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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Education & Career Counseling (Visa issues for U.K., Career After Masters/PhD. in Urdu, Career in cultivating aromatic medicinal plants )

Education & Career Counseling (Visa issues for U.K., Career After Masters/PhD. in Urdu, Career in cultivating aromatic medicinal plants )

Visa issues for U.K.

Please tell me something about the new point-based immigration system introduced in UK. Does it mean that it will become very difficult to immigrate there? I work in a hotel and I am very keen to move to London.

Vikas Rajan

Choosing careers at an early age

Career Smart

Students are now being encouraged to think about careers from a relatively early age,

GONE are the days when students thought about choosing careers after reaching class XII. Today, they are serious about careers at an earlier age and start ‘exploring’ various options.
A resource centre was recently launched to this end at Delhi Public School (DPS), Ghaziabad. The centre will provide knowledge about new careers, courses and institutions to students, teachers and parents ranging from actuarial science, avionics to bioinformatics, to name a few. It will also enable access to neutral career information and career planning aids help in selecting the right course and institute.
Elaborating on the need for such a centre, Jitin Chawla, career counsellor and managing director, JUMP and also the brain behind the concept, said: “Career awareness among students is a major problem, and thus we aim to build that right from class IX onwards to help students make informed career decisions.”
Speaking about the activities planned for the resource centre, he said: “We will ensure regular visits by our career counsellors to tackle queries and conduct workshops. In addition, we have a display board showcasing new programmes and institutions, charts showing career routes, a career books library, a compilation of online resources and mock tests for different exams.”


Most teachers feel that students should start thinking seriously about their careers from class VIII onwards. As Sunita Roy, counsellor, Apeejay School, Sheikh Sarai, put it: “Ideally, class VIII onwards, students should at least know about the career options available.” She added: “In fact, young children who are at impressionable age, start imitating doctors or policemen, so depending on their interest, they should be made to interact with people from different professions so that they can know more about it.”
On the other hand, P Anjali Mehta, counsellor, Amity School, Noida, said: “The right age for career counselling is when a child reaches class IX and the exploration phase must start at this age.” She added: “Students also need to be made aware about various lifestyles that each profession holds and they must pursue it only if it suits their temperament.”
One can’t deny that children are turning materialistic today, opined Mehta. She said: “What students usually want today is money, power, status and job satisfaction. Hence, they prefer to chose careers that are lucrative.” Similarly, Roy stated: “Today’s generation wants to pursue lucrative careers with lesser working hours, so they are especially interested in learning about the career options available in this regard.”


Most counsellors agree to the fact that parents need counselling more than students, as they are usually the final decision-makers. Talking about one of their focussed programmes specially for parents, Roy said: “We have a class-wise programme wherein we encourage regular interactions of parents and children so that both can understand each other’s perceptions. This greatly helps in motivating both participants.”
Mehta's advice for students, on pursuing ‘new millennium careers’ is that that they should only pursue them depending on their abilities and sheer passion for it. She added: “Students should be exposed to career fairs and be encouraged to explore as much as possible to gain insights.”


• Understand yourself completely. Understand your strengths, which you can build on, and your weaknesses as well

• Know which subjects/hobbies/activities interest you the most and you can choose your career accordingly

• Always evaluate all the career options available and then select the career that attracts you the most

• You should not only know about traditional career options such as engineering or medicine but also about off-beat careers that are very successful these days, including stand up comedians, wedding choreographers etc

• Don’t select careers by talking to your friends and parents. Try and interact with people working in varied fields/industries

• Even if a job looks very interesting, try working part-time at first

• Never choose any career under pressure or by getting influenced by others

Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group



The city advantage


Stern is unique because it is located at the heart of a large, dynamic city. How does this location contribute to academics at your B-School?

Our urban campus acts as a great intellectual and professional stimulus. We use New York City as both a classroom and a laboratory for learning. Business leaders from banking, finance, entertainment and the media, are frequent guest speakers, enriching our rigorous academic programmes with their pragmatic insights. Many co-curricular activities also take advantage of our location. For example, MBA students are exposed to many of the unique cultural organisations in New York and have the opportunity to consult for them and for small businesses.

Do you see a lot of applications from Indian students? How can Indian students interact with your representatives?

