Tuesday, May 29, 2012

An open letter to India's graduating classes

# POST 0054

Dear Graduates and Post-Graduates,

This is your new employer. We are an Indian company, a bank, a consulting firm, a multinational corporation, a public sector utility and everything in between. We are the givers of your paycheck, of the brand name you covet, of the references you will rely on for years to come and of the training that will shape your professional path.

Millions of you have recently graduated or will graduate over the next few weeks. Many of you are probably feeling quite proud - you've landed your first job, discussions around salaries and job titles are over, and you're ready to contribute.

Life is good - except that it's not. Not for us, your employers, at least. Most of your contributions will be substandard and lack ambition, frustrating and of limited productivity. We are gearing ourselves up for broken promises and unmet expectations. Sorry to be the messenger of bad news.

Today, we regret to inform you that you are spoiled. You are spoiled by the "India growth story"; by an illusion that the Indian education system is capable of producing the talent that we, your companies, most crave; by the imbalance of demand and supply for real talent; by the deceleration of economic growth in the mature West; and by the law of large numbers in India, which creates pockets of highly skilled people who are justly feted but ultimately make up less than 10 percent of all of you.

So why this letter, and why should you read on? Well, because based on collective experience of hiring and developing young people like you over the years, some truths have become apparent. This is a guide for you and the 15- to 20-year-olds following in your footsteps - the next productive generation of our country. Read on to understand what your employers really want and how your ability to match these wants can enrich you professionally.

There are five key attributes employers typically seek and, in fact, will value more and more in the future. Unfortunately, these are often lacking in you and your colleagues.

1.You speak and write English fluently: We know this is rarely the case. Even graduates from better-known institutions can be hard to understand.

Exhibit No. 1: Below is an actual excerpt from a resume we received from a "highly qualified and educated" person. This is the applicant's "objective statement:"

"To be a part of an organization wherein I could cherish my erudite dexterity to learn the nitigrities of consulting"

Huh? Anyone know what that means? We certainly don't.

And in spoken English, the outcomes are no better. Whether it is a strong mother tongue influence, or a belief (mistakenly) that the faster one speaks the more mastery one has, there is much room for improvement. Well over half of the pre-screened résumés lack the English ability to effectively communicate in business.

So the onus, dear reader, is on you - to develop comprehensive English skills, both written and oral.

2. You are good at problem solving, thinking outside the box, seeking new ways of doing things: Hard to find. Too often, there is a tendency to simply wait for detailed instructions and then execute the tasks - not come up with creative suggestions or alternatives.

Exhibit No. 2: I was speaking with a colleague of mine who is a chartered accountant from Britain and a senior professional. I asked him why the pass percentage in the Indian chartered accountant exam was so low and why it was perceived as such a difficult exam.

Interestingly (and he hires dozens of Indian chartered accountants each year), his take is as follows: the Indian exam is no harder than the British exam. Both focus on the application of concepts, but since the Indian education system is so rote-memorization oriented, Indian students have a much more difficult time passing it than their British counterparts.

Problem-solving abilities, which are rarely taught in our schooling system, are understandably weak among India's graduates, even though India is the home of the famous "jugadu," the inveterate problem solver who uses what's on hand to find a solution. Let's translate this intrinsic ability to the workforce.

3. You ask questions, engage deeply and question hierarchy: How we wish!

Exhibit No. 3: Consistently, managers say that newly graduated hires are too passive, that they are order-takers and that they are too hesitant to ask questions. "Why can't they pick up the phone and call when they do not understand something?" is a commonly asked question.
You are also unduly impressed by titles and perceived hierarchy. While there is a strong cultural bias of deference and subservience to titles in India, it is as much your responsibility as it is ours to challenge this view.

4. You take responsibility for your career and for your learning and invest in new skills: Many of you feel that once you have got the requisite degree, you can go into cruise control. The desire to learn new tools and techniques and new sector knowledge disappears. And we are talking about you 25- to 30-year-olds - typically the age when inquisitiveness and hunger for knowledge in the workplace is at its peak.

Exhibit No. 4: Recently, our new hires were clamoring for training. Much effort went into creating a learning path, outlining specific courses (online, self-study) for each team. With much fanfare, an e-mail was sent to the entire team outlining the courses.

How many took the trainings? Less than 15 percent. How many actually read the e-mail? Less than 20 percent.

The desire to be spoon-fed, to be directed down a straight and narrow path with each career step neatly laid out, is leading you toward extinction, just like the dinosaurs. Your career starts and ends with you. Our role, as your employer, is to ensure you have the tools, resources and opportunities you need to be successful. The rest is up to you.

5. You are professional and ethical: Everyone loves to be considered a professional. But when you exhibit behavior like job hopping every year, demanding double-digit pay increases for no increase in ability, accepting job offers and not appearing on the first day, taking one company's offer letter to shop around to another company for more money - well, don't expect to be treated like a professional.

Similarly, stretching yourself to work longer hours when needed, feeling vested in the success of your employer, being ethical about expense claims and leaves and vacation time are all part of being a consummate professional. Such behavior is not ingrained in new graduates, we have found, and has to be developed.

