Posts Tagged With: MSLGROUP India

How to squeeze in time to read everyday

Months ago, I walked up to Jaideep Shergill (our former CEO at MSLGROUP India) and asked him how he made time for all the novels stacked up around his little space in office. Just the number of books overwhelmed me with guilt. I did feel terribly ashamed to even ask him that question. But I asked it anyway because my reading hours shrank considerably, and I knew I had to do better. And look at me – I was comparing myself to a man as busy as him. Well, his answer was as brief as it could get. ‘I travel a lot.’

So here’s what I gather:

Read while traveling
When my reading hours decreased, it was because I was living only three-four kilometers away from office. By the time I opened a book or even tried to skim through the newspaper in the morning, I was already standing below my office building. That’s when I figured it was better to live away from my workplace, take a train, get a seat and read.

Take a short break at work
Inspired by another gentleman at work, I realized I could read in office as well. While everyone takes a chai break, I prefer opening a book and reading as much as I can within 15 minutes. It’s not a bad idea, and it works as a break too. Then back we go to our laptops.

Before you go to bed
After a long day at work, this is usually not what happens. There were times when I used open my laptop and get glued to some television show that I’d downloaded. It was just convenient. However, I still do watch an episode every night, and for the next 30 minutes or so, I read. I like the feeling of reading myself to bed. The moment I realize my eyelids are ready to hug each other, I place the book next to my pillow and go off to sleep.

As soon as you wake up
When I was reading Rebecca, I would sleep with the book next to me and wake up to read it first thing in the morning. I liked how it panned out. So I tried this on a couple of other books and liked the idea of waking up to a novel every morning. There are days when I read and go back to sleep in the morning.

And while you’re at this, make sure you are disconnected. Keep you mobile phone away from you or you’re going to be distracted by every ping and the incessant buzz makes it all the more difficult to concentrate on a story.

In case you have more ideas, do share. I shall happily add it to this post.

Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Strolling through the streets of PR at MSLGROUP India

With the intention to recognize an influencer within the company every month, MSLGROUP Social Hive handpicked associate account director Rashi Oberoi to kick-start this initiative. Apart from her charming smile, this National College alumnus has an interesting story to share. An expert in the public relations sector, Rashi has spearheaded some exciting and challenging PR campaigns which took off to success. A quick chat with the pretty lady reveals more about her voyage:

Rashi Oberoi - resized

What skewed your direction towards public relations?
Graduating in Communication (BMM) left me amazed with this newly discovered world and boosted my confidence to embrace it. Well, the course also left me highly confused about what I should take up since I couldn’t figure out what I was actually great at.

In short, I was clueless about my career. Initially, I joined my friends in taking up a job at a marketing firm, where it was more about partying and less working. Eight months with the firm and I was having lots of fun, but it didn’t reap a learning, so I decided to switch. In the meantime, some other friends were strolling in and around PR, and I decided to give it a shot. Nine years hence, I can’t seem to get rid of this sector.

Was there any other inspiration apart from your friends?
Going by the eight month stint at the marketing firm, I just wanted to have a job that made sense. Also, I had heard so much about agency culture so it was more about venturing into the culture and being a part of some ‘cool ‘ planners.

When did you join MSLGROUP?
I joined this company in May 2011 as a senior account manager for Lifestyle, Consumer and M&E vertical, and I still feel like a newcomer. Also going by the trend in the company, where-in most people have been here since adam found his apple, I feel like I have just stepped in.

Tell us about your days here and how you’ve grown within the organization over the last three years.
The journey through MSLGROUP has been very exciting since day-one. What’s catchy about MSLGROUP is that the ones who’ve spent a good number of years in this company have got this immense opportunity to evolve with the organization while trying their hands at other areas in the communication spectrum.

Today, I can proudly say that almost all of us do so much more than PR for our clients which transcends across influencer engagements, collaborations, marketing tie-ups, digital outreach and so on. This in itself has ensured that motivation levels are at an all-time high, as each day people do something outside of their comfort zone, and in turn their overall learning is massive.

In terms of growth, I believe that we are in a field where ‘People’ are our assets. So if each day I am able to work on something new, with new people and bring forth new ideas that inspire all of us and make us believe that we are doing something meaningful here, the growth is immeasurable.

Take us through your journey in the public relations world.
I started my journey in PR with Perfect Relations, which served as the grounding platform for me to learn the tricks of the trade. The learning was enormous and I won the opportunity to work for some of the biggest music, sports and entertainment events and brands in the country.

