manager is rated high on honesty and integrity, and was therefore trusted, they often rated well on everything else.


Checklist for Managing My Leadership Journey

Think long-term Dont automatically go for the big job title Work hard Be proactive Be reliable Build industry knowledge Learn to delegate Learn crisis-management skills Be honest


Management Myths

When I graduated, I was typical of most recent MBA graduates who I would meet later in my career. I had been told that I was CEO material. The other graduates and I had been told that we were all leaders, and that we would be running companies in a few years. Many celebrity CEOs had made branding and recruitment visits to our campus, and they had pumped us up. However, there was a problem with that. As starry eyed MBA students, many of us only heard what we wanted to hear that we were the best in the world. With selective listening, I did not ask enough questions, or hear that I needed to evolve and increase my effectiveness. Hard work and a focus on excellence were key requirements. My journey had just begun and it would be difficult. I was going to face a lot of uncertainty and chaos. There are many misunderstandings about the role of the manager. For many, the CEO is their boss, and he or she has a strong influence in their lives. But what is the reality of the CEOs job?


In Becoming a Manager6, Linda Hill describes myths of management that I can relate to well. Myths About Management: What It Really Means to Manage Myth Operative Principle Key Players Authority Subordinates Reality Interdependency Include those outside of your formal authority Everything but Managing one on one and leading the team Commitment through empowerment Cope with complexity and change

Source of Power Focus

Formal authority Managing one on one Control through compliance Cope with complexity


Key Challenges

Essential Technical Technical, human Competenand conceptual cies Source: Becoming a Manager7, by Linda Hill


When I got my MBA degree, I thought that my career would be simple and straightforward. I expected that I would manage people by telling them what to do. But in reality, in addition to authority and the resources at my disposal, I had a lot of interdependency with others. In India, for example, who is the most powerful person? For most of us, the answer is Sonia Gandhi. Do you think Sonia Gandhi has the ability to change the price of petrol unilaterally? If she wanted to change the price of petrol, she would have to talk to the finance minister, the prime minister, the oil suppliers, the leaders of her own party, the opposition leaders, and others. The same level of interdependency exists in my role. Earlier, I thought of key players as being limited to my subordinates. While managing MAQ Software, some of the key players do not even work for our company. Some key players include service providers and other suppliers. With Agile and Lean management practices, individual technical expertise is valued. Any company has its leaders by title and its go-to people. If you want to get something done, you go to the go-to people. Everybody knows who those people are. They also know that the go-to people are the key people and real leaders. They just lack the formal title. As our management responsibilities grow, our focus expands from managing one-on-one to managing oneon-one plus leading the team. If we look at outcomes


and how we achieved them, it is our clue to getting commitment from people through empowerment. It is not just asking them to comply with our orders. As leaders, we have to cope with the complexities of our industry. However, it is a myth that complexity is our only challenge. Another major challenge is the amount of change that we have to handle every day. For instance, many MBA graduates work on developing pricing models which can be very complex and difficult to get right. Once we arrive at a pricing model which may be complex, we do our best to model the future based on the prices of our products. Then suddenly, there is an expected event and a new dynamic needs to be included in the pricing model. Or, a new type of product could hit the market which completely changes the competitive landscape. We have to constantly adapt to our circumstances. Our competencies have to expand as well. Both our technical and human sides have to grow along with our conceptual side.

Checklist for Management Myths

Be ready to turn to co-workers for help Turn to others outside your company for help Manage one-on-one Be part of your team Cope with complexity Cope with change


Build your technical skills Grow your human skills Be a go-to person


Setting Myself Up for Success

Genius is 1 percent talent and 99 percent hard work.

Albert Einstein

Despite the best efforts by the University of Michigan faculty to help students improve their self-awareness, in reality, I still had very low self-awareness at graduation. I did not know what I did not know. I still lacked many basic self-management skills including listening, time management, and discipline. In my work today with fresh MBA graduates, I have learned that many of them lack that same self-awareness and the skills they need to survive. When new MBA graduates join MAQ Software, we help them increase their self-awareness for effectiveness. This includes identifying their personality, their style at work, and their emotional intelligence (EQ) level.


Without getting into psychology, we discuss internal and external Locus of Control8 to help them avoid a victim mindset. Only after we learn to stop blaming others do we start looking for solutions. Individuals with an internal locus of control believe that events in their life derive from their own actions. If a person with an internal locus of control does not perform well on an exam, they blame it on their own lack of preparation. If they did well on the exam, they would attribute this to their ability to study. When a person with an external locus of control does poorly on an exam, they feel that the exam was difficult. If they performed well on the exam, they think that they were lucky or the teacher was lenient. When I left my structured life at college, I needed to accelerate my personal growth in several areas. As I entered the workforce and society at large, no structure existed for me beyond the office hours (usually 50 hours per week). I needed to personally organize my support system of housing and food. Setting aside another 56 hours per week for sleep, I still had over 62 hours to use any way I wanted. I could waste these hours or use them productively to advance myself. Many new graduates have the same opportunity.


