This third panel discussion of CEO Unplugged 2018 organized by Glocal Pvt. Ltd. was ‘Application of Knowledge: Challenge in Today’s Business’. The panel was aimed to showcase the challenge that is harnessing the knowledge of simple ideas in the current businesses scenario. These ideas have let a path of coherent and productive way in business. With a sidelined view towards the main aim, this panel conversed about the thematic areas of skills one requires to grow in life and influence of skill in the life of a certain individual.
CEO Unplugged is a yearly forum organized by Glocal Pvt. Ltd. comprising series of panel discussion where we try to establish a forum to discuss about contemporary business challenges, opportunities and futuristic view with a sight of experiential learning to the new comers in the business and students with an objective “Today Meets Tomorrow“.
The panel discussion comprised of panelist; Chhaya Sharma, Chairperson at NCTTM, Richard Howard, Country Director at ILO, Sambridhi Gyawali, Executive Director at Nepal Republic Media, Sishir Khanal, CEO at Teach for Nepal and moderator; Asish Thakur, Executive Director of Glocal Pvt. Ltd.
Thakur commenced the panel by showcasing the audience an influential video of skills. He conversed on the current scenario of the Nepali market that is need of skilled manpower and the ongoing brain drain in Nepalese youths. He mentioned, “We have 600 new openings of job each day. On one hand the job market is in need of employees and in the other hand people tell that they are lacking jobs in the country.”
Linking this aspect of job scenario and application of knowledge in the country, Thakur initiated the panel by prompting one such skills these veterans have learnt and have applied in their current work. The panel quenched the queries of the things they look for in their employees, about their views on the curriculum of the country and theme of the skills in Nepal.
Chhaya Sharma, Chairperson at NCTTM
I cannot say a particular skill but the emotion I have into what I am doing today is because I believed in education and mixed this education with the potential of my country, i.e. tourism. So, that is how my sentiment of mixing tourism and education let me to start Nepal’s first tourism management college in Nepal at a higher level. So, that was the emotion that drove me to do what I am today.
I would consider attitude as the first priority when it comes to hiring people. Secondly, I would look up to the person’s body language. I am very particular about the body language a person showcases. When I meet a person for the interview, if the person doesn’t reflect a proper body language I wouldn’t hire him/her because the body language of a person speaks about the overall attitude of the person and if he/ she is willing to learn.
I would consider age as another factor while hiring people. When you talk to an individual in the interview you can know how needy the person is for the job. People should know about their job specific details. The fact is how willing you are to do things.
The word ‘Hospitality’ speaks for itself. It speaks on the skill sets you need to develop. Of course, there is this curriculum and you have to study and pass the examination. I don’t much focus on the curriculum because any student will learn to pass the curriculum. Besides that, there are skills an individual must possess.
What I see now lacking is that we have become so commercial in all our behavior, ink our feelings and living that we have forgotten the basic human value. We forget the word ‘respect’ and especially I think this is a phenomenon trending in younger people. I am not pointing out this thing as a generation gap because I am a woman of 21st century myself. I believe in change, independence but not independent to such an extent that I forget words like respect, the human values and inclusiveness. I would want my students to develop quality of empathy. Besides the curriculum the other qualities we render to our students is how to respect other human beings and retain our values. We don’t need to copy the culture of the West. We still can develop and foster our emotions, culture and retain in the hospitality management.
One thing we have to understand is that why do we always wait on the government to do everything. When we talk about education the government spends so much of budget in education. I would not say the highest budget is allocated to the education sector but the amount that is allocated drains on wasting 80 percent to the salary of educationalist. What about the infrastructure, quality of the curriculum. Instead of always bickering and pointing private schools and institutions, the government should raise the level of government schools to the level of private schools so that the private schools will close down themselves. The students going to government schools also have a right to good education. The government has not been able to ash the private schools to work hand in hand with government schools. In the policy level, these are some of the things that need to be advocated.
Sambridhi Gyawali, Executive Director at Nepal Republic Media
When we talk about skills, I think whatever I have learnt till date it is soft skills that really make a person. One thing that I have learnt throughout these years is time management skills. Since I was a kid, I have been taught about how to manage things and prioritize stuffs. So, I think these soft skills are really important for me to progress.
One of the things we really look into people who we want to work is, whether the person aligned to the vision of the company. As we are a media house, we are different than any other business house of the country. The responsibilities we carry towards the society is certainly higher. So, this is something we look into. Secondly, the individual should be very technical in terms of their job aspects. If I am hiring a journalist, the person should possess journalistic skills in him/her. They should be able to understand the new changes in the media landscape as well. So, those are the very job- specific things we look into individuals and differs from positions of the job.
In these past 4-5 years of my experience in media I have conversed with veteran media person. They mentioned that years ago when they opened up a vacancy for a single job, at least 800-900 journalist would apply. But now when we look into the scenario, only 5-10 people apply for the vacancy. These people lack right skills and attitude we require. This is actually concerning for the media industry as a whole. Today media as a whole is facing a lot of challenges because we are no longer in the traditional way of communicating. We have transformed from writing news in a paper into typing it, going to television broadcasting to digital space and now into social media handles. So, communicating these types of information becomes very difficult and it does demand a lot of techniques about how to array these aspects. It is of course alarming for us. Rightly said about the lack of media colleges in Nepal. Although Tribhuvan University and Kathmandu University have a media programs none of them have coordinated with any media houses into showing news room or how practical work is actually done. Lot of students that we get for journalism should be trained to write an editorial. It’s the curriculum that has not taught them about the practical knowledge. I feel that it’s not journalism as per say, other industries and institutions should initiate skill-based learning. We do have CTEVT that conducts vocational training but it’s more about being generic. You really need to nail skills to become competent.
