Dear MxM by Jaisurya Das: What are the skills needed to get into a GEC’s programming team?

22 Sep,2016

By Jaisurya Das


Ladies and Gentleman, welcome back to this week’s edition of India’s longer running online counselling platform for the advertising, media and marketing fraternity..

What started as a germ is today an integral part of the online landscape and it’s our endeavour to hopefully ease concerns that our fraternity is faced with day after day.

After all, advertising and media isn’t an easy business. Paradigms change by the minute much like the oscillating client budgets! It’s a tough call in this world. Every day is a new challenge, a new frontier to conquer and yet the smart move on unstinted by the obstacles that flirtatious markets throw up.

This week’s intro is an ode to the marketers and professionals who survive this vicious world with their amazing grit and perseverance to win.  Be it awards, recognitions, outstanding campaigns or just plain revenue, they move on plodding like the proverbial horse.

I gave up on this rat race at the age of 37 only to be able to give life a chance. A life that was mine. A life that I controlled albeit the financial blow it served. Today I consider myself fortunate to be able to celebrate life the way I wished it to be.

Simplistic, warm and much enveloping. Give life a chance. You won’t regret it.

Positivity is the name of the game and that’s what we strive to create week after week as we address reader concerns…

Read on!


Sir, I remember reading your comment on the fact that one doesn’t need to have a specialisation to cover a certain beat in journalism or to join the creative department in advertising. But shouldn’t our employers have some need for basic certification… especially in fields like law, health, finance?

Thanks for writing in to Dear MxM! I think you got me wrong here. It’s not that the employers don’t value additional skill sets and qualifications. They most certainly do and this helps even at the point of entry, however this isn’t mandatory. Finally, your work and passion speaks for itself.

There are several parameters to judge a good candidate with high potential to add value to the company. Certifications are one method but that alone can’t make the difference. Over and above this, there is this tendency for candidates to take these courses and certifications as matter of fact additions to their CV. Not many students actually take efforts to build their skills in that particular domain beyond what is absolutely necessary to get them past the course.

I completely agree with you on the need for employers to value these specialisations differently but the onus also lies on the candidate to be able to use all this judiciously and to the utmost advantage of their future employers.


What are the necessary skills one needs to have to get a job in the programming team of a general entertainment channel?

Essentially creativity. But, yes, experience in film-making, AV production, content writing, creative advertising etc work well to build a career in programming.

In my opinion, good understanding of the audience and their innate desire for entertainment is by far the most important qualification. Its not enough being able to acquire an audience, its also critical to know what makes them tick..

oops stick!

Am not too sure which of these skills you can boast off yet am sure, with craft

and sustained effort you will earn a great career in GEC programming.

I wish you all the very best ahead!


A senior went for an interview to an advertising agency a few months back, and was advised by our placement committee that he should be wearing formals. I am told he lost the job by a whisker to someone else who had dressed down because the interviewers felt he was cooler. Or so we are told. My friends and I are confused: what is the ideal dress code for a job interview of a copywriter and account executive in an agency?

Honestly, I don’t think there is a dress code for each role, though some industries do have a fairly defined dress protocol. Advertising is by far one of the more casually attired industries and in most cases quite informal even with interviews.

It’s quite hard to believe that your senior lost his job thanks to being formally attired. If this is so, it’s quite ridiculous !

I think it’s a lot to do with the industry and the company at large and hence must be played by ear. Always a good idea to visit your prospective employer to get an idea of what the environment feels like. This way you would be better prepared for the interview be it the dress or the sense of formality that you need to portray.


I have recently located to a locality in Delhi NCR where there are multiple foreign and Indian language learning courses available. I know Hindu, English and my native Marathi. The options are: French, Spanish, Mandarin, Tamil, Bengali and Telugu. Please advise.

Why do you believe you must know one more language? Do you have a plan in mind or is it just the fancy to add another feather to your cap?

You must decide what you actually need basis your career or passion and then go about learning that, rather than tossing at coin at this stage. I would be unfair to you by suggesting one language over the other considering that they all offer good learning and opportunity.

Here’s my quick take on the options: French is sweet, Spanish is juicy, Mandarin confusion, Tamil bold, Bengali melodies and Telugu quite something… !

I wish you luck.


On that multilingual note, I take your leave or Sayonara as they say..

Have a terrific weekend and take amazing care of yourself.  It’s important to us because we actually care…

As always, questions may be mailed to Just be sure to mention ‘Dear MxM” and your ‘City’ in the subject.


Jaisurya Das, maverick and media evangelist, eats, sleeps and makes love to brands. His consulting interventions are aimed at making brands powerful and sustainable. For more on his work visit He is also Contributing Editor of MxM India. The views expressed in this column are his own. 


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