Improve Functional Skills

Most of us joined an MBA program to acquire additional functional skills (marketing, accounting, or finance). I focused on learning about finance and marketing. At our campus, recruiters came to Michigan to recruit for these two roles. Since most of our functional learning happens through classwork, I made an effort to select the highest rated professors whenever possible. However, there were never enough great professors. MBA ranking surveys in top schools mention quality of teaching as being uneven across most top MBA programs. In essence, many of us face the reality of poor professors, or we dont have enough great professors. I studied in many colleges. I had some good professors, but 80 percent of them were only average. I had to take the initiative to help myself, because if I had waited for my professors help, I might have graduated by the time he got to me. I took challenging courses. I wanted to acquire skills and valuable knowledge, so I pushed myself. Instead of taking an easy course to boost my grade, I took courses that improved my skill set, even if they were very difficult. I suggest that any MBA student take challenging courses because the effort will pay off in the long run. Learning continues throughout life. Today the Internet connects us with wonderful resources. Courses are available on almost any topic online. For example, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is one of


the best universities in the world and has many lectures available for free online. For almost no cost, we can listen to some of the finest lectures in our field. Also useful is, which offers a variety of educational opportunities.

Learning to Execute
Learning also takes place outside of classrooms and books. As a student, I learned from my professors. However, I also learned through work projects. When I was in Michigan, I had already earned a Masters degree and had an undergraduate degree from IIT. Similar to many MBA students today, I had worked for several years before joining the MBA program. At that time, I thought I wanted to be in finance, so I saw a part-time student job posted in my department by Professor Kathleen W. Hanely. The job offered student pay, which wasnt very much, and involved reading data from microfiche and entering it into an Excel file. I went to Professor Hanely and said, I would like to apply for this job. She said, This is a data entry job. You already have a Masters degree along with industry experience. Do you really want this job? I said, Yes.


She replied, Do you realize that its tedious? Youll have to go to the library, find the microfiche for companies, enter the data into Excel, and give it to me every week. I said, Yes, I want the job. What was the project? She was compiling information about initial public offerings (IPOs) and the shareholding patterns of insiders. The data involved information on how a companys stock rises after its IPO. She was studying the correlation between stock ownership and performance. My job was not to study the correlation. My job was entering data. However, while I was entering the information from the microfiche, I learned a lot about how businesses form. I learned about the people who make the decisions on forming a business and what their qualifications were. To someone else this might just have been a data entry job. To me, it was a learning opportunity. In my second year at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, I took a job that helped me get my position at Microsoft. I worked part time for the universitys intellectual properties office, which was responsible for licensing technology developed by the university. The intellectual properties office took the technology that was developed at the university and licensed it to companies.


The department was run by Deborah Alper. Every year, she hired a few MBA students to market the technologies developed at the university. My role was to contact companies to see if they had any interest in licensing the technology developed at the University of Michigan. Deborah clarified to me that the job did not pay a lot. However, I wanted an opportunity to learn and gain experience. Since all my savings were exhausted, I could also use the pay and not increase my student loans. Recognizing my mechanical engineering background, Ms. Alper assigned me to work with Professor Mike Sayers, a young assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan. Professor Sayers had developed software that simulated vehicle dynamics on a PC. He thought that I was a marketing expert and asked me about go-to-market plans for his software technology. I had to think about the four Ps of marketing. I had to understand the product features, develop a pricing proposal, promote the product, and know its distribution. Once I had developed a list of potential buyers, I compiled a list of ten companies we could license the software to. I phoned (cold called) companies, which was something I had never done before. The next year, when Microsoft was looking for product marketing managers, I was able to fluently discuss marketing challenges I had faced. My experience at the Intellectual Properties Office made me a strong candidate.


At the University of Michigan, we also had opportunities to volunteer our time with local non-profits. I worked with a non-profit that helps mentally challenged people lead normal lives. Typical of most nonprofits, the local organization lacked sufficient funds and needed marketing help. While my effectiveness in raising funds turned out to be limited, I learned a lot about the difficulties of raising funds for non-profits. For me, campus jobs were a great way to gain knowledge and acquire skills in different areas. While some of these student jobs did not pay well in relation to my tuition, I did develop skills that were useful later.

Select and Analyze an Industry

The industry we choose to join for our first job has a lot to do with where we will end up in our career, so we should carefully consider our options. The role doesnt matter as much as the industry itself. It is easier to switch roles within an industry than it is to switch industries. While evaluating options, I look at an industrys size, its growth rate, and its profitability. There are emerging sunrise industries, sunset industries that are dying, and mature industries that are not growing. I grew up in Shahjahanpur, India, which has an agricultural economy. If I stayed there, my options would be limited. Early in my life, I had to figure out that, if I wanted to work in a professional industry, I had to


move. If I had been unable or unwilling to move to my industrys main geographic location, my options would be limited. We need to go where the industry is located. If we want to be in finance, Mumbai is the place. Pretty much all of the key players in finance are in Mumbai. Many people from all over India move to Mumbai to participate in the financial services sector. Similarly, if we want to be in the automobile sector, Gujarat is the new location. After I decided on my location, I needed to look at myself and figure out what my competitive advantage was. In my case, I knew hardware and software, so I stayed in that field. When I applied for jobs in the automobile industry, the recruiters rejected me. However, when I applied to jobs in the software industry, they were very excited to talk to me because I knew the industry language, insights, pricing, and history. While I was completing my MBA at the University of Michigan and considering a career in finance, I and other students attended many presentations from senior managers of leading companies. Since I did not have a broad exposure to many industries, I could not recognize that in certain industries, accounting or finance had a very limited role to play beyond managing compliances. On the other hand, in companies that need to borrow money to make huge capital investments for


manufacturing plants and machines, the financial controller (who usually has an accounting background) has a very significant role and authority. Only after joining the software industry did I begin to understand what drives that industry in general and the software services industry in particular. I realized that technical folks provide corporate product strategy and product leadership. While product marketing plays a key role for many products in communicating product benefits and features, the technical workers typically added the most value in the organization. That is where I decided to hang my hat. Doctors, biologists, and chemists belong in the pharmaceutical industry; I was none of those. I belonged in software.