So what can we conclude, young graduates?

My message is a call to action: Be aware of these five attributes, don't expect the gravy train to run forever, and don't assume your education will take care of you. Rather, invest in yourself - in language skills, in thirst for knowledge, in true professionalism and, finally, in thinking creatively and non-hierarchically. This will hold you in good stead in our knowledge economy and help lay a strong foundation for the next productive generation that follows you.

Together, I hope we, your employer, and you, the employee, can forge an enduring partnership.


  1. Dear Ashwini Damani,

    I am based in Bangalore 17+ years finance & management professional. Can i have your email id and will reach out to you to discuss few of your writing. I also offer Programs for students of CA/CWA.. I had forwarded this blog to my students and have got responses which i thought we should discuss and take it further to address this issue.

    I can be reached at satmai45@gmail.com


  2. Hi Damani,

    probably you are right in skills but I like to take it to the next level where today young generations are much concentrating on bookish knowledge and this giving them an closed mind to be innovative for new ideas!!!

  3. Hi, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine
    but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, fantastic blog!
    Also visit my website ; christian louboutin outlet

  4. I'm pretty pleased to uncover this web site. I need to to thank you for your time due to this wonderful read!! I definitely liked every little bit of it and i also have you saved as a favorite to check out new things in your site.
    Take a look at my webpage ... shoe designer christian louboutin

  5. WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for working
    from home ideas
    Feel free to visit my web site - Work from home

  6. I do not know whether it's just me or if perhaps everybody else experiencing issues with your site. It seems like some of the text on your posts are running off the screen. Can someone else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them as well? This might be a issue with my internet browser because I've had this
    happen before. Thanks
    Look at my weblog ... custom jerseys

  7. I wanted to thank you for this very good read!
    ! I definitely loved every bit of it. I have got you book marked
    to look at new stuff you post…
    My web site > cheap throwback jerseys

  8. I was able to find good information from your blog posts.
    Look into my blog post - diablo 3 gold farming

  9. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme.
    Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it
    for you? Plz respond as I'm looking to design my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. thank you
    My web site ... http://immobilienalanya.net/

  10. Undeniably believe that which you said. Your favorite
    reason seemed to be on the web the easiest thing to bear in mind of.
    I say to you, I definitely get irked whilst other
    people think about worries that they plainly don't know about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the top and also outlined out the entire thing with no need side effect , other people can take a signal. Will likely be again to get more. Thanks
    Also visit my weblog Cheap car insurance

  11. I relish, cause I found exactly what I used to be looking for.
    You've ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye
    Feel free to visit my homepage :: Http://Www.Wiki.Mvpcaribe.Com/

  12. Thanks for the auspicious writeup. It actually was once
    a enjoyment account it. Look complex to far delivered agreeable from you!
    However, how could we keep up a correspondence?
    Here is my homepage - online shopping websites


  13. my ωebѕite :: payday loans
    Here is my web page ... payday loan,

  14. Touche. Great arguments. Keep up the great spirit.

    Feel free to surf to my web page; herbal supplement myth
    Also see my website - coq10 benefits

  15. hello!,I like your writing very so much! proportion we communicate
    extra about your post on AOL? I require a specialist
    in this area to resolve my problem. Maybe that is you!
    Having a look ahead to see you.

    Here is my web site: insurance coverage

  16. Normally I don't read post on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to check out and do so! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thanks, quite great article.

    Look at my homepage; Ronnie

  17. You need to take part in a contest for one of the highest quality blogs
    online. I will recommend this blog!

    Here is my homepage ... get more followers on twitter

  18. The International Whistlers Convention is held on the campus of Louisburg College.
    "The rule for collecting antiques and collectibles is never throw anything away," said
    Miracle, "but that doesn't mean that I'm going to sell junk items that have no value or appeal to anyone. With a little sand, rocks, cement and the right containers, you can make your own.

    Here is my site ... small sheds for sale

  19. On the other hand this is basically a trick of the providers of
    a good to make their items used to the customers.
    Hollister carries young children clothing in the process. ' Avoid advertising and marketing hucksters at all times, whether they be cute cartoon figures, TV spokespersons or friendly fast-talking peddlers in the marketplace.

    My web-site hollister promo codes for free shipping 2013
    my website > hollister promo codes january 2013

  20. I'm amazed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that's both equally educative
    and amusing, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail
    on the head. The issue is something not enough men and women
    are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy that I found this in my search for something relating to this.

    Here is my site: Read A lot More

  21. Neat blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download
    it from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog stand
    out. Please let me know where you got your design.

    Review my web-site dreambox cccam cfg wohin

  22. I have read so many articles regarding the blogger lovers except this article is actually a good
    article, keep it up.