For our undergraduate college and full-time MBA programme, India is one of the top countries from which we receive applications. To recruit for our full-time MBA programme, we visit several cities in India during the fall as part of our admissions process. We hold our own presentations in Mumbai, and this year, in Bangalore, as well. We return to the region in the winter to interview prospective students whom we have invited to interview (we interview everyone we admit).

What is the average student profile that you adhere to when reviewing applications for the MBA programme?

One of the greatest assets of our school is its community. For example, in our full-time MBA programme, our students bring with them a wide range of backgrounds and expertise, which enriches the experience of their peers.
There are some highlights, however. About 42% of our student body constitutes women, a little more than onethird of our students are international or dual citizens, and we have among the highest percentage of underrepresented minority students at 16%. About 40% of this class previously worked in either the financial services, consulting or marketing industries (data from the Fall 2007 entering class).
In our executive MBA programme, which targets senior executives, the average age is 38 and almost 50% of enrolled students already hold advanced degrees.
We don’t have a defined GMAT score requirement. Applicants can visit our website to see our admitted class profile. As far as work experience is concerned, most students in our full-time MBA programme have about five years of work experience under their belt. All our programmes are extremely selective and competitive. For entry to our full-time MBA programme this fall, we received more than 4700 applications for about 400 spots. It was a record year for our GMAT, which hit 707, as well as our selectivity (admissions rate), an indicator of competitiveness, which is 13%.

If the situation is so competitive, what can a student do right before applying to Stern to make sure that he/she is admitted to a programme?

For our full-time MBA programme, we evaluate each candidate holistically, based on academic potential, career history and goals, and personal and professional characteristics. Since our community at our institute is one of our strongest assets, we try to ensure a student’s ‘fit’ with our community. A student must illustrate through the application and interview process why this institute is the right fit for him and how he envisions himself contributing to our community.

Do you think management graduates are holding up well in the face of the current economic situation and changing job market in the US?

This is certainly a tougher job market, but our graduating MBA students are faring well. Currently, our placement rate is only slightly behind where we were last year. What we are seeing is that some recent alumni are experiencing lay-offs as a result of the credit crunch. In response to the end of the dotcom bubble in 2001, we created the Career Centre for Working Professionals for our working student population and alumni. So we’re in a strong position to provide support to our alumni.

Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group


Opportunities in BPO Sector

The right time to speak right
THE BPO industry is booming like never before, and since voice and accent training is acknowledged as an essential requirement in the BPO industry, an individual with a good command over his speech, can pursue a career as a voice and accent trainer with great ease. Voice and accent trainers make your voice globally intelligible and teach young aspirants basic speech skills like when they should pause and how they can regulate their speech. 

The Counsellor - 35


Sporting law

I am doing BA LLB from Delhi. I am not interested in litigation or civil or criminal law. I am an extrovert with varied interests - actually passionate about sports (hockey), which I've had to give up because it clashes with my studies. Can you suggest some new or lesser-known field of law that I could look at? I am very confused.
Kehar Singh

Do you know how very lucky you are Jansher?
Just fasten your seatbelt while I tell you about this exciting new area of law that will combine your professional specialisation and your interests.
Sports law is set to be the next cash cow for law majors in India. With sports gaining popularity and prominence, law firms are looking at expanding their portfolio in this segment, which they feel is recessionproof.
Law firms are now preparing all celebrity endorsement deals. Earlier, it was restricted to the two parties involved - the celebrity endorsing the brand and the corporate entity. However, now law firms are increasingly being approached to facilitate such deals as part of their advisory services.
Sports law in India is likely to emerge as a big area of practice in the next five years. And with the sector getting corporatised, there will be
an increased demand for lawyers specialising in this field in the years to come. Their role will be to ensure that the contractual obligations of the athlete are tailored to suit them.
Skill upgrade

I have been working for the last three years in a small private factory after doing my ITI certificate course. I am very keen to upgrade my skills but due to financial constraints, can't leave my job to do a regular diploma in engineering in a polytechnic. Please help me.
Abhilash Chaudhary