Case Study: IT Services Industry

Software is one of the high-growth industries. In addition to the very large IT majors, there are thousands of smaller companies. And, within the software industry is the IT services industry, which supports the software industry, but constitutes an entire industry by itself. For IT services, the market opportunity is very large. Worldwide, over $1 trillion is spent directly every year on computers and related information services. Even though most Fortune 500 companies have established a significant presence in India and utilize a workforce based in India, only 20 percent of the worldwide IT services market is addressed by Indian companies (no


more than $100 billion per year that includes work done outside India). Currently, India exports about $70 billion in software services. If we look at the worldwide spending on IT services, companies that work exclusively in India have less than 10 percent of the overall market. Our industry is very fragmented and barriers to entry are low, especially in the IT services space. Thousands of suppliers provide services to companies around the world, mostly in the U.S. MAQ Software competes with many of the existing players. The IT services industry in India is still very profitable. Most of the large players are reporting profit margins in double digits (more than 20 percent in some cases). I expect margins to come down to 10 percent plus any inflation-related adjustments. At MAQ Software, we designed our company cost structure to be able to run with a 10 percent margin in a sustained manner. If we analyze the IT industry more closely, we find that 50 percent of sales go to the financial services sector, such as banks. Most work in the financial services is now heavily dependent on IT investments. During my MBA studies at the University of Michigan, most of my class members worked on earning an MBA so they could change industries, change roles (finance people wanted to go into marketing and vice versa), or simply qualify for a higher paying job in the same industry.


Since many MBA students have worked in the IT industry prior to joining their MBA program, I encourage them to think about the fastest growing, most profitable, and most scalable industry in India. The IT industry is still very young and dynamic. It produces some of the best paying jobs, presents some of the most intellectual challenges, and offers a great work environment. However, some MBA students take a dim view of the IT industry. Prior to entering their MBA program, their IT industry experience involved working for a large bureaucratic company. Many of them worked in environments where they worked on older technologies that offered little challenge. As a result, these students are completely disillusioned by the industry and never want go back. In my view, there is an amazing amount of innovation taking place in the IT industry. Instead of using their background and strength to move forward in the IT industry, many choose to start fresh in a new industry. The IT industry is at an inflection point due to advances in cloud and mobile platforms. Because the underlying technology is changing, there is a lot of learning in these areas. Huge shifts due to cloud computing and mobile platforms are again opening new opportunities for new players to establish themselves. The largest IT companies are transforming themselves to stay relevant. Even in the past ten years, new players such as Cognizant have grown due to superior


management and execution. Established players like Satyam and Patni have ceased to exist. The IT industry still offers some of the best job opportunities because it is very export-oriented. IT work is white collar, with many interesting and challenging problems to work on. The key drivers are people who have a very good understanding of the technical issues. Great people who are selective about the companies they choose to work for in the IT industry will have a great long term future.

Leaders Stay with their Company or Industry

If you look at any company or any industry, many of the CEOs have spent a long time with their company. They rose to the top over time as they helped build their company. When fresh MBA graduates join our company, we ask them to study leadership in a few industries. Invariably, whichever industry they select, they find that key leaders have been with the company for over twenty years. If you frequently switch companies or industries, the transition between them can be difficult. For our easy reference, below is a list of the CEOs of some leading IT services companies, their tenure, and their background: N. Chandrashekhar, CEO at TCS With TCS since 1987


MCA from REC, Trichy T.K. Kurien, CEO at Wipro With Wipro since 2001, associated earlier with Wipro/GE Medical collaboration BE Computers and Chartered Accountant Pierre Nanterme, CEO at Accenture With Accenture since 1983 Virginia Rometty, CEO at IBM Global Services With IBM since 1981 Bachelor of Computer Science, Northwestern University Anant Gupta, CEO at HCL With HCL since 1994 MS from the University of Liverpool Most of these CEOs faced several years of turmoil and economic uncertainty over the past 20 years at their companies. Instead of changing companies, they chose to grow with the company.

