Your journey from the Classroom to Corporate
If you are a student, you find yourself in a protective and encouraging environment. But have you stopped to think: what after college? Does the future overwhelm you? Have you been thinking about the things you can do now that will help you become employable later? What are the skills you need to become an independent adult?
I strongly believe students should try positioning themselves as an organized all-rounder while they are in college itself.
I am trying to explain below what I mean by the word “all-rounder” here.
Academics, co-curricular, and extra-curricular activities:
You do many things in college – attend lectures/sessions, complete assignments, participate in several live events and projects, and play many more roles. You also take part in a host of co-curricular activities like debating, elocution, essay writing and extra-curricular activities like playing a musical instrument, dancing, dramatics, and philately.
Learning Orientation & Knowledge Management:
You spend ‘outside the class time’ with your professors and senior colleagues to seek clarifications to your doubts – such persons can also guide you in developing an effective learning orientation within and around you. Then the time you spend in the college library and reading room, attending various master classes, seminars, and webinars is also an excellent investment towards building your general as well as domain knowledge. You need to build an excellent learning culture and knowledge management system around you.
Good Communication adds wings to your personality:
You must pay extra attention to improve your verbal, written and non-verbal (body language) communication. Pay attention to the manner you connect with others. How do you talk to people and convince them of your POV? How are your listening skills? They say: listen double of what you speak – that is why you have got one mouth and two ears. Do you follow this golden rule? You must invest at least 40 to 60 minutes of your time every day (for 5 to 6 days a week) in reading, writing, speaking, and listening to something relevant yet interesting to you. It may be like listening to a favourite speech, talking to an individual or delivering a short talk to a group, reading some fiction or self-help book, or writing a blog – virtually anything that you find interesting or exciting.
Your health and wellbeing are most important:
Eat food like your medicine so that you never take your medicines as your food. Always have a balanced diet. Monitor your water intake and make sure that you consume about 8 to 10 glasses of water every day. Sleep is an important part of health and if you do not get enough of it, it can negatively impact your energy levels and motivation in several ways. You must give 45 minutes to 60 minutes daily to your body – doing yoga, exercise, morning walk, gym, or any other form of activity or workouts which fits well into your scheme of things. Stay away from smoking, drugs, and other unhealthy addictions. Try to keep stress at bay and visit your family doctor regularly to ensure that all is well.
Stay positive and motivated:
You should stay positive and motivated all the time and should be spreading positivity through your positive mental attitude (PMA). Surround yourself with such friends and persons who have a constructive and positive impact on you. Cut those from your circle of influence, who possess a negative mental attitude (NMA) and/or not supportive in furthering your initiatives. Do not keep friends and associates who do not add value to your ecosystem. Depending upon your situation – build your ecosystem and socialize to the extent possible. Do not react to various situations; instead, give your structured response. I can give an example. If you are apprehensive that it may rain today – do not curse the rain God (reaction), rather pack your umbrella before you go out (response).
Identify a good Mentor for you:
Do identify a good mentor who can be a friend, philosopher, and guide to you at every stage in your professional as well as personal life. Work in close association with your mentor to prepare a grand action blueprint for your future. Carefully analyze various scenarios – whether you want to be in full-time employment as a corporate executive, want to work in free-lance mode as an advisor/consultant, or wish to undertake an entrepreneurial journey. Unless you are extraordinary and can secure an excellent job in a great company – my advice will be that you opt for the entrepreneurial route to be successful in life. Start as a solopreneur and grow to be an entrepreneur or intrapreneur over the years.
Embarking upon your entrepreneurial journey:
As you embark upon your entrepreneurial journey, you will have to focus on a few crucial aspects. You must hire knowledgeable and competent people so that you build a great team. Your team must have certain essential elements like synergy, cooperation, collaboration, and coordination.
You must position a team leader to take charge of the entire venture and provide him/her with all necessary training and delegation. You must empower all your team members and engage them suitably so that their goals and organizational goals stay aligned.
You now must take action to develop and document world-class processes with the help and support from professional experts, if necessary. I have witnessed a situation where the company executives were able to develop excellent processes (along with flow charts) without any outside help. The moot point is that our processes should be effective and useful – whether done internally or externally.
Lastly but not least – the growing entrepreneur must understand the importance of planning and control, working through budgets and schedules to avoid cost and time overruns, cost-benefit analysis, capital budgeting, break-even analysis, make-buy decisions, and many more basic concepts in finance and marketing. A proper MIS should be in place to keep track of the entrepreneur’s project.
Here’s what John Maxwell, American author and speaker, has charted as the 7 steps to success: