Career Management: Experiments With Truth

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“I wonder when Gene Kelly is gonna get here…”

Mahatma Gandhi stipulated that “experiments with truth were easier in the marketplace than in the wilderness”. Only recluses remove themselves beyond the mundane world. A true hermit lives in the cave of his or her heart. This is the ultimate experiment with truth. Perfect for fostering your career.

Like many professionals, one dear friend was determined to think and grow rich. She pushed everything else away. The results left her bruised. Does this sound familiar?

Stoically, she refused to give in. Slowly, alcohol took over, and she lost her center. Her career went dead. Everyone thinks they can handle career challenges. The genie however, is hard to put back in the proverbial bottle. Narcotics are not experiments with truth. Drugs are best left to shamans. Experiments with truth constitute a slippery path.

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“When all that glitters is not gold…”

Fortunately, my friend discovered Patanjali’s Eight Limbed Path. This was her rescue. It led her to Babaji’s kriya yoga. Yoga is a secure platform to foster career change. It’s safe and has no negative side effects.

Seeking escape is nothing new. From time immemorial, people have had to clean their own dishes, take out their garbage, and do their laundry. It is a question of resolve. “Communing with nature” takes place without effort. It is natural. It permits us to clean out our own merde.

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau understood the power of cleaning their stables. Reading their work will help you to re-evaluate your career as well as your lifestyle. Both Emerson and Thoreau believed that the spirit transcends the physical and empirical universe. They advocated reliance on “intuition”. In Emerson’s essay on Nature, he wrote:

“We will walk on our own feet; we will work with our own hands; The divine soul inspires all men.”

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“Everything is a question of degree…”

Emerson ended his essay on truth by calling for a “revolution in human consciousness”. It is a shame that he was unfamiliar with Nasruddin. Nasruddin would have agreed with Emerson’s belief in intuition as a source of truth. However, he would have added, “You can lead a donkey to water, but you cannot make him drink”. Nasruddin is every generation’s expert when it comes to understanding the nature of a jackass.

Thoreau came closer to understanding his experiments with truth by gleaning wisdom from The Gita. I counsel Christopher Isherwood’s translation. It is the perfect blueprint to any anyone seeking career change.

Instituting a change in lifestyle puts us at a crossroads. Choices need to be made. Making the right decision is not as complicated as it appears. In fact, it is quite simple. Start by stripping hyperbole away from your reality. The truth will clearly manifest.

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“When you’re searching for the unexpected…”

Last year, I met a wise sage who lives on the outskirts of Bangalore. Her words are pure japa and hold deep clarity:

“I feel clean
I feel free
I feel ready to live each day with zest
I am delighted by the adventure of each moment.”

See what you can do, when you conduct your own Experiments With Truth.

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Article Title: Experiments With Truth
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit CAREO: Building One Success Story At A Time

Business Education: I’ve Got My Brand On You

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“Because you love the theme music…”

Talk brand with someone and you think FMCG or fashion. However, the same concept of brand, identity, logo, and ethos goes into fueling the personality and the culture of an academic institution. Considering the fierce competition among business schools for qualified talent then you begin to get the bigger picture. Private or public, educational institutions strive to constantly differentiate themselves. When you add in how much it costs for an education today, it’s no wonder these schools put so much into marketing their brand.

Clearly, the target audience for the most part are the parents who must either co-sign loans or cough up huge bags of cash. The alternatives to pedigree in our times are not for the weak hearted. You can go it alone as many entrepreneurs demonstrate. However, for the vast majority, education is the track to get you the credentials you need no matter what career path you choose to embark on.

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“Because an image is worth a thousand words…”

Take the case of Babson College located just outside of Boston. Many pundits have never heard of this institution, and yet it fosters a strong identity and pull particularly for entrepreneurs. Listen to how they describe themselves: “Immersed in business, engaged in liberal arts”. Quite a mouthful don’t you think?

With many people calling into question the high costs of education, parents are demanding that their offspring have salable skills upon graduation. Your classic humanities education has fallen victim to our very unequal times.

The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, N.Y.) uses another calling card: “Why not change the world?” Clearly, someone at this school has read Gandhi or at least remembers Steve Jobs. Will this quote resonate with the majority of high school seniors looking to apply? I think not. Students for the most part are not so high minded. Many are idealistic. Most are pragmatic and some are hustlers. With hi-tech and instant fame on the brain, certain students feel they can ride a wave to glory like Mark Zuckerberg.

To meet another educational niche, there has been another category of educational institutions. Enter the For-Profit category best exemplified by the University of Phoenix. This school carved out its path within the market by offering options other schools chose not to such as evening classes, flexible scheduling, a social network, and online classes. As a pioneer in its field, UP has been leading the For-Profit pack for 20 years. It also became a template for other savvy business people looking to make big bucks from education.

Education is clearly not seen today as it was in the past. It has become a commodity and in some cases a luxury brand must have. Europe for example offers many For-Profit institutions. They compete alongside the highly visible schools. Their drawing card? Integrate internships into the academic curriculum and just about promise everyone a job upon graduation. For anxious parents, this is a big attraction.

For The Love Of Ivy
The ultimate dream education for many Americans and even overseas students is to attend an Ivy League school. True the standards are tops, the curriculum compelling, and the schools in this group offer an unparalleled network of resources and opportunities. The odds for admitted applicants is steep. Even with the right credentials, grades, and extracurricular activities most applicants are denied admissions.

The harder it is to get in, the more people want to buy the brand. Despite their instant brand name recognition, even these top notch schools spend millions to promote their brand. There names are obvious: Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, Brown, and the University of Pennsylvania. Attend one of these institutions, and you are set for life so each school claims. True, you certainly start off life on the right foot.

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“Because you love luxury brands…”

So You Want To Be A Designer
Another basket of academic institutions include fashion and design schools. Previously some of these institutions were seen as vocational schools. Not any longer. Some consider these schools the royal road to creative directors and designers. Considering the appeal of luxury brands and anything to do with fashion and glitz, these schools offer many attractive options to future students. These schools include Parson School For Design (NYC) and Saint Martin’s (London).

The Issue Of Public Schools
Public schools in the American meaning of he term means a university funded by the individual states. In Europe, they are funded by their constituent governments. The quality of education varies from state to state and from country to country.

For example UC-Berkely, UCLA, University of Michigan, and the University of Virginia stand out as academic powerhouses. Their major attraction is the cost is less. In France, the university system is seen as worn out and chaotic. Students of means choose Prepa and then a Grande Ecole if they can get admitted. Others go the For-Profit route, if their parents can foot the bill.

Emotional Attachment
Brand management at any school revolves around establishing an esprit du corp. Alumni help foster the brand within corporations, and in the case of the USA, donate generously to their institutions later in life.

The Challenges
As the price of education continues to skyrocket, schools need to justify their purpose, fine tune their recruiting, and make every aspect of academic life, the faculty, and administration vibrate the brand. Top schools have no issue with this. Middling schools find this harder to accomplish, and For-Profits need to change their mentality that their faculty and staff are cheap labor and essentially cannon fodder.

Building and sustaining a brand, any brand, requires an innate understanding of human psychology, the actual market, and how you can make your institution stand apart from a highly saturated sector. Education for previous generations was first seen as a privilege. Then it was seen as a constitutional right. Now, it is seen in many circles as a luxury.

