December 11, 2013

What I Did Not Learn at IIT - Transitioning from Campus to Workplace

Every year graduating college students are told they are destined for success. But what are the habits and behaviors that actually lead to success? How do graduates effectively transition from structured university life to managing their careers?

While there are many paths to success, there are certain behaviors and habits common across all industries. Drawing on his own experiences, Rajeev Agarwal, the Founder and CEO of MAQ Software, concisely explains the steps he took for a successful career.

Agarwal realized that an IIT degree and technical knowledge was not enough to succeed. He had to learn new habits, behaviors, and thinking to distinguish himself. He had to learn to look for learning opportunities in everything; not just in classrooms. For example, by working at Maruti Suzuki as a trainee engineer, Agarwal learned firsthand about Japanese management techniques. He found these techniques useful and later in his career, adapted them to his own company.

But the lessons after IIT were not always enjoyable, sometimes they revealed areas for personal growth. Despite graduating from IIT, Agarwal shares how he had to improve his English to complete his post-IIT degrees. This was a difficult but ultimately very valuable lesson. Now Agarwal teaches his own employees a written communications workshop.

Encouraging graduates to look at their careers over a 40-year span, Agarwal explains that successful people do not wait to discover their passion before working hard. Successful people choose to be passionate about every job they have. No job is beneath a successful person if they believe it will lead to personal and professional growth.

Many people mistakenly tell themselves they’ll do extraordinary work after they’re promoted. They reason that they can wait for the job they will enjoy the most before working hard. That is the wrong attitude according to Agarwal. To get promoted, employees need to do extraordinary work in the job they already have.

Graduating students must learn that their jobs involve more than just performing the task they were hired to do. As employees they must realize that their job is to advance the company. To succeed, they need to look out for the company’s interests.

Through a skillful blend of personal stories and checklists, Agarwal shows graduating students the practices he learned and uses every day. The little bits of dedication here and there all add up – showing up to work on time, getting proper rest and nutrition, always striving to learn, and owning the results of their actions all build toward success.

Transitioning from college to the workplace can be difficult. Graduates are required to determine their own lives, making several important decisions before the age of 30. But students can find comfort in the fact that so many before them have faced the same situation. By sharing his own experiences, Agarwal hopes to ease students’ transition from campus to the workplace. Well-reasoned and well-written, What I did not learn at IIT is just the guide students need as they begin their careers.