Ways to Learn About an Industry

In my experience, most recruiters have to select from a pool of very qualified candidates. At IIMs, almost 80 percent of the students have an engineering degree and may have worked for the IT sector. Most recruiters, including me, are gullible. We are biased towards candidates who are familiar with the industry and the


company. Instead of evaluating the skills of the candidate, we make decisions based on their knowledge of and potential interest in the industry. Given the opportunity, I could learn about almost any industry. However, it is easier for me to find the right opportunity if I am already familiar with the company and the industry landscape. In addition, one of the realities in most corporations is that many managers do not have any time to train new hires. Learning an industry can take a few years, and many candidates do not realize their vulnerabilities. Instead of accelerating their learning and being a resource, new hires expect their manager to hold their hands. When I was looking for a job after my MBA, I was interviewing with a company that manufactured laser printers. In my pre-MBA work at Frigidaire, I had worked with the printers made by that company and had evaluated and purchased laser printers. Even though the market had changed, I was still on the mailing list for the trade publications and mail order reseller catalogs. I knew the price points and product features. During my work at Frigidaire, I had faced a recall of the printer drivers. I was able to point out the frustrations experienced by end users. I had a significant advantage over other candidates. One of the classes I took for my MBA was Intermediate Accounting, taught by a Professor S. Han Lee. He had a reputation as a great accounting professor. In one


of the class projects, Professor Lee asked us to study a public company and understand their financials in detail. During the semester, we were supposed to analyze the financials of the company and compare them with that companys industry peers. For the course work, I could have picked almost any industry, including automobiles, which was big in Michigan at that time. Instead, I picked a relatively small PC software company called Autodesk which produced the AutoCAD program. The PC industry was young - only ten years old. It was relatively small, with high growth rates. During our financial analysis, I was surprised to find out that in a typical software product company, less than 25 percent of their costs went to research and development (engineers). Almost 50 percent of their expenses were on selling, general, and administrative (SG&A). At the time of my campus interview in February 1993, Microsoft was preparing to launch a new Windows NT operating system to compete with IBM OS/2. There was a lot of speculation in the industry about the actual cost of Windows NT development. During one of my interviews at Microsoft, the interviewer asked me about the cost of developing Windows NT. Since I did not know the actual development team size, I could only guess. However, since I had studied the software product industry in my accounting class, I could accurately discuss the cost structure of the software product industry.


At MAQ Software, during our orientation for MBA graduates, we ask fresh graduates to analyze the cost structure of the industry to generate fresh ideas. Despite having worked for large, public IT service companies, many graduates are unable to discuss industry cost structure in an informed manner. These companies are covered widely in newspapers. I find that if someone does not understand the cost structure of the industry, that person would probably not be adept at improving our companys cost structure. There are many ways to learn about an industry and about a company that you want to work for. Company websites, blogs, newsletters, press releases, social media, books, conferences, and even movies can all be good sources of information. We have conducted campus interviews with aspiring managers who do not even visit our company website. Some of the prospective candidates spend a long time traveling to meet with our hiring managers. Despite spending hours just getting to an interview, some of candidates have not even spent one hour researching the company and the industry. They show up unprepared. When I talk to prospective candidates, the first thing I want to know is whether that person is truly interested in joining our company. Usually, we infer that the ones who show up unprepared as not being interested in joining our company. Next is knowledge of the industry. In the software industry, there are great books. For example, Walter


Isaacson wrote a bestselling biography of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs (titled Steve Jobs9 ) that shows the impact Jobs had on the industry. If you are interviewing with a senior person in the software industry, the chances are that that person has read that book. Autobiographies are good for historical perspective. I also use YouTube. It is a great resource to watch speeches by key industry leaders. After that, there are trade shows and conferences. The good news is that physical trade shows and conferences are being supplemented with online broadcasts. Again, YouTube is a good resource for these things. Although movies like The Social Network are not the best way to learn, they do offer useful context. I suggest watching movies about the industry. At most, you will choose from ten movies that use a specific industry as a backdrop.

Learn About Yourself

Increasing self-awareness is very important in landing a job. Most people are older than 35 or 40 years old before they know what does and does not work for them. That was certainly the case with me. I am still working to understand myself better so that I can understand others better. For starters, here are some basic concepts about what makes up a human being: IQ, Work Style/Personality,


and EQ, which together determine how we think and act.

IQ, Personality, and EQ together determine how we think and act Source: Bradberry and Greaves, Emotional Intelligence 2.010

Intelligence Quotient (IQ)

If you look at any company or any industry, they are filled with a lot of very smart people. Many of them have a high IQ.


Current research indicates that our IQ only accounts for 20 percent of our overall performance, with our environmental upbringing making up the rest. Whats more, we cannot control our IQ. It is generally considered to be something we are born with, and will not change throughout our lifetime. But IQ is only the starting point, the first of many building blocks that make up your working self.

Work Style and Personality

Our personality and work style are also a huge part of who we are. The current thinking is that many personality traits appear early in life. These personality traits remain with us throughout our lives. There are two popular tools we use at MAQ Software to help our employees better understand their work styles the DISC (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness) online personality assessment, and People Styles at Work.11. Many free tests are available online. As I learned more about managing people, it was useful for me to learn about a persons natural work style. That helped me align their roles with their natural strengths. These personality types are not meant to stereotype people; they are just to help people align with jobs they will enjoy more. The more someone enjoys their job, the more time and effort they will invest in it and the greater their success will be.