So what are the schools selling? What is the value proposition to coin a phrase? Is it knowledge? Is it an experience? Is it a right-of-passage? Or is it a paid systematic service to put their clients into decent and well paid paths to sustainable employment? (Notice, I did not use the term students. This should tell you something about how the price of education has morphed in the 21st century.)

Recently, The Guardian held a roundtable in association with Purpose, a brand communications consultancy. Their debate was conducted under Chatham House rules, which allows remarks to be reported without attribution to encourage a frank discussion, producing compelling recommendations. Here’s what they concluded:

• Focus on core values such as academic integrity that links teaching, research and scholarship. Offer business-friendly courses with employability appeal. Deliver a positive student experience.

• Target communications at parents as well as students

• Involve faculty as much as possible. Their enthusiasm can often bring big dividends when they are valued.

• Highlight student testimonies in university marketing materials

• Maximize social media influence and reach

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“When you recognize the power of brand…”

The Case Of The 2 Ronnies

• New Frontiers School Board Continuing Education
(Montreal, Canada)
NFSB wanted to bolster enrollment and student engagement. Over a period of 12 months, The Watershed Media conducted an extensive communications audit. They developed a blueprint for an online and offline marketing plan. Then, they executed a new digital and social media strategy with a invigorated brand. On the basis of their investigation, they recognized that success of the brand hinged on fostering intimacy and dialogue between the school and its students in an honest and authentic way.

TWM injected the brand with a personal narrative that celebrated the theme of overcoming adversity and breaking through.

I Choose Me” and the “Journey Begins With You” were conversational brand elements that nurtured the empathetic quality that were the hallmarks of the school.

They also revitalized the website from the ground up, focusing on a modern image that gave its users clear information, helped them make informed decisions about their future, and then act on those decisions through online conversion tools. The Watershed complemented student tools with community resources that would make the NFSB a valued asset. Equally important was their work helping NFSB shift the marketing culture at the school and discover their shared capacity to influence change through everyday inter-actions.

  • Ramapo College of New Jersey (USA)
    The brand strategy was conceived and implemented by Words & Pictures Creative Service. The goal was to create an image campaign, featuring print and radio.

    The campaign harnessed successful, famous, and historical people who “could have been” Ramapo students. Welcome Shakespeare, Marie Curie, Andrew Carnegie, and Booker T. Washington. The chosen personalities represented the different schools at the College. This campaign elevated the College to a place where “some of the greatest minds in history could have started their futures” and where “the great young minds of today could start their futures.”

    Results: Ramapo College experienced direct benefits. The image building exercise worked wonders. Four years later, a follow-up survey was conducted by Eagleton. There was a dramatic increase in public awareness and improved perception of the school:

  • Ranked No.1 public comprehensive college by USNews in consecutive years. Combined SAT scores rose from 1120 to 1180
  • HS rankings moved from top 24% to top 17%
  • Full-time residential undergrads increased from 52% to 60%. Retention rate: first to second year increased from 82.4% to 89.4%
  • Retention rate: second to third year increased from 68% to 74.8% (currently,80%) Graduation rate: 42.75 to 62.3% (well over national average)
  • First-time donors increased by 35%
    (The advertising campaign received industry and CASE awards for its ingeniousness and creativity.)

    Conclusion
    Educational institutions to survive and prosper need to channel their efforts where their strengths lie. Differentiation should be more than hollow words, slogans, and the usual dead leaf catalogues. As the tools of the trade change so must the communications strategy to make the brand stay true to its real mission. In this way, a unique vision can be marketing via authenticity.

    Article Title: Business Education: I’ve Got My Brand On You
    Photographs: curated by ES

    About The Author
    James D. Roumeliotis is a regular contributor to CAREO. He is a brand management specialist and lives in Montreal.

    For further inspiration
    Visit: CAREO

  • Why We Pursue Full Abundance

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    “From this angle, things are looking up.”

    Yves Saint Lauren might have said, “From this angle things are shaping up nicely.” Full abundance in any career is an attitude. It has nothing to do with possession. So where can you find full abundance? In the void of your heart.

    Do not be frightened. Contrary to naive beliefs, the void is not a negation of identity. It is an inner space. Many sages in India describe this phenomenon as sitting under the wish-fulfilling tree. Under the branches of this tree lies full abundance. Best of all, you will discover there is no need for possession.

    To experience this phenomenon gives deep satisfaction. It sounds so easy, and yet we make it difficult. Our problem is simple. We have conned ourselves into believing that we are incomplete. We feel ownership means full abundance.

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    “Because you know its not about the number of shoes you own…”

    Here’s a silly example. You are walking down the rue St. Honore. You spy a vintage Daytona Rolex in the window. Your heart palpitates. You recognize the watch will look better on your wrist than sitting in the window. Now the unthinkable becomes doable.

    You enter the shop, clasp the watch to your wrist and feel complete. You become giddy with pride like a child with a new toy.

    However one day, the newness wears off. We entertain incompleteness again. The mind goes in search of the next acquisition. The mind loves filling this bottomless pit. It finds pleasure in personalized heritage collections. This exercise can go on indefinitely. Then one day something happens. It can be an ailment, loss of a loved one, or loss of a job. You feel empty. This time the emptiness comes as a relief.

    We have discovered that we feel ephemeral like the objects we preciously covet. Our mistake comes from the failure to distinguish among our dependencies arising from external phenomena. Recognizing our dependency is a great leap forward. It leads to an independence of being. It is bracing like a stiff sea breeze. Coming to this realization we see the dynamics of cause and effect. Every effect has a cause whether it bears immediate fruit or not.

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    “Because life is a moveable feast…”

    Use this season to rebalance your full abundance equation. Find a quiet place. Take a few minutes and sit down. Close your eyes. No one is watching. Breath deeply and methodically. Feel your own presence. The energy is already within you. Feel the vibration mount and you will begin to understand the meaning of emptiness. In the void of full abundance, you are already complete.

    Article Title: Why We Pursue Full Abundance
    Photograph: archival, curated by ES

    About The Author
    Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

    For further inspiration
    Visit CAREO: Building One Success Story At A Time

    Business Success: When Is The Best Time To Apply For An MBA

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    “Because you ready to make the leap…”

    If you are serious about an MBA, then our advice is do it. There are excellent choices. Depending on your status, there are a host of programs to match your aspirations. Don’t just consider the usual suspects. Think outside the box. Top European business schools are world class. Whether you want to study in Europe is another issue. Australia and Asia also have excellent options.

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    “Gather round MBA candidates from across the land…”

    Here are a few keys to consider:
    * Eleven of the top 100 programmes cost +$100k in the USA. European programs are a bargain in comparison.

    * In India and China, many MBA candidates prefer to stay at home. Cost is one factor. Recent MBA grads testify that the Asia-Pacific region offers the best job opportunities. Is it any wonder that non-Asians are looking for alternative solutions?

    Profiling
    The traditional MBA degree program still dominates the North American market. Part of this is historical. Schools continue to recalibrate the age groups they want to attract. Young and recent undergrads are solicited to apply sooner. If you are 27-30, do you want to study with 21-22 year olds? Most don’t. Simply put, they prefer to be with their peers.

    In Europe, there have also been drastic shifts. Pre-experience Masters in Management degrees still dominate. However, change is afoot. This has more to do with how the business education system is built rather than a degree preference. For example in France, business school students within the “Grandes Ecoles” system are all awarded a Masters degree.

