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Monday, December 30, 2013



Once, every professional worth his/her salt dreamt of a life in the big city. Today, the tables have turned. Why professionals are more than willing to derive the ‘small town’ advantage?

    Given a choice, would you move to a smaller city, with the same job profile and a slightly lowered salary but a better work-life balance, shorter commute and lower standard of living? Not only is an overwhelming majority of Indian professionals answering in the affirmative to this question, organisations too are also more than happy to comply.
    Most of us have colleagues who pine to be back to their hometowns, despite the charm and glamour of a metropolitan city. “We are witnessing an increasing trend where people want to move to smaller towns. The primary drivers are: it is their hometown; it is close to their family; cost of living is relatively lower and support systems are stronger. Plus with the proliferation of malls and entertainment options in Tier II and III
cities, individuals can have the best of both worlds,” agrees Elango R, CHRO and head, emerging geographies business unit, Mphasis. One fourth of Mphasis’ total employee headcount is based out of Indian non-metros. The organisation has had employees move to Indore, Raipur and Bhubaneswar from bigger cities like Bangalore and Pune.
    As organisations find that business opportunities are getting saturated in the urban areas, they realise that the logical move is to explore the potential of smaller towns. “While the move to smaller towns has helped companies mitigate the risks arising out of the global economic upheaval, smaller cities with better infrastructure facilities and lower operating costs can make a viable business proposition and complement the overall business strategy,” explains Manuel D’Souza, director - HR, Serco Global Services. Out of their total task force of 47,000, 20,407 are based in nonmetros. Serco has been receiving lateral/vertical requests for movement from metros to smaller towns every month.
    The other factor that is luring multinational corporations towards India’s smaller towns is the availability of a huge pool of untapped talent. “More and more people are keen to seize opportunities in their own towns instead of relocating
to larger towns and moving away from their families. This becomes advantageous for organisations that are looking at hiring talented and efficient employees for smaller cities,” says D’Souza. Aurangabad, Pondicherry, Dehradun, Mohali and Guwahati are emerging Tier II and III cities.
    So if you’re a city-bred professional hoping to have a quieter life in a Tier II city, is your request for a transfer likely to be granted? “Keeping the business need and employee preference in mind, these decisions are taken on a case-to-case basis,” says Satish M, EVP, HR, Firstsource Solutions Ltd. He also reveals that in certain businesses, clients tend to be present in smaller towns and hence, it makes sense to operate closer to them.
    The rush towards smaller towns also presents an opportunity for the government to incentivise development in these areas. “I’d certainly move to a small town if required. But the chief concerns are the support available for professionals’ families in terms of education institutes, medical facilities, better infrastructure, good living environment and connectivity. If these are addressed proactively by the government or through Public Private Partnerships, it would make smaller towns equally attractive,” shares Ashok Reddy, president, global HR and corporate affairs, Infotech Enterprises. Out of their 11,600 employees, over 2,000 are based in cities like Kakinada, Vizag and Noida.
    Today, migration is multidirectional and that is great news for the Indian growth story.
Lesser commute time; Lower cost of living; Better work-life balance; Lesser competition for resources; Lower cost of operation.
Limited professional network; Restricted access to quality education and medical facilities.
Ankita Shreeram TAS 131218

GADGET GIZMO REVIEW................... Google Nexus 5


PRICE 29,999 (16GB), 33,999 (32GB)
4.95-inch IPS display (1920 x 1080 pixels), 2.3Ghz quad core Snapdragon 800, 2GB RAM, 16GB/32GB, 8MP/1.3MP camera, Android 4.4, 2,300mAh, 130 grams Value for money, excellent build quality, fantastic performance, loud audio output, Android 4.4 Averaga still camera performance, sub par battery life, no expandable memory Google Nexus devices are the first to get any new Android updates. They also tend to have top-notch hardware at a great price. The Nexus 5 continues this legacy being the first device to come preloaded with the latest Android version 4.4 Like the Nexus 4, the Nexus 5 is manufactured by LG for Google. While the Nexus 4 was based on LG's Optimus G, the Nexus 5 is a standalone design. Its slimmer, lighter and has an ergonomic unibody design. We loved the matte finish on the rear panel — a welcome change from the glossy plastic that we see on so many devices now.
The 4.95-inch IPS display with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution offers excellent viewing angles with natural colour reproduction. Brightness is good but the screen pales when compared to a Samsung Galaxy S4 or LG G2.
What instantly impressed us was the speed and performance of the smartphone. Launching and switching between apps as well as navigation is instant — no sluggishness even with over 10 apps running in the background. The device has a 2.3Ghz quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB RAM and 16/32GB fixed storage — it's excellent value for money. As expected, full HD videos and games like Asphalt and Dead Trigger 2 ran without a hitch.
The camera is the only part that felt lacking on an otherwise fantastic device. We thought that the stills produced soft details and visible noise in many conditions. An upgrade to Android 4.4.1 with camera improvements is rolling out, though we didn't get a chance to test it out. Battery life was as expected from the 2,300mAh battery — about a day. We highly recommend the device for those looking for a powerful Android smartphone. For the same price, you can also consider LG's Optimus G Pro. It doesn’t match up to the hardware of the Nexus but offers a larger display, slightly better camera and better battery life.



