Sunday, 31 March 2013

NIILM CMS IN BUSINESS TODAY “Should I Choose Marketing or HR - Which one is better?”

Excerpts from an interview given to Business Today for B-School Compendium Issue 2013 by Prof.S. Neelamegham, President, NIILM Centre for Management Studies.

How do you suggest the aspiring MBA students to decide if they are fit for Marketing or HR professional?

Human resource managers essentially deal with “People Management”. This includes recruiting, training and development, performance evaluation, negotiation, employee relations, assisting in policy and strategy formulation and consultancy. HR personnel have a direct influence and impact on the people working in a company. Those who enjoy networking with people, warm and sympathetic and good in perceiving the moods, feelings and reactions of others and enjoy tackling problems with logic will be found more suitable for HR professional career.
Marketing is a dynamic function and it is growing in importance. It covers a wide variety of functions including selling, advertising, promotion, marketing research, distribution, retailing etc. Those who have good communication and persuasive skills, enjoy meeting face to face with customers for selling products or services, willing to work hard, energetic and single minded , creative and  with  a strong imaginative sense  will find marketing profession more exciting.

What should the  students expect after post graduating in Marketing? (In terms of the profiles industry competition, salary packages etc).
For those who qualify in Marketing a variety of opportunities are available across a wide spectrum of industries including FMCG, Consumer Durables, Service sectors ( Banking, Telecom,  Insurance, Retailing , real  estate, Hospitality,Tourism) et  besides social media and communication, marketing research ,, and international trade. SME s is also looking for Graduates specialised in marketing. The salary range may vary between 2 lakhs to 20 lakhs per annum depending upon the merits of the candidates and the entry level.

 What is your take on myths about HR as a profession? (Common myths are HR is for women, HR pays you less with less growth options, HR is a laidback profession and is less important, HR is chosen by default when the person is not interest ted in any other field.
It is estimated that 60% of HR jobs across industries are held by women.  Human Resource is found more suitable for women since they are adept in counselling and nurturing skills, people focused and team oriented   which are essential to create a more conducive environment for greater productivity at work.   However the number of men  entering the profession is also on the increase  and the situation may change over a period of time as it has happened in other countries. HR may appear to be a little less glamorous compared to marketing but there are enough opportunities for growth in HR profession. Whether it is manufacturing, soft ware or other service sectors, NGOs and other non profit organisations, Consultancy, Media and communication the demand for well trained HR personnel is fast increasing.

Human resources industry in India has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of 21% over the past few years and is pegged to be around Rs 22,800 cores according to a recent study. It is a maturing industry .Many global companies are in search of talent to reduce costs and this is creating demand for more HR professionals to recruit, develop and nurture talents across the globe. Several multinationals are also outsourcing human resource processes to India.

 The emergence of Social media as a powerful net working tools help HR professionals to create communities across the globe for sharing knowledge and support employees through new means of communication.  All these developments point out the growing job opportunities in HR area.

Any other suggestions?

One should try to work out one’s strengths, aptitude and values to avoid any job mismatch. Winning is about utilising your strength in full. At the same time to climb up the ladder, one should minimise weaknesses through determined efforts, training and experience. Last but not least we are living in a world of accelerated change. To succeed in any career one should be ready to accept the challenge of change and develop capacity to continuously learn and adapt to the new environment.

Monday, 25 March 2013

When we respect women, we respect our nation

Former President of India Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam writes:

I firmly believe that the respect that its women enjoy tell us how developed a country is. Equally, I truly believe that in every man burns the courage to stand up against any injustice done to the other gender. He has demonstrated this over centuries, and we must salute and further this quality. 

Today I have the opportunity to be a soldier for women, by telling you a story of the woman who taught me how important it is to embrace the values of a solider; to stand up for and stand by women. Let me tell you of my own mother. We lived as a joint family in Rameswaram, with my grandmother and mother managing this large contingent. When I was just 10, World War II put everything in short supply.