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    “Because we’ve got you covered…”

    Is this the equivalent of an “American” masters? Clearly it is not. However, the Europeans have blended the undergrad curriculum with the masters. Some students therefore, do not feel the immediate need to do an MBA.

    First, when they graduate they are older than their North American counterparts. Secondly, these programs have required internship components built into their education cursus. Some benefit from Erasmus exchange programs. European partnerships with leading Asian institutions have also created a two-way traffic, giving students exposure and internships in constituent countries.

    Europeans who do decide to pursue an MBA have a different professional requirements. They tend to be +26 and know where they want to push their careers. They do not want nor need a 2-year program. Schools such as INSEAD, IMD, and IE Business School offer one-year accelerated programs to meet this demand. Some Europeans wait until their thirties before seeking an MBA. These candidates opt for an EMBA.

    Asian MBAs
    Although the Americans invented the MBA curriculum, global audiences are looking for different variants of program delivery. Take ISB (Hyderabad) and Ceibs (China) for example. The Indian School of Management in Hydrabad offers a great education, placing grads in leading firms from Mumbai to Bangalore.

    Ceibs is clearly the business school beacon in China. If you really want to capitalise on doing business in China, then perhaps you should be here.

    These changes are forcing more American business schools to start changing their business models. The Dean of Columbia Business School in New York was quoted stating: “I think people may want to get an MBA in a slightly different way”. Clearly the dean was referring to another trend, which is gathering steam: blending classroom-based learning with online teaching.

    Online Options
    Kenan-Flagler at UNC launched MBA@UNC in 2011. Is it successful? Ask UNC for direct feedback. Online learning is not for everyone. Another key issue the business schools are grappling with deals with culture. What impact does culture have on teaching business? As one analyst puts it, “business schools will need to move from content to the context in which the business operates”.

    There is much food for thought here.

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    “Because you want to take this challenge in stride…”

    Up Close & Personal
    The current dean at Stanford GSB, Garth Saloner, who was appointed in 2009 has been responsible for instituting sweeping reforms and changes. The key term here is his personalized approach. This is something many business schools still don’t get. If you create a factory, you get factory workers. A personalized approach to education delivers people who are innovative, creative, and go on to do amazing things.

    Just to prove my point, Stanford GSB has the smallest class size of any American MBA: 397. That’s less than half the class size of either Harvard or Wharton. Their career services department is outstanding with facilities second to none. Perhaps, Stanford will become the business education template of what a business school can become if it puts its mind into generating real business leadership.

    Coursera
    Just think, a revolutionary course delivery system has left the Stanford entrepreneurial incubator. Tom Freidman of the New York Times waxed lyrically over Coursera, which is an NGO dedicated to delivering free classes online.

    That’s right folks: F-R-E-E!

    The catch is that there is no credit or pedigree. However, the plus side is quite impressive. We stand on the cusp of a complete rethink on the value of education and its delivery to those who do not possess the financial means to buy their pedigree.

    For A free professional evaluation

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    Article Title: Business Success: When Is The Best Time To Apply For An MBA
    Photographs curated by ES

    About The Author
    Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

    For further inspiration
    Visit CAREO: Building One Success Story At A Time

    Even Goethe Had Elective Affinities

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    “The mirror only reflects our image not our true nature…”

    Choosing your elective affinities is the first step towards career empowerment. You never know when a storm can crop up on the horizon. Best to be prepared. Identifying your career choices will also determine your opportunities. They can be simple or complex such as pushing you to do a top MBA, rebuild your CV, or work on your personal brand. Although these forms of career change are a positive form of engagement, they are not elective affinities.

    Understanding the source of elective affinities take us into the deeper reaches of career management. Coming to terms with career change determines more than career enhancement. Before we get hot ‘n bothered, a word of caution:

    “Much of our planning is like waiting to swim in a dry ravine”.

    Paltrul Rinpoche uttered these wise words. He has a keen sense of elective affinities. Paltrul Rinpoche states that managing change starts with managing your self. Let’s start at the beginning. One day you decide your career has lost traction. You take the decision to do a top MBA. Everybody is doing a top MBA or so it seems. You do not want to stagnate or be left behind. Is this choice the right choice?

    Sometimes, we are blind as bats when it comes to career management choices. Our senses contribute to this lack of understanding. For example, the mind bases its assumptions on preconceived information. An ignorant mind does not question. It takes facts at face value. For example, if the FT ranks the top MBAs, then clearly it seems obvious to which schools we must apply.

    Step back for a moment. Although the list is tops, are these the best schools for your development. Are there other options? Am I better off starting my own company? Take a breath. Conscious choice should go beyond received wisdom. Understanding your own elective affinities implies the ability to grapple with statements such as this one:

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    “Because you like a good detective story…”

    “If this is not true, then what could possibly be true?”

    Sounds like quite a mouthful. At this instant, your mind is in neutral. Understand that elective affinities aren’t value judgements. Your career choices for the moment are either attractive or unattractive. It is your mind, which decides on the bias of desire. Notice, our neutrality disappears. We believe in our choice and claim ownership. The deeper our sense of possession becomes the more risks we run.

    Career management therefore, can be a tricky business. Understanding our real nature makes choosing easier. So what are elective affinities? Understanding what makes you tick. Without this understanding, we move from awareness to misconception. Ignorance can exaggerate any situation. What we don’t want is to be trapped, making the same mistakes like a ferret running round a wheel thinking we will arrive at our destination if we run faster. All we get for our efforts is fatigue.

    We have the power to get off the wheel and instigate change. All we need to do is alter our approach. We do so by giving ourselves the capacity to be present. Feel your body breath through every pore. Watch the source from where your choices arise. Ignorance dwells in afflictive emotions. Once you overcome this tendency, you’re on track to discover your elective affinities, which will put your career back on track.

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    “So you want to be a designer…”

    To help yourself focus, recognize that every choice has limitations. You can also conclude that choice attributes are intrinsic to the choice. False beliefs are internal. If you get a splinter in your foot, you can pull it out with a tweezers. However, to get rid of an internal attitude, you must see the beliefs on which they are based. The Buddha once remarked, “whatever changes is unreal. Why carry unnecessary baggage?”

    Food for thought.

    Article Title: Even Goethe Had Elective Affinities
    Photographs: curated by ES

    About The Author
    Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

    For further inspiration
    Visit: CAREO

    MBA Coaching Paris: Gaining A New Sense Of Harmonics

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    “Because choosing the right cocktail is not enough…”

    According to the New York Times, more MBA candidates are hiring coaches in order to learn to be audacious. Rather than creating a more level playing field, the advantage has shifted to those MBA candidates savvy enough to engage professional assistance. So what should you do? Perhaps the time has come to contact MBA coaching Paris: CAREO.

    It is no longer enough to have an excellent track record. This has become a sine quo non. Bog standard won’t get you accepted. You will need to be audacious. You will need to know how to differentiate your profile. So we’ve decided to cut out some of the guesswork and give you a leg up. Start by following the steps listed below Get inspired, and your MBA application will stand out like a diamond in the window of Cartier.

    | Step 1: Choosing The Best Business Schools|
    Choosing the best business schools is easier said than done. We advise consulting the rankings such as those cited in the FT, US News, and BusinessWeek. Recognize that rankings are essentially beauty contests. However, the rankings are a good place to start and identify where you think you might want to be. Some candidates prefer a one year program and others prefer a two year program.