So, we are starting with our own media institute very soon. We will be teaching these graduates on changing media spaces and how to produce news in an integrated newsroom because now it’s not about writing news for tomorrow’s paper. I am working with CTEVT to develop set of skills for bringing a justice to the media industry.
Sishir Khanal, CEO at Teach for Nepal
There are so many skills we learnt throughout our schooling, university education. But one mindset I find it important in my life which had a profound effect on me during my orientation in the US. One of the professors told us, “We don’t teach you content of the book but we’ll teach you how to learn.” This attitude of how to learn has been very important in my life.
When we hire people, we want people to know the technical aspect of the job and then about the whole job in general. We would also look if the candidate applying for the job could do the work he would be allocated and undermine if the candidate has some level of technical capacity to perform the job.
As we are a non-profit organization, a big factor for us is a ‘mission fit’. When we get applications we consider if the person is aligned to the mission of our company and the willingness to learn. Each job comes with challenges and there is so much to learn from the context. A lot of people come, thinking that they know everything and it becomes very hard to work with people who already know so much. So, willingness to work becomes a big factor and problem-solving skills is an important aspect. One of the big things we say to the challenges in Teach for Nepal is- We need to figure it out!
In Nepal, most of the students pursuing undergraduate studies are involved in- education and management. Nepal’s most talented people and young graduates never choose education as a career because of the mindsets. If you gain distinction and first division there are two streams you ought to go, i.e. engineering or management. If people barely pass their SLC they are said to take education as their major subject in high schools and bachelor level. Most of these people are from the rural areas and they have led an underprivileged life. In one side we have a problem of not finding quality individuals on the other hand side we have masses of unqualified people willing to have a job.
People like us who are privileged we have many options but those people don’t have the choice. We started Teach for Nepal to ensure that those 6 million kids who are going to community schools also have the same opportunities like you and I have.
Richard Howard, Country Director at ILO
I think people should have two types of skills in them. The first is critical thinking and its not just learning concepts from the book. Learning concepts from books is important, we all need to do that during our life. Most of the things I learnt were from my work and they were not learnt from school. The question is how you apply those concepts in your work and are you the kind of person who can take those concepts and say ‘‘Hey! This doesn’t quite work for Nepal. It’s actually different.’’ So, you’re always criticizing, thinking around the concepts and using them, modifying them and shaping them for our work. That’s a great skill people can learn.
The other skill is clarity of thought. If you go and listen to people do interviews you will find that some people prepare so much for the interview that they know everything about the company including the market plan to the 10 year market data. But, there is just so much detail coming out that these people have not shaped a story in what they are trying to say. The thing whatever you are doing can you shape a clear logical story that only brings in the most useful information.
When we hire people we first look into the attitude of the person. I am really attracted to someone who shows up with bright attitude. This shows that they really want to be on your team and they are optimistic about the world. So many people can be so critical about Nepal about the government, infrastructure, roads. But these optimistic people see beyond difficulties and see a way forward. Believe it or not, when you are the boss of the company people will criticize you. I find it a hard time to work with someone who fries your brain. When you need short, clear and incisive information they overwhelm you by giving too much exaggerated details. Know your stuff and be able to communicate with a positive attitude.
There is a social and economic hierarchy in every country but it is pronounced a bit more in Nepal and you see the best of the best in Nepal. You see people of economics, social security and lot others in Nepal. I am blown away by the way the minds of Nepalese who work in private and government sector of Nepal. The only challenge in Nepal is the lack of quality education.
When we talk about education which is important spiritual education or material education?
Chhaya Sharma: If you are to ask me, I think both are important. In order to gain material education, you require spiritual education. Spiritual education helps you know and value human beings. Nowadays we talk about stress management. It’s because we are running and moving in such fast pace for our works. Certain spirituality is needed to slow you and calm you down. When you are peaceful and calm then only you can think properly and if you are not joyful inside what you have cannot be delivered. In order for your well-being you need spiritual education then you will attain material education to new heights.
Sambridhi Gyawali: In today’s world it’s not about either or or. It is more about the balance act. As long as you can hit the balance right personally, that’s where you excel.
Sishir Khanal: I don’t see any duality in both of these educations. I remember visiting a rural area of the country and asking parents of the kids, “What do you want your kids to become after they accomplish in their academics?” Lot of these parents told that they wanted their kids to be become ‘happy and good’. I think these two things are the true point of education. ‘Happy and good’ both carries the essence of materialistic and spiritual elements. There is materialism because you need some physical aspects to be happy. The point of education is to prepare young people for life, to prepare for workplace and become an engaging citizen of the country. Life has personal and professional element.
Why there is only theoretical knowledge in Nepal and not practical approach knowledge?
Chhaya Sharma: In Nepal there are schools that have initiated progressive education. The progressive education includes practical application of the cultures they learn in books. We need life skills that will help us in life. The curriculum needs to focus on this.
The final panel discussion invited an essence of the spirit that Nepalese youth are lacking as well as the prospects they have in the field of Nepalese job market. The experience shared by the panel was a worth to watch and listen.