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Gist from the Career Perspectives and Networking Conference, Panel Discussion with Young Alumni

This is the concise form of Panel Discussion with Young Alumni in the Second Career Perspectives and Networking Conference, held in University at Buffalo, 04/08/2016.

Things to look out for in your first job >
Believe in yourself.
Estimate what are the skills that you have.
Most places will train you.

Most jobs try to know how is your thinking and approach for a problem.
Once you are in a job , or offered a job, Identify where you are in. Is it truly where you want to be.
Always assess the potential ability to learn or earn money. Take a step back and try to understand.
Grab the opportunity that you really want. Then there is no stress attached to it and you will enjoy your career path.
There is no way to know everything you have to do. Do not be afraid to fail. Take your experience as learning steps. Make sure you learn continuously, learn from your job.
Do not be afraid to learn on superiors. There may be questions about priority. Feel free to say no. When you are in doubt don’t be afraid to get the authority with higher vision to set priority for you.
Having too many deadlines and projects with low completion rate is not the kind of reputation that you want to carry with you. Make sure you get the right people to contribute to your work.
Make sure you add education and skills to your profile from every professional experience you get.

What happens when you are searching for a job >
If you have the talent that company is looking for then you have the ball in your court, don’t be afraid to leverage on that.
Evolve yourself into something social.
Communicate.
Communicate.
Communicate.
Differentiate yourself.

Resume gets you to door. Conversation keeps you in the room.
Thinks that you talk about in interview >
Networking is huge. Network as much as you can. Every person you meet puts you in a larger web where you can reach out to anyone in it.
What you bring to the table is crucial. Pitching your part is important. Practice your 30 seconds pitch.
Demonstrate aptitude and passion in interviews.
Companies look for not young but young minded people.

Take control and ownership of assigned task. Find time and drive it forward. If there is a bad employee in your team, good employees will be sick of that one bad employee. Learn to work with all kinds of people. And come up with solutions that your business needs. Interpersonal skills are often big in working.

Tell a story about your passion based on your resume. Resume is your roadmap. Expand on your resume.
Communication skills need to be demonstrated in the interview conversation. It cannot really come out of your resume. How do you communicate about your passion about something you have done? May be you talk loud, or express it. Whatever it is. if you are truly passionate about it then you love what you are going to talk about.
Just show it. Be that guy!
Put hobbies that are really interesting.
Research about your company. You cannot send the same resume to 30 different company. Make connections through resume and then try to show your passion by building on the story from resume.
On Cover Letter
Cover Letter should be very focused to the company. Not the things that you would like to put as hobbies.

Most of the panelists did not have cover letter but the resume had a hook to sell the self.

Salary negotiation

You are trying to put a price on your labour. Check out some websites. If it is your first job, then you probably do not want to negotiate too much. If you are bringing lot of skills that they need then you can leverage on that, because you have room for expansion. Education is things that you retain, bring to your job and develop yourself. So, have an honest conversation with the HR.
Salary negotiation is very difficult. Larger companies usually offer less.
Too many companies rely on salary.com and glassdoor.com. But there is a difference. So it is a tough negotiation. If you truly like the job, then may be you can ask for the number you have in head.
Negotiate on graduate school reimbursement, vacation, phone bill reimbursement. All these ancillary things could be negotiated.
Have a number in head.
Give them that.
Be able to back up your number. By telling them here is what I make, here is the cost of living adjustment. They know that you are being honest, when you can justify and give your number.
“I don’t want to be looking for a job for a long time” is a tactical way to negotiate on salary.
It is difficult to know your value. But you should know what you are worth.
In today’s world health insurance is huge. So, see if the company offers good health insurance coverage which could be as beneficial compared to another offer with lower insurance coverage but higher salary.

Best Wishes

Ajeya

PS: Thanks to Amit Narayanan for inspiration

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2016 in Lesson

 

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The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player: Becoming the Kind of Person Every Team Wants

The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player: Becoming the Kind of Person Every Team WantsThe 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player: Becoming the Kind of Person Every Team Wants by John C. Maxwell
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It quotes a man’s inspiration to believe in bible and then fight because he interpreted ” If a man can make peace by fighting, he is a peacemaker”. This on the initial few pages may put off any peaceful reader.

On further tolerance and reading on,
It quotes
” It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinions; it is easy in solitude to live after your own; but the great man is he who in the midst of he crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Such quotes makes you feel that you can write something and leave your name behind as a quotable quote.

The book is small and readable. If you care about baseball , there is some example from that. Quoting movies in a leadership book was strange. This book does that too. On the preface you see that there was someone to write and proofread this small book. This makes me believe that you need a bunch of quotes and movies and let someone else write the book and proofread and put their names in acknowledgement. Not Ghostwriting!