Here's an option that will fit you just fine. Indira Gandhi National Open University (Ignou) is launching a diploma in mechanical engineering (DME) in January 2009.
Eligibility for admission to this programme is matriculation (55%) or matriculation with an ITI certificate/certificate in motorcycle service & repair from Ignou. Candidates should be employed in Central or state-level, public or private manufacturing industries or in other related organisations employing similar manpower. Otherwise they should be self-employed in an equivalent capacity.
The prospectus and application forms are available on payment of Rs 100 by hand and Rs 150 by post.
Forms can be obtained from the Programme Coordinator (DME), Room No 104, Block -C New Academic blocks, IGNOU Campus, Maidan Garhi, New Delhi 68.
But hurry, the application deadline is October 30, 2008.
Research best

Our daughter who has been a merit-holder throughout, went to Canada to pursue her higher studies in biology. She is now doing research in McGill University while teaching there. We want her to come back now. However, she is refusing to do so because she says there are lesser opportunities for research in India. And even those that exist, don't pay well. Could you please suggest something she can do here that could be equally satisfying?

Why not. Better late than never, India has decided to kick-start a talent hunt to strengthen its research base in high-end biomedical research field in the country's laboratories. Under a joint initiative between the department of biotechnology and UK’s Wellcome Trust, the government is offering lucrative packages to attract the best Indian-origin talent across the globe to augment its R&D base.
Under this programme, the early career fellow would get up to Rs 7.16 lakh per annum, intermediate fellows up to Rs 9.65 lakh and senior fellows up to Rs 12.83 lakh per-annum. Besides the salary package, they will also be offered high-end medical facilities for themselves and their families. Only those who have a proven global record in biomedical research can apply as senior fellows. And given your daughter’s passion and capability, I don’t see why she wouldn’t fit the bill.
In all, 70 fellowships will be awarded every year under the programme in different areas of bioresearch for the next 10 years, to begin with. Research professionals would be attached to different institutions to prove leadership in biomedical research, which is an area of tremendous global significance today.
Some Indian biotech firms are also doing exciting cutting-edge research. Perhaps your daughter could explore the option of working with them in her area of interest/specialisation.
Language command

What is group discussion? My English is not very good. Is good command over English compulsory? How should I prepare myself for this and the interview?
Susheel Sharma

As the name suggests, a group discussion (GD) is a discussion on a given topic by a group of participants.
It's very essential to have a good command over the English language both for clearing the written exam as well as the GD and Interview for admission to management courses - particularly the good ones.
Unless you have a decent command of the language, you won’t be able to put your views across - particularly at such short notice. You will get barely 10 minutes to prepare for the topic for discussion. And you don’t know what direction the discussion will take. You don’t need to know literary English but at least enough to put your views across clearly and cogently.
English being the lingua franca of the corporate sector, you must possess excellent written as well as oral communication skills to succeed.
But, nothing is impossible. If you work on building your vocabulary and improving your language skills in dead earnest right away, you’ll be amazed how quickly you pick up the essentials.
Join a coaching class which can give you practice in participating in mock GDs and interviews to gain practice and overcome your hesitation of speaking in public. Alternatively, form a group of your own and discuss a variety of topics within a stipulated time frame, so that when the actual time comes, you are not taken by surprise. Keep yourself updated about current events, economy etc. For the Interview brush up on the subjects that you have learnt during your graduation or if you are working, read more about the latest happenings in your field.
English is not our mother tongue, so it’s quite natural if it doesn’t come to us easily. But, if you make it a regular habit to attentively read books and papers, watch and listen to radio and TV programmes, and avail of every opportunity to converse in English, there's no way you won't succeed. It's only a language after all.
All said and done, GDs and interviews are just tools to test your personality. Be clear about your goals, be frank and be yourself. The rest will take care of itself.

Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group


Global Indian Education



THE Indian legal education system may witness big changes in the coming years. On one hand, while realising the importance of globalisation, law schools have called for making Indian legal education globally relevant. On the other, they are planning to introduce changes to the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) to select students who have the skills to become international lawyers.
These plans were announced at seminars organised in Hyderabad and Delhi recently by US-based Institute of International Education (IIE), an international exchange organisation. The seminars brought together the US Law School Admission Council (LSAC) and the National Law Schools (NLS) of India. “Expansion in business across the world has generated a need for lawyers who are global in their approach. Legal education has to play a big role in creating such lawyers. We at our organisation believe in international exchange of ideas so we thought to facilitate exchange of ideas,” said Ajit Motwani, director, IIE India.


