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Friday, November 21, 2008

The Counsellor - 29

THE COUNSELLOR



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 ( www.aiuweb.org ) 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

   Moderator

Dil Se Desi Group

           &

www.dilsedesi.org

Effective study skills

Effective study skills

 

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO STUDY? WHAT WILL WORK FOR YOU? SHOULD YOU ADOPT THE TECHNIQUES THAT WORK FOR OTHERS? WHAT IF YOU ARE DISTRACTED BY THE TV OR FEEL LIKE CHATTING WITH FRIENDS?  TIPS ON HOW TO STUDY FOR THE BEST RESULTS

 

NO two people study the same way, and there is no doubt that what works for one person may not work for another. However, there are some general techniques that seem to produce good results. 
   Your success in high school and college is dependent on your ability to study effectively and efficiently. For best results, effective study skills must be practised. The results of poor study skills are wasted time, frustration, and low or failing grades. It's your life, your time, and your future, plan appropriately. 

STUDY TECHNIQUES 

Active involvement in reading the text is important for comprehending the material. One frequently suggested method for reading textbooks is the SQ3RT method. Mastering this technique will help you increase your grasping power dramatically. SQ3RT consists of the following steps: 

S=SURVEY 

Briefly survey the chapter, noting the divisions, headings, sub headings, captions, graphs or maps, tables and figures. Read the chapter summary. This provides an overview of the chapter content and a framework for organising the material. 

Q = QUESTION 

Turn each section heading into a question that you want answered. Also, try to guess questions that might appear on the exam. 

R = READ: 

Read the chapter, section by section, trying to answer your questions. Read with full understanding, answer the questions at the end of chapters and note all the underlined, italicised, bold printed words. Reduce your speed for difficult passages. 

R = RECITE 

After you have read a section, orally ask yourself questions about what you have just read. Answer the questions and state the main points verbally. You may also write down the answers and key points for later reference. 

R = REVIEW 

Briefly look back over the material to make sure you have included all the main points. Reflect on the meaning and application of the major points. Refine your mental organisation and begin building memory. The review can be done in small chunks of time as you wait between classes or have some time to spare while waiting for friends or between classes. Engaging in short periods of intensive concentration is a very efficient study method. 

T = TEST 

After a few days, test yourself on whatever you have learnt. Testing is one of the most important points because if you are not able to recollect something, you have a chance to learn it again. If you do not test, you may remain under the false impression that you know it very well. 

THE VALUE OF A SCHEDULE 

Before you even begin to think about the process of studying, you must develop a schedule. If you don't have a schedule or plan for studying, then you will not have any way of allocating your valuable time when the unexpected comes up. It’s up to you to learn how to develop a schedule that meets your needs, revise it if necessary and most important, follow it. All schedules should be made with the idea that they can be revised. A good schedule, if properly managed, assigns time where time is needed, but you've got to want to do it. 

VARY YOUR STUDY ACTIVITIES 

Varying activity would reduce boredom. Read and take notes for a while, formulate questions and answers for a time, recite and review to break the monotony. Another example is to do math problems for awhile, then read another subject, review that subject, and then go back to math. 

READING TO UNDERSTAND 

You can “read” something at many different levels. For example, you might be holding a book in front of your face while you’re actually watching other people. Or you might “read” because your teacher asked you to, so you just sort of look at the words and sentences and then close the book. You may also be reading because you are forced by your parents to study. You might read by rushing through because you have to finish the portion. One of the most common mistakes students do is to read without understanding. To really read something, you should set out with the goal of understanding what the words and sentences mean. You must learn to read with a purpose. One way is to test yourself on the material you’ve read. Imagine what questions a teacher might ask you from that lesson. If you can come up with the questions (and the answers too), you’ve been paying attention to what you’ve read. If not, it’s time to read again. 

GUIDELINES FOR EFFECTIVE STUDY 


• Be specific about what you want to accomplish (For example, complete exercise of chapter 8, not study biology, it's too broad). 

