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Ask The Doctor With Sandeep Goyal

20-November-2017
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Ask The Doctor With Sandeep Goyal

Dear Sir,

My current company is in the process of merging with my previous one. I left my earlier job as I had a boss who was impossible to work with. The merger is making me nervous, as my old boss could once again become my current boss. Should I start looking for a new job?

Rohit U.


Dear Rohit,

If I were you, I would cross the bridge only when I got to it.

Life is full of glorious uncertainties. Till it actually happens, the merger may not take place, who knows? (For example, the Aircel-Reliance merger or even that between HDFC Life and Max Life did not come through.) So I suggest wait for the merger to actually go through, as these days there is many a slip between the cup and the lip.

Now to your ex-boss. How can you be so sure that he will return in the same role in the company's new avatar? I suggest you adopt a wait and watch approach. In large companies, the likelihood of your ex-boss becoming your boss again is frankly remote.

In the eventuality that this ex-boss does become your reporting superior, who knows if he may have sobered and become easier to work with. Show some patience and restraint. Give him another chance.

If you do get to report again to the ex-boss because of the merger and he shows no signs of having mended, leaving the company is surely an option.

But let sleeping dogs lie for now. Take precipitate actions only when final outcomes are fully known.

Dear Sir,

I want to take the GMAT and go abroad to do my MBA, but my wife and mother do not agree. I am beginning to stagnate in my job and feel that an MBA abroad will give me better chances to grow. My wife does not want me to go abroad, as she will not be able to accompany me because of the costs involved. My mother does not want me to quit my job, as I am the only earning member of the family and the MBA will also dilute my savings.

V. Sonalkar.


Dear Sonalkar,

At the outset, I sympathise with your situation. Your wife and mother too are not entirely wrong in their own ways. It is one of those difficult crossroads in life that has no clear choices.

Let us first look at your wife's point of view. You cannot have been married long. For a young wife, a two-year separation is naturally heartbreaking. You should look at the option of your wife accompanying you to the B-school abroad and perhaps joining a course too, and if not, possibly take up a job there. For a young couple, staying together would be a good option, if you can somehow make that happen. If you try hard enough, options will emerge.

Your mom's perspectives and fears too need to be addressed. Maybe you need to sit with her and actually share your finances and bank position with her to put her at ease. She may have some perceptions about monies that may not be fully accurate. A heart-to-heart chat with a parent sometimes can be quite rewarding in assuaging fears and misgivings.

Now, to your MBA plans. If you actually are making all the sacrifices at the professional and personal levels, make sure you have done your homework properly. Just taking the GMAT is not enough. You need to score at least a 700 plus. A 750 would be really good. Then, apply to the right business schools. Going to Canada, Australia, or New Zealand may not be desirable as job prospects back in India are not very bright. An MBA from these geographies is not too well regarded.

You must try for an Ivy League school or go to Insead. A good MBA degree earned there would certainly carry value in India, and abroad too, if you decide to work overseas.

Just writing a GMAT without a clear understanding of tangible must-do’s is not recommended. I have seen other youngsters waste time, money, and family goodwill in pursuing sub-optimal options. Early to mid-career breaks, especially if you are married, need focused thought, evaluation, and commitment.

On the contrary, a good working Executive MBA at ISB or even the recently introduced one-year MBA at IIMA may be a good option to consider. Expense is lower, a break in career can be avoided, placements are good, and family life will also not be impacted. Do consider these options.

I am not trying to dissuade you from the GMAT plan, but just want you to weigh the pros and cons better.

Dear Mr. Goyal,

I am working with a good multinational company with a good salary in Mumbai. My father wants me to quit and take over the traditional family business in Meerut. I am the only son and the family business has been in existence for four generations and makes a lot of money. I do not want to leave Mumbai and the job because I get to travel the world and learn a lot. At the same time, my father now keeps unwell and the business back home needs my talent and time. What should I do?

Punit K.


Dear Punit,
It's a tough one, for sure.

Leaving Mumbai is not easy. Mumbai versus Meerut? Mumbai would certainly score better on many counts. Mumbai grows on you as a city. There is so much more to do and so much more to imbibe.

Your job at the multinational too seems like a good one and difficult to quit.

At the same time a rich family business would be difficult to by-pass, both financially and emotionally.

I would suggest a sabbatical from your current job. I do not know if you will get a month off or whether you can negotiate a three-month break. Ideally, the longest you can take. Go work with your father. Give it a comprehensive chance. Do not hold back. Give it an honest try. Meerut may not be that bad.

After giving yourself some real exposure to the family business as an option, revisit what you really want. If the Mumbai and multinational option is far too compelling, at least you can honestly tell your father you gave it all a fair chance.

I have a feeling the family business may not be a bad option. You can always re-contour it and relocate it over time. The hard work of four generations and the lure of entrepreneurship force me to advise you that unless this option really falls way way short, give it an honest chance. I am a sucker for tradition and a votary for family businesses to thrive and prosper. Think about it.

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