Emotional Quotient (EQ)

EQ, also known as Emotional Intelligence, is a relatively new field. The current thinking on EQ was sparked by Pulitzer Prize nominee Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ12. EQ accounts for about 70 percent of our overall success. In the context of a job, it accounts for about 58 percent of our overall performance. Unlike IQ, EQ can be increased over time, with effort. EQ is our ability to accurately recognize our own emotions and emotions in others, and respond appropriately. People with high EQs are known for being calm, cool, and collected when facing difficult circumstances. People with high EQs can rationally respond to situations instead of just reacting to them. In Emotional Intelligence 2.013, Travis Bradberry describes 15 strategies for increasing our self- awareness and 17 strategies for increasing social awareness. He explains that to increase EQ, we need to increase our Personal Competence (through Self-awareness and Self-Management) and Social Competence (through social awareness and relationship management). On November 19, 2011, I flew into Indore, Madhya Pradesh for the first time. I checked into the guesthouse around 9 a.m. My talk at IIM Indore was scheduled for 11 a.m. It was a bright and sunny November morning. I could have stayed in the room and watched TV or made cell phone calls.


Instead, I chose to catch the mood of the room, (Bradberrys 17th social awareness strategy). I went for a walk around the IIM campus. I saw the energy in the students as they rushed from one classroom to the other. To step into the shoes of the student audience (Bradberrys 15th social awareness strategy), I read notices on the student notice boards and spoke to students. Even though the students at IIM Indore had never heard of me or our company, I was able to share my insights about the industry and about my career after my MBA. During the presentation, one of the students asked me how to increase Emotional Intelligence and I was able to give the two examples above. I told the student that, before the presentation, I had learned about the students campus, come to understand some of their opportunities, and talked to some of them. Then I had taken time to read the clues and emotions of the roomful of people I was about to address. As a result, I had improved my EQ and my ability to relate and connect with the students in a better way.

Checklist for Setting Myself Up for Success

Improve professional skills Select an industry Analyze an industry Use company websites, blogs, newsletters, press releases, social media, books, conferences, and even movies Consider the IT Services industry


Stay with a company; do not jump jobs Learn about yourself



In previous chapters, I have refrained from giving advice. I have shared my experiences and provided references that shaped me. I have learned that by sharing experiences in a non-judgmental way, I can let individuals apply them to their own situation. However, when I visit campuses and interact with MBA students, I am often asked for advice. Many students are looking for direct answers. So, here I will I break my own rule and share general ideas.

Look for Long-term Success

For me success over the long-term is more important than the immediate salary. When I had a choice, I always took a job that helped me learn and grow. I looked at what I would be doing every day on the job and how I would be growing myself. A title may not be the most important part of a job offer. Sometimes, the better jobs pay less.


When I left my MBA program, I had two job offers. I had to choose between working for Microsoft and working for another major computer-industry company. The second company would have paid 20 percent more, but I chose Microsoft because I thought I would learn more. If you are able to perform well over the long term, no company wants to lose you. Jim Collins, author of Good to Great14, says one great person is better than three good people. Most successful companies and managers reward strong performance proportionately. It is easy for companies to hire for attractive jobs. Sometimes companies offer high pay for unattractive jobs, which could have difficult hours or require a lot of travel.

Meet at Least Five People in the Industry

One thing I wish I had done more is to meet people in my chosen industry. With LinkedIn, it is easy to identify people in your industry in your chosen city. I remember meeting the Director of Career Services and Alumni Relations at the University of Michigan Business School. She mentioned that most alumni mention that not enough students contact them for information. That is certainly true for me. In a typical year, only one or two MBA students contact me from Michigan.


I suggest meeting alumni in their office to get a better sense of how the industry is doing. You will have a higher Social Awareness and EQ around the company and the industry. Casual meetings at Starbucks or phone conversations may not give you a real sense of the industry. If you do not invest enough time, do not expect to get commitment from the alumni. A casual meeting for 5-10 minutes with someone at a social event is not enough. In addition, candidates can improve their functional skills by talking to people in the industry they choose. I have found that, if you talk to five alumni, only one or two will really open up and have a candid conversation.

Give Industry Examples During Interviews

As I discussed earlier, familiarity with an industry matters a lot when hiring managers are trying to decide. I suggest spending a lot of time getting to know the industry so that you can share examples of industry developments and trends during a job interview.

Create LinkedIn and Facebook Profiles

In todays job world, several social media tools are very important. When I interview someone, I ask the HR team to also give me the candidates LinkedIn profile.


By reviewing the LinkedIn profile, I learn different areas about the candidate. It is surprising to me that many candidates do not take two hours to research what a good LinkedIn profile looks like and how they can improve their own profile. LinkedIn also offers a huge opportunity to connect with others in your industry.
Facebook also offers the chance to write a public profile that can be easily accessed by potential employers.

Avoid Peer Pressure

Most of us succumb to peer pressure. While crowdsourcing has advantages when making purchases, I found that most of people do what everybody else is doing. Those people are just average. They apply for a particular job just because everybody else is applying for it, or accept jobs that are popular. For instance, five years ago, retail was very hot in India. Everybody wanted to be in the retail industry because that was the industry that was hiring. When I looked at the salaries and the job profiles in retail industry I said, This is unsustainable. Those companies didnt have the profit margins or clientele to justify their level of expenditures. Salaries fell. The same thing happened in the airline industry.


Use Your Time Wisely

We only get 24 hours in a day regardless of our situation. Time is something we can never get back, so I focus on using it wisely.