• Manage daydreaming or distracting thoughts. This occurs when your mind has to choose between something pleasurable and something demanding. Use your will power to stop distracting thoughts and refocus on your studies. 

• If you frequently think of things that distract you from your work, write down these thoughts on a piece of paper and once you are done with your studies, think only about them for the next ten minutes. Once you give the thought the attention it requires, it would bother you less. 

• Resist the desire to snack, get up, watch TV or phone friends. Reward yourself when you succeed in resisting. 

• Follow a schedule: eight hours of sleep per night, sufficient activity, etc. Lack of sleep, lack of food, excessive fatigue, high stress and personal problems can cause a lack of concentration. 

• Address personal problems before studying or note it on paper and talk to someone trustworthy to unburden yourself. Any kind of emotional disturbance is one of the major causes of lack of concentration. 

• You can prepare yourself to succeed in your studies. One of the most important things is to take responsibility for yourself, to recognize that in order to succeed you need to make decisions about your priorities, your time, and your resources. Follow up on the priorities you have set for yourself, and don't let others or other interests, distract you from your goals.

 

 

 

Sunil Sharma

   Moderator

Dil Se Desi Group

            &

www.dilsedesi.org

Faculty Crunch in India

THE MISSING ELEMENT

 

CAN AN INSTITUTE OF HIGHER LEARNING BE TRULY SUPERIOR WITHOUT THE CRUCIAL FOUNDATION SUPPLIED BY WELL-QUALIFIED AND KNOWLEDGEABLE TEACHERS? HOW EVEN AS INDIA IS POISED TO BECOME A KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY, MOST OF THE COUNTRY’S INSTITUTES OF HIGHER EDUCATION, CONTINUE TO FACE AN ACUTE FACULTY CRUNCH


   A student graduates from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) with a salary higher than the institute’s director. And while the same graduate can look forward to lucrative annual promotions and increments, his/her former teacher has to settle for an annual raise of Rs 450. This is just one example that demonstrates that although the teaching profession at the higher education level has advanced, demanding more and better academic qualifications and skills from a teacher, it remains stagnant in terms of salaries and promotions that it offers educators and academicians. 

    Today, Indian institutes of higher education are plagued with several faculty-related issues. While on one hand, the number of people willing to join the teaching profession is low due to greener pastures elsewhere, the few that dare to pursue their passion for teaching are often forced to leave after experiencing uncompetitive pay packages and lack of opportunities to grow. 


FACULTY CRUNCH 

Add to this the new quota implementation, and you get a fair view of the present day higher education faculty crunch. “The 27% reservation will adversely affect the demand-supply ratio of Indian higher education. Inadequate infrastructure and shortage of quality faculty will follow,” says Hema Raghavan, the former dean of students’ welfare at Delhi University (DU), and former principal of Gargi College. 

   Even prestigious institutes of learning, like the IITs and IIMs, with their elaborate funding and infrastructure, struggle to find good faculty. What, then, can be said about the lesser known institutes? Moreover, if the current faculty crunch is so dire, what happens when the government’s plans of setting up eight new IITs, seven IIMs and 30 central universities are put in motion? 

NUMBER GAME 

“According to the University Grants Commission (UGC) 2007 report, the total number of teachers is 4.88 lakh. More than 80% of them are at the college level and about 16% at the university department level. Approximately, 25% of the positions available are lying vacant,” informs Neeru Snehi, assistant professor, department of higher and professional education, National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA). 

   However, Dayanand Dongaonker, secretary general, Association of Indian Universities disagrees. “It is because there is no proper mechanism to evaluate the number of faculty available in colleges that these numbers can’t represent the actual scenario. Not having accurate figures is another major problem,” avers Dongaonker. 

QUALITY MATTERS 

At the central university level, this problem has more to do with quality than quantity. Ashok Vohra, head, department of philosophy, Delhi University (DU), clarifies, “I would call it a ‘crunch’ if there was a shortage of people available to join the profession. The real problem is that there is no quality faculty available to do research work.” 