    Identity between 4-6 MBA programs geared to your professional objectives. Sometimes, the usual suspects are not necessarily the best fit. Besides investigating online, which is relatively an easy affair, try to visit the campuses you hope to enroll in. MBA campus culture varies at each business school. Get beyond the cocktail-marketing brochures. Get in touch with real alumni. Contact the school and ask to speak either with admissions officers or the school administration. Feel out your prospects. You are about to embark on a marketing offensive in a highly competitive and saturated market.

    | Step 2: Analyze Your Profile |
    Conduct a type of SWOT Analysis of your profile. Identify your strengths both inside and outside the workplace. Try to list points that make your candidacy shine. Be clear in your mind as to what you hope to achieve. List your real developmental needs. What do you really want to gain from an MBA aside from acquiring another diploma? You will need to build a strong case as to why the schools should accept you rather than someone else with a similar profile.

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    “When you’re still undecided…”

    | Step 3: Handling The Entrance Exams |
    Make yourself a study agenda for the required entrance exams, which concern you. For the majority of MBA candidates, this means tackling the GMAT & TOEFL. The number of schools, which will accept your profile without these exams, is extremely limited. Test prep should be taken seriously. Plan on taking the exams more than once. Most people do.

    | Step 4: How To Study |
    Determine whether you can prepare by yourself or need help. Most people enroll in organized Test Prep centers where large group classes are the norm. Some organizations are better than others. Look at the results of the organization you wish to enroll. The quality of the teachers coupled to your own sweat equity will determine your test prep success. The key here is practice, practice, and yes, practice. Average GMAT scores at the top MBAs are +680 (GMAT) & +105 (TOEFL).

    | Step 5: Learn To Build Persuasive Essays |
    Once the GMAT & TOEFL are out of the way, the time has come to tackle the MBA essays. The essays must engage. Think storyline. Build the type of content, which makes your profile stand apart. Everyone of us is unique. However, as George Orwell might have said, “Some of us are more unique than others”. Differentiators will set your MBA application apart from the pack.

    With so many applicants, the schools are spoiled for choice. Make sure that your professional objectives are clear and concise. One way to convince the Admissions Committee is to go outside the box with subjects on non-work related activities, which demonstrate your vision, achievements, and skills.

    Most schools field different questions. This is done on purpose so that you do not copy and paste. Getting the essays right is not just about writing. Essay writing is really an exercise in strategic marketing to a highly targeted constituent audience. The MBA Admissions Committees will give you no slack. Therefore, you must be persuasive.

    | Step 6: How To Train For Your Interview |
    Interviews are not required for every MBA applicant. However, most of the top schools have made this part of the MBA application process. The point is to meet the person behind the written word. To go to an interview unprepared is sudden death. We advise serious training with someone in person. Practice until you are comfortable and can manage the unexpected.

    | Step 7: Find A Unique Sense Of Purpose |
    For inspiration, take Mohammed Ali’s advice: “Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.

    Although you can sting, you should prefer to float like a butterfly. Manifest your own beatitude. Believe that you can give joy to many. By doing so, you will show that you have the perception to think beyond your own sand box. A butterfly serves its purpose with a fruitful and productive life. You can too. It is just a question of direction and will. As human beings, we feel the need to do more than just drive to the office in the morning doing the same old, same old.

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    “When you’re looking for a whole new sense of harmonics…”

    Many of us are truly blessed and do not lack a sense of prosperity. Wealth is such an open-ended term. It is not about bags of gold. It is about health, humour, and love. As they say in social media: share the wealth. Prosperity is about the privilege to access opportunity. Harvest the resources at our command. It does not mean living in a dwelling so large that you need a GPS to find you’re way from room to room.

    There is a beautiful verse in Sanskrit, which will give you a whole new sense of harmonics. It is from the Gunaratna of Bhavabhuti:

    “For the wicked, knowledge is used for conflict or war, wealth is for pride and vanity, and strength and power are used to oppress or torture others. For a noble person, it is completely different: Education is for knowledge to make everything better, wealth is for charity, and strength or power is solely for protection.”

    There is much food for thought here.

    I therefore urge you, if you are planning to do an MBA: Become audacious. Jump and be free of the expectations of others. Find your true fulfilment and a transformational educational experience in the bargain. If you have wealth or resources, then share them with those in real need. If you are strong and have a sense of purpose, then use your strengths in the service of your community. By doing so, you hold the keys to business leadership in the real meaning of the term.

    (If you enjoyed this article, please click the thumbs up icon and let us know! Be social & share.)

    Article Title: MBA Coaching Paris: Gaining A New Sense Of Harmonics
    Photographs: curated by ES

    About The Author
    Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

    For further inspiration
    Visit CAREO: Life In The Fast Lane

    Why Business Leaders Need Meditation

    shadow_meditation_mba-coaching-Paris

    Forget any notions of a glass ceiling…”

    Meditation can certainly drive us 8 miles high. Call it the acid test of experience. When we can get too big for our spats, we need balance grounded in humility and awareness. Otherwise, our attitudes on self-aggrandizement can ruin the best of us.

    Meditation calls for an attitudinal transformation. It is perfect for career management and MBA coaching. Nothing is more transformational than chanting on the top of a mountain. There are many forms of meditation from which to choose. It is best to choose one, which is easy to practice and comfortable. The key is consistency and daily practice.

    shades_meditation_mba-coaching-Paris

    “There are just some things from which you can never hide…”

    If you have the power to breath, you have the capability to meditate. To claim you do not have enough time is a feeble excuse. Although our world has changed, there are still many in business leadership who are uncomfortable with the concept of meditation and spirituality. However, whether you are comfortable or not, the spiritual world permeates every entity and activity both organic and inorganic. This includes business activities and organizations.

    Simply put, meditation will enhance your effectiveness. There is nothing to fear; it is a question of insight. From this standpoint, meditation is a path of audaciousness. Warriors and Zen masters have used its power for centuries. The good news is that it is not linked directly to occupation. It is an applied science. It forces you to consider your place, your purpose, and what you are really doing.

    Nobody wants to hear about impermanence nor about emptiness or death. It makes us feel uneasy and we start to fidget. However “real” we believe that we are and the circumstances in which we find ourselves, the reality of any situation is different from our perception. This does not imply that what we do in the time in which we are given does not matter. The Big Boss is in the details. So everything does matter.

    hok_meditation_MBA-coaching-Paris

    “When you are contemplating your inner light…”

    What I am suggesting is to add the spice of love and compassion to your perception. By doing so, you will witness and experience a quantifiable change in your working world and in your personal life. Remember, what matters most is around you at all times.

    There is a great quotation, which comes from a rather unusual source. Let me share it with you:

    I go to where the puck will be, not to where it has been.”
    – Wayne Gretzky

    And you thought, meditation was just for Bobos practicing yoga and eating wheat grass!

    Article Title: Why Business Leaders Need Meditation
    Photographs: curated by ES

    About The Author
    Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

    For further inspiration
    Visit CAREO: Life In The Fast Lane

    Career Management For Your Eyes Only

    round_career-management

    “Because everyone needs a check list…”

    When you’re bored, you’re ready for anything. You’ll even buy a stairway to heaven. Then someone drops a file on your desk. It’s tied up with a red ribbon and marked: Career Management For Your Eyes Only.