Entrance examinations are an important parameter to select the right candidate. And while CLAT is only a year old, LSAC has the experience of holding Law School Admission Test (LSAT) across US, Australia and Canada for nearly 60 years.
Veer Singh, vice-chancellor of NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, will be the convenor of CLAT 2009. Singh, while elaborating on the plans to introduce changes in the exam, said, “Approximately 1.5 lakh aspirants from three different countries take LSAT. They have proved their credibility in terms of fairness of content, testing candidate on logical and verbal reasoning and language comprehension. So, we want to learn from them the things that can make CLAT more reliable.”
When asked about the feasibility of applying a US testing method in India, Singh said, “We will not be replicating the LSAT, since CLAT 2008 had its own peculiar problems like local, gender and caste reservations. Besides, some take it online and some don't. So, we will consider all these factors before reaching any conclusion.”


Elaborating on the universal approach of LSAT in selecting candidates, Daniel Bernstine, president, LSAC, said: “We have to remember that the exam is not about law. It is conducted to test a student's ability to work as a lawyer. So, we provide equal playing fields to students from different disciplines." Ellen Rutt, chair, LSAC, added: "The exam is designed in the US, but it is taken by students from various countries. It can effectively judge the critical thinking and reasoning ability of a student regardless of him/her sitting in Nairobi or New Delhi.”


Once the right candidates have been selected, the focus shifts towards imparting quality education. So, those present at the Delhi seminar made suggestions on improving the legal education system in the country. “We require a new breed of schools that will be able to handle global issues such as climate change, arbitration, mergers and acquisitions. Hence, it is important to initiate dialogue with other countries. And since the US is also a democracy, we can learn a lot from them,” said Moolchand Sharma, eminent law professor, and vicechairman, University Grants Commission (UGC).
Elaborating on the required changes, Dalveer Bhandari, judge, Supreme Court, said: “Considering the sheer number of global law firms that have set up shop in India in the past 10 years, there is an urgent need for truly global legal education. We also need to have a special fleet of lawyers who can represent India in the World Trade Organisation. The Bar Council of India is doing very little in this regard. The council should also consider a fiveyear law course where faculty could consist of accomplished lawyers and researchers.”
Bhandari also felt that the country needed clinical legal education so that students could get real life dealing in courts and with clients. On the other hand, Ranbir Singh, vicechancellor, NLS-Delhi, said: “We will be local in our thinking but the focus would be to create lawyers who can relate to the global situation. Hence, our vision is to increase interaction between our law school and others worldwide.”

Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group


Career in Food Industry

Culinary craft


A decade ago, careers related to food may not have been a student’s first option. However, today, due to a combination of factors like an increasingly affluent middle class, a growing, young working population with evolved tastes, the pervasive trend of fine dining as a leisure activity, and a wealth of international exposure, the food and beverage (F&B) industry in India is cooking up a storm. The F&B retail industry in India is estimated to be worth $6 billion and has been growing at a rate of 35% per-annum for the last two years.
A career in this industry is not just confined to cooking. Offshoots like food critiquing and writing, food styling, catering, food tasting, and food photography are gaining in popularity.


Due to great demand for trained professionals in India’s food production, which is likely to double in the next decade, there are many exciting avenues for those seeking peripheral, offbeat careers, especially in areas of food writing and styling. Do you think you could make a bowl of soup or a basket of fruits come alive for the camera? Or capture a perfect, tempting food picture with carefully picked props? If you are passionate about food, but don’t have the appetite to spend innumerable hours in the kitchen, a host of opportunities await you.


Writing about food is a rewarding option for those with a combined passion for food, writing and learning. A food writer’s job involves more than just sharing a recipe or writing restaurant reviews. Food writing, like all other writing, aims to stimulate the senses of the reader, either evoking experiences, past or present, or more practically, motivating the reader to get out of his armchair, and into the kitchen or the nearest restaurant.

What does it take?