Employment opportunities for finance professionals are immense and will grow if the industry grows

There is a potential source of confusion regarding careers in finance. On one hand, there is a function called finance that is common to all business enterprises, in every industry. On the other, there is a financial services industry. Additionally, note that the finance function is but one of many possible career paths within the financial services industry.
    There are career opportunities in various areas like commercial banking, forex management, investment banking, wealth management, financial planning, corporate finance, financial research and so on.
In corporate finance, you would work for a company to help it find various sources to raise finance, grow the business, make acquisitions, plan for its financial future, manage any cash in hand and ensure future economic viability.
Investment banks help companies and governments issue securities, help investors purchase securities, manage financial assets, trade securities and provide financial advice.
Commercial banks serve large corporations, small businesses, as well as the general public. Despite recent consolidation in commercial banking, the industry continues to provide more career opportunities in finance than any other sector in the financial services industry.
Indian companies have been increasingly attracting foreign capital either through listing on international stock exchanges or through private equity placements. Companies that wish to access markets for capital or become leading global suppliers to corporations in developed markets have to hedge forex exposure.
    The forex treasury division in banks offers a full range of vanilla and derivative products in forex, interest rates and commodities. These include spot, forward, swaps, currency options, interest rate derivatives, commodity futures and options in addition to high yield structured deposits linked to currencies, interest rates and commodities. Several companies are looking for professionals who understand the nuances of international finance, international capital markets and risk management.
Money managers purchase and carry corporate bonds, agency securities, asset-backed securities and other fixed-income investment products. Some specialise in small stocks, large cap funds, fledgling markets, and other equities.
Financial planning helps people make advance provision for financial needs that may arise in the future.
    The Chartered Financial Planner (CFP) course is presently offered in India by two authorised education providers of the Association of Financial Planners (AFP). Alternatively, an MBA/CFA/CA/Insurance specialisation - singularly or in combination, would also give you a broad understanding of the various investment instruments and options, and their implications.
Brokers or stock market professionals are now either playing host to foreign investment bankers, who are looking for opportunities on the Indian stock market, or visiting fund managers abroad seeking investment here. Stock market houses are redefining themselves and the business of stock broking is highly visible today. Communication links between the dealing room and the trading ring are being improved.
Commodities trading is a global phenomenon and offers tremendous potential to market participants for both profit taking on small price corrections as well as to hedgers looking at managing price risk on account of price fluctuations. In developed markets, futures trading is conservatively ten times the size of cash market in commodities. If we consider the fact that in the US, the futures trading is almost 20 times that of the cash market production, it would only be fair to suggest that our futures market would be a very large and deep one, easily many times more than that of the securities market.
Apart from career opportunities available with insurance companies, employment avenues are also open in the corporate sector, stock broking firms, finance companies, shipping companies,
etc. With private participation in the insurance sector, the number of employment opportunities has gone up.
Real estate is collateral for mortgages and a large amount of financial assets. Identifiable real estate fields are mortgage banking, property management, real estate appraisals, brokerage and leasing, and real estate development.
,Sudhir Dhar .. is associate director and  head HR, Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd TAS 131218

CREATIVITY SPECIAL......................... The One Thing That Truly Motivates Creative Talent--And How To Foster It

The One Thing That Truly Motivates Creative Talent--And How To Foster It
Talent. It’s the subject line of many an inbox message these days. All of us who belong to the great ecosystem of new talent development--universities, portfolio programs, think tanks, agencies--and agency leaders, mentors, recruiters, and talent managers, offer opinions about who we need now and how we train them. Even better, the discussion has evolved to the nurturing of talent over the long ride of a career.
This is good.
From my vantage point of a couple of decades of preparing creatives and strategic thinkers for careers, the true platform for talent development hinges on building one beautiful characteristic from which all success flows: intrinsic motivation. It’s all the reasons we do things that have little to do with money or offices or perks. It can make B skill level into an A+ creative.
Intrinsic motivation is the mojo that breathes life into curiosity and lifelong learning, into building new and better skills, into making individually defined talent level bloom into something of value to the whole. It pushes us to go beyond obligation in our work.
Intrinsic motivation makes us love what we do and find ways to do that well.
There’s plenty of intellectual heft to back this up. Harvard business professor Teresa Amabile grew a cult following after her 1998 landmark research about successful creative organizations. Her study found that creative skills, domain expertise, and intrinsic motivation were necessities to drive creative culture. Behavioral psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi built his flow theory around a core ideal of intrinsic motivation.
Industry greats such as Paul Venables, Janet Kestin, Nancy Vonk, and John Boiler note that passion for good work drives talented people, that it is shared values that build the best teams and culture.
The inclusion of intrinsic motivation as a business proposition is epic. It explains what catapults great agencies and the people in them to the upper strata of epic creative. I’ve seen it realized at the best places from monolithic to radical, when everyone--receptionist to CCO to producers to client--believes in what they do and why it’s important. Quite frankly, it’s a rather rare commodity (we’ve all seen plenty of places that don’t fit this model), but when it happens, it is remarkable.
As a professor on the front lines of producing best talent, I believe intrinsic motivation can be developed in individuals and cultures. The questions become: How do we develop this early on so young talent walks in the door ready and enthused? How do we sustain that motivation throughout a career? But more, how do we develop organizational cultures that believe and live up to this shared expectation?
A few recommendations follow.

