How to choose a career

Everybody knows that skills are important for getting and keeping a job. Employers expect you to list relevant skills on your resume. They ask about your skills in interviews. And they expect you to develop skills on the job so that you will remain productive as new technologies and new work situations emerge.

But maybe you haven’t thought about how closely skills are related to job satisfaction. For example, let’s say you have enough communication skills to hold a certain job where these skills are used heavily, but you wouldn’t really enjoy using them. In that case, this job probably would be a bad choice for you. You need to identify a job that will use the skills that you do enjoy using.

There is an interesting tool freely available online to guide you for such a big decision making step: Its called a Job-Match Grid. This mentioned grid makes a match with the skills in you, with the drives in you, to a possible set of career choices. This ensures, even if you are good in a particular domain, but do not have a passion for the same, you don’t end up 10 years down the line as a dead bone, dried up emotionally, because although you have made a lot of progress in doing what you do well, it does not fulfill your emotional needs expected from the job.

To know more about the Job-Match Grid, check out the ebook “100 fastest growing careers” by Michael Farr, or mail me to get a complementary copy of the same.

Twisted fate

Rajiv could feel that slowly he was slipping away. Inside his head he was experiencing something mixed; a dizzy feeling as his body was becoming numb slowly and also a bliss, lightness, something he hasn’t experienced in days or probably months. He could feel a bright light flooding the room as he closed his eyes and also distant voices shouting his name. His hands fell sideways and the empty bottle rolled out of his hands which was filled with sleeping pills some 20 mins ago. As he slipped into unconsciousness the voices became clearer. One of them, a particularly distinct female voice was asking him to give an explanation for whatever has happened.

Rajiv Mehta was one of the main partners of Mehta and Mehta, one of the leading legal consultants of India. He was one of the most suave guys who has reached his position in a short span of 8 years. He was also one of the most famously ill-reputed mentalists in his organization and a would be entrepreneur, all thanks to his inlaws, the founding members and also partners of the firm. He was particularly effective where the dealing became rough. The smoothness of his behavior was also sharp enough like a razor to cut anybody’s fate into pieces if it didn’t suit his way in the organization. This particular morning Rajiv was looking forward to interview young and beautiful ladies who have come for the post of his assistant. In between the interviews he drifted in his thoughts, he needed to shut his wife from going public by taking her for their fourth honeymoon. Just then he came crashing back to reality. Dia Malik, the lady who was standing in front of him made him come back to all his sense, he could not think of anybody better who would suit his requirements better. At that moment he was sure that she was somebody who could engulf his clients mind enough, to make them a continuous provider of fat cheques, again and again. She maintained her poise all through the interview and Rajiv found himself smitten by her charm and also by the fact that her knowledge was surprising high about how he functioned. She completed his thoughts even before he could speak it out. After he completed the interview, just for the sake of being formal, he could not help himself from asking her out for dinner which she gladly accepted. Rajiv was high and she was holding his hand laughing, he wasn’t sure when or how it began but he had shared with her details about all his holdings, about most of which even his wife isn’t aware of. He felt like he was flowing along with the water. She took him to her flat and he gladly went along. But along the way he could feel that he was loosing control over his body. Then everything went blank.

Next afternoon Rajiv woke up with a severe headache. He was lying in his bedroom but he couldn’t figure how he reached there. His servant Ramu informed that he was found banging on the main gate by the watchman at the middle of the night. He had his tea and opened the tv and moreover was shocked to find some 200 smses in his inbox. However he was more surprised when he found his name flashing on the screen of one of the most popular business channels. Beside it was shown a recorded video where he was accepting that he is handing over all his property to  Miss Dia Malik, his eldest daughter. He accepted that his dream of creating Mehta and Mehta was fulfilled by marrying his wife, the main partner of the firm some 22 years ago for which he planned to eliminate his late wife Sunaina Malik and by giving away his daughter to a couple who has lost their child. Rajiv Mehta went blank for sometime. After about an hour he went to the washroom and took the bottle of sleeping pills which his wife took occasionally.

