Tuesday, January 15, 2008

HIGH ON LIFE Interview featured on MBAUniverse.com

HIGH ON LIFE starts making news !!

Check out this interview story on MBAUniverse.com

India's Leading Management Portal

New MBA self-help book ‘HIGH ON LIFE’ offers useful tips; Q&A with author Siddharth Banerjee

MBAUniverse.com Bureau

Jan 15, 2008

FMS alumnus and young corporate executive Siddharth Banerjee has had a rollicking time in last half a decade.

He did his MBA from one of the most sought-after B-schools (Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi), worked with a leading corporate (Unilever), and on the personal side got married and travelled over the globe. Sounds like an interesting life? Yes, and so he thought too. And Banerjee penned down his ‘journey’ into a little book titled ‘High on Life’ that has recently hit the bookstores.

The book is woven around answering the multiple choices and decisions that youth of today face -- from career planning, money mantras, managing relationships to getting the most out of work and leisure. The author has stories, tips, mantras, “gyaan” and ‘guidelines’, from over 1000 young achievers, whom the author calls “High Lifers”.

High on Life is an interesting book, structured in 13 chapters, that we at MBAUniverse.com read over the last week or so. The short chapters of the book make one think – what do I want from life, how have others achieved something similar and how can I too do it. Priced at Rs 95, the book is worth a read. However, the book would have sounded more credible if the author had given out more details (like organizations, designation etc) of numerous people it quotes.

MBAUniverse.com asked the author Siddharth Banerjee several questions centred on the theme of the book, and his own life. Excerpts from the Q&A:

Q&A with the Author:

Q: What is the central message of this book? What is the main focus?

The central premise of this book is that everybody would love to get most out of life. And most people evolve their own special solutions and tricks to maximise work and play, and thus become High Lifers [as the book classifies them]!

One of my beliefs is that what is going to differentiate you from your peers 10 years from now are 3 things – the people you meet, the information you consume, and the choices you make. The book is based on this philosophy, and is thus perhaps the first “Self Help” book emerging from the MBA community in India.

Q: How did this book come about? When did you decide to publish it…

The starting point for this book came out of my wife, Eika and my early experiences together. Post MBA, Eika and I got married; followed hectic careers; subsequently had 2 kids; lived across Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai; handled relatives, friends, professional networks; juggled maid management; explored the world…. In short, led a pretty hectic life!

In all of this, I had maintained a diary with stories, tips and “gyaan” from hundreds of friends, relatives, contacts and colleagues [and even first-time acquaintances], over the last 3 years.

Over time, it occurred to us that a lot of people would look towards us as a source of information and tips. That’s when the thought of writing about our own experiences and learnings in the form of a book; and sharing them with a wider audience really came about. I was finally able to pull all these stories together and shape it into a book in the first 3 months of 2007. Thus, 3 years in the making and 3 months to put it down into a book!

Q: Please share a few interesting nuggets from the book?

There’s a comprehensive list of Most-recommended books [Chapter 10- High Lifers’ Leisure Secrets] which will be very useful for a lot of young people. There are some good planning formats which can be used to organise one’s life more productively [Chapter 3- Money Mantras and Chapter 8- The First Foreign Trip]. And there are some secrets from High Lifers on becoming better and better everyday [Chapter 12- Invest Time In Yourself].

There are also exciting tips and smart guides on Good Life secrets of High Lifers, on Managing Plastic, on Networking, and on Fast Tracking your Career.

Q: What are some of your memories from B-school days? What were some highs and lows?

FMS-Delhi was great fun! It was 2 hectic years of case studies, team projects, early morning chai at Joee’s, FMS parties [we are famous for that!], keema-dosas at D-School canteen [we were part of Delhi University, you see], “CTRL C + CTRL V”, student body clubs etc etc…

One highpoint for me during my MBA was the “Double Summers” that I did!

Post Year 1, my summer internship was with Citibank in Mumbai, which was the regular stint, arranged through the FMS summers-process. The 2nd stint was more exciting when towards the end of Year 2; interested in checking out prospects in advertising, I cold-called McCann-Erickson in Delhi and landed an rewarding internship under the tutelage of Santosh Desai in their consumer insight function! For me, the lesson clearly was that of individual initiative, and my advice to all young MBA aspirants and students would be that you explore your options and talents as much as you can in those 2 years of MBA!

Q: How can B-school students prepare for doing well in work life ahead?

There are some key questions that B-school students need to ask themselves to prepare for a successful career ahead, which can provide direction towards choice of career and thus, the preparation required for it.

In HIGH ON LIFE, I have collected some rich experiences about career choices made by High Lifers [Chapter 1- Plan Your Life] and have put down some basic tips and experiences such as “Update Your Resume Every 6 Months” to excel at work [Chapter 2- Fast Track Your Career]. Besides this, I would suggest that B-school students would benefit from reading exhaustively about a variety of subjects and getting the right balance of specific information from sites like MBAUniverse.com.

For me, working in a leading global organisation like Unilever has been very fulfilling – substantial responsibilities, structured marketing training and some really smart colleagues have all contributed to making me a better professional with a strong set of skills.

Q: What are your suggestions to youngsters and college graduates who want to plan ahead and do well in life?

Thus, my overriding advice to youngsters and college graduates is that you should set your goals regularly and then consistently work towards them consciously. Towards this, it helps if you speak to friends and experienced people and get their learnings and experiences so that you do not re-invent the wheel.

Finally, I have always been a fan of the classic Nike slogan- JUST DO IT, and would heartily recommend this simple line to my young friends as a way of life.

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