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Friday, November 21, 2008

The Counsellor - 28

Fund wise 

I have always dreamt of going to the US for pursuing higher studies in physics. I have worked very hard to excel at studies both in school as well as college. What is the possibility of getting a scholarship or fellowship for pursuing my PG studies in a good college there? I belong to a middleclass family. My family does not have a house or land, which could serve as collateral for securing a student loan from a bank. 
   Shounik Kamboj

Most universities in America generate income from several sources -- primarily tuition fees, public funds, returns on endowments, rentals on university-owned housing, grants and awards, industry funding, and other private financial support. 
   What you need to do is look at the endowments and college funds vis-àvis the number of students enrolled in that particular institution. While the endowments of a larger university would probably exceed that of a smaller one, the per-student funding for the latter could be much more inviting. 
   There are three major and a couple of minor sources of funding at the graduate-level in US universities. 
   Fellowships: These are only given to the extraordinary students. Fellowships pay full tuition fees and provide for a comfortable living. No extra work is required. Fellowship-holders are academic 'superstars' and are expected only to deliver research results in their chosen field. 
   Teaching Assistantships: TAs assist the department that is funding them in grading term papers, taking occasional classes, supervising lab sessions etc. In exchange for a committed number of hours per-week, teaching assistants get a tuition waiver and adequate money for living expenses. 
   Research Assistantship: Research Assistants are funded and selected by professors. Applicants need to be skilled and knowledgeable about the ongoing research in their respective departments. For a certain number of hours of work per week, these graduates get a tuition fee waiver plus adequate money to live comfortably. 
All universities offer assistantships and fellowships -- the wealthier universities naturally have more of them than the others. The good news for undergraduate aspirants is that there is substantial money available on an extremely selective basis. Meritorious students with outstanding academic track records, strong recommendations from teachers, top SAT 1 and II scores, high TOEFL scores, leadership experience and potential and record of community involvement make the going comparatively easy as far as funding goes. Universities these days look for bright well-rounded students who exhibit evidence of an abiding passion and excellence.

Sound basics 

I am a graduate working with a small travel BPO and also preparing for my MBA exams. The night shifts are proving to be an inconvenience as I am too sleepy during the day to concentrate on my studies. Are there any BPO jobs available during the day? Are there nonvoice BPOs? 
   Jyoty Prakash

You are in luck. Working with BPOs no longer means keeping erratic hours. There are several BPOs that offer day shift jobs. For example, domestic BPOs essentially operate during the day and recruit graduates and even undergraduates. Similarly, the advert of a company carries the tag line - "Don't lose your sleep to earn a living". Genpact is yet another BPO major, which does not compel its employees to work during night shifts. All you need to do is scan the job openings section of newspapers and the "Career Section" on websites of the major BPOs and you are sure to find something that will match your requirements. 
   To answer your second question, there are several companies like ICICI Onesource, EcomEnable, MsourcE, Tricom India Ltd that hire graduates and undergraduates who have a good command on English and are conversant with computers for their non-voice operations (your typing speed should be at least 30 wpm). These include litigation coding, electronic data discovery, indexing, remittance processing, drafting mortgage documents, claims processing, e-publishing etc. Banking, finance, legal, insurance, pharmaceutical and logistics are some of the companies that need offline services. The new knowledge based or KPO non-voice segment does not require you to flaunt a fake foreign accent, which is a deterrent for many 
BPO aspirants. The best part is that you get to work day shifts, as there is no direct interaction with irate, overseas clients. Non-voice BPOs account for 35%of the BPO-ITeS industry and not surprisingly the attrition rates are also much lower. In addition most of the companies offer in house training so you don't need to enrol for expensive courses

Looking ahead 

As science is my favourite subject, I opted for PCMB in class XI. However, I am not really aware of the options available for science students other than engineering and medicine. 
   Sumit Kumar

Options related to the sciences are many and varied -- engineering, architecture, technology, civil aviation, merchant navy, computers, medicine, pharmacy, biotechnology and related fields including microbiology, biochemistry, forensic science, agriculture, pure and applied sciences (physics, chemistry, maths etc), environmental science/technology, geology, meteorology and many others. 
   If you are academically inclined, you can go into research or teaching. If you are application-oriented, you can go into engineering or technologyrelated careers in industry. Alternatively, you can opt for a degree in business management at the postgraduate level if you wish to broad base your options. 
   Moreover, after completing your 10+2 with science, you can choose to pursue just about any field open to humanities and commerce students ranging from law to design and mass communication — adding up to a mind-boggling choice of 3000-plus career options. 
Do make it a point to read up and talk to people about various possibilities and options that interest you. If you do this consistently, you'll be amazed how much you pick up. The more informed you are, the better equipped you'll be to rule out several of the inappropriate options and flag the "possible" ones. After you've found out some more about what is involved in pursuing each of these, you will be able to further pare down the list. 
What you really need to do at this stage is to try and narrow down your choices to one or two broad options so that you can concentrate on planning a career around it. Take a good career aptitude test to help you identify the fields that are most suited to your interests, temperament and personality. I have an excellent one called the "I-Opener", which you could take.

Beauty business 

I am in class XII. Instead of doing a routine graduation, I am very keen to pursue a career in beauty-care. Please tell me if there are enough opportunities in this field? I need to convince my parents. 
Sariska Singh

When it comes to choosing careers, many women are stepping off the beaten path to explore offbeat vocations. Beauty offers several career avenues with lucrative opportunities for growth and specialisation. A minimum school leaving education is enough to enter vocational training in beauty. Some major career opportunities include: 
   Entrepreneurship - starting one's own beauty clinic, managing beauty salons, health clubs and spas 
   Beauty therapists in salons and day spas 
   Masseurs, beauty consultant / advisor 
   Makeup artiste, hairstylist, hair colourist 
   Product consultants in cosmetic companies 
   Teachers in beauty schools The fashion industry, advertising, TV and Films also require expert makeup artistes and hair stylists. 
   You can specialise in different kinds of makeup (bridal makeup, makeup for TV, film, theatre, still photography, ramp modelling etc). You can also freelance after advance training in the respective field. You should be creative and have a keen eye for colours and how to relate them to individual features, skin tones and use different techniques like shadowing, highlighting, concealing into play. 
   After a professional diploma, you can pursue an advance training in the selected field: makeup, hairstyling, massage, nail art, spa treatment, traditional ayurvedic treatments, aromatherapy, laser or electrolysis. 
   With experience and qualification from reputed beauty schools can expect higher remuneration. Make-up artistes and hairstylists for ad campaigns, modelling and fashion shoots charge Rs 1,500 -3000 per day depending on their experience and reputation. Managers of salons and product consultants in cosmetic companies can earn salaries commensurate with the corporate world. 
   While a regular Bachelor's degree is not essential, it may be useful to pursue one through distance learning mode at least. Should you wish to pursue a course at the PG level, this will come in handy. So go ahead, follow your heart, instead of following the herd - and you'll never have to "work" a day in you life



Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group


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