Seven Decisions

Over my life, I had to choose. All of my choices fell into these seven areas. 1. What do I study? 2. Where do I choose to live? 3. Who do I marry? 4. How do I spend my income? 5. How many children do I have? 6. How do I take care of my health and spirituality? 7. What do I do to help others? There is no right or wrong answer for any of these questions. My life would be different if I selected a different answer. Not better or worse, just different. Many of these decisions are irreversible. Most of us need to make these decisions when we are between 18 and 30 years of age. We develop daily habits and behaviors around these choices even earlier in our life.



I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
Gilbert K. Chesterton, A Short History of Eng-


Dedicated to the Service of the Nation is displayed prominently at the grandiose entrance of IIT Kharagpur. I admire Jawaharlal Nehru for converting a British Raj remnant Hijli jail in rural West Bengal to the very first IIT. I wonder about the choices and sacrifices made by a newly independent nation to fund such an institute right after independence. Over my five years at Kharagpur, I entered my adulthood in the company of some of the brightest people I have ever met in my life. I still admire many of you. All of you taught me a lot, so thank you. Sometimes, I wonder how your journey turned out.


I still wonder how my teachers put up with me while I was preparing for the IIT Joint Entrance Examination (JEE). I admire Shiv Shankar Tripathi, my GIC teacher for tutoring me in Mathematics and Physics. Without your patience in working with these esoteric JEE problems, I would be running a flourishing criminal law practice in Shahjahanpur today. Despite justified skepticism of your fellow teachers about my JEE aspirations, you never doubted me. I thank you. To the Sahai family in Webster City, Iowa who adopted me and made my five years in Iowa, the best part of my life. Prem Nath Sahai, PhD was like a father to me. Uncleji, you taught me that learning never goes to waste. Heavens could have waited longer for you. I miss you. Urmilla Sahai, my other mother and Auntieji who has seen the most joys and most hardships I have ever witnessed anyone handle in one life. I am amazed at your calmness. To the Sahai kids, now all six surgeons and physicians and spouses. I am amazed at all of you blending the east and west. To Subhash Jijaji and Sushma didi for adopting me as your little brother. I admire both of you for sharing so much energy and affection with everyone. I wish we could be like you someday. To my late Anil Jijaji who did so much in such a short life. From getting a doctorate in Electrical Engineering and then becoming a compassionate physician. For getting one of the most beautiful Iowa temples completed. For inventing and selling pill dispenser IMD2 machines to Philips. Todays


startups can learn a lot from you. To my Nutan didi, the always cheerful Social Director. Sanjiv Rastogi for being the older brother I never had. You and Rajani amaze me for always thinking of carrying everyone forward. My parents still amaze me on being able to raise four of us in Shahjahanpur. Your determination in supporting not one, not two, but three of us in Tier 1 professional colleges astounds me. You have set such a high bar that I am not sure if I will be able to match you. To my brother, Sanjeev Agarwal, MD and his wife, Chhavi Agarwal, MD for paying their dues and becoming some of the best in their chosen medical field. Your calmness amazes me. To my not so little brother, now a serial entrepreneur, Pankaj Agarwal and his wife Rita Agarwal for teaching me what the corporate world did not teach me about business. I am amazed at how you can start so many companies and not lose money. Thank you for being a good friend and keeping such high spirits all the time. I learn a lot from you. To Mudita, my sister and Mohit Gupta for understanding me and keeping everyone united. To my in-laws, Vishnu Prakash Agarwal and Vinod Rani Agarwal for being there for us. You taught me that parenting never ends. To Namita and Rajesh Jiwrajka for your affection and caring. Aparna and Manesh Gupta for the support and milestone visits. To Ashish and Prerna for your care and affection.


To my dozen nephews and nieces, Disha, Rishi, Abhay, Amit, Nikhil, Anushka, Malika, Ashna, Ishana, Myra, Neel, and Annika. You set a high bar every day. I am proud of every one of you. To Arpita, my wife and partner in the game of work and business of life. I am still amazed at how you took a chance on me. I admire your leadership and how you make it all work. To Jay Raj and Shelly Ranie for being the critics I need to stay grounded. You have miles to go. To all of my friends and colleagues that have supported me over the years. Thank you!


All the adversity Ive had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened meYou may not realize it when it happens but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.
Walt Disney


Suggested Reading

Over 5,000 new business books are published every year. Many of these books are easy reads and can be completed in a few hours. When I meet with key leaders, often the first question we ask each other is, What book are you reading these days? In fact, this is also one of my first interview questions as an employer. By reviewing the list of books they like or remember, I learn a lot about a candidate. In my review of books, I selected ten authors who helped me grow over the years. A lot of their work is based on empirical research and studies of companies. As a practicing manager, I like their how to approach and how we can apply the lessons in them at our company. If there is only one book you should read by the time you join MAQ Software, or any company, it is The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins. It is published by Harvard Business School Press.


1. Good to Great and/or Built to Last15, by Jim Collins If there was only one author today who has had the most impact on management, it would be Jim Collins. His first book, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, is relevant for many companies that are in early stages. In this great book, Collins explained how long-term sustained performance can be engineered. I read Good to Great in 2003 when the book came out. At that time, our company was younger and smaller and we were struggling to stay in business. In 2003, the concepts and ideas mentioned in Good to Great were ahead of our company stage. In 2007, when our company had expanded, I read Good to Great again. Many of the ideas in his book are now our operating principles. By implementing these ideas in a disciplined manner with consistency over time, we have grown the company consistently. His latest book, Great by Choice is also relevant and shares many counterintuitive examples from very successful companies. We require all new MBA graduates joining our company to review Good to Great tools.


