If God was a Banker – Book Review

If God was a Banker” by “Ravi Subramanian” similar to my recent readings “Watchout We are MBA” and “Two States” also comes from the league of authors who are member of alumni clubs of premiere B-Schools of India. The story is of two bankers of New York International Bank (NYIB) who started their career together post their MBA from IIMs.  The story majorly revolves around five characters viz Sundeep, an arrogant and overconfident graduate from IIM Ahmadabad; Swami, a modest and honest chap from IIM Bangalore, Kalpana a campus recruit for NYIB who goes on to marry Swami; Aditya, the first boss of Swami, Sundeep and Kalpana; Natasha, secretary of Aditya whom Sundeep gets married to.

The story is a narration of career progression of Swami and Sundeep in the bank. Though both started off from the same point, the paths charted by each of them differed largely.  Sundeep is presented as a result oriented professional for whom result mattered the most not the means. Sundeep in the race of making a good career falls in pray of Naresh which leads to his infidelity to wife Natasha and him becoming a Casanova, maintaining illicit relations with women colleagues of his bank.  Association with Naresh aids Sundeep in making a faster career progression within NYIB which Sundeep returns with multiple and illegal repeat business of NYIB with Naresh.

While Swami, a modest IIM Bangalore graduate from middle class background is presented as a man with strong reputation and with integrity. Sundeep in his way up the ladder faults multiple times on moral and integrity fronts. The expose of his faults during an audit ends his banking career but the support of Aditya and Swami ensures no public reprimand for his deeds.

The story subtly brings out some of the corporate issues of the like Glass Ceiling, sexual encounters at work place etc. The story is slightly engrossing in nature and in some patches becomes slightly boring. The story sometimes seems to be inspired by Bollywood movies where an arrogant boss takes advantage of his women sub-ordinates belonging to middle class background. Well, it’s a 2.5 rating off 5.

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Understanding your Prospective Employer

While B-Schools are observing non-traditional recruiters knocking the doors, it is becoming increasingly difficult for B-School students to understand the profiles offered by these new set of companies. Also learning about these new companies is also becoming a tad difficult using the old model of knowing your recruiter. IIM – Ahmedabad has adopted a cohort system as against the traditional placement week, in which placements are spread across multiple weeks which offer both the students and the company ample time to pick the best that fits them. Earlier, students and company had an average of 30 minutes to learn whether the other fits them.

Though the time to learn about the profile and the company is increased by the new system, students also need to learn new ways to learn about the company and the profile as many non-traditional recruiters (Startups, NGO) may pitch for recruitment. The traditional approach to learn about the company and profile is attending the campus presentation of these companies and talking to alumni in the target company. However, this approach may not suffice for first time hirers and non-traditional hirers as every company’s campus presentation talks only good about the company and there would not be many alumni in the target company for students to seek information from.

This article talks about some of the alternate ways which students can employ to learn about these new recruiters. Fortunately internet is deluged with information and here professional networking sites like LinkedIn and social networking sites like Orkut, Facebook etc comes to the rescue of the potential hire.  Some of the ways to use these channels are mentioned below:

  1. Professional networking sites like “LinkedIn” has been used up extensively by many non-traditional hirers and their employees. LinkedIn offers you information on a company’s size and the current/past employees of a company. Use this tool to understand the background of the current and past employees of the organization. Remember, human resources of a company make or break a company. For Example: A company like BankBazaar.com employs human resources from ISB, SPJAIN, Google, Microsoft etc which speaks volume about the organization milieu.
  2. Use the tool to learn about the future prospects of the profile offered to you outside the organization. Analyze the profiles/companies, the past employees of the organization are presently working at or are working for. This would give you an insight into the future prospects. For Example: Analyzing the profile of past employees of a small product based company, Zycus Infotech, indicates that a student working with Zycus at Business Development can end up taking up roles of Business Development, Regional Sales not only for product based firms but also for service companies like MahindraSatyam, Oracle, Capegemini, HCL etc.
  3. If you do not find many profiles of employees of the company in discussion, analyze the profiles of the employees of the direct competitors to understand the future prospect about the profile offered.
  4. Orkut and many social media sites breed many communities of employees of the organization. These communities indirectly give out a lot of information to the outsiders like potential aspirants. For Example: A cursory search on Orkut Communities of Zycus Infotech gives out information that the attrition rate at Zycus is high (Search Results for reference: Fresh Resignation at Zycus & Check the Attrition in SMT). Note that the comments and opinions shared in the community may be biased hence be selective in absorbing information about the company.

While the students learn new ways to learn about the company’s, it is time that companies also learn about the novel ways of information dissemination and keep a check on the information in the existing channels or open up new channels for educating prospective employees.

Special Edition “B-School Compendium” is really Special

Magazines like Business Today often come up with Special Editions featuring a specific topic. A recent special edition of Business Today named “B-School Compendium” raised questions on credibility of the source of information of these special editions and also pose question on the research work behind the articles presented in the edition. So can one call these editions really “special editions”? Some of the faulty work of the magazine are presented in the blog.

Article “Programs at NMIMS” in Page 63 by Bobonkanta Yumnan lists out programs at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) viz MBA Core, MBA Actuarial Science and MBA Pharmaceuticals. However, the author misses out other prominent regular MBA courses to which admissions are offered this year viz MBA Capital Markets and MBA Banking. The research work behind the article is questionable as the details of the courses which are missing in the article are a few clicks away if one is on Internet or is at the home page of NMIMS.

Similarly, the article on Jamnalal Bajaj Institue of Management Sciences (JBIMS) cites JBIMS accepting MAT scores which is contrary to what the official website for MAT (AIMA) says. The factual error presented in the article can be easily sighted by a B-School aspirant and readers associated with B-Schools who form the target audience of the special edition.  Comment on factual error on JBIMS admission on Business Today’s webpage by Nikhil Daniel can be read hereComment By Nikhil.

“Sir, In the B School Compendium released by Business Today in this month, Jamnalal Bajaj Institue of Management Sciences is cited as one of the colleges accepting MAT scores which is contrary to what the official website for MAT (AIMA) says. Need a clarification for the same as such details could lead people to wrong conclusions. Regards, Nikhil Daniel”

It seems that target audience of these special editions need to cross check the facts and articles presented in the special edition and needs to be extra attentive while reading. Interestingly, these special editions are not special because they feature specific topics but because they require special attention of the readers.