For MBA graduates, building captivating personal brands is just as important as getting management degree from a good college. It not only helps one get noticed and defines their value in the marketplace but also provides an edge over competitors.
In this context, Career2NextOrbit team approached the marketing guru, Dr. Jitendra Das to counsel students on ways to build a meaningful personal brand and progress in their career.
About Dr. Jitendra K. Das
Dr. Das is presently serving as the Director of FORE School of Management. He has avid interest in areas of developmental marketing, social marketing, environmental marketing, rural marketing, and application of quantitative techniques for developing robust marketing programs especially in the domain of Customer Relationship Management. Dr. Das has received numerous awards and honours including ‘One of Asia’s 50 Greatest Leaders 2016’ Award in the Indo-Singapore Business Congress held in Singapore. He holds an M.Tech. in Management and Systems from IIT Delhi, and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto.
Career2NextOrbit: What is the relative importance of B-School Branding and Personal Branding in the corporate journey of a B-School graduate?
Dr. Das: This question needs to be looked upon in two time frames, as the role played by B-School Branding and Personal Branding will swap in both cases. Coincidentally, in both the time frames, the Pareto principle is valid.
Talking about the first campus job from B-School, Branding of an Institute plays a significantly higher role (80%), while Personal Branding is a follower with 20%. This is simply illustrated by the presence or lack of certain opportunities at campuses. Also, the impact of B-School Brand dominates for first three years, albeit with gradually diminishing impact.
After 3 years of corporate life, the relative importance just reverses with almost 80% importance of Personal Brand and B-School brand importance being relegated to only 20%. So, in the long run-your performance matters a lot. While the B-School pedigree can give you a jumpstart, it is not enough to last your career span. This is why creating BRAND “I” plays an important role.
Career2NextOrbit: What are the essential components for creating Brand “I”?
Dr. Das: The two essential components for creating Brand “I” are CONTENT AND COMMUNICATION. The students must work for having content and by content, I don’t mean just the GPA. It also means possessing attributes like being ethical, honest and ability to think beyond the obvious. By communication, I mean the ability to externally present the inherent qualities. This can be through one’s social media profiles, as a lot of companies are increasingly looking at the social media profiles before recruiting. At the same time, communication also means how one fares in selection interviews because that also becomes a decisive factor in selection.
Career2NextOrbit: What role does Social Media play in Communication?
Dr. Das: Social media profiles are increasingly being looked upon as valuable tools to know the innate characteristics of the individual. In a trend, which is fast catching up in India, companies look at the LinkedIn and Facebook posts of the incumbents and may not like to hire an individual, whose innate qualities don’t match the organizational DNA. So, the students need not just be present on social media but also use that as a platform to showcase their true self and highlight their persona.
Career2NextOrbit: What are the few activities you would advise B-School students to undertake in order to create a strong Brand “I”?
Dr. Das: Once again, referring to Content and Communication, my advice would be on the following lines:
- GPA is a good entry thing, which helps you get shortlisted but look at the opportunities to learn and present yourself outside this.
- Ethics play an important role in your brand building. Many of the organizations share “We may live with relatively less score on performance, but not on ethics”.
- Your learning is a background, apply this to hone the ways to handle a situation, because the key to success is how effectively you can handle a situation.
- Opportunities for Live Projects, organizing programs on campus, interaction with industry people-all of these play an important role. You must leverage all such opportunities.
- Learn-how to communicate well, both when Face to Face or through virtual mediums.
- Last but most important, SMILE. A jovial and pleasant personality is the biggest testimony to Brand “I”.
Career2NextOrbit: What role can Indian B-Schools play in helping MBA students create a strong Brand “I”?
Dr. Das: Indian B-Schools must prepare students for the long run. They must help the students to develop the ability to think beyond the obvious, ability to question, ability to adapt as also becoming a good human being- the traits which will help them in long run.
I am happy to share that FORE School of Management has taken a lot of steps in this direction. With an empowered Students’ Council, we have also launched Special Interest Group (SIG), wherein the students get the opportunity to explore their interest areas outside the curriculum. This helps them in staying relevant as also in personality development. Also, with our determined pursuit of CSR, we are committed to helping students become socially responsible.