Management | The learning curve is the only teacher

Management | The learning curve is the only teacher

With the economy growing at a robust pace, employment opportunities are multiplying, particularly in the rural sector, with companies focusing on the untapped potential there.

Mint presents a fortnightly column on job prospects in the sector.

I have joined the agribusiness division of a large retail organization. I am surprised to see that I have not been given any work for the last three months and our seniors lack clarity on future strategies. Should I continue?

Retail business is new to India, and is also very large in terms of size. Even for a small project like building a house, the owner gets lost if you ask too many questions on the exact size of each room, where exactly the dressing table would be placed, how many switches you would be putting in each room, etc. The retail business is a million times larger in size and hence the uncertainty associated with it also gets multiplied that many times. Even the top management is trying its hand at retail for the first time, and the only teacher, here, is the learning curve. Therefore, you can expect changes in strategies on a regular basis. These changes are nothing but a response to new realities that the organization encounters each day. The task with your organization is too big and the time, too little. Hence, the top management may not have time to keep every individual informed on their current thinking and what makes it change on a day-to-day basis. Remember that there are seasoned business houses behind retail and they are burning millions every day looking for the same clarity that you want from them. As a matured officer, you need to contribute your best as and when an opportunity is available. If you choose to support your superiors unconditionally, your support will be treated as invaluable to the organization. This positive attitude will get you more work and higher responsibilities, and you will be on your way to being one of the key contributors.

I am excited to find that agribusiness is an upcoming opportunity. What all does it include?

Agribusiness includes: The agri-inputs sector such as seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, for raising crops; commodities trading, namely, the buying and selling of cereals, pulses and spices; warehousing and logistics for storage of crops; banking for crop and equipment loans, crop insurance, etc.; and food processing.

In short, agribusiness means business related to agriculture, right from raising crops to buying and selling them, and the services required to do that efficiently.

I am 26 years old and have been working in the supply chain management of a retail company. I intend to pursue higher education abroad from 2009 onwards. I have been getting several job offers from competitors. Should I continue or change?

If you are keen on pursuing higher education abroad, then staying put in a job is a must. A good amount of weightage is awarded to work experience by foreign universities, and you must make the most on this front.

Continuation in one job helps in proving consistency and reflects your commitment to the work. A relatively longer stint will also enable you to talk concretely of your contribution to the organization. Constant switching of jobs, on the other hand, will have a negative impact.

If you are not very sure about pursuing higher education, then you can always shift, after evaluating your offer in terms of your employer, the job, the compensation, etc.

Ajay Gupta is CEO of Comments and feedback are welcome at