    You can choose to ignore this file at your own risk. However, your heart is beating just a few pulses faster. You feel restlessness like electricity, and it can be contagious. Consequently, your fingers pull the red ribbon like worry beads at a Greek wedding. In your heart, you know it’s time to move on.

    Now you are oblivious to the traffic outside your window. Your thoughts permeate the atmosphere. This is where a shift in perception becomes essential if career guidance is to become a proactive engagement. So you untie the next section of the dossier. It feels like a Bond film. And so you begin to flip through the contents and read.

    Good Morning Mr. Bond. Imagine you are holding a beautiful Ming Dynasty jar in your hands. Caress the form and shape with your eyes. Notice the blue and white design of peonies. Admire the symmetry. Speculate who created this lovely object. Of course, you would love to meet the creator of this magnificent piece of bone china.

    Trying to come to grips with its creator, lift the lid of the jar. Is there a message inside? No, it is empty. Actually Mr. Bond, the pot is filled with air. If the jar suddenly slips from your hands, it shatters on the floor. What happens to the air trapped inside?

    It will merge into its surroundings. The lesson we should learn is that the form of the jar gave us the illusion that it was separate from its surroundings. The air represents our aspirations for career change.

    You put the dossier down. You stand up and down a glass of Evian. Something has happened, but you are not sure what. Your mind is playing tricks again. There is a parallel that your physical form is similar to that Ming dynasty pot. You recognize that these circumstances are not so far fetched. After all, the human form is just a jar. It is however, more precious than anything crafted during the Ming dynasty.

    A thin smile breaks out across your lips. You’re catching on. It wasn’t a Spector show at all. Now you get it. We need our bodies to perform many types of actions. In theory, the mind is a great deceiver. It cons us to believe that we are in control.

    And then you remember that accident when you jumped out of that airplane and fractured your foot. You could’t walk for the next 3 months. Control was no longer in your hands. What you previously took for granted became an issue.

    omg_career-management

    “OMG! I left the rice cooker on…”

    Normally, you never gave your feet a second thought. They did their job, which is to take the body from place to place. Through the body we experience pleasure and pain. It also goads us to take action. However, when you go to sleep, what happens to your body?

    Can you take the body with you as you glide into a state of sleep? Of course, you don’t. It remains nicely tucked up under the blankets. You retrieve your body in the morning when you open your eyes. Now, you are ready to tackle the day’s activities. Recognizing your responsibilities, you head for the espresso machine. For the moment, your compassion for your self is unconscious. To sustain your activities, it must be conscious.

    What disintegrates minute-by-minute can not be undone. Focus on what is constant. Listen to the sound of your breath and see it like the ocean tide. Identify all that can change as impermanent and let go. A plan of action is clearly indicated.

    Now Repeat To Yourself
    I forgive my self. I love my Self. I am happy and complete. If you engage and convince your mind that this is your real state of being, you will enhance your creative thinking, leadership & managerial capabilities. It is so simple, but you must take the time to do so. By re-booting your inner hard drive, you update your software for maximum contentment in both business and pleasure.

    About The Author
    Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

    For further inspiration
    Visit CAREO: Life In The Fast Lane

    Career Management: How To Deal With Anger

    blues_anger-management

    “When singing the blues is not enough…”

    Twist & Shout by the Beatles reminds me of a rather curious story concerning anger management.

    As was his habit, a Hindu saint brought his disciples every weekend to one of his favorite sacred spots on the river Ganges.

    Here they bathed and practiced yoga. When they’d arrived, yoga mats were spread out, and good will ‘n cheer were washed down with an ice cold mango lassi. However, on this occasion, the saint overheard a couple from the other side of the river shaking the ground. Their expressive tension rippled through the normally placid landscape. There were no smiles and no one was singing, “shake it up, baby”.

    Clearly, they were not singing, but were waving their arms screaming at the top of their lungs. Fingers were pointed. Unpleasant words were exchanged. You could probably hear their voices far away in Delhi. This was not a good advert for anger management. Even the kingfishers flew away. Never missing an appropriate occasion to instruct his chelas, he turned to his disciples and addressed the issue of anger management.

    peace_anger-management

    “When you’re looking for peace of mind…”

    “I know you all are familiar with that Beatles song, but why do people twist & shout at each other when they are angry?”

    His followers thought this through. One chela postulated, “Because when we lose our peacefulness, we twist & shout.”

    “But, why should we twist & shout when the other person is just next to us? Isn’t it easier to express our concerns in a softer voice”, replied the saint.

    The disciples tried in turn to answer their master’s question. However after much deliberation, they could not find a satisfactory answer. At this moment, the saint smiled and responded.

    “When two people are angry at each other, their hearts are separated by a gulf larger than Bengal. The larger the gap, the greater the distance. Therefore, they feel compelled to twist & shout to convey their message. If they did not twist & shout, they would not hear each other. The conundrum deepens by the nature of their anger. The hotter the anger, the louder they will have to raise their voices to cover the distance.

    Now examine the opposite side of the coin. What happens when two people fall in love? They don’t twist & shout. Their voices are melodic harmonies like the sounds of the veena. Their vibrations are totally in tune. Because their hearts are so close, the physical distance becomes non-existant.”

    The saint continued, “As their relationship deepens, so does their love. They do not even feel the need for speech. They whisper and giggle with delight. Such is the nature of love. Closeness becomes mergence. They communicate just through their eyes. That is how close two people can become when they love each other unconditionally.”

    sean_anger-management

    “What’s a nice girl like you, doing in a place like this…”

    The saint could see amazement within his followers eyes. They weighed his words with the screaming match from the other side of the river.

    Sensing their feelings and good natures, he continued: “When you feel disagreement bubbling up within your mind, don’t let your hearts become distant from sanity. Everyone has the right to disagree. However, you must measure your words. Words shouted in anger are not so easily erased.

    When language burns like fire, the distance between two souls becomes so great there is no way back to the path of normality. Choose your language wisely and remain balanced in all things. This is the path of anger management. May the blessings of the sages be with you always.”

    Article Title: How To Deal With Anger Management
    Photographs: curated by ES

    About The Author
    Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW brand.

    For further inspiration
    Visit CAREO: Life In The Fast Lane

    How To Overcome Your Worst Fear

    sun_dealing-with-fear

    “When the sun gets in your eyes.”

    One of our worst handicaps is to be overcome by fear. Whether it is fear of the unknown or fear of tackling obstacles, this emotion can be crippling. Nobody is immune, and it is a classic drama set up and perpetuated by our own minds. Although the mind can be a great tool when properly harnessed, left to its own devices, it can and often will run amok.

    Sometime ago, a dear colleague shared with me a small parable on the power of fear warbled by a great sage. Even though the actual story took place in India and is set within a distinct cultural context, the message is universal. Give in to fear, and you are cooked.

    The Road To Nowhere
    “Many years ago, a hermit returning from the Himalayas met the Goddess of Cholera on the road to Chitta. It is a small village buried in the deserts of Andhra Pradesh.

    She had just returned from a Kali festival, where the villagers had partied and sang devotional songs long into the night under a canopy of evening stars. While the people sang, there was joy. Their minds were focused. Under such conditions, fear could not penetrate their hearts. So, the Goddess set about her task and then took a nap under an old pipal tree.