2. Speed of Trust16, By Stephen M. R. Covey We have been using this book for the last five years with in our leadership team to improve trust within the organization. Stephen M. R. Covey offers 12 techniques that helped me improve my effectiveness in the team. I found this book to be an easier read as compared to The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People written by his late father, Stephen Covey. 3. Who: The A Method for Hiring17, By Geoff Smart and Randy Street In this book, the authors present A Method for Hiring. The authors interviewed 300 CEOs and 20 billionaires to understand successful hiring techniques. In my experience, many successful corporate recruiters are familiar with these recruitment techniques. Another, larger book is Topgrading, written by Geoff Smarts father, Bradford D. Smart, who used to advise legendary and longtime GE CEO, Jack Welch. The Indian edition of Topgrading is available in many bookstores.

4. First, Break All the Rules: What the Worlds Greatest Managers Do Differently18, by Marcus Buckingham For this book, the author surveyed 80,000 managers to understand what great managers have in common. At MAQ Software, we practice techniques used in the book to turn employee talent into performance. From the


book, we use 12 simple questions to seek opinions at our regular employee meetings. I found lessons in this book useful for our team leads and senior managers. There are critical performance and career lessons that I was able to apply in the context of our company. 5. People Styles at Work19, By Robert and Dorothy Bolton Published by The American Management Association for Practicing Managers, this book covers four different types of people styles. Even though I have gone through many personality tests including MBTI and DISC, this book helped me understand my behaviors and how I could adjust them to people of different styles. By using knowledge gained in our professional and personal relationships, we have increased our effectiveness and are able to resolve conflicts more easily.

6. The First 90 Days20, By Michael Watkins We share this book with all of our new MBA graduates and people hired from the industry. Author Michael Watkins is an expert on leadership transitions. Although this book is written for very senior level executives in large companies, it helps our new hires realize that they need to take time to understand the context of our work, our clients, and our people and make necessary adjustments.


As the book explains, there is little value added by the new hire in the first six months. The typical contribution of a new hire is negative in the first 90 days, and enters positive area only in the second 90 days, resulting in net zero contribution in the first six months. The author also explains the increasingly demanding professional landscape, where managers face frequent transitions and very high expectations. Checklists, and self-assessments are included in each chapter to help readers apply key lessons to their own situations.

7. How To Be an Even Better Manager21, By Michael Armstrong Unlike most books on management and leadership, this concise and actionable book includes many useful How To techniques for supervisors in our company. I have benefited tremendously from the comprehensive positive and negative indicators table for behavior common in all industries. Many employees ask for feedback on regular basis. I usually share the positive and negative indicators with them to help them do self-assessment. I also use the indicators to improve my own performance. I have seen people recognize their own behaviors that were limiting their performance and growth in the company.


8. Emotional Intelligence 2.022, by Travis Bradberry We hire people who are very intelligent (high IQ with engineering- and MBA-degree combination) and a relevant role-related personality (work style). Current thinking states that most people are born with a certain level of IQ that does not change over their life. Similarly, personality traits appear early in life and they do not go away. The book includes 66 techniques to improve our emotional intelligence. I review this book every quarter to help me improve my EQ. It is an easy and short read with an online test to help measure EQ.

9. YOU: The Owners Manual23, by Dr. Oz Before first reading this book five years ago, I knew more about my cell phone than I knew about my body. This book helped me learn about my own body, the food I eat, common illnesses and ways to avoid them. As I aged, I saw that my friends suffer from heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Asthma is quite common, but usually does not kill us. As I started thinking about the next 50 years of my life, I realized I did not have a plan for staying fit and healthy. As I came across successful people in any field, I realized that they were also fit and had the stamina to perform at a high level. This helped


me become disciplined and improve my quality of life. I now live a much healthier lifestyle.

10. The Success Principles24, By Jack Canfield This book lists over 64 principles that helped me learn great leaders practices and behaviors. Jack Canfield has had seven books on the bestseller list simultaneously, which is extremely difficult to do. Another, smaller book, Power of Focus, mentioned to me by my serial entrepreneur brother, is another one of my favorite books by the same author. One of the ideas mentioned in the book is to surround yourself with successful and positive people (avoid toxic people).


