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Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Counsellor - 22

Prime worries 

I have appeared for Civil Services preliminary examinations for the first time. I'm sure I will be able to clear the preliminary test. I am worried about the preparation for main examinations as I am working. 
   Seeta Sharma

The Civil Services Exams fundamentally differ from the university-type exams. Ideally you should start preparing for the main exams even while preparing for preliminary test or at least study the syllabus, browse through a few topics which are common to both exams and start making notes. In any case you must begin studying for the main exams soon after you finish your preliminary exam. At the maximum, give yourself a week's break only. One may ask — "Why should I start preparing, when the results have not been declared" or "What if I don't make it and the whole exercise goes waste?" Convincing arguments and, in fact, most get cracking only in August, once the preliminary results are out. But don't forget you would have wasted a month and a half — a time you could have easily prepared for one optional subject. Also, if you make it through the preliminary exam, this time will have been well utilised. 
   Keep abreast with new developments in the country and abroad by regularly scanning national, financial and international dailies and magazines. 
   At the end of the day remember preparing for this exam requires a planned effort and time. 

Career ensured 

What is the actual demand for actuaries in India? How many actuaries are there presently? Please tell me the procedure to become an actuary. 
   Kumud Purohit

The demand for actuaries in India is expected to exceed supply for the next five years. Insurance firms face competition from other industries to retain actuarial talent. In fact, the shortage of actuaries is a major problem. 
   India currently has 18 life and nonlife insurance firms each and one reinsurance firm.These insurance firms, which need actuaries to help develop products, assess profits, conduct valuation and reinsurance based on historic statistics, have barely half the number of specialists they need. 
   There are 225 actuaries in India at present against a requirement of at least 400. Many of them are close to retirement. Demand for the specialised talent will only grow as more and more Indians opt for insurance. 
   The Institute of Actuaries in India has 6,500 members and is growing by 30% every year. The Institute expects to add at least 1,000 actuaries in the next 10 years. Many Indian firms are using services of actuaries of their foreign partners. According to a Reuters report, there are 43,000 actuaries, globally. In addition to the inherent shortage of actuaries, insurance firms also face competition from other industries and countries in attracting and retaining the specialised talent. 
   Many Indian actuaries move to other countries, especially Middle-East and Africa, where the demand is high. Actuarial talent can also be used in other areas such as banking and environmental science where different actuarial models can be applied.Many big companies,abroad, have their own actuaries to develop their own health insurance and pension products. A number of firms have an actuary as chief risk officer who works to either minimize or transfer risks. 
   To qualify as an actuary, you must be a fellow member of the Actuarial Society of India (ASI), Mumbai. This involves clearing a series of exams conducted by the ASI. Details are available at the website: An MSc in mathematics/statistics would be an ideal qualification to enroll for the course. 

Auto drive 


I am passionate about cars and want to become an automotive designer. Please tell me about this field and suggest some institutes offering courses in automobile design. 
   Shiv Chandan

The driving factor in automobile designing is an insatiable passion for design. The second fastest growing car market in Asia, India's automobile industry is moving in top gear. It is also emerging as the most preferred sourcing base, knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) destination and R&D hub for global auto majors like Hyundai, Fiat, Ford, GM, Suzuki, Toyota, Nissan Volvo and several others. 
We have already begun exporting our cars. For example, Indica is a big hit and so will be Nano from the Tata stable. Our two-wheelers have been enthusiastically received in many European countries. Low cost multiutility vehicles could be our forte. 
Experts are very optimistic about the future prospects of this field since car volumes in India are on an upsurge and the industry is set for a major boom. 
After completing your course in automobile engineering or even mechanical engineering you can work as part of the team, working with a design services provider, to offer both industrial and transportation design solutions or later in the automotive department coat hangars, bottle holders etc. There is also a need for visual merchandisers to design automobile showrooms. Exclusive branded dealer outlets want to stand out among other shops to project a specific image. To successfully conceptualise your dream machine, you must get some hands-on training using manual methods of designing. Performance modification has emerged as a popular segment. An automobile broadly comprises of the engine, chassis, gearbox, differential and suspension. Each of these and their components come in many different specifications and designs. Someone who has done a course in automobile engineering can only figure out the various permutations and combinations ideally suited for a particular kind of vehicle. 
Diploma-level courses are ideal for those who wish to go into servicing and maintenance or wish to work on the shop floor of an automobile plant Diploma courses are also helpful for those who want to work as a supervisor in bus depots or work in maintenance, overhauling, production, servicing at service 
as a specialist in automobiles, design and engineering services. Car designers also work with original equipment manufacturers like Maruti,Tata motors etc. 
However,when compared to Japan, Europe or US, India is still relatively new to the concept of automobile design. Therefore, you need to be finely attuned to market demand in terms of comfort, safety, and even cultural sensitivities and preferences. To stand out in automobile design you can't simply rely on computer aided design. You also need good sketching skills and understanding of 3D shapes and models. There is enormous need for automobile stylists as well. Today every aspect of the automobile is designed. The emphasis is on futuristic concepts, your understanding of different aspects of styling, of dimension and proportion. 
The industry also needs component designers — people who can design rear view mirrors, outlets of OES. 
While there are a number of colleges including the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) that offer courses in automobile engineering, there are very few fullfledged courses in automobile design — particularly at the bachelor's level. 
For further guidance,you could also contact the Automotive Research Association of India, Pune, Engineering colleges usually have active student chapters of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). The website of the US-based SAE — — including its Indian chapter in Chennai should be useful in your search. You could also contact faculty advisors of the various Indian collegiate chapters at Delhi College of Engineering (DCE), IIT-Delhi, Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology (NSIT), Jamia Millia Islamia and Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh.






Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group


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