A food writer needs to constantly refine his skills and reeducate himself. Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal, a Mumbaibased, gastronomy writer and food content consultant, says, “I study nearly everyday to keep up with trends and update myself on food facts. I absorb every bit of food writing I can get my hands on, and have about 500 books on food.”
It takes knowledge, hard work, consistent research, perseverance, an open mind, the ability to multitask, and an unwavering passion, in order to grow as a food writer. There is no formal training course to be a certified food writer. The career is ideal for those, who learn from observations and thrive on their ability to turn their passion for food into incisive commentary.

Money talk

Smita Iyengar, a food writer, who has travelled extensively, offers, “Food writing is a gratifying experience, but there is limited scope in terms of money unless you have a full-time job with a publication.” Ghildiyal offers a different view, insisting, “It might mean lean pickings at the outset, but it will certainly pay-off in the long run, provided you have good research abilities, creativity and a positive attitude.”
If you are an employee of a publication, as a full-time journalist, you stand to earn as much money as your peers. As a freelancer, your income is entirely dependent on how much work you can do, which may mean anything between Rs 1,000 for an assignment, to a five-figure salary per-month. Ghildiyal reveals, “Reputed publications will rarely have qualms about paying fairly. If you think your work is worth more, do not hesitate to demand your price.”


Food writing in India has a long way to go to achieve the cult status it enjoys in the West. At the same time, it also means that there are many opportunities for aspiring food writers. One could either join a publication as a full-time journalist and specialise in food features, or freelance for publications.
An aspirant can expect fantastic prospects in this field due to burgeoning food and drink production, consumption, meagre competition, and the different media open to them. As Ghildiyal reveals, “I, for one, discovered food writing while on a sabbatical from my job, when surfing the internet and experimenting with blogging.”


Have you ever looked at a picture of the most delectable, tempting dish, and found it so appealing, that you found yourself wishing you could eat it right there and then? Food photography involves bringing the magic of food alive, and is considered to be one of the most difficult specialities in the realm of professional photography. The reason? It isn’t easy to make wholesome food look appealing in a two-dimensional photograph, and photographers have very little time to shoot, because the food essentially looks good for just a few moments.

What does it take?

Still photographer, Sanjiv Valsan explains, “Food is a bit like a micro landscape; you need a strong sense of colour and composition and good photography skills.”
If you want be a food photographer, knowledge about food, a good aesthetic sense, and patience and perseverance are must haves. “You certainly cannot be dispassionate about it,” observes Bharat Bhirangi, a food photographer, adding, “You need to have excellent aesthetic sense, as food has to be shot with props like crockery, table linen and cutlery, among other things.”
Unfortunately, there are no courses that offer a specialisation in food photography in India. A course in general photography applies to food photography. After picking up the basics of photography and studio lighting, one can gain a better understanding of the subject by assisting established photographers in the genre. Also, personal initiative and practice will help in the long run.

Money talk

Food photographers are rarely hired as employees. The profession may demand a little investment on your part, as you need to own a professional camera and the right equipment. The field mostly has self-employed professionals with all the rewards and risks such an arrangement entails. Payment for a day’s shoot is usually Rs 5,000 upwards. Bhirangi explains, “It is hard to outline monetary parameters. One can expect around Rs 5,000 to Rs 8,000 a day, when you start, to about Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 a day, if you are a much sought-after name. But, it really depends on the way you position yourself in the market.”


A photographer’s clients could comprise hotels, restaurants, magazines and advertising agencies. “Magazines are the least competitive entry point, while ad agencies can seem a little intimidating to newcomers. Competition isn’t very fierce, since most photographers may make a beeline for more glamorous fields. In fact, there is a shortage of good food photographers in Indian cities,” says Valsan. You can approach lifestyle magazines, hotels and ad agencies to showcase your work and earn assignments.
“The requirement for good quality visuals is definitely on the rise,” avers Bhirangi. As Valsan states, “There is a growing interest in exotic food. The future can only open up more possibilities.”


Though the word ‘food’ is very enticing in itself, eatables can cease to be at their photographic best within minutes. That’s where a food stylist scores. A food stylist works hand in glove with the food photographer, preparing, placing, arranging and garnishing the food. “Food styling is like make up for food, to make it look more appealing. There is a big difference between cooking food to eat and preparing food for a photo shoot,” asserts Arati Kamat, a food stylist with over 10 years of experience working as a chef and a food researcher/writer.

What does it take?