    When she awoke the following morning, the Goddess found the population in a state of shock. News rapidly spread throughout the village that 10 people had died during the night. Many others were soon diagnosed in critical condition. Even the local physician was perplexed. What type of epidemic could strike a whole community with such lightening speed? Prior to yesterday not a soul had so much as a cold.

    ames_overcoming-fear

    “Because everyone loves a good shadow play…”

    The mayor quickly called an emergency session of town elders. Some came. Others got away. Of those who attended, each member began to speculate. Was the water contaminated? Were there some mysterious spores in the air? Whatever the reason, panic ensued. Some ran through the streets thinking it was Godzilla. Others barricaded themselves in doors or hid in basements. No matter what action plan they implemented the same nagging question held ground: How could there be so much happiness one moment, and then the pallor of death in the next? Under such conditions, was it any wonder that fear was rife in this normally placid village.

    As the Goddess was getting ready to continue on her tour of this desert region, she came across a very concerned hermit who lived in a palm frond shack just a stone’s throw from where she spent the evening.

    Unafraid of the Goddess, the hermit shyly approached and begged for a brief audience. She quickly consented.

    “How many souls have you gathered into your lap? asked the hermit.

    “Only the number in my hands”, she replied.

    The hermit nodded his head when he saw the number. Despite his intense spiritual sadhana, he still couldn’t fathom the reason. What the hermit couldn’t know was that the Goddess did not relate the entire story. Witnessing the anxiousness starting to manifest on the his brow, she decided to take this stoic ascetic into her confidence.

    “Truly speaking, prior to the festivities, there were hundreds of casualties before I had arrived. When the party was in full swing, every mind was concentrated and focused. The moment everyone went home, the community reverted back to its former mindset and anxieties. It was at this point I set about my business which was to take only ten souls; the rest died out of panic and fear!”

    “What were they afraid of?”

    “That’s the thing. Nobody knows. Fear only lurks in the shadows. It cannot be exposed to the sunlight. In the light, everything has clarity and is stripped away. The villagers had become so afraid, they locked all their doors and windows, blocking out any trace of light. Is it any wonder that they cannot see what is so clear to you and I?”

    babaji_overcoming-fear

    “Within every challenge lies the solution…”

    Understanding Your True Nature
    The sage who narrated this story to my colleague used the above parable to further explain a crucial lesson for anyone interested in real Spring cleaning:

    “Man is Aathmaswarupa (self-embodied), that is Abhayaswaruupa (fearlessness-embodied). If only everyone knew their real nature, then there would be no room for fear or cowardice.

    The main aim of cultural education should be to teach people how to cultivate mental calm and courage. If each individual feels kinship with everyone else, then the world is indeed blessed. There is no room for fear. When we are born, we all cry out, Ko’ham, which is Sanskrit for “Who am I”? When we depart this world as each of us must, we should utter So’ham, which is Sanskrit for “I am He”. See Me in each other, and your hearts will always be filled with an ever lasting divine flame. Fear can never enter here for it is my abode.”

    Much food for thought as we ourselves tackle new challenges and clean out our own inner closets.

    Article Title: How To Overcome Your Worst Fear
    Photographs: curated by ES

    About The Author
    Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW brand.

    For further inspiration
    Visit CAREO: Life In The Fast Lane

    An MBA Coach’s Content Strategist Playbook

    meeting_mba-coaching-paris

    “Building one success story at a time…”

    In recent conversations at an impromptu forum, I found myself challenged by several professionals contemplating the use of MBA Admissions consultants. It was interesting what they said.

    One flannel suited chap blithely stated, “MBA Admissions consultants are for losers. I have no interest. Besides, they’re costly and make promises they cannot fulfill.

    Another Chanel suited figure added, “You would think that. However, I have it on good authority that a great consultant can give you a leg up. Given the intense competition to get accepted, I want the best shot I can get.

    Now, please understand I am not trying to change people’s minds. I’d rather discuss why strategic planning can make your career aspirations happen. In my experience, I found that the terms of engagement must be personalized and well thought out. Were I an MBA candidate, I would relish an actionable step-by-step roadmap to eliminate the guesswork and the anxiety.

    How To Choose
    There is not one road to get accepted to a top MBA. The more savvy MBA candidate realizes that the MBA Admissions game has changed. Professional counsel can deliver quantifiable results when you know what you are buying. The best advice I can give to someone shopping around for help is to choose an organization you feel comfortable partnering with.

    Many firms on the market peddling services are just coaching factories. Is this what you want? Or do you prefer the counsel of professionals who really care about you?

    The Value Proposition
    Fees vary among service providers, but the variations are negligible. Some firms offer packages. Others charge by the hour. Packages appear to be the best deal with their all inclusive features. However, sometimes an hourly rate is more appropriate. Why pay for something you won’t take advantage of?

    robot_mba-coaching-paris

    “Because everyone needs a personalized game plan…”

    Opportunities
    To the uninitiated, the entire MBA application process appears as an exercise in witchcraft. The magic is hard work. To not loose time, work with people who understand how the admissions process actually works. Working with a former admissions officer is not guarantee that you will be accepted at Harvard or Stanford. What you really need is content strategist familiar with the science of personal brand management.

    So what should an MBA Admissions consultant provide?
    Outstanding knowledge of the business education industry. Secondly, they should match your aspirations with your career objectives. Sometimes, there is no point to just applying to the top 4 business schools unless your credentials are exceptional. Choosing the most appropriate target schools is the first key step to success.

    This is where content marketing can help you make the sale. An expert can position your pitch on the basis of what you’ve actually done. Most essays or personal statements submitted to the leading MBA programs read like they were written by an admissions consultant. Don’t fall into this trap. Avoid cliches and flamboyant prose.

    Some of us are advised by friends or family. This may work for you. Our advice is to choose professional counsel with discretion. Make sure that the firm you work with actually cares about you and your ambitions. Service must be personalized to be effective. Otherwise, it is bog standard and a waste of time and resources.

    blac_mba-coaching-paris

    “Yes, I’d like to book an appointment…”

    Where most MBA candidates make mistakes is when they try to cut corners. So, they write their own essays. Afterward, they approach an MBA Admissions consultant, asking for a quick edit. Why pay someone when you have a spelling & grammar check on your computer? What you really need is powerful feedback that generates original ideas to brand your MBA application.

    Considering the cost of an MBA, don’t you think it is worth the investment to go all in? We do. For that reason, we’ve listed below a few suggestions to get you started:

    7 Pointers From The Content Strategist Playbook
    1. Assessment
    Assess your strengths and weaknesses. List the key attributes which makes your profile distinctive. To be successful, you will need to highlight your UQ (uniqueness quotient). Each one of us is distinctive. However, as George Orwell might have stipulated, some of us are more unique than others.

    2. Strategic Plan
    Outline a strategy, confirm your call to action, scalability, and opportunities. Start with a professional evaluation from your current employer. Next draw up a target list of desirable business schools. Keep abreast of deadlines, the financials, recommenders to be selected and contacted.

    3. Personal Brand DevelopmentHave you identified the DNA of your personal brand? If not, find someone who can assist you. It will make your essays personal as well as professional. The business schools are seeking a well rounded and cultured audience. To learn more, study the culture and the curriculum. By doing so, you will better understand your target market audience.