   Most teachers and professors blame ‘irrational’ government policies for preventing good faculty from joining central universities. Another cause for concern is UGC’s policy on promotions (a person is automatically promoted from the post of lecturer to senior lecturer to reader and to professor after completing a fixed number of years). 

   “In such a scenario, people lose the zeal to do research work, which is one of the main responsibilities of a teacher at the higher education level. There is nothing differentiating those who were promoted by merit from those who were promoted by default. This affects the quality of research,” opines Vohra. 

   The pay packages don’t help either. Snehi reveals, “A lecturer earns approximately Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000, a senior lecturer around Rs 10,000, a reader can earn Rs 12,000, and a professor, the profession’s top rung, gets no more than Rs 15,000.” Why then, would a ‘good’ student with more lucrative prospects elsewhere, be attracted to teaching as a profession? “Most would logically opt for management education rather than pursue a PhD. Even those who pursue a PhD wouldn’t want to join the teaching profession,” asserts Raghavan. 


TECHNICAL TROUBLE 

The report by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), P Rama Rao Committee on Faculty Development states, “The AICTE has justly recognised that the gravest problem bedevilling our country’s system of technical education is the woeful shortage of competent teaching staff. Currently based on the established AICTE norms of student-teacher ratio of 1:15, and the cadre ratio of 1:2:6 for professors, readers and lecturers respectively, the shortage of teaching staff is over 40,000 and the shortage in the different cadres is professors - 4531, readers - 9063 and lecturers - 27,187. The shortage of PhDs exceeds 30,000, while the Masters shortfall is over 24,000.” 

   The committee also outlined the ‘alarming failure rate’ in a large number of technical institutes as further proof of the shortage of faculty and the inadequacy of existing faculty. For example, in about 150 of the 229 engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu, the failure rate was nearly 65%. 

   “The problem of faculty crunch is not new. Even when the existing IITs were set up, there was insufficient faculty available. So, the professor of one discipline had to teach in another discipline,” reveals Sanjay Dhande, director, IIT-Kanpur. Gautam Barua, director, IIT-Guwahati, says, “The real problem lies in attracting quality people as faculty. At the higher education level, the faculty’s job goes beyond teaching to include research work that demands a high level of dedication.” 


NEW TALENT 

The salary for teachers, even at IITs and IIMs, is not enough to attract good students. “And for institutions like ours, which do not get funding like the IITs, it is even tougher,” explains S N Upadhyay, director, Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University, slated to become an IIT in the coming years. 

   He adds, “At present, we have at least 100 posts lying vacant. If the government wants good people to join, the faculty needs to be given better residential facilities and other infrastructure.” The same holds true for management education as well. “There are not many people who want to pursue research in the management area. Besides, private institutes make far better offers,” claims a faculty-member at an IIM. “With the government planning to set up additional IIMs, the faculty crunch is going to increase. The hiring spree would probably compromise on quality,” said Ashoke Dutta, director, IIM-Shillong, who was also part of the P Rama Rao Committee. 


WAY FORWARD 

Although, institutes of higher learning refuse to compromise on quality, most good students aren’t interested in joining the profession. What are the solutions to this dilemma? The most important, perhaps, is to promote research work. “It is important to make PhDs more lucrative by increasing grants and offering international exposure. DU has already started a scheme for scholars that will give them the opportunity to go abroad,” says Deepak Pental, vice-chancellor, Delhi University. 

   “Adequate funding, freedom for professors to work, the creation of a mechanism to attract quality students and judicious expansion of higher education are all important,” affirms Dongaonker. The P Rama Rao Committee has also suggested solutions for technical institutes. “The AICTE has been taking several initiatives under the Faculty Development Bureau to address the shortage of qualified faculty and other related matters regarding faculty development in technical institutes. In fact, Rs 950 crore has already been approved in principle by the executive committee of AICTE towards these recommendations,” says Swadesh K Gupta, advisor and head, Research and Institutional Development, AICTE. 

   And lastly, with the sixth pay commission revisions in the offing better salaries are a possibility.