Later, I was also associated with Kolkata Knight Riders for an IPL season and then tried my luck at mar-com at HDFC Ltd. After spending two years on the other side, I realized I wasn’t meant to be with the corporate world. Why? I found it extremely slow, stagnating and bureaucratic. It’s everything an agency is not! So, I jumped back and was lucky to find a spot at Hanmer (now MSLGROUP).

What are the challenges you’ve had to face to wade through this ocean of public relations? Share your learnings with us.
I think the biggest challenge one faces while in PR is to be able to manage themselves around different kinds of people. It is critical to be patient and most importantly trust others around you. If you are not a people’s person, or generally cannot manage to evaluate others’ expectations; it is a tough road ahead. And you don’t necessarily need to be a social butterfly. Try and be a good listener and genuinely thinking of others’ interest along with yours, is the best way to keep most challenges at bay!

Name a couple of your favourite campaigns of which you were the mastermind.
I wouldn’t like to call myself the mastermind as every brilliant campaign has the sweat and blood of multiple team members. Some of my favourite campaigns — The James Bond Festival on Star Movies, for which the team bagged three international awards in 2012; The MasterChef Australia campaign , for which we partnered with other MSLGROUP clients as well as media to create multiple city events, where-in not a single rupee was exchanged and the impact was just brilliant! Also, we recently did a barter campaign with Mandira Bedi for Singapore Tourism Board, which again was done through a barter deal, was extremely creative and impactful.

Where do you see yourself five years down the line?
Aarrghh! I hate this question. I don’t know and I don’t like to think about it either. I find it extremely boring to have set goals. While it is important to track your growth and have a vision, I think setting an aim makes you lose focus somehow. So hopefully, in five years while I do not know what I would be doing, I hope I continue to have all the friends I have made so far, while working in this great place and industry! Importantly, I hope I am able to significantly contribute to the sector so that it becomes a little more valued and understood than it is currently.

And how would you like to make this contribution?
The global leaders at MSLGROUP are already making significant and landmark contributions by introducing award winning, creative and strategic services that are elevating brand marketing to the next level. I’d like to get more involved with such teams, contribute and lend to new thought leadership in this industry. So hopefully, I will get more chances to learn and work with such leaders as well as the millenials who are buzzing with ideas and creativity to optimize my contribution.

What’s your message to the millennials joining MSLGROUP?
Enjoy the work you do every day (some days it’s really hard, but try). Make lots of friends, because that’s what makes work even more interesting. And step out of the box. We have some amazing case studies on Noovoo that are so inspiring and which can be totally adopted for your clients. So make use of it.


As told to Suezelle D’Costa, senior account executive, MSLGROUP Social Hive.

Categories: Open Letters | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

No one can take Goa out of me: Schubert Fernandes

This week, I got a chance to interview the youngest Sr. VP at MSLGROUP India. Well, he’s a Goan, of course! Here goes the link to the story that appeared in The Goan on Saturday. And below is the complete unedited interview.


When did you leave Goa and why?
After I completed my graduation in 1998, I started looking for a fulltime job. Until then, I used to engage myself with some part-time gigs that were mostly related to music. In 2000, I started working with an advertising agency in Goa and would also compere for parties, drum with bands in hotels side-by-side. Despite having a fulltime job and managing other gigs, my mother wasn’t convinced enough. So she was very keen on packing me off to Bombay. According to her, I was to find my “proper” job in this city.

What brought you to Bombay?
So when I came (more like when I was sent) to Bombay, I put up with my older brother at a club in Byculla. Since I was supposed to enrol myself to a one-year course at Xavier Institute of Communication (XIC), my mother sent me with some money to answer the exam. But I couldn’t imagine leaving Goa. So I faked the interview, said I didn’t get through, packed my bag and went back home. I stayed in Goa for a year, but then my mother sent me back to Bombay. However, this time around, I didn’t want to take an opportunity for granted. Unlike the previous year, I gave the interview at XIC, and because I’m talkative, my professor advised me to take up Public Relations.

Did you always want to become a publicist? If yes, why? If no, what were your career plans?
All along, I’ve been an average kid. If I passed in algebra, I would flunk in geometry. Same was the case with Hindi and Konkani. So I was definitely looking at a career that didn’t involve mathematics or logic. And the only option was advertising. Much later, I realised this field isn’t a cakewalk.

How long have you been working for?
In Mumbai, I’ve been working for 14 years. In Goa, I started working when I was already in college part time and then a year of fulltime.

