Working in Kathmandu vs. New York City

I have been pretty lucky to have had the opportunity to work in both Kathmandu and New York City. I love both cities for their own reasons. The statements below are based on my experiences working in a technology company/teaching at a college in Kathmandu and working in technology companies/financial consulting firm/law office in New York City.

nirmal-thapa-in-new-york-city-and-kathmandu

For me, working at a growing technology company in Kathmandu has an underdog feeling to it. One is constantly reading online of major news happening in the US such as acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft , space tourism, commercial drones etc through tech blogs, YouTube etc. Being in Nepal, I felt that Nepal was highly underrated on the technology map of the world. We were not making newspaper headlines for advances in technology or doing innovative things with technology (at least not in a major way yet). I day dreamed of Google knocking down on a startup’s door, buying the company and becoming the first company being bought by Google in Nepal. When I attended a Startup Weekend Kathmandu or a Entrepreneurs for Nepal’s Last Thursdays event, I was always excited to hear and feel the hunger and enthusiasm of the youth. These events made me confident that we also have dynamic entrepreneurial individuals making an impact. In contrast, working in New York City makes me feel like I am where the action is. I walk down the street and people are rushing-rushing to be somewhere. Here, it seems like people are finding so many different and creative ways to make money. There are world renowned entrepreneurs, rising entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs in every corner of New York City. When I attend a Salestech Meetup in Manhattan or a Nepalese in Entrepreneurship event in Queens, you get inspired by the backgrounds, achievements and passion of the people you meet at these events. What makes working in New York City exciting is the energy, the passion and the ambition of the people living here.

I will be sharing more of my experiences in the coming days relating and comparing many things Kathmandu and New York City. Stay tuned. 

 

 

Communicating Well…Perspectives from Nepal

Glocal, a company based in Kathmandu, Nepal managed a two day event through King’s Multi Dimensional Program at King’s College. The objective of the program was to discuss current business situations, challenges, opportunities in Nepal to guide college students and budding entrepreneurs.

I attended many sessions during the two days and enjoyed listening to the panelists. On the CEO UNPLUGGED – Communication Panel, I keenly listened to the perspectives shared by the panelists and asked a question on company culture during the Q&A session(48:20). Enjoy the video.

Being more productive – Part 1

I’m kind of obsessed with becoming more productive than the previous day. There are many strategies that I experiment with now and then. The latest one that I have been experimenting with is the Eisenhower Box. I found out about the Eisenhower Box when I attended a workshop on balancing work life and personal life. So far, I have found the Eisenhower Box to be a helpful guide in prioritizing my daily work and activities.

the eisenhower-box

Learn more at How to be More Productive and Eliminate Time Wasting Activities by Using the “Eisenhower Box

What do you think? Have you used the Eisenhower Box in your life?

Image source: http://jamesclear.com/eisenhower-box

ICT MeetUp V4.0 2016

Prime IT Club is organizing ICT MeetUp V4.0 2016 on June 4-5, 2016 (Saturday and Sunday) at Prime College premises.

Having participated in the first two ICT MeetUps at Prime College, I can say that this is an event worth attending. You will learn from different individuals working on innovative products and services. The atmosphere is laid back and you can attend the sessions that you are really interested in.

To learn more about ICT MeetUp V4.0 2016, visit ICT MeetUp V4.0 2016, Happening On June 4-5,Saturday & Sunday

Finding a Mentor

A mentor is an experienced individual who provides you guidance on your career or helps in your personal growth. I have been very lucky to have four wonderful mentors. They have provided me with valuable advice and guidance over the years. I highly recommend young professionals to find a mentor early in their careers.

So, how do you find a mentor?

If your college has a mentor-mentee program, get involved in it. If not, then you can do other things. First, attend as many events as possible. If you want someone to become your mentor, approach them at the event and politely ask them to meet over for coffee. Most people will generally agree if you are sincere and approach them professionally. If they are not free in the coming days or weeks, ask them when would be a good time to reach them and follow up promptly. Second, if you cannot meet your potential mentor physically, you can approach them online. See if that person is on LinkedIn. If so, then add them on LinkedIn and send a short message with an introduction about yourself and why you want to connect. Third, reach out to your current network. You will be surprised to find many people who want to help you. If you are a student, then approach the teacher who most influenced you or whose class that you enjoyed the most. If you are currently working, then approach a supervisor or manager who can assist you in your professional growth.

So what are you waiting for? Go out and get yourself a mentor.

The MBA Journey (Published on Republica)

A hiring manager at a fast-growing technology company is looking for a Marketing Analyst. She has received applications from two candidates who have just earned their Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degrees. Candidate A has done two marketing internships, has a blog and mostly earned B’s in her classes. Candidate B has taken marketing classes, taken part in college activities and mostly earned A’s in her classes. Who do you think has a better chance of getting hired based on those credentials?

