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Ask the Doctor with Sandeep Goyal

10-October-2017
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Ask the Doctor with Sandeep Goyal

Dear Sir,

I am not making much headway in the agency that I work for. I have been here for five years without any new learning or exposure. Based out of Pune, ours is a small creative set-up with a total of 18 people, small clients and numerous low-value ad-hoc projects. I find everything constraining. Minds are small and ambitions are also small. I feel claustrophobic.
My job description itself is jack-of-all-trades. I don’t do creative but I handle clients and media coordination, print-jobs, events, PR and sometimes admin too. I also don’t have any formal qualifications beyond my graduate degree in Arts.

Help me get out of this.

-Jaideep Bhandarkar

A. Dear Jaideep,

I think your first problem is location. Pune is not really the hub of advertising. Except for a few large clients like Bajaj, Mercedes, Suzlon, Force Motors and some others, there is a dearth of brands in Pune. Most of the work local agencies do is either for real estate or retail. Therefore, the market and the talent pool are small. Even the big clients prefer to get their work done from Mumbai.

If you are mobile, my first advice to you is to move out of Pune. It may not be easy to do so, both personally and professionally. But for the sake of your career and your future, this is necessary. Mumbai will offer you more opportunities at larger agencies which have better clients and offer a larger canvas of work, learning and exposure.

Finding a job in Mumbai can be both easy and tough. There are many head-hunters in Mumbai. You need to reach out to them rather than blindly apply through job sites, as ad agencies normally do not list on the likes of Naukri.com or Monster. The other way to connect with the right agency in Mumbai is through networking. Do you have friends/contacts who could get you to access a good agency in Mumbai?

Being a jack-of-all-trades is both good and bad. So, it depends on how you handle it in your CV. I would suggest, make a virtue of all-around exposure and experience. Write a good CV. Pick assignments from your work that involved some thinking of sorts, and also highlight jobs that involved intense operational involvement. Stress your ability to put in hard work. Stress that you are a good team player. Stress on your strengths (an eye for detail, for example?)

Moving to Mumbai will be not easy. But if you want to change gears professionally, it may be your best option.

Dear Sir,

I want to go abroad to do an MBA but can’t really make up my mind about where to start. I have been working for eight years now. I am reasonably senior in my company. I am married and we had our first child earlier this year. I really don’t want to give up my job and my salary. Will doing an MBA in India itself be as good? Are executive MBAs of any value? Will my company give me study leave and take me back after the MBA? I am afraid to ask as they may think I am quitting and start looking for a replacement. I am really very confused.

-Bhaskar Dev

A. Dear Bhaskar,

I have read your question more than once to understand the issue that you want to be addressed. My understanding is that you have been working for eight years and now feel stagnant. For that, you think you need a better qualification to propel your career to a higher level. But you are not sure whether that better qualification (an MBA) should be done in India (full time? executive/part-time?) and how your employers will react to a request for study leave. Broadly, this is my understanding of your situation and question.

First and foremost, there is nothing wrong in seeking better academic qualifications and no good organization will frown on any employee wanting to do that.

But before you embark on a journey to do an MBA, ask yourself how and where the new degree will help. Lots of youngsters like you end up doing an MBA for all the wrong reasons. Why I say that is because very few management schools offer placement opportunities that are right for students with experience, especially 8-10 years. Most job placements are an entry to junior levels.

Also, just doing an MBA is not enough. For an MBA, your school and its prestige matter. Hence, I will answer two parts of your question together by saying that if you want a career boost of the serious kind, prepare for the GMAT or the CAT and do a good quality MBA either from a good B-school overseas or a top school in India. Just doing an MBA for the sake of it may not help. If you wish to pursue an executive MBA, don’t aim for anything less than ISB. Gone are the days when just any MBA would open up opportunities for success. Today the worst time and money wasted is on a poor-quality MBA from an unknown business school. Completely avoid that option.


Dear Sir,

I received a job offer from a television company. Both the title and the money are better but my current employer is well-reputed and is a larger company. I have been in this job for three years now. I was not really looking for a new assignment but a former colleague got his boss to get in touch with me. I am tempted by the change and the money but do not want to lose the prestige of working for my current company. My fiancée says I should stay where I am but all my colleagues (with whom I have discussed this offer) suggest otherwise. I have to decide as soon as possible.

-Mukul

A. Dear Mukul,

I like your fiancée. She is wise.

In work life, you will receive many offers from potential employers if you are good at your work. Such offers should naturally make you happy but not distract you from your work. To me, you seem to be in a good job, in a good company with no real reason to leave because you’re not facing either dissatisfaction with your current job or any other active irritant.

Along comes this offer, courtesy an ex-colleague and you are consumed by dissonance.

My advice is to stay put. External attractions will come and go. A good, steady, satisfying job in a prestigious organization is something many others would die for. Good years spent at an organization of repute add great value to a CV besides being a good learning experience. If you are really good at what you do, such offers will keep coming at regular intervals. When I was younger, I would use such job offers to evaluate how well I was doing professionally. It was almost like what an employer would pay for me at an auction. The higher the offer, the better I would feel. Once in a while, because I had a good equation with my boss, I would show the offer to him too. I am sure it helped in my next appraisal!

I am principally against ‘trading-down’ to work at lesser-known organizations especially at the beginning of your career. It never helps.

As for your colleagues advising you to leave, think about it, they will be the biggest beneficiaries from your exit. If you are a good performer, your exit means one lesser guy internally to compete with.


Address your questions for ASK THE DOCTOR to interact@exchange4media.com or to sandeep@goyalmail.com

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