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Not from XLRI or TISS, What does that mean for a career in HR?

Source | LinkedIn : By Yashwant Mahadik

One of my colleagues, who had newly joined my team asked me a question: How do you rise whist making a career in HR (in India) especially if you are not from XLRI or TISS?

XLRI and TISS are two highly reputed, premier (HR specialisation) MBA schools in India.

I began my reply by quoting Mahatma Gandhi: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Then I realized that my first reaction was rather harsh and I was trying to fit a wise quote unwisely to the discussion. Thereafter we had a great discussion in which I put forth my perspective based on my own experience.

I found the question very intriguing and despite not being from any of those institutes it never passed my mind in all these 27 years of my career. Thought of blogging about it and present my thoughts and perspective for a more richer discussion:

XLRI and TISS are institutions of great repute and are big brands when it comes to producing and supplying talent for the HR / Social Sciences stream (in case of XLRI also in other streams). I know hundreds if not thousands of colleagues and friends from these institutions. I have recruited many talented people from there and have/had the privilege of working with them. 4 out of 5 (my early-in-career) bosses were from there, I have engaged with and consulted many professors from these institutes over the years, I have visited their campuses on countless occasions. Like most, I only have respect for these two institutions. Having said that, let me share some of my thoughts arising out of this question.

I asked myself a leading question to try and have a wise discussion, I asked, “is it any different for a graduate from these institutions to make a career in HR as compared to talented people from other institutes”? Short answer is No, because….

All educational institutions play a vital role in developing its pupil and that’s undebatable, but just attending a institution of repute doesn’t guarantee anyone of being well equipped or best suited for future success. Not everyone from Harvard succeeds and many from lesser known institutes become the benchmark of success. Therefore, I have observed and have come to believe that it depends a lot on the person and less on the institute.

Graduating from an Ivy League does give you certain advantages. But to me those advantages are few and limited. For example your chances of landing a good internship and then a terrific job with a top employer are much higher as compared to others. The power networks you could possibly build and have access to (mostly alumni) is one of the major advantages. Of course last but not the least, access to high quality education should have made you learn better and wiser – but that’s an assumption. Each one of us is most detrimental to our own learning and development. No one learns more, better or less as compared to the other coz of the institute alone. Remember the “Slum Dog Millionaire Learning Style”

Most important; real life begins in the real world which, is when you are out of your institute. The ability to perform consistently and create value for self and others. Your attitude, values and capabilities are tested everyday and then begins the process of distinguishing the real talent from the rest. No one asks you or remembers your qualifications on a daily basis and most importantly your family, friends and colleagues don’t care about it as much as they care for your behavior.

A career generally spreads over a long period of time. For some it’s almost their entire life and for most of us in the corporate world it’s circa half of our active life. 2-3 years spent in an institution can have a significant impact and influence on your career but it doesn’t define, make or break it – you do!

Read On…

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