The first thing you should look for -while entering the corporate world

The current lockdown has provided us some time to reflect upon our learnings from our interactions with different communities. Recently, I got the opportunity to interact with a group of MBA students. It was wonderful experience for me to spend time with these young students who are knocking the door of the corporate world and soon will be part of this very corporate world. It reminded me of the final year of my MBA days – The anxiety, restlessness and certain amount of fear due to the 2008 global recession.

There were many questions put forward to me, but one that stuck my mind and is worth sharing is when a student asked me ‘What I should look for in the beginning of my career – salary, Big brands, Start-ups or overseas working opportunities. This very question had always crossed my mind during my college days, but I didn’t know the answer and probably now, after spending almost 10 years in corporate world, I think I have the answer to this question.

So, what could be my answer – salary, brands, start-ups or overseas working opportunities? I replied, ‘None of these’. My understanding is one should always look for a great mentor at all stages of the career, but it is paramount to have a great mentor at the beginning of the career. A great mentor will drive you in the right direction of the corporate world which is an unknown entity for most of the freshers, he will also guide you to the right place, profile, career opportunities post assessing your strengths & weaknesses. The best thing can happen to one that he gets boss who is greater mentor and a true leader. I consider myself very lucky to have always had the opportunity to work with leaders who are great mentors at all stages of my corporate life, especially at the stage I am right now. A mentor is must as it takes time for one to navigate his ship in the corporate world. Proper guidance and advice make things easier for a newcomer.

What a true mentor can do for you- changes the way you see things, he/she teaches you to behave positively in all situations. I shared one incident from my HDFC Bank days with the students. I was Personal Banker and forgot to print a very important report for few days. Just to tell you all HDFC Bank has one of the strictest process-oriented company and my branch manager caught me. Had it been any other boss, I would have been scolded for my fault and asked not to repeat the mistake. This would have left bitterness in my mind against the manager, and the organization probably even after I move on. But my manager Preeti Sharma Ma’am had different way of mentoring freshers like me. She called me in her cabin and methodically explained what the report is all about and why it was so important for the branch. That for me was true leadership and approach by a good mentor. Till the rest of my time there, as long as, I handled that profile, I never missed to print and review that report.

In corporate world there are lot of things to grab on – from high package to overseas opportunities; but I feel most important is to get a boss who can be great mentor. So, if you get one, hang on with him. You will learn everyday!

Corporate life is more than it meets the eye