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Thursday, November 13, 2008

E & C Counselling- Tissue engineering and stem cell research, Career in acting in films, Skills for call-centre professionals

Tissue engineering and stem cell research.    

I have done BDS. But instead of practicing dentistry, I am keen to pursue a career in tissue engineering and stem cell research.  

Kishori Ram

I can understand your excitement. Stem cells have the remarkable potential to develop into any cell type of the body. This unique characteristic has made them a choice of treatment for some diseases/disorders caused by cell death or malfunction which were earlier labelled as incurable particularly in humans. Fortunately, knowledge and awareness of stem cell technology and tissue engineering is growing by leaps and bounds and has the potential to change the future
of the human race in the years to come. Stem cell technology has begun to play an increasingly significant role in the day-to-day practice of medicine. Diseases like diabetes mellitus, cirrhosis of the liver, cancer and Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, leukaemia, lymphoma, anaemia, genetic and cardiac disorders as well as spinal cord injuries, are just a few of the many that can be treated through stem cell technology. Moreover, stem cell banking has taken off in India. Hundreds of women have come forward to donate cord blood.
   Here are two courses, both Chennai-based, that could take you closer to your chosen field:
   Nichi-In Centre for Regenerative Medicine (NCRM) an Indo-Japanese venture is perhaps the first centre for regenerative medicine in India which offers a PhD in stem cell research from Acharya Nagarjuna University, Guntur (TN). For details you can log onto their website  
   The University of Madras, D/o Zoology, Guindy Campus, which offers a PG diploma in stem cell technology and tissue engg (full-time). The eligibility for the same is an MSc degree in life sciences/zoology/ biochemistry/biotechnology/microbiology or an MBBS, BDS or BVSc degree. This course is offered in collaboration with the International Centre for Cardio Thoracic & Vascular Diseases. The course fee is Rs 1.5 lakh and the application deadline is August 20 2008. You can obtain the prospectus and application form from: Dr H Devaraj, Course Director, D/o Zoology, Guindy Campus, University of Madras, Chennai 600025.

  Institutions such as the Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar (UP), also offer a few short-term introductory courses

Career in acting
 in films

I am a class XII student. I want to make my career in acting. Please tell me what should I do for it. Apart from training at a film institute, how else can one get into the film industry?  

Balwant Kukreja

In fact, even training does not assure you an entry into the film industry. Besides talent and that something "special", you need the 3 Ps: passion, persistence and perseverance to pursue contacts, and move in the right circles. And you must keep at it without letting the initial letdowns deter you. Abhishek Bachchan, with initial credentials of being Big B's son delivered a string of 17 flops before delivering hit after hit. So if you are wooden on screen no godfather can pave your way to fame.
   Many have got into the profession by working their way up through assistantships and small roles with reputed names in the industry. The road to success in this industry is long and tough. However, don't discount the merits of training as talent is one thing but honing it methodically will always work to your advantage. Practice makes perfect. It is the only way to polish your skills and get noticed in Bollywood. Speak to professionals working in the entertainment industry — actors, casting directors, agents, producers and directors. They will give you the insider secrets you need to succeed in acting.
   And while you are at it, do also examine other alternatives because the film industry does not carry guarantees of permanent employment or fixed salaries. Which is why it is best to complete your academic education so that you have a back-up plan in case your acting career is slow or fails to take off. Television is another lucrative option. It's easier to break into and once you've done that, it's easier to move from the small screen to the big screen as so many Bollywood aspirants have successfully done.
   Modelling and participating in talent hunts is yet another way to get noticed. Grab every opportunity to audition for plays, TV programmes etc. there is no substitute to training on the job.

Skills for
call-centre professionals

These days one comes across a lot of openings for call-centre professionals. What skills are required to succeed in this profession?  

Isha Rekhan

There are four main types of call centres — inbound and outbound, blended (inbound and outbound) and web-based back-office processes (interacting with
clients via e-mail and chat). Inbound call centres take incoming calls, such as those for placing orders or providing customer service. Positions in this environment require strong listening skills, empathy, diplomacy and organisational ability.
   Outbound call centres, those in which the call originates from the centre for market research or directs marketing, collections etc generally add assertiveness and selling ability to the list of requirements.
   Recruiters suggest that applicants prepare for roleplay as part of the interview process. Customer-service applicants are often asked to respond to three potential scenarios — the angry caller, the confused caller and the appreciative caller. From these exercises, they can assess the applicant's ability to hear the underlying need and understand where the customer is coming from. In addition to content, clarity of speech and tone inflections contribute to successful telephone customer-service and sales interactions. Because call-centre representatives must frequently wrap up a conversation as a new call comes in, multi-tasking is another important behind-the-scenes skill.
   A report also reveals that the Indian ITES sector (of which call centres form a major part) will have openings for a whopping 1.6 lakh foreign language professionals to handle language-sensitive work catering to Europe and the far East by 2010.
   As of now, the demand for German and French is the highest. Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese and Korean are also hot. Portuguese, Swedish and Mandarin form the third tier.

Sunil Sharma

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