 

 

Sunil Sharma

   Moderator

Dil Se Desi Group

&    www.dilsedesi.org

SCHOLARSHIP WATCH

SCHOLARSHIP WATCH


   
HUMBOLDT RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP FOR EXPERIENCED RESEARCHERS 

The Humboldt Foundation grants approximately 600 Humboldt Research Fellowships for postdoctoral researchers and experienced  researchers annually. A Humboldt Research Fellowship for experienced researchers allows you to carry out a long-term research project (6-18 months) you have selected yourself in cooperation with an academic host at a research institution in Germany. The academic host is also of your choice. The fellowship is flexible and can be divided up into as many as three stays within three years. Shortterm study visits, participation in congresses and training courses cannot be financed. 

Requirements: 

Researchers from abroad with above average qualifications who have completed their doctorate less than twelve years ago and already have their own research profile and are working at least at the level of Assistant Professor or Junior Research Group Leader can apply for this research fellowship. Alternately researchers who have a record of several years of independent academic work can also apply. Scientists and scholars of all nationalities and disciplines can apply. Scholars in the humanities or social sciences and physicians must have a good knowledge of German if it is necessary to carry out the project successfully. Otherwise they should at least have a good command over English. Scientists and engineers must have a good knowledge of German or English. 

To apply: 

Download from

 

 http://www.humboldtfoundation.de/pls/web/wt_show.text_page?p_text_id=1710.

 

Applications may be sent to Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, Selection Department, Jean-Paul-Str. 12, 53173 Bonn, Germany at any time. Please send your application directly to the Selection Department at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Jean-Paul-Str. 12, 53173 Bonn, Germany. If this is not possible, you may submit your application via the branch offices of the DAAD or the German Embassy or Consulate to be forwarded to the Humboldt Foundation. 

Submission: 

Any time. Selection committee meetings take place three times a year, in March, July and November. 


Sunil Sharma

   Moderator

Dil Se Desi Group

&    www.dilsedesi.org

Career in Fine Arts

‘DESIGN IS AN ART AND TO MAKE ART REQUIRES DESIGN’
 ART IN INDIA HAS REACHED A NEW HIGH — NOT ONLY DOES IT OFFER RECOGNITION, IT HOLDS MONETARY RETURNS AS WELL. BUT, SINCE THERE IS A SHORTAGE OF QUALITY ART COLLEGES IN THE COUNTRY, WHAT OPTIONS DO INTERESTED STUDENTS HAVE?

   The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD or rizdee) is the leading college of art and design in the United States. Approximately 2,300 students from the US and abroad are enrolled in full-time study at RISD, where Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes in 19 majors include a firm grounding in the liberal arts. RISD is located in Providence, Rhode Island — on the east coast of the US.



   Founded in 1877, it is one of the oldest independent colleges of art and design in the country. The school's fine arts division offers degrees in film/animation/video, glass, illustration, jewellery and metalsmithing, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and textiles. 



   According to Jaime Marland, director, media relations, RISD: "Students are educated on the premise that to design is an art and to make art requires design. The notion of design at RISD is predicated on the fine arts, with a consensus among faculty that the curriculum for all design courses should rest on a solid foundation in the fine arts." 


STUDENT EXPERIENCES


Akshat Raghava joined RISD in 2005 because "it was the top college in the US to offer industrial design." Besides, he says, "It is an amazing place to be, everybody is helpful and supportive here. What I really like about RISD is the fact that it has a small student body, they are all amazingly creative and talented, and bring different experiences and techniques to offer." 


  For Devika Khanna, however, the decision wasn't as straightforward. "I was studying at Sophia Polytechnic, Bombay and had just completed my foundation year, which is the first of five years in commercial art. Having been in the top three students in a class of 60, I had no doubt that I would go on to doing the four-year diploma in commercial art. But, at the end of my foundation class, we had a final art exam that was graded by the J J School of Arts. Surprisingly, I didn't do too well in that exam and I wasn't taken into the first year of commercial art. Further, J J School of Arts did not even recognise the year I had done at Sophia." 