In sum total this book is a miracle, as it has very little to offer but still makes it to the shelves of leadership skills collection in university.

View all my reviews

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2016 in Book Review, Review, Uncategorized

 

Ethics 101: What Every Leader Needs To Know Ethics 101: What Every Leader Needs To Know by John C. Maxwell

Ethics 101: What Every Leader Needs To KnowEthics 101: What Every Leader Needs To Know by John C. Maxwell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The book discusses some quotes and some history of successful people.

It talks about the “golden rule of any faith” which is roughly
‘treat another person in the way you would like yourself to be treated’ (with citations)

Some nice quotes:-
JC Penney ” money is properly the byproduct of building men as partners”

“Pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes ” John Ruskin

it says that competitive pride brings doom.

Goethe “things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least”

It urges one to be prepared to seize your golden opportunity

And also states that people who know their weaknesses are rarely taken by surprise.

A small book , a quick read.

View all my reviews

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2016 in Book Review, Review

 

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Yellow hibiscus

Gopi had these beautiful birds collected in a wired cage. A few trees and flowery bushes, especially the red hibiscus in the background play with the eyes making one forget about the green coloured metal that made the cage. Birds of all colours were visible due to this spectacular arrangement. And this was a definite treat for the eyes whenever I visited Gopi’s place. My belief in freedom for all, won’t let me be to happy at seeing the caged bird, though!

We had this kid of the neighbour’s – Syamili who used to admire these birds. And she used to draw the birds on paper with her pencil colours. And to my fascination, the birds would sit still just so that she could complete her picture. She was very considerate about the birds too, where her drawing would not last for more than 10 minutes at a stretch. And a definite treat awaits the bird which agreed to stand still for this child artist. She would often have some piece of broken fallen fruit, sometimes mango or on other times guava that she picked up on her way from the street.

While me and Gopi would engage in the musings of the teen world viz. Cricket and science, this kid used to enjoy her company with the caged birds. Once, she used to have long conversations with the yellow bird, which was her favourite. She did the talking and to her spoken words apparently the bird was nodding or tweeting. Or was it the kid’s wild imagination! I had to check this out personally. And one day I could do that sacrificing the valuable time normally devoted to perpetual thoughts of the spellbinding universe also known as “nerd” talk.

Syamili was asking her friend, the yellow bird she had named as ‘Appu’. ” Appu, how are you today ?” . To my bewilderment a sober single twirp could be heard in reply.

She continued “Why , are you sad today ?”

Appu : ( no reply)

And I was about to rejoice on the my belief, my thought, that the twirp heard before was faux tympanic simulation

Syamili kept her colour pencils and writing pad on the ground. Some red ants which was searching for its way continued its pursuit from the damp soil onto the writing pad, only to move fast out the pad and back to the damp soil.

She said ” I believe that if I was closed in a cage like you, I would have been happy for a while. Because, I will feel safe and I would be taken care of by Gopi. I would have food and water. And I do not have to worry about finding my food. Or I would not be scared by any cats or bigger birds that may attack me , if I were a bird.”

Appu was nonchalant and seemed to look at a distance in deep thought.

” But , then after a while I would get bored, for I cannot meet any new birds like me. And I would be bored, I guess”

And there was a definite sharp tweet from Appu. Oh boy! It was as if the sound penetrated my bones.

“So I guess, now you are bored, unhappy and sad at the thought that you have no freedom to really fly”

Appu nodded ‘yes’.

“I heard Gopi is going on a tour for a week. I guess this would be a good chance for you to fly around and make new friends. May be you can return from your tour when brother Gopi also returns.”

Appu had turned its head at an angle as if in thought.

” OK ! I will ask Gopi, but I am not sure if he will let you out. You know he loves all the birds here, that is why he takes care of you very well. I am pretty sure that he would like to see you safe here all the time.”

saying this Syamili turned . At the same time Gopi was there with food for the birds, some grains and milk. The eager child wanted to feed the grains to the birds, and Gopi allowed her. Her tiny little hand would be as big as the birds themselves. And Gopi was concerned if the birds beaks would hurt her hand. The birds were delicate and enjoyed their dinner thoroughly, they all made some sound which was like a chorus music.

Syamili requested Gopi to let the birds go away for one week and come back when he returns from his trip. Gopi patted on the child’s head saying ” I am sure they won’t come back even if they try to . This is because Freedom is heavenly pleasure. And no creature would trade freedom for anything else. I feed them and take care of them . These have no meaning compared to them enjoying their own freedom. I appreciate your concern Syamili but I will not let them out. ”

“But then, have can you go on a trip and enjoy your freedom and not let them go ?”