One day, at dinner, my mother went on giving me chapattis. When we rose, my elder brother chided me in private: "Kalam, do you realise you went on eating chapattis and Amma kept giving you even her share? It is a difficult time. Be a responsible son and do not make your mother starve". I was seized by a shivering sensation which I could not control. I rushed to my mother and hugged her. My brother that day demonstrated in a very small way the values of a soldier; respecting and standing by our mother.

Mother lived till 93, a woman of love, kindness and, above all, a divine nature.

In my 80 years, I have interacted with many great women's minds. Their professionalism, contribution to family and society have left a permanent imprint on me. And I am sure every one has similarinspiring memories.

Our nation has a noble tradition of respecting women, and all good minds must unite to eliminate the inhumanities which blot our traditions. When we respect women we respect our nation. All men must stand by and stand up for all women. In this, they would be doing nothing more than nurturing their own inherent goodness,be the best they can be - and act as a morale booster for others of our gender.

Monday, 18 March 2013

How Global are we?

Profs. Shruti Jain and Shweta Dixit write...

The authors can be contacted at:,

The increasing pace of ICT development, the shifting markets with the changes in global consumer tastes and preferences, emergence of global brands and MNCs and their worldwide operations, the process of continuous upgradation of the industrial economies, and the liberalization policies pursued by the developing nations are among the forces which are transforming the global economy and its trading pattern.

The internationalization of the world economy has been rapid during the last two decades. Besides trade, there is now a greater and multiple flow of capital, labour, information, technology and organisation of the production process itself across borders.

As a result of Globalization, the opportunities for World Trade Expansion have been greater than ever. Children in Pakistan wear Levi’s, the Chinese have satellite Television; the American housewives stretch their budgets by purchasing less expensive goods imported from china and register a complain about their microwaves in a call center in India. Business from all over the Globe has crossed the national borders and invaded global Markets. An average Indian citizen nowadays start his daily routine using Colgate Palmolive, has corn flakes from Kellogg’s as Breakfast, drives a Santro, or  a Volkswagen; spends a day on Samsung galaxy tab, IBM computer and Hitachi Air conditioner, and evening is to be spent with a Sony T.V. So every activity is having a glimpse of globalization. Fueled by Information technology and rapid strides of liberalization made by nations, International Business is no more a strategic choice with organizations, it is an integral part of their business to sustain a competitive position in the market place.

We seem to be witnessing the globalization of markets and production. With regard to the globalization of markets and production, we are moving away from an economic system in which national markets are distinct entities, isolated from each other by trade barriers of distance, time, and culture, and toward a system in which national markets are merging into one huge global marketplace.

The tastes and preferences of consumers in different nations are beginning to coverage on some global norm. Thus, in many industries it is no longer meaningful to talk about the “German Market,’’ ‘the American market,” or the “Japanese market”; there is only the “global market”. The global acceptance of Coca-Cola, Levi’s jeans, Apple I-pads, and McDonald’s hamburgers, and continuously increasing facebook users exemplifies this trend.

Today, globalization involves numerous features, but the following three seem to be the main engine driving global economic integration:

a.    Internationalization of production accompanied by changes in the structure of production
b.    Expansion of international trade and services
c.     Widening and deepening of international capital flows

Monday, 11 March 2013

Global Mobility Programmes

Profs. Shruti Jain and Shweta Dixit write...

The authors can be contacted at:,

Success today, for all companies requires talented workforce with a global mindset. With companies trying to make a move towards expansion of global operations, it is very important to seek opportunities outside one’s country and send their talent to train themselves in the work patterns of other economies. It is thus a major challenge these days for companies to have employees who have truly global outlook.

As business activities are becoming increasingly global, it has become an essential practice to hire workforce with global orientation. Moreover, companies have also noticed intrinsic and extrinsic values of sending employees beyond their national borders for a fixed period of time. Therefore nurturing truly global workforce is need of the hour. Keeping this in mind leading companies worldwide have devised many strategies for training employees for taking up challenging global assignments and Global Mobility Programs is one of the move in this direction.