Master Checklist
Managing My Leadership Journey
Think long-term Dont automatically go for the big job title Work hard Be proactive Be reliable Build industry knowledge Learn to delegate Have vision Learn crisis-management skills Be honest

Perspectives on Performance
Be ready to turn to co-workers for help Turn to others outside your company for help Manage one-on-one Be part of your team Cope with complexity Cope with change Build your technical skills Grow your human skills Be a go-to person


Setting Myself Up for Success

Improve professional skills Select an industry Analyze an industry Use company websites, blogs, newsletters, press releases, social media, books, conferences, and even movies Consider the IT Services industry Stay with a company; do not jump jobs Learn about yourself


About The Author

As the founder and the managing consultant of MAQ Software, Rajeev Agarwal works with customers to plan and develop innovative applications on various technology platforms. Prior to founding MAQ Software in 2000, Mr. Agarwal worked at Microsoft Corporation,


Redmond for seven years in various product marketing groups. He started his career as a Design Analysis Engineer at Frigidaire Company, Webster City, Iowa to analyze washing machine designs for the North American market. As an entrepreneur, Mr. Agarwal was a finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year (2010) award and has grown the company to over 400 engineers worldwide. Leading US business magazine, Inc. has recognized MAQ Software in its annual Inc. 5000 list as one of the fastest growing companies for the past six consecutive years a rare honor. Mr. Agarwal has been widely quoted on software industry issues in the media including the Seattle Times, Puget Sound Business Journal, and BBC. He holds a B. Tech. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, a Master's in Engineering from Iowa State University, and an MBA from the University of Michigan Business School, Ann Arbor. Mr. Agarwal also serves as a board member in the IIT Kharagpur Alumni Foundation and is a TIE Seattle charter member.


A native of Shahjahanpur, India, Rajeev and his wife Arpita are actively involved in supporting girls education in that district. They live with their two children in Bellevue, Washington. A native of Shahjahanpur, India, Rajeev lives with his wife Arpita and their two children in Bellevue, Washington.


About MAQ Software

MAQ Software is a digital marketing and technology solutions company. They offer cost effective Digital Marketing and Analytics solutions using cloud and mobile platforms. Their solutions use advanced features of web, mobile and cloud computing on the industry leading platforms. Founded in 2000, the company employs over 400 people worldwide in three development centers. Headquartered in Redmond, Washington, the company maintains two development centers in India, one in Mumbai and the other in Hyderabad. MAQ Software has been closely aligned with Microsoft Corporation for thirteen years as a Microsoft Preferred Supplier and a member of the Microsoft Partner Network. Inc., a leading US business magazine for mid-market companies, inducted MAQ Software to its Hall of Fame. MAQ Software has been listed as one of the fastest growing companies in America for past six consecutive years - a rare achievement. MAQ Software fosters an entrepreneurial culture with a can-do attitude. All of the key managers share IIT or IIM type of excellence in their backgrounds with significant


experience developing and growing the company for many years. The managers enjoy working with the latest technologies and computing trends before many of the larger industry players. Starting with the top managers, everyone is actively involved in building the business on daily basis. Everyone takes on multiple roles including conducting recruitment drives at engineering campuses, training fresh graduates and working with customers to understand their requirements. By following lean and agile software development techniques, MAQ Software delivers software solutions in half the time compared to larger players. They focus on excellence in everything; the details matter. The success at MAQ Software can be credited to two simple ideas focus and execution. Through daily meetings with globally distributed teams and management, everyone stays focused on their goals every day.


Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.
--Chuck Close, painter



John P. Kotter, The New Rules: How to Succeed in Todays Post-

Corporate World (Simon and Schuster, 1995).

2 article


describes the state of MBA placement in India. Per this article, there are 360,000 graduates across 4,500 colleges in India. With the exception of top 20 schools, only 10% students get placed after campus. Around 180 MBA colleges closed in 2012 and 160 colleges are expected to close in 2013. Its a sad state of affair s but I think this correction was long due.

Jim Collins, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the

Leapand Others Dont (Harper Collins, 2001).


Jo Owen, The Leadership Skills Handbook: 50 Key Skills from

1,000 Leaders (London: Kogan, 2006).


Owen, The Leadership Skills Handbook, p. 25. Linda Hill, Becoming a Manager (Harvard Business School Press,


Hill, Becoming a Manager. I was introduced to Locus of Control by Gazelles, Inc., an

executive education firm. More details about Locus of Control available at .


Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs (Simon & Schuster, 2011). Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, Emotional Intelligence 2.0.


(TalentSmart, 2009), p. 19.


Robert Bolton and Dorothy Grover Bolton, People Styles at Work

and Beyond (American Management Association, 2009).


Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter

More Than IQ. (Bantam Books, 1996).


Bradberry and Greaves, Emotional Intelligence 2.0. Collins, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the


Leapand Others Dont


Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, Built to Last: Successful Habits of

Visionary Companies (Harper Collins, 1997).


Stephen Covey, The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That

Changes Everything (Simon & Schuster Inc., 2006).


Goeff Smart and Randy Street, Who: The A Method for Hiring

(Ballentine Books, 2008)


Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, First, Break All the

Rules: What the Worlds Great Managers Do Differently (Simon & Schuster. 1999).



Robert Bolton and Dorothy Grover Bolton, People Styles at Work

and Beyond (American Management Association, 2009).


Michael Watkins, The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies

for New Leaders at All Levels (Harvard Business School Press, 2003).

Michael Armstrong, How to Be An Even Better Manager: A

Complete A to Z of Proven Techniques and Essential Skills (Kogan Page, 2011).


Bradberry and Greaves, Emotional Intelligence 2.0.


Mehmet C. Oz, M.D., and Michael F. Roizen, M.D., You: The

Owners Manual. An Insiders Guide to the Body That Will Make You Healthier (Harper Collins, 2008).


Jack Canfield, The Success Principles: How to Get from Where

You Are to Where You Want to Be (Harper Collins 2005).