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Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Counsellor - 31


Looking ahead 

I am a BSc (biology) graduate. I wanted to get into a medical college but my family's financial condition is not so good. So instead, I will have to now look at opportunities in related medical fields. Please tell me other options, which are good for me.    

Ajmer Kumar

So what if you couldn't do an MBBS! When one door closes, ten windows open up. There is so much else you could do related to the medical field. You can do a one-year course in medical technology, medical lab technology, radiology, radiography, imaging technology, biotechnology, medical microbiology, forensic science or even a course in clinical research or bioinformatics. Should you wish to start earning right away, you can join a good pharmaceutical or nutraceutical company as a sales executive and work your way up. Medical transcription and working with a KPO in the life science space is yet another option. 

Maths phobia 

Like many, I am also in race for CAT exam this year. Even after three months of revision, I have not been able to overcome my maths phobia. What should I do? 

Prya Raj

Mathematical ability is a mechanical and logical process. It is mechanical because once you understand the method for solving a particular kind of problem you will always get it right; unless you slip up in the calculation part, which is even more mechanical. 
   Maths phobia is a very real and fairly common phenomenon. The only way to tackle this fear is to relearn your maths from the basics. Understanding various methods and practicing their application will help cure you of this phobia. Once you've understood the fundas and practised the basics, maths will become mechanical; and will therefore, be both speedy and accurate. Remember: the exam does not attempt to test you on solving a third degree differential equation. It does, however, expect you to know how to calculate distance and speed. 
   For the math-phobic, I extend my personal guarantee that you will overcome this bugbear — provided you begin at the beginning and pace yourself for the race. 
   If necessary, engage a good tutor to teach you the basics at your pace and on level of understanding — and give up feeling sheepish, shy or ashamed of asking for detailed and silly-sounding explanations of obvious problems. Keep at it till you understand the method. The level of mathematics is not very high (essentially of class 10 level with a few topics other than calculus like progression, permutation-combination (algebra), probability (statistics) and Set Theory (Venn Diagrams). If you had enough time, you would probably manage to crack most of the questions. However, time being the most constraining factor in this exam, not to mention the negative marking, you need to master speed. And that only comes with knowing the basics and constant practice. Taking regular mock tests also helps. 
   Obviously, if you are beginning from scratch and not just brushing up on what you already know, so you need to give yourself a little longer than what MBA aspirants usually allot to preparation. But don't worry, you will eventually find your own pace and catch up with all the hares out there.


Shooting right 

I have been very fascinated with shooting since I was a kid. How should I start my career in shooting? Where can I get training? 

 Vijay Prakash

Shooting, as a career seems to be bang on target ever since Major Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore's triumph at the Olympics in Athens. It has further grown in popularity with Abhinav Bindra doing us proud by bagging India's very first Olympics Gold at Beijing. 
   While a few elite schools and colleges have shooting facilities, aspiring marksmen can begin practicing at local sports clubs and ranges in several major cities. You will need to check if there is a 
local shooting range in your city where you can get started. 
   A number of schemes are offered by the government for training marksmen and cash incentives are offered to medal winners. But notwithstanding its soaring popularity, shooting is generally regarded an expensive sport which only the affluent, powerful and the talented with institutional support can pursue as a serious career. While shooters like Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang come from affluent families (Abhinav has the luxury of an air-conditioned indoor range in his backyard), others like Rajyavardhan Rathore are decorated Indian Army officers (Vishisth Sena Medal). 
   The expenses are a major inhibiting factor, which is why most of the earlier shooters belonged to royal families. A second hand air pistol for example can cost upwards of Rs 80,000 (the best are Austrian); a standard pistol Rs 1.5 lakh while trap shooting is exorbitantly expensive as the shotgun itself costs Rs 3-4 lakh. Ammunition costs are prohibitive. Besides, the equipment and rifle, gear including jacket pants and shoes can vary from event to event and cost anything between Rs 15,000 to Rs 3 lakh for rifle shooting. 
   Ironically all the top 25 ranked players in India get an eligibility certificate from the Sports Federation of India to import the weapon of their choice (although no financial assistance is given). The certificate is valid for one year and more often than not it takes about as much time to get the certificate. 
   Aspiring marksmen can begin practicing at local clubs and ranges that are registered with the rifle association. You will need to check if there is a local shooting range in your city where you can get started. 
   Incidentally we have so much undiscovered and uncelebrated talent in India, score of Abhinavs in the making, not to mention this 80-year woman from Baghpat village who is now representing India in international events trained by Dr Rajpal, an ace shooter himself. 
   Some training centres in North India: 
National Rifle Association of India (NRAI): 

It is the central administrative body for promoting shooting sport in India. It is affiliated to the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF), the apex body of shooting sport. NRAI has a network of 46 State Rifle Associations/Units all over India, and holds national level competitions in Rifle and Air Pistol events 
Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range, Tughlakabad (near Delhi): 

It has good infrastructure for this sport (10 m air pistol shooting range is air conditioned, the 50 m outdoor range 
Siri Fort Sports Complex: 

It has two shooting ranges of international standards (For Members. Also Pay and Play: Rs 250 per hr and Rs 2 per pellet) (Rs 500 for a box of 300/500). 
Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar: 

The only Indian university to have an international standard indoor shooting range (22 shooters can shoot at a time) 
NIS, Patiala: 

Encouraged by Bindra's golden feat the NIS, Patiala has drawn up plans for a full-fledged shooting range, both indoor and outdoor.


At par? 

While working as a steno since last year, I am pursuing MBA through distance education. Will I face any kind of discrimination in the job market against the regular MBA candidates? 

SukhDev Singh

Distance MBAs don't offer the quality, depth and over-all exposure necessary to impress employers. No matter how good, these programmes are, there is no substitute for a regular programme. 
   Besides, a regular full-time MBA from a reputed B-school offers the attraction of on-campus recruitment. 
   MBA courses offered through distance learning are usually preferred by working professionals to upgrade their qualifications for better growth prospects, particularly those working in the government sector. 
   Naturally since no placement facilities are offered for students of part-time or distance learning programmes, you will have to look for a job on your own. Try to leverage your work experience if any in the best way possible. 
   Management is essentially a practical hands-on discipline rather than a mere academic field of study. So while you'll gain in professional knowledge, you must be missing out on classroom interaction, dissection of case studies and the opportunity of networking with your peers, professors and visiting faculty, which form an essential core of a regular MBA programme. Try and relate what you are studying to the work you are doing. That way, you will be able to talk about it more eloquently during your job interview. 
   Also make sure you are regular with your study and assignments. The dropout rate of distance programmes tends to be pretty high. Rowing two boats at the same time is not always easy. After a hard day at work, it’s tough to sit down to regular study in the evening or night — month after month. It is why not many of those who enroll in correspondence or part-time courses end up completing them. 
   You'll need to be extremely focused, disciplined and motivated to submit your assignments on time and take the exams regularly. Tough certainly, but not impossible. 
   Yes, you may find it a bit of a problem in your first job, but use it as a base and prove your worth.


  Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group


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