For many multinational companies, global mobility programs have been around since the start of the business. For others new to the world of corporate relocation, it may be a foreign territory. Before a company begins to send executives on short term or long term international relocation assignments, it would be essential for them to put together a solid global mobility program.

Global Mobility Programme

One such most successful strategy implemented by leading global companies is the Global Mobility Program which aims at providing learning opportunities abroad which will not only help in overall development of an individual, but will also help in nurturing the employee for more important positions in future.

Bentley, A., in his research article “Global Mobility: Managing costs to maintain a successful international assignments programme in line with corporate strategy”, outlines the relevant strategic reasons for corporate having global mobility programs in place:

Key strategic reasons for operating an International Assignments Programme:
  •  Troubleshooting
  • Project delivery/technical need
  •  Skills gap/transfer of skills
  •  Personal/Career development
  •  Talent management
  •  Imposing the company culture (e.g. following a merger or acquisition)
  • Personal request of the individual employee

Benefits of Global Mobility Program

The Global Mobility Program is a very effective tool used by leading global companies in managing their diverse international operations. The Program helps them to build and maintain a global firm while fostering individual development, shared values, innovation, diversity and many other similar strategic benefits. Some of the advantages of Global Mobility Program are highlighted below:

  • helps organizations to develop efficient teams with global frame of mind
  • helps in holistic development of employees
  • provides opportunity to work in a cross cultural environment
  • in certain cases global mobility programme provides unparalleled opportunities for partners and children
  • cost effective compared to other strategies for providing international assignments
  • high-potential employees benefit from such programs as it helps develop competencies
  • helps in filling the gap in local skills
  • these strategies not only help in overall development of the individual, but also facilitate the nurturing process for more important positions
  • effective retention strategy in most of the companies
  • employees perceive an overseas posting as a step up the career ladder

Constraints & Challenges

Even though Global Mobility Programmes have manifold advantages, but organizations face many challenges while implementing such programs:

  • With employees deployed throughout the world, there is a need to track their progress and establish regular communication to ensure this talent remains aligned with the company and doesn’t feel excluded from a corporate vision.

  • Global Mobility Programme which is aimed primarily at younger employees but these Generation Y employees prefer to travel to developed economies and the more affluent APAC countries such as Australia compared with less developed markets. Thus it is challenging to ask any young employee to take up international assignments in less affluent markets. 
  • Poses new challenges professionally and personally, for example, at times the employee finds it difficult to adjust in the new cultural environment or candidate’s spouse may be reluctant to move because they have a steady career in the home country or there is a reluctance to move children because of the difference in education systems or employees may not want to move their families to the host country because there is insufficient domestic support. 
  • Problems with immigration, currency differences, spouse or dual-career issues and the ability to get assignees to understand a tax equalisation approach. 
  • Peer comparisons with expatriates and local employees doing the same role, but with vastly different levels of compensation. 
  • Relocation of employees on their return is a major problem as the employees assume more important positions on their return. 
  • At times it becomes difficult to adhere to clauses in the contract. For example, the employee will not be able to back out of the assignment until the contract ends. 
  • Employees also have concerns related to housing and living conditions on offer in the host country. Their expectations of accommodation may differ in size, location and facilities. Their transportation needs may also be different. 
  • Employees at times are reluctant to accept postings in rural areas and the third world countries or developing economies. 
  • Employees expect attractive compensation packages while accepting foreign postings. 
  • Administrative complexity. For instance, at times it becomes difficult to devise appropriate compensation and benefits packages. 
  • The selected employee returning from the assignment will add further value to the organisation in the long run. 
  • But make the same offer to a high-potential talent, they will gladly take up the job. They may even put up their hands first for a transfer to developing economies because they can see the potential in working in those markets compared with the successful ones.

There may be many variations of the Global Mobility Programs offered by different organizations but the objective is always to create a workforce with global orientation. The program provides an opportunity to the employees to work on different assortment of engagements in a truly cross-cultural environment. The program has many advantages, but we cannot ignore its limitations. The organizations while working on strategies to create global workforce should also keep in mind the constraints mentioned above to ensure that they are able to address most of the problems faced by the employees who are part of the Global Mobility Programs.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

A Salute to All Women

Prof. Jitender Sharma,
Librarian, NIILM CMS writes...