With which company did you start your career?
After completing my post-graduation course at XIC, I kick-started my all-new career with a Public Relations company called Hanmer & partners (Now MSLGROUP India) as a trainee. I lingered for four years before I decided to switch sides. I joined Asian Paints and managed corporate communication for two years. And then, like a thorough Goan, I did a year stint in Dubai in the same field. Dubai wasn’t challenging. All the action, without a second thought, was in Bombay, in India. So before it was too late, I returned to this city and joined Hanmer & Partners once again, but this time, I joined as a Principal Consultant.

When I first came to Bombay in 2000, no one took me seriously. Why you ask? Because I was from Goa. They would always me questions related to how long I sleep, how much feni I drank every day. I am a peace-loving guy, so I didn’t react, but I wanted to reassure everyone that we Goans can be great at our work.

From a Principal Consultant, in 2008, I was promoted to an Associate Vice Presidents designation. In 2010, I jumped the rung and took the title of Vice President. This year, I became a Sr. Vice President.

What does your current job profile include?
My area of specialization is Corporate. Apart from this I also look after the offices in Delhi and Kolkata along with my team in Bombay. Next year, my focus is going to be in developing a strategic consulting specialisation for the company. This would include public affairs, crisis management etc.

Now I’m doing corporate, but I have also done PR for telecom, B2B, real estate, agriculture and power.

Along with this, I also deliver lectures at XIC.

What according to you led you towards success?
I don’t think I’m successful yet, but I’m happy with what I’ve achieved. I’ve given 11 years to MSLGROUP. It’s important to be loyal and a consistent perform couple with patience. Today, everyone wants to be a genius in a day. We need to allow the organisation to recognize us and give us back what we deserve.

Through your entire career, what did you get right and what did you get wrong?
I believe that there is no shortcut to success. All along, only hardwork and passion guided me. Without passion, we can achieve very little. This is the thinking that has always kept me in good light. Also, I don’t have too many expectations from life and I think this is what keeps me satisfied.

Would you also consider this your strengths?
I am an extremely passionate person, and that’s my root strength. Apart from this, when I look back at my career, I’m very content in life. My ambitions are very limited. When you live life and expect less, we’re always on the upper side of being happy.

What are the challenges you face as a publicist? What the toughest task about being a publicist?
Initially, coming from Goa to Bombay by itself was a great challenge! Keeping up with the pace was the biggest challenge. It’s also the kind of exposure deficit a Goan would experience when s/he comes to a city like this. More often than not, I would find myself trapped in an “what is this? What is that?” spot. Before I came to Bombay, I would assume that the economy is measured as per the number of fish a fisherwoman gives in a vantto.

Would you ever consider going back to Goa and starting something of your own? Why?
Since I’ve been in Bombay for over a decade, I’ve adapted to this pace and lifestyle. If Goa can accommodate this way of life, I might go back, but not before the next 10 years.

What does your family have to say about you?
Whenever I go to Goa for holidays, my family is not quite aware of what I do. They don’t know me as a person any longer. I am definitely not the same person I was when I left home. This city has changed me for the good. Whenever I go to Goa, it’s just for a weekend and for Christmas. They only see the causal person I am, and not the actual Schubert I am when I am at work.

If you weren’t a publicist, what would you be?
I’d be in show business. Because that’s always been my first love. I would love to be playing for a band, doing shows, putting together concerts, conceptualising theme parties, trying new forms of art and entertainment, maybe.

Where do you see yourself five years down the line?
Ummm.. I will definitely still be in Bombay or some office in Asia, doing what I’m known to do best.

What according to you leads to many Goans leaving Goa?
I don’t think too many people consider Bombay as an option. Many of us are comfortable with the limited options Goa provides and the remaining pursue professional studies and then go where destiny takes them. There are very few who think of coming to Bombay, and slogging it out. I think it takes courage to leave Goa for a city like Bombay. I don’t think people in Goa know what people in Bombay do. When I go to Goa, I only say I’m into advertising. A lot of my relatives don’t understand what exactly I do.

I love Goa, wherever I go, no one can take out Goa from me. I always look forward to my doctor’s visits to Goa. I want my bowl of sausages and kaalchi kodi sitting on the breakfast table, eagerly waiting for me to arrive. And not forgetting a huge mug of black coffee. I miss rose omelette a lot! I wish someone could make these in Bombay as well.

It’s also important to get into a good organisation. It acts as a huge support system when you need to adjust in this place. I love it when people call me a paowala,

And if you’re another Goan in Bombay, Schubert has a message for you: “You guys are doing the right thing. Hang in here.”

Categories: Open Letters | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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