Without sound knowledge of international cuisines, the stylist would be at a loss. Stylists check for thumbprints, lint and stray elements. It is the job of the stylist to cook, pick or select just the right thing for a photograph and ensure the strawberry is turned the right way, the leafy vegetables look fresh and green, and that there is sufficient steam to create an image of piping hot food on film.
Saba Gajiyani, a food stylist and photographer, whose portfolio boasts of leading national and international clients, advises, “The ideal way to pursue a career in this field is to study hotel management, and use your knowledge about food and your aesthetic sense to make a mark in this niche area.” Though tweezers, hair dryers, spray bottles and cotton balls are common objects in a stylist’s kit, there is no specific method for food styling. A stylist is as good as his creative best.

Money talk

“The job may demand little investment in terms of having a collection of classy crockery, cutlery and background material,” claims Kamat. One can master the art by assisting an established food stylist and usually get paid a handsome amount per-day. Food stylists can expect a couple of thousand rupees for a day’s work. Once you establish your name in the industry, you can put your own price tag to your talent.


The media industry is booming, and lifestyle-related domains like food will obviously grow in proportion. With new restaurants opening their doors every day, and businesses pumping more money into advertising efforts, there is no dearth of work for skilled photographers and stylists. The demand continues to rise. As far as competition is concerned, it is rising, albeit at a slower pace.
A career in the food industry is not only gastronomically pleasing, but can also be an economically rewarding and personally satisfying option, whether you opt to pursue writing, teaching, styling or catering. No facet of food is dull for gourmands, with their voracious appetite for the best that food has to offer.

Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group


Innovations in Advertising

‘Innovation drives excellence in action’


"IMAGINATION is more important than knowledge," said Albert Einstein - the physicist who gave the world the theory of relativity.

Call them innovation, intellectual capital or intangible assets as financers call them, ideas are of such paramount importance that we live and die by them. Some smart ones have helped countries tread the trail of success, while some other flop ones have even lead to the fall of civilisations.

Every human endeavor starts with an idea and our ability or potential to realize our ideas makes us what we are. 'Innovation Drives Excellence in Action' is how ad-guru Alyque Padamsee defines an ‘Idea.’ He in fact goes on to say that wealth is measured by ideas, not money.

India has become the brainbox of the world as the country has now taken to exporting intellectual property - its most bounteous and highly-valued asset. In the global circuit, India is reigning supreme, for it has realised that good ideas, marketed well can be a major driving force of a developing economy like ours.

Ideation is so big and prime these days that like marketers and financiers, we are consciously creating space for ideators too at our workplace.

No idea can be foolproof. It is the implementation that distinguishes a bad idea from a good one. Sometimes, apparently small ideas click big because of their wellthought-of execution. Padamsee fondly reminisces the time when the idea of using Charlie Chaplin as a mascot of Cherry Blossom shoe polish was slammed by all. The argument was that how could a comedy character be associated to a shoe polish. Later, the ad became a phenomenal success and proved that it is all a game of implementation, presentation and consumer connect.

Also, there are evolutionary ideas that simply take a concept from the past and improve upon it. Take for instance Fair and Handsome - a fairness cream for men by Emami, developed on the lines of an already existing Fair and Lovely. The strategically positioned product with Shah Rukh Khan as its brand ambassador went on to become the fastest growing FMCG product of all time. If presented fresh and better, an old idea can also sometimes become a success story.

"In times when advertisement and brand building have become the biggest corporate expenditure, unique ideas are the sole way to stand and survive the competitive times. With brands scrambling for shelf life, innovative advertisement is the key to survival," says Padamsee.

When asked to comment on comparative advertising that has almost become a norm these days, Padamsee vehemently criticised it saying that an ad should be conceptualised to bring to surface the highlights of a product. Prime time should not be wasted in criticising competitors.

With ads being compared on the scales of creativity, agencies are vying to create innovative commercials to strike a chord with the consumer. However, with ads becoming fancier than ever Padamsee feels that the basic objective of advertising is not being met. He feels that the whole concept of advertisement has morphed into 'advertainment' and consequently even the consumers successfully register ads, but fail to relate and recollect the brand advertised.