Rajiv pulled his eyes once and saw his wife’s face before the whole room went dark….

100 Fastest Growing Careers

All of us want a great career. For someone who is about to take the big leap into the unknown, an intriguing question that torments his mind is what prospects does the future hold for him in the particular career track? What are his growth prospects and is it just a job for him or will it provide truly a career worth pursuing?

A recent research by Michael Farr has attempted to find out the top 100 fastest growing career paths. The figure below lists them out.

Maybe this should help before you think about a career choice, or decide to run the rat race. Do let me know what you feel about this.

Bringing home the Digits with Digital Signage

Digital signage is on a meteoric rise, both in Europe and the US. Originally utilized as branding and advertising on high streets, landmark sites and sports events, digital signage is now being utilized as a successful in-store marketing tool; revolutionizing retail and providing a whole new dimension to customers’ shopping experience.

Research in 2007 indicated that around 75 % of retail purchasing decisions were made in store, highlighting how underused digital signage was in relation to a marketing opportunity. Yet the Return on Investment (ROI) figures have been increasing every year, highlighting that there is still room for improvement for retailers keen to employ digital signage to its full potential. In 2009, a Digicom survey found that 78 percent of customers felt that in-store digital signage displays made a particular product more attractive than if it was advertised via standard print signage.

Current figures demonstrate that on average, digital signage solutions deliver an 18 percent increase in sales. This figure is substantial when, on average, only two in every 100 consumers make a purchase in an ordinary retail environment. It is not surprise then that in Europe, digital signage installations are set to rise by a whopping 144 percent over the next three years. According to a new survey by POPAI, this figure doesn’t look like slowing after 2013 either.
With this swift growth in mind many of the industry’s top protagonists will meet at the Next Generation Retail Europe event (hosted by GDS International) in March 2011 to discuss the importance and growing various types of digital signage. Among the high-profile retailers in attendance will be Giorgio Armani, Marks & Spencer,  McDonald’s, Tesco, Carrefour, Diesel, Edeka Zentrale, Sainsbury’s and Pearle Europe, who will each send key executives to the meeting to discuss digital screens, interactive kiosk technology and in-store broadcast networks among other discussion points.

“[Retailers have] learned a lot of lessons, says Mike Gatti, Executive Director of the Retail Advertising Marketing Association. “We’re seeing retailers are bringing their screens down to shelf level, they’re embedding them with a lot of products, and they’ve really tailored the messages a lot more so they are able to deliver the message quickly and a lot more effectively to the customer.”

Other issues within the digital signage realm include linking the necessary hardware, software and media players together to promote a continual, uninterrupted campaign, and sustainability, where companies can utilize solid-state players, which help its carbon footprint. All of this and more, will be discussed at the  Next Generation Retail Europe event next March.

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This Article is authored by Jake Mazan, who is a guest author at Business Fundas. He is a Senior Research Analyst cum Manager at NG-Online News.

Social Schooling

Today we are much more connected as a society and more and more schools are using online networks to manage classes at schools and educational institutions.  It is the time to capitalize on the popularity of social networking rather than fighting the inevitable?

A recent research (Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project) found that 73 % of online teenagers use social-networking sites. They are regularly updating their Facebook / Twitter / MySpace accounts and use social networking to keep up with the latest news from their peers.  Currently most social networking activity takes place off work schedule officially (or behind the back) and not in the classroom but a change to harness the power of social media is welcome and institutions are hoping to incorporate social networking into lesson plans. B-Schools like Harvard and Carneggie Mellon are already doing it. Its up to the rest to follow.

Today, thus it makes sense to have specialized social networking tools within the classroom, enabling educationally relevant academic matter for all students.  This is not for students to communicate with classmates but to communicate with other students from within the school, or state or country or even internationally throughout the world.  In essence, creating a broader network where students can learn from each other.