The author can be contacted at:,

International Women's Day, celebrated on 8th March every year, is a small recognition and appreciation for the significant role that any woman plays not only to an individual life but to society as a whole.

Women are the perfect and best creation of God. Human existence and life is incomplete without women. They are the creators in themselves. Our ancient culture has always regarded and accorded highest status to our women in terms of goddesses. A woman is considered to be “Graha Laxmi’. A girl child is considered to be incarnation of Goddess “Durga”. God has blessed women with extraordinary senses, power and abilities. A woman can bear all sorts of pressures and pains and can still stand firm irrespective of all adverse circumstances.

Our world order, that follows the patriarchal system, has, however, always discriminated against women. A girl child was never accorded same privileges and facilities that were extended to a male child from the same family. They were always considered born to do home tasks and to extend the family line. Their education, health and other socio-economical developments were never given importance. They face all sorts of curbs and discriminations on their freedom to express themselves, be it in their lifestyle, education, choosing their career, or even free movement. After years of agitations and many movements, women in some parts of the world have got equal rights as men, but it is not universal. There are still many countries and cultures where women are discriminated against.

Although, the modern world has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and societies thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation, a lot more has to be done. Women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.

Women have proved themselves in every discipline of life. They have not only reached the highest levels in governing any country but also reached up to the space. In fact very recently Sunita Williams, a NASA astronaut from our own country has established the world record of spending longest period in space. Women have established and proved themselves in armed forces including in battlefields. Women have left their imprints in achieving success in business world too. Indira Nooyi, CEO - PepsiCo is another example of women breaking the glass ceiling even in the corporate world. The list is long. There are countless examples to prove that a woman is no way inferior to a man and in fact, given proper space and chance to flourish, can perform better than her male counterparts.

Women play very pivotal role in human development. Their roles as a mother, friend, wife, sister, or daughter are very significant in a man’s life. Only a woman makes a man realize or feel important. A man may not be there when a woman needs him but a woman will always be standing firm the men in her life despite all odds.  Only a woman can have the courage to leave her parents and her home and join a new family & adopt and adjust to a new life style silently. No man can dare do this. It is rightly said that if you educate a man, you educate a single person but if you educate a woman, you educate a generation. The world would be a terrible place without women.

Hence all of us, irrespective of race, gender, caste or class we belong to, should pledge on this Women’s Day that we shall provide a suitable place and comfort to women in all aspects of their life and ensure a bright, equal, safe and rewarding future for them. We shall never allow any discrimination or atrocities against those who have blessed us with this life. Respecting a woman is synonymous to respecting God.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Outsourcing as a procurement option

Profs. Shruti Jain and Shweta Dixit write...

The authors can be contacted at:,

Procurement plays an important role in helping companies achieve the desired savings and profitability. Strategic sourcing has gone to new levels for building process excellence and aligning capabilities with requirements of corporate buy, as procurement has a key role in the corporate quest for value growth. Outsourcing has rapidly become a part of the everyday social lexicon. Harvard Business Review has identified outsourcing as one of the most important management ideas of the past 75 years.

Outsourcing saves precious resources and allows focus while building on core competencies.  Further, it leads to more profits, increased shareholder value, greater efficiency and better services. Therefore, more and more companies are moving their non-core business processes to outsource providers.

International outsourcing represents an opportunity to obtain materials at a lower cost than is possible in the home country .The trend towards such sourcing has been on the increase. To reduce costs European and Japanese companies are relying less on internal sourcing of materials. American firms too are taking advantage of such trends and outsourcing mainly from Mexico and Southeast Asia. For example, a major shift in the procurement from Mexico of high priced and high labor content materials that are inexpensive to transport.

Strategies which results in lower procurement costs without significantly compromising quality or increasing transportation charges are expected to become more widespread.