    4. Lay An Appropriate Foundation
    It’s not enough to simply put up your name on essays someone wrote on your behalf and call it a day! Make your working relationship with an MBA Admissions consultant a partnership.

    5.Stand Out
    Apply strategies, which make your profile stand out. Evangelizing your personal brand is only part of the picture. You will need a compelling storyline to make your profile stand out from the crowd.

    success_mba-coaching-paris

    “Because we’ve got you covered…”

    6. Contact Alumni
    Speak with alumni. The more recent the alum, the more valuable their insight will be on how the school currently operates. It is always wise to visit the campus and attend an information session when feasible.

    7. The Interview
    When you are invited to an interview, you are almost there. Leave nothing to chance. Train with an communications specialist used to handling the press. If they’ve trained CEOs, they can certainly train you. Remember, this is when you must seal the deal.

    If you have questions, contact CAREO for a free professional evaluation.

    (If you have enjoyed this article, please click the thumbs up icon and let us know! Be social & share.)

    Article Title: MBA Coaching: The Ultimate Content Strategist Playbook
    Photographs: curated by ES

    About The Author
    Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

    For further inspiration
    Visit CAREO: Life In The Fast Lane

    Leadership: How To Tackle Authenticity

    roy_leadership

    “Who ever heard the sound of one hand clapping…”

    The best leaders are free from compulsive instincts. They see their career as a mountain stream. Man or woman, they have transformed their need for applause. They roam in the world as lions of self control. They take pleasure in thunder and rain because according to fortune cookie wisdom, the true sound of leadership is silence.

    To really exercise leadership, it is best to be authentic. Take for example, a master chef I know. He works at Wo Fat’s Cantonese kitchen and is know by the name of Mencius. He could speak volumes on leadership. However, he is more at home selecting the finest ingredients from the market. Wok hay drives him crazy. That’s what you would expect from a Taoist leader, who favors the meditative breath of fire.

    On the other side of the world, Socrates taught another path to leadership. He too was obsessed with self-mastery. He understood that diligence and astute planning took place in silence. To settle his mind, he would stroll the streets of Plaka. Although the tavernas and cafes are filled with rhetoricians, he would go for insight elsewhere.

    guernsey_leadership

    “Captain, I’ve spotted Isle della Muerta…”

    Simply put, Socrates preferred to watch the fisherman. He’d contemplate their banter and salty songs. He loved to watch them tenderize the evening’s octopus on the rocks. Performing humble tasks emptied his mind. In this emptiness, he found the meaning of all things. Perhaps, we should do likewise.

    Emptiness is often confused with ignorance. Ignorance however, is more than a lack of knowledge. A lack can be sensibly remedied. It is a question of training. Real ignorance is the misapprehension of all things. Take the case of the Buddha. Although not a sailor, he desired more than a career sea change. He desired smooth sailing.

    hok_leadership

    “When your reflection is just a fleeting fantasy…”

    Determined to achieve this state of being, he sat under a fig tree, legs crossed in a full lotus position. He was resolved not to budge until he was filled with clarity. By learning this lesson, he saw leadership was a question of equilibrium. The mind is a close friend of ignorance and this is the trap. Give the mind conundrums, and it will smile and spin in a vortex of relentless aggravation.

    On the other hand, you could give the mind something nobler to consider such as the following Taoist proverb: “The sound of water is silence.”

    Mojito?

    Article Title: Leadership: How To Tackle Authenticity
    Photographs: (1)manofthemmnt (2)curated by ES (3)stayfr-sh

    About The Author
    Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

    For further inspiration
    Visit Whitefield Consulting Worldwide

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    10 Keys To Successful New Ventures

    kerala_new-ventures

    “Because running new ventures requires careful planning…”

    Insight is key to running new ventures. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs are caught off guard. The thrill of new ventures becomes a heady tonic. In his book “The E-Myth Revisited”, Michael Gerber makes a strong pitch for solid business planning. Nobody gets rich quick. It is hard and laborious work. New ventures must be proactive and run a tight ship. There are no short-cuts.

    Remaining Diligent
    Entrepreneurs are usually well-versed with their products or services. Operational management however, is equally as important to new Ventures. This means paying close attention to administrative tasks such as sales, marketing, finance, and accounting.

    Honest consideration should be given to bringing in a partner. No man is an island. New ventures need a solid and trained team. There is no shame in asking for guidance. Start with a sounding board before you get into the mechanics of building a road map.

    Drafting a business plan should clearly be the next step. Knowledge of PMP, SWOT matrix and “What If” scenarios will prepare you to avoid pitfalls and tackle unforeseen challenges. Give serious consideration to plotting a business model as a prelude to any business planning. Make sure you incorporate a short-term and mid-term business plan.

    Although new ventures are not for everyone, they can be terribly exciting. You will need foresight. Building a coherent strategy implies understanding the rules of execution. Don’t forget to have alternative plans with an exit strategy. Things do not always go according to plan.

    Remember, calculated risks are still risks. Be consistent. Exploiting opportunities in a fast moving market requires you to be quick on your toes.

    spring_new-ventures

    “To every thing there is a season under heaven…”

    Negligence
    To overcome growing pains, hire a formidable administrative team. Maintain a positive cash flow. Telltale signs of weak organizations can be traced to inept leadership. Listed below are potential hazards for new ventures:

    1) Poor Customer Service
    There is no excuse for poor customer service. Every client demands the best.

    2) No Unique Value Proposition
    Companies need to define and articulate their value proposition. Create a platform for sustainable and competitive advantage.

    3) Operational Deficiencies
    Poor internal communications is a dead end policy formula. Staff must be well coordinated and work together. That’s why its called teamwork. Inculcate a culture of transparency and openness.

    4) Unethical practices
    Eschew all short-term selfish objectives. Top executives should promote social norms and principles as moral agents. Productivity incentives should be implemented to boost results and employee morale. People must be given a reason to work hard. Otherwise, they will not be committed.

    5) Creativity
    An absence of innovation and employee empowerment will hurt progress and stifle new ideas. Kill creativity and you might as well close up shop. They should buttress your strategic vision.

    If you have a weak sales force, perhaps your compensation plan is unattractive. Nobody needs a high employee turnover rate. This is like managing a sinking ship. Only hire competent people. Forget bias or nepotism. Keep your organizational structure as flat as possible. By doing so, decisions can be taken quickly and plans made actionable.

    6) Channel Strategy
    Some new ventures just stress their products. This is insufficient. Even if your product is great, you need strong channel partners. Forget corporate politics. Playing games with people is always detrimental, and leads to dissatisfaction internally and externally.

    7) Misrepresentation of brand
    Do what you say you will do. Products & services must deliver on what you claim.

    8) Financial Control
    Make sure you calculate a percentage of profit for reinvestment. You can not grow without future capital.

    9) Sound Marketing
    All new ventures need a solid marketing plan. Brand strategy should incorporate the social media, engage the client, and stand for something. Never be complacent. Control your new ventures by making them human. Empowerment and respect cost nothing. Disrespect and low moral are game changers, but not the way you think. They back fire and blow up in your face.

    10) Operational Intelligence
    The purpose of risk management is to identify potential problems before they occur. To do so entails early and in-depth risk analysis through the collaboration and involvement of all parties involved in running the your new ventures.