Curiosity is key. We find that directly developing this skill in class and through extraordinary projects opens doors to bigger thinking and investment. There’s also a direct connection between curiosity and building hybrid skills in students. When they are curious about the world and how it functions (how does that work? who does this affect? why why why?), they will work to understand people, technology, and culture. To be honest, I want them to be dedicating more time to understanding the world than to making a slick campaigns book. Both can be important, but the first builds a way of thinking for a lifetime.
I know this philosophy works in our classes. Learning should be all about finding the golden tension of interdisciplinarity, the joy of connection. And that happens when we build from curiosity. And I’m watching it come alive in 72andSunny’s newest version of 72U under the directorship of Maria Scileppi. (Transparency alert: I helped shape this new version and I’m proud of the outcome.) Maria and her cohort are jumping into 12 weeks of psychogeography, quantified living, Arduino projects, and days spent thinking how to make the world a better and smarter place, as they learn agency culture. They’re studying the world and how it lives.
Will they be ready to land in a fast creative agency? Absolutely. Their ability to provoke and connect culture to their chosen profession becomes ownable. Compare that to multiple “training programs” in the industry that train only for agency process and tired, entrenched versions of creative thinking or agency bureaucracy.

Attention, mentors: do something big with all that influence. Remind your protege├ęs that this profession has to work to its highest standard. Give feedback that involves direction about doing the right thing. Remind them that best business practices can feed the soul and drive the economy. If it were easy, anybody could do it and, really, they can’t.
How about this: when our Oregon program took 53 students to Creative Week last May, brilliant JWT CCO Matt MacDonald (since moved to BBDO) came up with the idea of an eight-hour internship. Our bright students were toured, fed, briefed in the morning, then gave five-minute team pitches in the afternoon to Matt’s JWT team and their client. Great ideas and great reaction collided all over the room. The excitement, the motivation was inspiring for all. It was also expected.
Train new talent with the idea they’re here to be awesome, then demand that from them. Hardasses with character motivate. Ask anyone about Bernbach or Riswold or Hoffman; a demanding mentor inspires.

In my years of doing this, a truth shines through that captures the best of this profession. Students driven by creativity and curiosity want to do meaningful work. The reality of intrinsic motivation is that it is driven by purpose. The old “it’s only advertising” heard in offices across the land kills that spirit.
Instead, better to build investment from junior talent by doing work that is socially meaningful as it solves business problems. That’s good for brands and for people. Don’t think of this as kumbaya. Think of it as your little parcel of change agentry. Look at Ty Montague’s Storydoing project or brand expert Scott Bedbury’s take on brands with superpowers. That’s the thinking that grows intrinsic motivation.

No treatise on talent would be complete without stating the obvious: we need to open doors (then keep them open) to people of color and to women for leadership roles. (It makes my head hurt that we’re all still talking about this in 2013.) We know that research and conventional wisdom tell us better ideas and more divergent problem-solving comes from diverse teams.
We also know that the promise of richer thinking grows motivation and makes everyone better. The organization that actively searches for bright thinkers from an array of backgrounds and perspectives drives the future. Watch Google and Facebook as they gather world-class talent. Or look at this great example: Steve Stoute and his Translation brainchild that will change the world by gathering people who know abundant culture and connect it well. And this great read: Marty Neumeier’s MetaSkills Five Talents for the Robotic Age. We’re ready for this.
At it simplest, the answer to motivating people to do more, create more, be more is to give them the aspirational tools they need. The rest will grow from that starting place. That, of course, is about leaders who inspire and ideas that solve business problems with generosity and courage. Yes, I’m asking for a lot in a world fraught with economic angst and systems evolving at the speed of pixels flying.
To be honest, I’m an optimist but one blessed with a realistic perspective. I want the work I do in training people to result in bright resonant careers and better craft. I’ve seen this happen over and over again. But more, I want that bright glow of wanting to be good at what we do to drive us.
By Deborah Morrison