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have helped to globalize the sourcing option. Countries may now be identified as production platforms where a specialized activity in a company’s value chain can occur and provide a competitive advantage. These countries might possess special endowment factors such as low labor cost, availability of resources, good infrastructure, skilled workers, and local demand for manufactured products. To exploit these advantages, a firm may source from a number of locations to minimize overall cost and gain access to technology and quality output.

Global sourcing is also advocated as a means of achieving economies of scale, improving quality, and preparing export markets by obtaining knowledge from purchasing activities oversea. Sourcing may now be regarded as a network in which firms try to manage the flow of materials.

Outsourcing is a phenomenon that has been one of the most sustained yet controversial trends over the past few years and consequently researchers have found it attractive. In particular, offshore outsourcing has become one of the mainstays of several different research disciplines, including international business, strategic management, supply-chain management and information.

Do senior managers accept higher positions of authority or better pay packets?

Mr. Anoop Sareen,
Senior administrative officer, NIILM CMS writes...

“Everyday I get up and look through the list of the richest people. If I am not there, I go to work.” That’s what Robert Orben believes, the American magician who has authored books and written speeches for presidents of America. Mr. Orben belongs to the class of people for whom the choice between authority and money will be easier. However, for the class of people climbing the hierarchical ladder, the situation will be trickier.

The bottom-line is that the basis of all existence reduces to earning a ticket to the elusive destination of ‘self contentment’. The balance generally weighs heavier on the side where money is the choice; for most of us work to function, not function to work. In layman terms, most of us are busy earning the basic necessities of life than to be placed at a pedestrian of honor and be content with lesser monetary gains. On the other hand, for the social animal power is probably as important as it quenches man’s ever thirsty ego. Greed for status and a position of authority is the source of man’s greatest strength and also the source of his greatest weakness.

So, how does one move towards development? What is the major factor that contributes to it - Money or Power? Not all development is attained by money. Many brilliant minds bestowed with adulations died in dire straits. Their satisfaction lay more in honor than riches. Consider the civil servants in India. They enjoy more authority than monetary riches. But in this time and age of survival of the fittest the question become enigmatic, because at the end of the day the fact that nothing appeases man is the reason for his development. So the question of choice is unable to find the answer as this changing world of development is accommodating new definitions and new words synonymous to power and money. But this is at the individual level, where different perspectives furnish different answers. On a broader picture, each individual works for the development of self and the mass as well, i.e. he cares to contribute. With power come responsibility and the means to work on a larger scheme of things in which an individual can give back to the society a better platform. Aiming for power or authority makes money follow, the reverse may not be true. Authority paints the illusive ‘self contentment’ in more believable tones for one and all.

Strictly speaking, for senior managers the question is no different from its generalized version. After all he is also driven by all that is human. For someone at this level of the hierarchical ladder, going through the grind of being groomed is mandatory. As a student he has made the necessary choices on numerous occasions which might have run into conflict with the morals and his beliefs. It is this environment that helps shape him into an individual who can differentiate between his wants and needs and look at the bigger picture. He learns to develop individually by working for the mass. He is instilled with the right business ethics which instructs him to strive for the balance between power and money and also the values, that authority demands, to set a system for his generation and also the next to come. On an individual level the fight is perspective driven but when it comes to the society of which he is just a part, the question is morally driven.

If a senior manager opts for authority, his ego may often take a hit, if someone of lower authority makes as much money as he does. If he opts for money, he is stumping his growth. A senior manager is not expected to have a parochial mindset when dealing with such conflicting questions. For the generalized definition of power and money does not contribute to the development in general but only in particular. His perspectives put authority in a grim light, restricting its vote, for with authority comes accountability, responsibility and a chance to make a difference by working in larger scheme of things. It eventually also paves the path to better monetary gains. At the individual level more money broadens his definition of basic necessities but at the major level it really weighs lighter than authority. Let’s just say that a senior manager should go way beyond his individual (selfish) interest for if he does, authority gives him a chance to synchronize his perspectives and beliefs to produce music that is likeable to all ears.

Contact the author at:,