    Brainstorming is crucial. Participatory leadership understands the value of new ideas and welcomes them no matter their source. Risk management should comprise: Identifying, outlining and analyzing potential risks; A course of action to handle identified risks, as well as the implementation of risk control when and where necessary.

    Business leadership should be unafraid of flexibility. Adjust your strategy when necessary. Keep in place a set of checks and balances – especially with regards to internal financial controls. Trust but verification ought to be the organization’s mantra.

    When All Is Said And Done
    New ventures with inept leadership usually fail in the first or second year, but even established companies can stumble badly when they outgrow the capabilities of the founding team. According to The Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, five years after new establishments were founded (1995, 2000 and 2005 respectively), 50%, 49% and 47% were still in operation.

    To be a successful and sustaining entrepreneur requires vision, strategy, execution and constant diligence. Sacrifice is part of the game. You must have the courage to live your business. A new generation of young entrepreneurs think the road is smooth and a fast track to easy wealth. Easy is an illusion. Success hinges on hard work, diligence, and the ability to harness opportunity when it is identified. Great managers are as important as a great team.

    The good news is that well-run new ventures thrive no matter what, but learn from their mistakes – making certain they don’t repeat them.

    (If you enjoyed this article, please click the thumbs up icon and let us know! Be social and share.)

    Article Title: 10 Keys To Successful New Ventures
    Photographs: curated by ES

    About The Author
    James D. Roumeliotis is an entrepreneur and expert on luxury brand management based in Montreal, Canada.

    For further inspiration
    Visit RedHerring: Life In The Fast Lane redddherring

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    MBA Admissions: Getting Started? Fast Track Your MBA !

    ankle_mba-admissions

    “With our MBA Admissions Consulting services, you can be on easy street…”

    Years ago, we pioneered a series of MBA Admissions strategies to fast track any MBA candidate’s applications to the top business schools. By doing so, we removed the guesswork and counseled MBA wannabes to foster their personal brand. I reasoned that successful branding strategies used in the corporate world could work just as well for an individual. When I launched CAREO, I was pleased to see our clients empowered with the opportunity to fulfill their professional MBA aspirations.

    As a boutique MBA Admissions consultancy, we specialize in personalized attention. Why loose time or make mistakes? Our holistic approach will maximize your an MBA admissions with a positive outcome. I have outlined below the advantages of partnering with us as your personal brand and MBA admissions evangelists.

    carmen_mba-admissions

    “Why leave your future to chance…”

    1. Personalized Service
    We start by helping you harmonize your professional aspirations with your personal goals. Our holistic approach to MBA admissions begins by getting to know you. We help you target the most appropriate MBA programs. With a workable timeline and actionable plan, you are ready to take on the world.

    2. Establishing An Action Plan
    With our comprehensive approach to business school admissions, why not take advantage of services we pioneered. Once you sign-up, we plan your strategy, create a PowerCV, give you feedback, and offer suggestions on what to include in your essays.

    Once your target MBA programs are selected, we examine the details and attack the requirements. With guidance each step of the way, success lies in your hands.

    3. MBA Essay Analysis
    Don’t kid yourself. You can have a brilliant track record and a great GMAT and still be rejected. Your MBA essays must be powerful and persuasive. We’ll show you how to write compelling stories to make your essays stand out. Constructive feedback guarantees that what you submit will portray your candidacy in the best light.

    A word of caution: Do not worry about the competition. It is pointless. What you can do however, is to manage the assets you have on your side. Having a strong personal brand will mark out your profile for serious consideration. Let our keen marketing strategists show you how. The sweat equity is on us.

    4. MBA Application Procedures
    Application creation also demands a well-crafted CV, selecting and preparing the ideal recommenders corresponding to your MBA targets. Rely on us to empower your CV, navigate your essay drafts, whilst polishing them like the diamonds you can see at Cartier. Getting a ‘yes’ on your MBA Admissions is so much easier.

    5. The Final Touches
    Just when you think the process is over, there is always one last thing to do. Count on our feedback sessions and interview training. When you are called to interview, you will have the confidence to shine like a star.

    Getting Started? Fast Track Your MBA Admissions!
    Let’s Talk. Email us directly and submit your contact details. Let’s discuss your requirements. We offer both package rates and hourly fees. Choose the option best suited to your schedule.

    FOR A FREE PROFILE EVALUATION
    CONTACT US NOW & GET STARTED

    For further tips and inspiration: http://www.whitefieldconsulting.com

    Interview Prep Is More Than High Stakes Poker

    boots_how-to-interview

    “Because you’re waiting for the sun…”

    Standing up to an interview can feel like the Spanish Inquisition. So how do you proceed? By understanding human psychology. Learn how to drive the interview. In any interview scenario, focus your strategy on selling the product. Scupper the idea of getting up close and personal.

    Most people get stressed out of their heads by the interview. Simply put, nobody wants to feel that they are standing up to a police grilling. Some of the questions are classics and others are positioned to psyche you out such as Tell me about your favorite lost weekend and why?

    Start by by analyzing the interview process. When the interview is broken down into components, it will no longer feel like torture. It will feel like high stakes poker. Swallowing a cocktail of Rescue and Grey Goose on ice won’t give you courage. Solid coaching and practice will.

    Let’s start by deconstructing the interview inquisition. First, there are no thumbscrews. It is a battle of wits and chemistry. You might be a rhetorician like Seneca, but if there is no sale, you loose. Keep your objective in mind. Examine your motives. Play the interview as a game. Your success lies in the details. However, do not drown the interviewer with unnecessary minutia. Lay out clear points. Imagine you work at Cartier showcasing prospective clients precious stones.

    To hit your target, know the parameters, i.e. the added value you can deliver. Vary your message delivery. This sends a clear signal to the interviewer that you understand the game and its arcane rules of selection. There are volumes written on strategic interviewing. Familiarize yourself with some techniques. Research the position you are seeking. Know the title and the job function. Match your experience to the firm’s wish list.

    inter_how-to-interview

    “Remember, first impressions count…”

    Last week, we had a client who was interviewing with a major player in cosmetics. He already anticipated one of the key questions: Why would a guy want to work in cosmetics? The position in merchandising was to promote a woman’s beauty products.

    This question is challenging and makes several assumptions. First, can a man really know about beauty creams? In fairness to his quick study prior to the interview, he understood his handicap. He also had to prove why he was the best person the firm could select for this posting. The interviewer’s intention would be to get him flustered.

    Providing he was tops, he stood a chance. However, what happens when the interviewer has made up his or her mind before the interview. No one can “win” in a scenario where the result is predetermined. This is why we always counsel clients: address your worst fear, then go forward with confidence.

    job_how-to-interview

    “Sure, I’ll take the job…”

    Interviewing well demands intense prep. It means practice. It implies finding your stride under pressure. Another “faux pas” is first impressions. Presentation is not superficial. Body piercings may be all the rage in the hood but not at an interview. Life is a game. Do not focus on the consequences. Relax. Master your brief and leave the outcome to the Big Boss. If you do so, you will get the results you seek.

    May the force be with you.

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    Article Title:Interview Prep Is More Than High Stakes Poker
    Photographs: (1)szshap (2)gentlemenofthestreet (3)uh-la-la-land

    About The Author
    Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

    For further inspiration, visit CAREO