For which Gopi replied ” I like them so much that I don’t want them to leave”.

Meanwhile, some friends had just brought in the news of a new finding of rose apple tree. And a child’s mind is so dynamic Syamili said a quick ‘bye’ to Appu and ran with the folks for her share of rose apples.

 

Next week, I was sitting at home like a caged bird, with nowhere to go. It was raining very heavily. I had not joined Gopi on his trip because it was his family’s tour. And then I had 2-3  days passing between the 3 teas that I had everyday in the morning , the brunch and the evening. Clouds parted and it was sunny for rest of the holidays. I joined the local group of Cricket gang and went to hangout with them. And the 10 -day school break just got over and I thought I should visit Gopi just before we were busy again.

There was this pleasant smell of from the red hibiscus flowers from Gopi’s garden when I took the turn to the entrance of his house. I could hear Syamili’s giggle as I entered the gate. Gopi was there playing with a puppy dog which was licking Syamili all over. And more giggles followed as the puppy played with her.

After a few exchange of pleasantries regarding the days of raining and his trip and my Cricket and his new puppy, I felt that something was missing in the background. The smell of hibiscus was somewhat stronger inside the plot. I checked to see how big the plant has become and there were undoubtedly lot of flowers ready to join the many others which have fell on the ground. And in the foreground to my surprise the bird’s cage was empty. I could not help wonder and asked Gopi what had happened? I asked if he had let the bird’s embrace their freedom. And then Gopi replied ” The birds were all dead when I returned from the trip.”  I was shocked and asked ” how and why ?”

He explained   ” There was this strip of coconut leaf hanging from a dwarf coconut tree that just about touched the bird’s cage. The ants had initially apparently come for the grains and later consumed the bird’s too. And when I returned the cage had only dead birds. And I cleaned the cage and threw all the remnants at the base of the hibiscus plant.”

I said “that is very sad, If only you had let them out . Atleast the guilt of causing their death, by capturing their freedom could have been avoided”.

With nothing more to say. I hung around with the new puppy. And left in sometime taking with me some of the hibiscus’ smell and the little girl’s innocent giggle. And at the gate when I turned to wave ‘bye’ to Gopi and Syamili , my eyes may have deceived me but I definitely saw a yellow hibiscus flower among the red.

 

PS: Adapted from True Story by Aneesh

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2016 in creativity

 

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AC Gayatri

Srikaalahasti is a really very very old temple of Worship. It is so old that the temple tower had collapsed some time back.  The temple is visited by people all over the world. It is situated in a very hot place for people who are not used to Andhra Pradesh.  Therefore, someone had very generously provided Air conditioning units in the sanctum . It is so positioned that we feel that the A/C also gets a feel of being side-deity-idol, as is common in many temples. Definitely the units there would feel so auspicious themselves by having Hundi in front of them. And therefore it is of utmost importance for a devotee not only to pray to God but also pay obeisance to these divine entities. A prayer to go with that in the metric of Gayatri is given here.

 

|| ॐ उष्णनाशकाय विद्महे

शीतकारकाय विद्महे

तन्नो ए\सी प्रचोदयात् ||

> In Romanaagari

||Om Ushnanasakaaya vidmahe

sheetakaarakaaya dheemahi

tanno A/C prachodayat ||

 

 

All Rights Reserved:

If you are using this for any commercial / advertisement purpose you should get the permission from the author

 

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2016 in creativity

 

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Snow

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The boy once asked for a land full of sugar

The God asked “fine or coarse grain, dear ?”

The boy said “finest fine is fine for me”.

And it was granted in cold white fine dust.

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The boy was mesmerized by chilly bus rides

Through the clouds on road which winded up the ghats

He asked for days of travel through the clouds

On the land, and there was cloud on the roads.

Inner Clock Tower Commons UB

The girl would shout with childish clamour

Excited when the container of rice flour

Fell on the floor, for she could walk and slide,

As if on snow; the roads were spread with white.

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The baby elephant who once tasted salt,in infant fantasy,

Wanted a world covered in the white powder,so tasty,

All over the surface, where it could roll, happily

Have a little or all whenever, it was the snow.

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The child in the grown-up wanted to fall

And never break a bone whatever the fall

And the coincidence happened near the fall

Niagara and the lake effect made it fall.

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The teen who got a sniff was addicted to the drug

And wanted the dreams through the stuff come true

In a sense of a joyous life full still on the brew

And sleep and walk on the white dust of the crew.