“The Web 2.0 evolution has enabled educational institutions to connect in transparent and impactful ways, achieving a greater competitive edge. However not all institutions have taken the full advantage of this movement. While over half of students report using social networking tools for educational purposes, faculty are not exploiting these tools to connect with students, instead preferring traditional methods of communication.” Next Generation Education Committee.

e-Business solution providers are now in the process of developing social networking aademics tools for usage in the schools.  The trend towards a more collaborative and open learning / open source environment has been fueled by the explosive adoption of mobile devices among both students and faculty.  This has made colleges and universities some of the most intensive adopters of wireless technologies and hence is well positioned to adopt social networking technologies for e-learning.  The aim of providing seamless and secure access to data to students is so they are able to share knowledge, manage and build content while build their social network is the goal of the future netizens. This surely looks geared to position them to make better informed decisions while they are on campus or at school.

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This Article is authored by Jake Mazan, who is a guest author at Business Fundas. He is a Senior Research Analyst cum Manager at NG-Online News.

FDI and Economic growth

The past decade was marked by the increasing role of foreign direct investment (FDI) in total capital flows. In the late 90s, FDI accounted for more than 50% of all private capital flows to developing countries. This growing change in the composition of capital flows has been synchronous with a shift in emphasis among policymakers in developing countries to attract more FDI, especially following the 1980s debt crisis and the recent turmoil in emerging economies. The rationale for increased efforts to attract more FDI arises from the belief that FDI has several positive effects which include productivity gains, technology transfers, the introduction of new processes, managerial skills, and know-how in the domestic market, employee training, international production networks, and access to markets.

If foreign firms introduce new products or processes to the domestic market, domestic firms may benefit from accelerated diffusion of new technology. In other situations, technology diffusion might occur from labor turnover as domestic employees move from foreign to domestic firms. These benefits, in addition to the direct capital financing it generates, suggest that FDI can play an important role in modernizing the national economy and promoting growth. Based on these arguments, governments often have provided special incentives to foreign firms to set up companies in their country.

While it may seem natural to argue that FDI can convey greater knowledge spillovers, a country’s capacity to take advantage of these externalities might be limited by local conditions. In an effort to further examine the effects of FDI on economic growth, research indicates the same from the recent emphasis on the role of institutions in the growth. In particular, there is great emphasis on the role of financial institutions and many economists argue that the lack of development of local financial markets can limit the economy’s ability to take advantage of potential FDI spillovers.

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This article had been written by Rajeev Malhotra and edited by Arpan Kar. Rajeev has done his Masters in Financial Engineering from an Ivy League B-School from the United States. Besides his MBA, he also holds a CA and a CFA degree. He is currently working with DSP Meryll Lynch, USA.

The Future of Apple products

So whats the next level of innovation Steve Jobs is going to announce next? The I-Pad appears to be an extended and enlarged version of the I-Phone. Following this trend, we may very soon be introduced to the i-Board and then to the i-Mat from the Apple Innovation Labs.

The future Products of Apple

Time to ask Stevey, Whats next on your cards?

Impact of Economic recession on Chinese energy markets

The energy sources of China are extremely rich in natural gas and coal, but relatively sources are lower in petroleum. Thus, today China is over increasingly getting more an more dependent on coal, which accounts for 68.7% of total energy that is consumed in the country.On the positive side, the renewable energy segment has increased from 8.8% in 2008 to 9.9% in 2009, but coal is still an essential player and irreplaceable in the Chinese energy market. (Source: Frost and Sullivan Research)

The global economic recession impacted the Chinese energy markets in multiple ways. Demand and supply was affected as the Chinese were forced to change their coal export policies in line with the slump. By reducing the degree of coal exports, the stock and the supply side of coal developed a large surplus over the demand, which decreased the price of coal in the Chinese markets for local consumption. These pulses left by the economic recession have been felt by other industries that are also related to the coal industry, like the thermal power generation and cement industries. Due to this recession in the energy markets and the decrease of the profitability of those 2 industries, China was forced to limit production, thus reducing the use of coal.