If you said Candidate A then you would be correct. For the position of Marketing Analyst, the candidate with the work experience and a blog has a far better chance of getting hired than someone who only has academic qualifications. Employers value the work experiences of a candidate because the individual brings practical knowledge and skills needed for the job.

Many students finish their bachelor studies and plan to pursue their graduate studies such as MBA or MSc. This is a good career path to take for many students and young professionals looking to advance their careers. From my own MBA experience as well as having talked to other MBAs and working professionals, the three things that need to be considered before joining a MBA program are: Why are you planning to do a MBA? What will be your focus in the MBA program? And why do you need to do the MBA at that particular time? Asking yourself these three questions would help clarify your purpose and guide you in making a better decision regarding a MBA program.

I have had many conversations with students who are thinking about doing an MBA right after they finish their BBA studies. Although this approach makes sense for a few individuals, it will be significantly better for most people to first increase their work experience. Adding more work experience is especially important in Nepal because BBA graduates mostly enter the job market with less than six months of internship or work experience.

Kathmandu’s current job market is saturated with many college students with degrees in their hands. What most of these graduates do not have are the right set of skills needed for various positions, relevant work experience and the right mentorship to qualify for the many opportunities that become available.

Fast growing technology companies in Kathmandu like Fusemachines and Grepsr are hiring, but are not able to fill their vacancies quickly because the job candidates are not adequately prepared for the interviews, lack problem-solving skills or do not have the relevant skill-sets or experiences for the job. The responsibility to guide these students and graduates falls on us, the teachers, career counselors at the college, mentors and family members.

A two-year MBA program is an investment of time and money, so make sure you are really serious about it. Having done my MBA in Marketing Management from Western Illinois University and based on my teaching experiences at Apex College, I have suggestions for students and young professionals who are thinking about joining an MBA program in Nepal.

First, I highly recommend students to really do their research and understand how a MBA degree would help them in their careers. Once you really understand the reasons for choosing MBA, think about the different colleges that would offer the best program considering your specialization, budget and time. Rushing to do a MBA program without a purpose would result in a considerable loss of time and money.

Second, visit the college to get a feel of the MBA program to see if it would be a good fit for you. Do not just turn the glossy pages of the college’s viewbook to be impressed. You must talk to graduates of that MBA program to understand how the program is and what you can look forward to. If possible, requesting to sit in an MBA class can also give you a real feel for the program. This will allow you to get a sense of graduate course, get a feel of the background of the students in a MBA classroom and give you realistic expectations of the program.

The highlight in my own MBA program was the chance to work with Dr. Adee Athiyaman who has done extensive work in the field of marketing research and marketing decision making. My interest to pursue a career in the field of marketing augmented once I had a chance to work with the distinguished marketing professor.

The experience of working with Athiyaman also sharpened my research and analytical skills. I could not have asked for a better teacher and mentor at that point in my career and continue to stay in touch with him to this day. Thus, the faculty makes a considerable difference in your education and career, so it is important to find the teachers and mentors who can guide you in the MBA program and beyond.

Third, once you become part of the MBA program, take full advantage of it. The two years of the program go by fast and if you do not plan properly, you will lose out on many opportunities. An MBA program provides ample opportunities to learn, discover and challenge yourself, both inside and outside the classroom. After joining an MBA program, it is crucial to balance studies and opportunities to network outside of the classroom. If you are pursuing an MBA in a college in Kathmandu, there are numerous events taking place within the valley almost weekly.

A couple of months ago, a team from Google’s San Francisco office visited Nepal and they participated in many programs in their three-week visit. I learned about their visit through different websites and made sure to attend the events organized by the Google team. I learned more about Google products, networked and also played futsal with them. Opportunities like this do not come when you are only focused on learning in a classroom.

Although grades are important in school, I strongly recommend increasing your knowledge, skills and experiences. These three things will be more important and helpful for your long-term career. For many individuals, having a few years of work experience and saving money for the graduate program will prepare them adequately when they take on the MBA curriculum.

We live in a very fast paced, technology driven world and there is so much to learn and discover. Education is a lifelong process. An MBA degree can open more doors for you and increase your knowledge and networks. However, the right time to do an MBA will be different for each individual and it is important to know when the right time is for you and what you hope to get out of doing an MBA. You should be clear of your purpose and outcome before taking the next step in your career.

The published article can be viewed at http://myrepublica.com/opinion/story/30751/the-mba-journey.html

Grand Vision, Focus and Action

When I clicked to watch a YouTube video, I came across an ad. That ad seemed interesting and I watched the whole ad. I clicked on the link after the ad and landed on this website – http://www.billionsinchange.com/

On Billions in Change website, it states Our Mission – The time for raising awareness is over. It is time to implement solutions to the most important global problems – water, energy and health

I browsed through different pages of the website and also watched the film:

You can’t help but be inspired by the video and the Billions in Change movement. It’s a pretty formidable grand plan to tackle some of the biggest problems that the world faces today – water, energy and health. These problems are being faced by countries at different scales and the time to address them have never been more urgent.

Are you joining the Billions in Change movement?