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Friday, November 21, 2008

The Counsellor - 29


Entrepreneurial dreams 

I have always dreamt of setting up my own manufacturing unit but I am not sure whether I am cut out to be an entrepreneur. I have just completed my BE (Mech) but as the youngest in a family of professionals, I have led a somewhat protected life. With no business blood in my veins will I succeed? 
    Pistu Ram

To answer your last question first, one doesn't necessarily need a family background in business to strike out on one's own. However, parental behaviour towards children does play a significant role in making or marring entrepreneurial talent. Sometimes an over-protected environment can make children highly dependent, cautious and risk-averse. 
   Undoubtedly, entrepreneurship is the bedrock of industrialisation. More so in a country like ours where unemployment is so rampant, that too on such a staggering scale. 
   But, you are absolutely right. Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. 
   Willingness to take risks, being proactive, a high degree of perseverance - even in the face of repeated hurdles, a sense of perspective and an over-arching vision are some of the essential qualities you need to strike out on your own. 
   I have also found successful entrepreneurs to be highly creative, and innovative and ready to roll-up their sleeves and plunge wholeheartedly into the task at hand, without bothering about protocol. 
   Even if you think you possess most of these qualities, it would be wise to gain some practical work experience in a related industry before you decide to establish your own unit. 
   Sound business sense, planning and marketing savvy and good people skills are as important as technical know-how and financial backup. The latter is not such a bottleneck today. If you have a sound idea that can be scaled up and a good team that can deliver, angel investors and venture capital funding are now relatively easy to attract. 

   In short, you need the ability to: 

    Stay the course - hang in there - but you must know how long to do so Know when to cut your losses. You must know when to call it a day - your time and energy are limited, after all 
   Spot an opportunity. Ideas need not always be big. All it takes is a bit of tinkering with an existing idea to make a better, bigger, cheaper or faster product or service 
   Know your competition and get ahead of it Think on your feet Lead your enterprise from the front Hire the right people, to form a strong team, and give them the freedom to do their job Be prepared for losses in the initial months. Running your own business is a tough ball game, but rewarding nonetheless Be ready to fail. Learn from your mistakes, get up and move on Above all, before deciding to start your own business, evaluate your potential to add value to the marketplace. Do you have the ability and patience to connect with your end customer and consistently offer them what they want with an inherent value proposition? Think hard.

Rural Road 

I am a science graduate. I am keen on pursuing a career in rural development and management. Could you please tell me about the scope of pursuing a postgraduate course in this field? 
Dhanwant Guleria

Rural India (65,000 villages), which contributes 60% of the country's GDP and accounts for 53% of the fast moving consumer goods, is the veritable backbone of our economy. The 300-500 million rural consumers offer a huge untapped opportunity and challenge for global marketeers. 
   A programme in rural management imparts specific management skills for targeting this segment and managing a rural enterprise or cooperative. It therefore deals with all the functional areas such as marketing, managerial accounting, finance, rural behaviour, rural environment and production, rural research methodology, field studies of rural producers, human resources, integrated rural management, communicating developmental and social messages, etc. 
   Anyone with an agricultural background or leaning, who is interested in working in a rural set-up, is well suited for a career in rural management. 
   You can find meaningful work in rural development projects with NGOs, the government and corporates in their rural initiatives and various agricultural or agri-business cooperatives and international/national development agencies. 
   With a rural management degree, you can work in banks (NABARD, ICICI, UTI), insurance companies (ICICI Lombard, LIC), retail giants (Future Group, Reliance Retail, Godrej Agrovat, Bharti, RPG, Spencers, Vishal, Big Apple, Subhiksha) and MNCs or rural consultancies (ITC e-choupal, the SCS Group, Grossman & Associates). You can also join research agencies, including the UNO and its subsidiaries.

Research options 

I have completed my postgraduation in physics, specialisation in electronics. Now I want to do PhD. Please tell me about the possible area of research. 
Gurnam Singh

The fields are truly diverse ranging from fiber optics communication, microwaves, IC technology, lasers, digital electronics, experimental electronics, optoelectronics, power electronics, medical electronics and nano electronics. 
   However, since you have already done your MSc I think your professors will be better able to guide you about the cutting-edge areas in physics so that you can choose one related to your interests and aptitude. Also doing your MPhil will give you greater insights into the different areas you could look at. 
   Do scan the websites of the IITs and the Indian Institute of Science for areas in which research facilities are offered. 
   Moreover, the Association of Indian Universities ( ) regularly publishes a list of thesis submitted by research students every month (Just click on the "Research" link). Scanning through the list will give you a fair idea of what research is being undertaken in your field.

Undeterred ambition 

I am in class X. I have planned to take science in class XI. Although I don't always score very high marks, I like maths very much and science also because I want to become a doctor. Does Science in upper classes get tougher? Can I opt for PCM+B in class XI? 
   Ketaki Devi

Why not. Opting for PCBM is an excellent idea - provided your school offers the combo and you can manage it. Many of the research fields in biological sciences require maths at the higher level, so do fields like biomedical engineering and bioinformatics. 
   Yes, science does get considerably tougher in class XI & XII, and taking PCMB, more so. But so what. Plenty of students opt for it. So take it as challenge. If you are determined, you'll certainly be able to handle it. And emerge a winner. Remember, nothing vetured, nothing gained.


Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group


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