Our verdict is in order to follow the rest of the world in energy development, China has to make more use of sustainable energy.

Economic recession’s impact on Chinese solar power market

With the support of the Chinese government, the solar power industry has rapidly grown into the one of the largest industries in the world. However, the solar power industry’s structure and technology have not kept up with the rapid growth. As a result, problems have creeped into this sector in China. Thus surprisingly, cost is high in China for the generation of solar electrical energy. Furthermore, a minuscule civil market exists and the technology is grossly outdated. Thus the Chinese solar power market may face several industrial problems due to the economic situation.

The biggest barrier to further development as faced by local Chinese solar power companies is financing. Although the solar power sector in China is among the fastest growing sector in the world, to develop this emerging sector, the country needs to dedicate a lot of financial resources. Many different solar power projects can only continue with a large dedicated monetary commitments in R&D. The economic recession badly affected the solar power companies. The securities market and banks are the major financial source for such high technology companies. After the economic crisis, the level of supervision and control for Chinese securities market was promoted for issuing IPO and the banks also increased the requirements for credit. This will continue to impact the supply side of the Chinese solar power market. If companies cannot keep their liquidity, they will face bankruptcy.

Another impact of the economic recession is the reduction of foreign dependencies in the solar market. Chinese solar power industry is mainly dependent on foreign sales. The economic slowdown has influenced the sales of Chinese manufacturers. When the USA entered the economic downturn, foreign trade with other countries decreased, specifically for China and the export of solar power products. Additionally, other factors to slow down Chinese solar power market developing speed are the inferior technology and high production price.

Economic recession’s impact on Chinese wind power market

The Chinese wind power market has not been heavily influenced by the world economic recession. The wind power market can be considered the most mature among the renewable energy sectors because of its early development, relatively mature technology, and widespread application.

Still it was seen that the economic recession did have significant impact on international market demand; but the market for Chinese wind power is mainly local and the percentage of wind power produced is relatively small when compared with total electricity production using thermal power and hydro-power. Thus the situation for the Chinese wind power market is different from the solar power market, which is mainly located at the beginning of the value chain. The margin for Chinese solar power manufacturers is low enough that the solar power manufacturers could easily go bankrupt due to a poor economic situation. Also the major source of capital investment in the Chinese wind power market is from government funding. Even if many foreign investments quickly drew out from Chinese companies, it would not impact the entities’ normal operations. Overall, the wind power market would likely keep growing, but at a lower speed than before due to the influence of economic recession.

From the whole renewable energy sector point of view, the economic recession had some impact on the development of the renewable energy, but it was a relatively small effect because using renewable energy has been recognized as the best known practice to ensure sustainability worldwide. The Chinese government pushed out more and more stimulus and subsidies policies to encourage investment in renewable energy. Also, the particular nature of the Chinese renewable energy sector have played a part in helping China avoid serious pressures from the economic slowdown. For those reasons, the issues of how to help China maintain their strength in this segment should be the core for the future development of Chinese renewable energy sector.

In order for China to remain a strong market player in the renewable energy industry the following strategies are suggested:

  • First, the manufacturers must increase innovation in an effort to move into a more profitable area on the value chain.
  • Meanwhile, the standards and regulations will play an important role in protecting and regulating the industrial participants.
  • Finally, the government stimulus and subsidies will aid in attracting more FDI, venture capital investment, etc. Chinese manufacturers will have to enhance enterprise competitiveness, especially technologies with proprietary intellectual property rights, to prevail in the intensive competition with foreign companies for Chinese renewable energy market, because enterprise competitiveness is the basis of the survival and development.

This Article is authored by Jake Mazan, who is a guest author at Business Fundas. He is a Senior Research Analyst at Frost and Sullivan. He takes a keen interest on Asian Markets and their impacts on Global Markets.