Despite being an advertisement veteran, he condemns too much of advertisement. Padamsee feels that excess advertisement becomes a distraction and steals the charm of the show. The adman who says that remote is a 'kiss of death,' feels that unreasonably long ad breaks encourage viewers to flip channels, and nothing can be more disastrous than that.

When asked about his favourite ad, the genius behind Cherry Charlie, Hamara Bajaj and the Kamasutra couple very nostalgically smiles and confesses that it is the recent Hutch series that he best relate to.

For young professionals, Padamsee's word of wisdom is to hone creativity and to have a never say die attitude.

Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group


Bussiness of Advertising

Creative burnout


AMONG the primary reasons for people moving out of the advertising industry is the condescending attitude that prevails between the client and the advertising agency. "There is no real sense of ownership that the agency experiences or rather is allowed to experience in terms of the brand," says Gautam Shiknis, founder and managing director of Palador Cinema.
He elaborates: "I used to work for Saatchi & Saatchi and was fortunate to be working on a brand like Procter & Gamble (P&G). My team was instrumental in achieving the brand positioning for a number of P&G's personal care products, including Head & Shoulders. So, we all felt an emotional connection with the product and identified it as our brand. However, neither did the market acknowledge this nor did the client. Once, at a meeting with the P&G brand manager and a few others, someone from our agency alluded to Head & Shoulders as our brand. This had everyone, particularly the P&G brand manager, looking rather surprised."


According to Shiknis, the dynamics of ownership in terms of brands is largely determined by money. He says: "It is not the people who are involved in the creative process of brand building but the people who pay for getting the creative work done who ultimately own the brand." But, then, doesn't getting promotions at an early age compensate? "Not really," says Kaustav Sen, who was a creative director with a leading advertising firm for seven years. He reasons: "It is a rather faceless industry. The credit for outstanding creative work is accorded to the agency as a whole and never to the individuals who are involved in creative conceptualisation. And though various awards recognise creative contribution at an individual level and compensate to an extent, the fact remains that by and large creative professionals are faceless entities."
Sen also cites creativity in advertising being sublimated by the client's brief as another reason for people leaving the advertising world. He adds: "Sooner or later, most creative people experience frustration and move out to other domains that offer more creative license."


On the other hand, a senior copy supervisor for an advertising agency in Gurgaon says that it isn't always a feeling of saturation that causes people to exit the industry. She feels that, in a way, the change is a done thing considering "almost everyone who enters the industry has a long-term plan to eventually progress into an allied sector." She elaborates: "By the age of 30-35, one is already a creative director and then the only job left is that of a managing creative director (MCD). However, considering there are only some 10-odd positions for MCDs in the country, it isn't a viable option for the hundreds that are employed by advertising agencies. As a result, one remains a creative director for a considerable amount of time and the only option left, then, is to change careers."
Another trend that she points out is that people from creative divisions are most likely to change careers. " But, this change isn't as much about the job as it is about the person. Creatives are restless by nature, which is probably why they are most likely to change careers," she explains.


According to Atish Munshi, senior copy supervisor, Quadrant Communications - Pune: "People move to other sectors because remunerations there are much higher. Besides, today, there are a variety of options for advertising professionals to choose from. For instance, there is digital media, which more or less requires the same set of skills but pays much better."
Adding to the same, Rahul Ghosh, creative director, TBWA-Mumbai, says: "A career in an advertising agency exposes an individual to multiple domains like films, print, art and radio. However, there is not much scope for specialisation. Hence, the people who want to specialise in one domain eventually venture out. For instance, people who are interested in artwork set up their own design studios, copywriters go onto scriptwriting for films and so on."


Whatever the reasons, the fact remains that at present the advertising industry is prone to a high rate of attrition. So, what needs to be done to control this? "There is a clear need for visionaries in advertising," says Shiknis. He opines: "The advertising industry has to undergo an attitudinal shift within itself so that on one level, it can retain and nurture talent and on a parallel level, it can contribute much more to the nation's GDP. They have to move beyond the 15% commission theory in terms of client billings and work towards improving economies of scale."
Highlighting the scope for improvement in the HR department, Shiknis adds: "At present, the HR division is very restrictive in its scope and does not go beyond issuing appointment letters. This needs to be changed." And according to Sen, "The HR division should work closely with the management to map out growth opportunities within the agency for individual employees."

Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group