   Khanna, then, applied to fine arts schools in the US. "RISD was one of my first choices as I had a cousin who had graduated from there and had praised it. The school also had a reputation of being among the finest art schools in the world. Not only did I get admission to RISD for graphic design, they gave me a year-off based on the work I had sent them from Sophia. How ironic that a foreign school can recognise someone's work and in India, the governing board did not recognise education from another Indian institution." 


   She graduated with honours on the Dean's List in 1993. "My three years at RISD were among the most inspired years and I also worked the hardest in those years. The school was very challenging and most of the students were very talented. I loved our studio space, where we all had our own space to work, hang out together, exchange ideas and critique each other's work. There were only 15 students in each class so we got individualised attention from the faculty. The faculty themselves were well respected in their professions in the outside world," says Khanna. 


FACULTY WISE

Elaborating on the same, Marland says: "The faculty at RISD are practicing and renowned artists, designers, architects and scholars with outstanding records of accomplishment in their respective fields. They include internationallyrecognised authors and illustrators, experimental glass artists and sculptors, architects, inventors and designers." 

   Adds Khanna: "We also had many visiting lecturers and the most memorable was Ootje Oxenaar, a famous Dutch designer who had designed the Dutch currency and Dutch postal service (PTT). He explained his thought process, design and implementation and how he came to the end product and design of the lovely, clever and colourful Dutch currency notes." 


MONEY MATTERS


However, studying at this reputed school can be expensive. Especially since there are no scholarships and students must show ability to pay full tuition. Says Khanna: "When I was at RISD, tuition was $14,000 a year. With living and art materials, an average amount would be $25,000 a year. Today, the tuition fees are about $25,000."


   According to Raghava, today, the annual expenses reach approximately $50,000. He adds: "It is, no doubt, expensive to live and study here if you start comparing it with India. But, once you consider the fact that you're in the US, studying in one of the top colleges in the world, I think it's definitely worth the money." 
   According to Claudia Ford, director, international programmes, the school has 421 international students of which 14 are from India. 


CAREER PROSPECTS


Speaking about the opportunities a career in fine arts offers, Raghava states: "It is hard for me to say about fine arts in particular as there are so many majors which fall under this category like painting, screen printing, etc. But, the current world market demands for creativity and innovation have certainly gone up and all this opens new doors everyday for creative people."


   Elaborating on the same, Khanna adds: "We all know that art in India has reached a new high where most artists, painters, sculptors, fashion designers, design houses are concerned. Not only are they getting a lot of recognition, they can also command high prices for their work. Even investment houses have followed the trend by starting art funds and having an 'art portfolio' is supposed to have higher returns than shares." 



   And as for RISD's services in this regard, Steve Whitten, director, career services, says: "RISD's Alumni and Career Services Office is a comprehensive full-service programme providing services and education in the practical skills artists and designers need in their professional and creative lives. These initiatives provide direct, practical resources for students and alumni, and connect directly to the college's academic departments through a range of integrated and collaborative programmes." 
   Khanna worked in New York with a graphic design company before returning to Mumbai. She started her own graphic design company in 2001. 


FUTURE SPEAK


According to Ford, the school plans to introduce more specific travel/study programmes in India and to continue its exchange with National Institute of Design (NID) Ahmedabad. "We also hope our Indian alumni will come up with a scholarship for talented but lowincome undergraduates or graduate students," informed Ford.


   As for Raghava, "After graduating from RISD I want to be a product designer and yes, I will return to India. I believe India has more to offer than developed countries considering we are changing faster than others and this will be my way to contribute in the development of my country." 

   "RISD has given me a grounding I will have for life. Should I choose to change to another design industry, I wouldn't have any doubt that I could handle it equally well. The school has given me the confidence to know a good idea from a weak one and how to present and defend my work to clients. It is very important to know where your design works and where it fails. Now,it is all second nature," sums up Khanna.
  
Sunil Sharma
   Moderator

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-├ávis 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

   Moderator

Dil Se Desi Group

&      www.dilsedesi.org