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From Bullock-Cart to BMW

How your life-journey can shape you as a Manager!

During an interview recently, I was asked, "Being highly qualified with an Engineering and Business Degree, would you mind if we give you some assignment where you will need to interact with a lower level employee who is far less qualified than you?". My reply to that question was, " I am proud of my Education but I do not have any arrogance about it". 

I was born and brought up in a small town, some 250 km from Mumbai in India before moving to Mumbai to continue with my higher education. Since, I was a kid, I was exposed to witness the simplicity of this world. Yes, I am happy in my life I even got an opportunity to ride in a bullock cart. Believe me, its a life time experience. I have seen how a farmer lives his life, his enthusiasm about life, I have played cricket with a farmer's kids and I can understand how they think and how their dreams are?, What are their needs, wants, requirements?
 
After I completed my High School, I moved on to Mumbai where I was exposed to being 'Street-smart'. It is said, if you can survive the people, local trains and traffic in Mumbai, you can easily survive in any part of the world. Here I learnt and understood how smartness and sometimes wickedness (still being ethical) can help you get things done even when you have realised, "Nothing can be done in this case!". In Mumbai slang, we call this concept as 'Jhol'. Even, if you are super straight, innocent and honest person and do not intend to change your behaviour, this city will change you and make you smart, I can assure you that! I have seen people changing. So, my life in this city taught me how smart people think? How they buy? How they bargain/ Negotiate? How impossible can become possible with 'jhol'?
 
Then, I moved on to Singapore to pursue my Masters. This place took my mindset to a different level. I strongly suggest people who have been born and brought up in developing countries to visit Singapore.
 
Here, I saw and experienced a city where everything is just perfect, the city infrastructure, traffic regulations, pedestrian paths and even the cab services. Everyone from a 3 Year old kid to a 75 Year old Aunty is safe and happy in this country. A Country where a girl can go out even at 3 am in the morning and is assured of her safety. A place where people are happy to help you when you are lost.
 
As a Student Volunteer, I used to participate in different activities which helped me to understand the practical aspects of my education. I remember, one activity when I assisted the Marketing Team of the University at a Career Fair for 'O' level Students in Singapore. On that day, their 'O' level results were declared. Some were happy with their results and some were really very sad. This taught me how marketing can be easily influenced by people and their emotions at 'a' particular time.
 
Also, I took up the role of Vice President (Public Relations) for my University Chapter of Toastmasters International, which brought in the best out of me. I interacted with Corporate Trainers, decision makers, Image Consultants and understood how they think and how I should modulate my thinking and the style of interaction according to the person in front of me in a way that I am polite and still down to earth. It was during one of the Toastmasters Chapter meetings, when a friend offered me a ride in his BMW Convertible, to the place where I stayed. Believe me, it was the very first time, I ever sat in a High End Car like BMW. As a person being born and brought up in a middle class Indian family, it means a lot!
 
The reason why I discussed my Life story over here is that because of the variance of surroundings in my life, I can easily relate practical things with my education. Let us consider Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations, Communications and even Strategic decision making. Every business term present in this world somehow is related to people, their way of thinking and communicating. 
 
According to me, a good Manager is a person who can understand people and communicate properly rather than a person who boasts about his Degree from a premier Institute and plethora of Industrial Experience. 
 
I hope I have justified the title for this article.

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