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Taking upon the task to complete the task all at once

How much was needed was beyond the measurement in tons

So, it was made simple, to let the cloud pass over the road

Make it feel chilly, cold, dusty and out of the world.

IMG_20160112_131044

 

The snow was made, not without much thought.

Based on the wishes as dreamy colourless white,

Shapeless, flaky, powdery, featureless sight,

Restless, slippery, forgery, seamless light.

IMG_20160112_131005

PS: Walk on the snow, Courtesy – Lake effect Advisory at Buffalo.

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2016 in creativity, poem

 

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Mental block

 

A wanderer by soul would wonder

To act, to go on to achieve what

To have the dream enact

Made possible without a bar

 

As I said I had to act I ran

To catch the bus if I can

Which was powerful yet busy

I thought I could catch it in few strides

 

So I ran, my legs moved so slow

I felt I moved, I was heavy,

But even after a fair “run” I did,

Made me nothing closer to destiny

 

Finding myself breathing heavily

It was not so much fun as a try,

Not even an exercise had made

To my schedule in a long time

 

The weighing machine doesn’t lie

Comments on my posted photos

Say the same that I have grown

And fatter than I thought I was

 

It was fall and trees had shed

Leaves that decorated the branches

Now lay coloring the ground

In hues other than green henceforth

 

Somehow the bus had waited

For the less privileged who could not

Make it on time, for it was usual

Among students who over slept and what-not

 

I meant business on the way out of bus

Of the bus that carried so similar dreams

All burst out onto the ground but

Kept moving without wind that blew the leaves

 

I barged into the class and I was

The presenter of a topic yet unknown

With guts of steel I approached the audience

Only to find me breathless with a struggled inhale

 

I blabbered on and on till they could take

No more; that was the idea to get

The applause that was uninvited

And a way to react and break away

 

The wind was cold and air was heavy

As lighthearted and peaceful I tried to be

But why I could not, I did not know, till I made

The discovery in a couple of steps to go on the way

 

I had the stimulant from the solace of

Tea that almost always had that punch

As I walked I came to face

The childish face that I admired

 

This kid had light lit on her face

And I had told her that at once

She took it for something else

Emotions of life that I had not explored

 

I was struggling to breathe, air I lose

Couldn’t Guess what she read on my face

It would have had evoked a joke in case

Lest I was stuck with something in my nose

 

Then it struck on me as I went my way ahead

The transparent look on the child left behind

What stuck on was just the mucus I had

To blow, to let off the blockage and all was set

 

 

PS:

Thanks to Dr.M

 

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2015 in creativity, poem

 

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Life Lessons from violin class : Lesson 6: Health conscious practicing

If there is one thing in life,that is more dearer than the life itself, it is health. Life without good health is a misery. And life is maintained through good health. Longevity of life, if one wishes it, is not very pleasant without an accompanying good health. A good marriage between health and life makes things very easy. If health is lost, everything is lost.

This applied in all kinds of learning. Some believe that great thinkers, scientists et al are so focused on their work that they forget their health and put their life to risk. It is very untrue. How Great MK Gandhi took care of his health is a well documented in his writings. Thought the focus of his writings are more towards betterment of society in general, this point is often forgotten.

In a learning environment, we need practice. In this mood of practicing health should not be forgotten. A musical instrument, such as the violin, if practiced with right posture promotes good health. A wrong practice could deteriorate the health too. That is a direct relation between good practice and good health. Therefore, it becomes very important to practice in a correct way than head blindly towards quantity of practice rather than quality of practice.

My sister who went to doctor for any illness, straightaway got one same reply from all the doctors she visited. That is reduce your fat, take care of your health. It is common knowledge that a healthy mind resides in a healthy body. For it was written “Sareeramadyam ghalu dharmasadhanam”. (शरीरमाद्यं खलु धर्मसाधनम्).

Read more from this series here :-

  • Life Lessons from violin class : Lesson 1 : Do not think ! - After learning some basic notes on the staves I was told to know it by heart. I had to memorize it, and then tell when I see a note. I used to count, say memorizing only the first not in space , the “F” on Treble clef. From there on I would count and then […]
  • Life Lessons from violin class : Lesson 2 : Don’t work hard - The power of doing work is a single most important criteria that distinguishes a human as a social animal compared to others. The collective and individual efforts towards a work makes one understand the minute and the big picture at the same time. All work is not easy. It is also possible that some workaholics […]
  • Life Lessons from violin class : Lesson 3 : Emphasize on Quality of Practice - I read “ Debunking the 10,000 hours rule “  after my previous lesson learned. My previous lesson learned said about not working hard. The working hard part is broken into small steps taken one at a time to overcome the hardness of the work. This works for people who are ready to be steady and […]
  • Life Lessons from violin class : Lesson 4 : Don’t tap your foot out loud. Focus on what you play. - In violin class I have been taught to keep the rhythm of the song by tapping with the foot. The human metronome works parallel to the song being played. Often we  have to shift attention from the song and listen to see if the rhythm and beat is correct per bar. This shift in attention […]
  • Life Lessons from violin class : Lesson 5 : Practice till perfection - Practice, practice, practice. Quantity and Quality all matters. Playing any musical instrument is all about practice. It is all the more true for the violin. As a student I have to practice. I know I can. I know I will. But how much ? Till my hands ache ? Till I feel it is enough […]
 