The path to success is to take massive, determined action

“The path to success is to take massive, determined action.”- Anthony Robbins

Robbins summed it up in simple language. You need to have the heart to take big decisions, sometimes even risky to taste the sweetness of success. But decisions only become fruitless unless implemented with equally thoughtful implementable plan of action. The confluence of both is necessary for success.

The Most Profitable Consumer Segment

Today, the youth within the age gap of 20 – 30, commonly called the twentysumthing has become the most profitable segment for marketers. After all, this slice of the larger young adult market is nearly 38 million strong (and growing), spends more than $150 billion annually, is predisposed towards early adoption, and the bulk of its brand loyalties are still in a state of flux.   Outperform your competition and you’ll generate immediate gains to the bottom line while building lasting brand loyalties.  Miss the boat and you risk giving away a priceless competitive advantage.

TODAY’S TWENTYSOMETHINGS

To be successful, packaging must address the unique mindset and leading behavioral drivers of today’s young adults.  The market’s psyche is driven by several key factors:

Rapidly Evolving

Young adults are evolving at warp speed in language, lifestyle, usage, consideration set, and attitudes.  What’s cool today, may be passé tomorrow: brands can become obsolete faster than a speeding train.

Market Savvy

Today’s young adults are acutely aware that they are a highly desirable target market.  In a time when advertising has infiltrated pop culture, twentysomethings are well versed with the dynamics of marketing and sales: they’ve “been there, done that”.  Don’t be fooled… the market may look naïve, but it’s composed of highly experienced and enlightened consumers.

Cynical

Having been touched by crime, AIDS, drugs, corporate downsizing, and an endless parade of political scandals, twentysomethings expect to be mugged by marketers.  (Sad, but true.)   Product claims are instantly interpreted as hype and greeted with intense skepticism.

Time Crunched

Packaging can, and should, help facilitate faster decision-making.  Young adults live in an accelerated culture where time is a precious commodity.  No matter what their age or socioeconomic status, they are struggling to balance work and leisure.   Products and services that deliver increased productivity or improved quality of life will be duly rewarded.

“Adventure Seeking”

With the advent of the Global Village, young adults are taking full advantage of what the world has to offer in music, food, culture, fashion, travel, ad infinitum.  They love to “adventure seek” and have the financial resources to do so.  Except for a few lucky brands, young adults typically brand surf from one product to the next.  As such, this audience is usually the first to adopt a new product, brand, or line extension.

Culturally Diverse

Today’s young adults are the most ethnically diverse group in American history.  Remember, folks, this is the “MTV Generation”.  A gangster rap video here, an alternative rock video there, Tommy Hilfiger in the inner city, FUBU in the suburbs have blurred the lines that once formally separated one ethnic group from another.  The implications on packaging strategy have yet to be fully understood.

Sophisticated (Sometimes)

The market is incredibly sophisticated across a variety of product categories, but by no means all.  The average young adult may be quite knowledgeable about high involvement categories such as fashion, electronics, music, computers, and entertainment.  In fact, in such categories, their role as Early Adopters and Influencers is nothing short of profound.  Conversely, peripheral categories (read: MOST product categories) are low involvement and, hence, call for split decision making.   “Um, I’ll take that… ah, THAT piece of gum please.”  Packaging can play an instrumental role in young adult purchasing because the market is NOT as sophisticated about most product categories as it would like you to believe.

Also, this segment is strongly categorized for having a very strong network value. Social networks play an important role in this segment.

If you do have a product for this segment, do ensure that you consider these factors while developing your marketing mix and designing your 4Ps or 7Ps as the case may be.

Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing

Hellen Keller sums it all.  Without risks, a business is sure to face stagnation and then ultimately death. Taking risk is crucial for tasting success in your business endeavors. However, what is important to remember that the returns you are expecting from the project(s) is proportional to the risk level.