There has always been a lot of hullabaloo around the topic of corporate growth and placements in general. The internet is filled with everything from articles giving you tips on climbing the corporate ladder to motivational videos on the best ways to become successful. But the confusion in this topic is ever so prevalent. There are various important and unique attributes and strengths that need to be built to excel in the corporate world. From having the knack of cracking any interview to building the soft skills required for people management, the corporate industry has some very high demands. We got in touch with the MD, SDA Bocconi Asia Center, Alessandro Giuliani to expand on-campus placements, corporate networking and other elements of a successful career.
Alessandro Giuliani after graduating from Bocconi University in Italy, started a career in Luxury Marketing in a few MNCs & moved to senior Marketing roles. Since 2011, he acts as the Managing Director of SDA Bocconi Asia Center previously called MISB Bocconi
Placements are extremely stressful for students, especially freshers, what is the one word of advice that you would give to students prepping for campus placements?
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Campus placements always appear more stressful to students, mainly because of the lack of confidence. With a country like India, where the talent pool is much wider, it becomes increasingly more tensing. However, I believe there are two key factors that can make or break a placement opportunity – confidence & soft skills. I have witnessed people impressing the interviewers by merely being confident of their knowledge on the forte and bagging the jobs of a lifetime. While it may sound too clichéd, confidence is often the most important accessory of an interview, especially for on-campus placements.
Another crucial factor will be soft skills. Although this has been a recent area of focus and development in the education sector, soft skills have been one of the most important traits that the corporates hunt for. Contrary to popular belief, soft skills do not simply mean having strong communication or interpersonal skills but also includes critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, decisiveness, etc. Soft skills are crucial for managerial roles and also essential to every team player.
My simple advice to students gearing up for campus placements would, therefore, be to practice confidence building exercises. Building soft-skills is also an essential, not just for the students but for anyone who is looking to succeed in the corporate world.
You say soft skills are essential to building a successful career. What is the best way to inculcate soft-skills?
Soft skills and behavioral coaching are usually taught at the masters’ level in India. Changing this trend and including these topics early on will help to identify people’s strengths and thereby accelerate their growth in the corporate world. I have seen the lack of soft skills hampering people’s development and advancement. There have been various cases where a person is extremely knowledgeable and knows his area of expertise; however, they lack the basic skills to communicate effectively. Intelligent students have often lost the perfect job opportunities because of lack of soft skills.
I would, therefore, urge students to take initiative to build their soft skills. People in India have an added advantage as they are exposed to the most diverse society and are extremely adaptable by nature. While they have a natural affinity to problem-solving (or as people call it ‘jugaad’), there is a drastic gap in formal training which acts as a setback for many people who cannot put their abilities to practical use.
What are the initiatives taken by SDA Bocconi Asia Center to enable soft-skill development amongst your students?
At SDA Bocconi Asia Center, we have fine-tuned the post-graduate programs to increase the focus on subjects like marketing, strategy, and HR, with the belief that this will help students to think critically. There have been various simple yet critical steps that we take at SDA Bocconi Asia Center to push our students to think logically. We mainly focus on two types of skills – personal and professional. While both of these skills have various elements of soft skills, this distinction helps the student to develop their emotional intelligence while continuing to build their managerial skills.
We use experimental methods of teaching that are highly interactive and also offer special soft-skills training workshops to our students. In addition to this, we use more case studies, group projects, and fun activities to inculcate the soft skills according to industry demands. We also have various International faculty as well as students that come for a semester exchange, and this facilitates stronger cross-cultural sensitivity in our students. These unique add-ons make our talent pool accustomed to working in a diverse environment. The extracurricular activities enhance the behavioral competencies in our students who host and participate in various business competitions.
How can institutions help employers in talent retention?
There are various cases of students taking up jobs based on the fancy designations, higher pay packages and fancy perks. However, most candidates do not actually understand what their actual job is about. There is a gap between the employers and the candidates that lead to increased cases of reneging. At SDA Bocconi Asia Center we have increased opportunities for corporate interactions, live projects, and internships. Therefore the candidates get a fair idea about how the industry or corporate actually works and have a clearer picture of what they are getting into. This is the simplest way to educate students and future employees on what lies behind the jazzy designations and alluring paychecks.
SDA Bocconi Asia Center is a player in an industry that is undoubtedly over-populated. Where do you see this institute in the coming years and how do you stand out from the crowd?
The education sector in India is filled with opportunity and while there is no denying that the competition is stiff, SDA Bocconi Asia Centre’s key differentiator is the consistent focus on practical experience and the rich academic expertise. We believe in building a talent pool that is holistically developed and easily adapts to changes. The global exposure offered by SDA Bocconi Asia Center and our continuous focus on building future industrialists who have a knack of problem-solving on a wide spectrum and a keen eye for details (in markets or business environments). To sum it up, we believe that our clear vision and philosophy backed with reliable expertise will help SDA Bocconi Asia Center to stand out as a leader.
The SDA Bocconi Asia Center is the hub for SDA Bocconi in India and Asia at large. The school of management based in Milan, Italy, inaugurated its Indian presence in 2012 through MISB Bocconi catering mostly to the local Indian audience. As MISB completes six years, SDA Bocconi establishes it as SDA Bocconi ’s pan-Asian hub, with a broader scope across India, the Middle East, China and the rest of Asia.
This article is generated and originally published by ET Spotlight team. Read the original article here.
SDA Bocconi Asia Center is the prime sponsor of CAT preparation on QS LEAP. You can read more about their programs here.