Lahore School of Economics

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How to manage careers

Mr. Khurram Javaid, CCO Fauji Foods visited the Lahore School of Economics on 18th May 2024 to advise the MBA cohort 2023-24 on how to manage their careers. The session was interactive and Mr. Khurram responded to a variety of questions.

He began with interview management. The interviewing panel attached weight to how much the interviewee knew about the vision, purpose, values and behavior of the company. Interviewees must do research on the organization. They must understand that the interviewers will not ask them rocket-science questions. In fact, the first interview is not technical in nature but is done to ascertain their attitudes.

Interviewees should be well-dressed. They should speak in a structured way, rather than going on and on. It is important that in their answers they reflect ‘attention to detail.’ It is also important that the interviewee connects with the interviewer: some applicants know about the books the interviewer reads (through LinkedIn or through the latter’s friends).

During an interview, do not leave your ‘forte’ in your train of discussions: be yourself.

Regarding the assessment center, often you will be given a case. This case study can be somewhat similar to the cases that you do in the MBA program, but are often simpler but more deep-rooted versions of your cases. What is however being monitored is how you collaborate with your peers, whether you step on their toes, and if you can bring them together.

Regarding job selection, if one has many options, one has to look at one’s own aptitude and one’s fit with the organization. If the choices are few, or if you get an opportunity to work in an organization which is not very close to your heart, it is better to get a job rather than wait for a job that matches your mindset. Also, remember we live in a judgmental society.

You can choose corporate, which I would call ‘the ladder approach’. You may fall off the ladder but only for a few steps and then you will stop. Or you can take the ‘monkey bars’ approach’ by joining a start-up. Many of you may not want to follow structures and hierarchies, and for them start-ups are better suited. If you are married and both are working, then sometimes one partners can take one approach and the other can take the other approach.

Should you go for sales or marketing? My view is that if you want to become a great CEO or a CMO or a supply chain expert or a great marketer, then you should start with sales. However, I have seen pure marketers becoming marketing directors, and pure sales managers becoming sales directors, but few across both categories remain in contention for the CEO’s job. It is important to do both.

Once you are in a job it is important to manage your boss. As a wise man said, listen to those who want to share and share with those who want to listen. It is important to remain disciplined. A good sense of humor is important but you should not cross the line. Also, enjoy but do not become part of the gossiping club. Try to share credit but take responsibility if there is a mistake.

‘Reputation is built by peers.’ Try to help peers.

Job hopping is not good. Managers who interview you will forgive you if you have left a company within six months, and even two such hoppings will be forgiven but in the third job you are expected to spend 2-3 years. Remember that the company is investing in you. In older times people switched for progression, then money and then culture. Now it can be purposefulness of the company, then culture and then money, according to some research.

If you must leave an organization, you do not need to tell the entire world that you had issues with the management. Leave with grace. Learn from Nelson Mandela: he was maltreated for 27 years but let go of vengeance.

We at the Lahore School are very grateful that Mr. Khurram Javaid is mentoring our MBA program.


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 5/19/2024 10:51:00 AM,

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