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Posted by on November 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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I have a girl

This is a story/event as told by my friend Sarath.

There was this day in the middle of some other days. Sarath was travelling in the Delhi Metro. The climate was normal, as normal as Delhi could be. And the time was perfect, just like any other time. The travel was regular, as expected out of any Delhi commuter. Life became pleasant, in memory of this and many other funny incidents. As one may not expect, this was just the same unassuming, uneventful commute in life a Delhite. The train coach was full and still people came in. Occupying whatever space is left. The people quite talented at enterprising to get a foothold on this competitive world. And so there was this constant feel of getting pushed and getting squeezed in the crowded train coach. Pick-pockets create an additional effort to increase the pressure so that their job becomes easier. In middle of this there was this old lady who was quite self aware. She shouted at the boy who was standing next to her. For she was getting pushed. And if it was just the push for which the shout was aimed then again no one can help it. Further, the lady shouted at the boy for being disrespectful to women, and probably she spitted out quite a bit of her thoughts with venomous tongue standing for the collective emotions of womanhood. It is very unfortunate that the boy, whatever his intentions (known or unknown) got a tongue lashing in the public. A man of status in the boy could not bear it anymore. And there was something that he had to do. He had to prove his stand about his self respect and also his respect for the womanhood. What could he do? What reason can convince this lady that of his good upbringing? He needed a good defense shield.

With much courage this guy found a girl of his age next to him. He called out to the lady and said ” I have a girl, why do you think that I should bother you?” Saying so , he put his hand over the girl next to him.  This for sure silenced the lady. As an observer Sarath must have expected some reply from the lady. The crowd must have felt at peace for the defense of the boy and their expectation of an upright society, the boy being a building block of it.

And not a word was spoken later. Until the lady got out of train for her destination, grabbing the hand of the girl.

She was probably the lady’s daughter.

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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The gist of marketing : Lessons from root

Any business needs to project itself, get noticed, get work, do work, get appreciated, and create a foundation for future work. The foundation so created improves the posture of the business. Any new business has to face competition from established business giants in the field. Bigger businesses can only be beaten by unique selling proposition (USP). This objective in a startup helps to keep the focus in niche creation. For this a fair understanding of the market, the competitors and their USP is absolute necessity. Business startups come with something unique to the market, this may be an innovation, novel idea, cheaper solution or a better solution. If something is cheaper or better than existing solutions then finding the USP is not a big deal. This focus of the startup paves way for the reference model implementation. This may be one or more of the first few clients who trust the startup and does business with it. These reference models are the stepping stones for future business. This work is going to be the talking point, selling point and reference for most of the next few works. Hence it becomes extraordinarily important to put efficient work in action in these projects. The idea is that after this humble beginnings of perfections, it will become a habit, a character that the business may be trusted upon. Primarily a business exists for its ideology, vision and appropriate solutions provided.

The basics of reaching out to potential market can be listed into three steps:-

  • Creating Interest

Just like any marketing campaigns the objective of this step is to get the attention of the prospect. This requires communication with appropriate professionals in the business, getting their background information and their interests. To create interest, to stand out from the crowd the business need to prove that it is unique from the rest. This is the base USP. Once the prospect feels the uniqueness of the business proposition, then the idea need to be established. Here, previous works act as a good reference to prove the USP.

  • Showing Competence

An active needs to show that it has stuff up its sleeves to meet the requirements of the prospects. This proof of competence is an integral part of startups. Competence is the most visible aspect of business that a client sees.

  • Building trust

To build trust in business it is imperative to have good standing with previous clients. Most often it is the word of mouth marketing and reference from previous clients that get the business moving rather than other modes of marketing. Therefore, it is of special importance that whatever happens, in business truth always triumphs. Given a chance, always tell the truth. Truth should be told so that the statements made to client do not change when asked again.

Courtesy: Based on marketing strategy of environmental engineering in The Solutions Centre, Kochi. On 20th anniversary of the business.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2015 in Lesson

 

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