    My web site :: レイバンサングラス

  23. I need to to thank you for this excellent read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it.
    I have you bookmarked to check out new things you post…

    Also visit my site www.christianlouboutinoutletshopx.com

  24. Very nice article. I absolutely love this site.
    Continue the good work!

    my homepage オークリーメガネ

  25. I absolutely love your blog and find almost all of your post's to be exactly I'm
    looking for. Does one offer guest writers to write content to
    suit your needs? I wouldn't mind producing a post or elaborating on a number of the subjects you write about here. Again, awesome web site!

    Also visit my homepage: レイバンサングラス

  26. 他の攻撃的な行動を盗み起こす意欲

    My webpage :: メンズ コート バーバリー

  27. 茶色の多くの異なった色合いも淡褐色ベージュライトブラウンさびミディアムブラウンダークブラウンそして遠くから黒のように見える茶色の暗い色合いです

    Feel free to visit my weblog - ネクタイ バーバリー

  28. It is appropriate time to make a few plans for the long run and it is time to be happy.
    I have learn this submit and if I could I want to suggest you some attention-grabbing issues or suggestions.
    Maybe you can write next articles relating to this article.
    I wish to learn even more issues about it!

    my web page: 2013airjordanfreeshipping.com

  29. He led her team to a record of 23-3 in his really two seasons.
    It does not all depends across personal opinion. Ralph Lauren, Burberry and Liz Claiborne,
    have added the game of golf lines. So you gain a custom nike Dunk SB and moreover a new
    value for it. http://www.dustfreepc.com/index.

    Also visit my website :: air max

  30. ブーツも 関数 は 追加 広範な つま先ボックス を提供する
    多く の ルーム の これまで 寸法 足。 終了 あなた ワードローブ、UGG のブーツのペアです 不可欠。 目立つだろう、残り
    確かに と これら は 素晴らしい 物理的な外観。 キャロラインは、革ベース その起動
    に達する ふくらはぎ。

    Have a look at my web-site: butojp.com

  31. Hurrah! Finally I got a weblog from where I be capable of truly take useful data regarding
    my study and knowledge.

    Look at my web page :: ralph lauren outlet

  32. Hi there, just wanted to mention, I loved this blog post.
    It was funny. Keep on posting!

    my weblog: wikintervention.com

  33. This is a good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Short but very accurate info… Many thanks for sharing this one.

    A must read post!

    Here is my weblog :: Full Report

  34. Exceptional post but I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this subject?
    I'd be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Cheers!

    My web page ... fantastic buy golden retriever content

  35. That is really attention-grabbing, You are a very skilled blogger.

    I have joined your rss feed and sit up for looking for more of
    your fantastic post. Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks

    Also visit my website: excellent golden retrievers info stuff

  36. I'm curious to find out what blog platform you have been utilizing? I'm having some minor
    security problems with my latest blog and I would like to find something more safeguarded.
    Do you have any suggestions?

    Here is my weblog; labrador retriever golden

  37. What's up, every time i used to check blog posts here early in the break of day, for the reason that i like to find out more and more.

    My page; click through the next document

  38. What's up mates, its great post about tutoringand fully explained, keep it up all the time.

    Here is my homepage - トリーバーチ 財布

  39. Wonderful blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News.
    Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
    I've been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Thanks

    Here is my web blog - プラダ

  40. I constantly emailed this website post page to all
    my friends, as if like to read it then my links will too.

    my web blog :: airjordanshoesoutletssale.com

  41. Wonderful goods from you, man. I've understand your stuff previous to and you're just too wonderful.
    I actually like what you've acquired here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it wise. I can't wait to read far
    more from you. This is really a tremendous website.

    my web site :: miumiu

  42. Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite
    reason appeared to be on the web the easiest thing to be aware of.

    I say to you, I definitely get irked while people think about worries that they plainly don't know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

    Review my blog post ... thepressreleases.info

  43. I'm really enjoying the design and layout of your site. It's a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit more often.
    Did you hire out a designer to create your theme? Excellent

    Take a look at my website; COACH 財布

  44. In fact no mattег іf someone ԁoesn't know after that its up to other users that they will help, so here it occurs.

    Also visit my weblog: diamondlinks review

  45. Thanks on your marvelous posting! I quite enjoyed reading it, you will be a great author.
    I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and will come back sometime
    soon. I want to encourage you to definitely continue your
    great posts, have a nice morning!

    my page - ルブタン

  46. It's actually a cool and useful piece of information. I'm happy that you simply shared this useful info with
    us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

    my site: クリスチャンルブタン

  47. Great blog here! Also your site loads up very fast!
    What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host?
    I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

    Stop by my web page: ruh2.com

  48. Snapback Hats have been your style phenomenon at
    any time because the 1980s. A uncomplicated hat a minor bit
    that can support you keep warm! They create strollers that
    are created for busy households and are created to previous.
    But why ought to you choose a low-charge 1?

  49. Of class, the sport group is self-explanatory. So you've got resolved that it really is time to get a wonderful pair of Oakley sun shades, but you might be doubtful of just in which to get them.

    My blog - Fake Oakley Sunglasses

  50. Pls for your kindness deliver me the video idea of making pcb so effortless.

    Feel free to visit my web page; xerox phaser 8560 maintenance kit **