CAREER GUIDE Friday, August 9, 2002, Chandigarh, India
Like dealing with people? Be a knowledge professional
Knowledge is today held to be the most important cutting-edge asset, whether it be in a person or in an organisation. As the industrial revolution has given way to information revolution, knowledge professionals are needed in every sphere of activity — be it in IT or biotech, or in more conventional professions such as medicine, law, journalism or business, for that matter.

  • Food technologist
  • Linguist
  • Market research analyst
  • Acupressurist
  • Psychiatrist

I want to be a model. How should I go about it?



Like dealing with people? Be a knowledge professional

Knowledge is today held to be the most important cutting-edge asset, whether it be in a person or in an organisation. As the industrial revolution has given way to information revolution, knowledge professionals are needed in every sphere of activity — be it in IT or biotech, or in more conventional professions such as medicine, law, journalism or business, for that matter. The mantra is simple: the knowledge-based economy demands more and more better and better-trained specialists.

Knowledge professionals are generally people with what are known as ‘investigative’ interests. They prefer working with ideas and thinking than with physical activity or leading people, focusing on facts, figures, abstract ideas and mental problems. Thus, most scientists are generally investigative people.

Dealing with people is not very often an important part of many knowledge careers. But people are people — contrary, not easily pigeonholed, made up of many, and sometimes seemingly different dimensions. Thus, if you are an ideas and thinking person, yet also love to help and assist others, to be able to mentor and give advice to others, take a look at the following careers which combine both working with ideas and being in touch with people.

Food technologist

A food technologist may specialise in one phase of food technology, such as product development, quality control, or production inspection, technical writing, teaching, or consulting, or in a particular branch of food technology, such as cereal grains, meat and poultry, fats and oils, seafood, animal foods, beverages, dairy products, flavours, sugars and starches, stabilisers, preservatives, colours, and nutritional additives, et. al.

The key knowledge-base of a food technologist comprises methods of food production and processing, biology and chemistry. These are covered in the several BTech courses in food technology around the country; in the North notably at Guru Nanak Dev University Amritsar, SLIET, Harcourt Buttler Technical Institute, or Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj University, Kanpur.

Prospects: Food technologists work mainly in the food processing industry about which there has been much hype in the last decade or so. Visionary planners, including India’s new President Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, hold food processing to be the single most important key to increasing rural incomes. The progress in the industry has, however, been slower.


A linguist is a language-scientist; a translator, or a language practitioner. The linguist studies components, structure, and relationships within a language to understand its evolution and functioning. Thus, a linguist prepares description of sounds, forms, and vocabulary of language. And applies linguistic theory to any of following areas: development of improved methods in translation, including computerisation; teaching a language to non-native speakers; preparing language-teaching materials, dictionaries, and handbooks; reducing previously unwritten languages to standardised written form; preparing literacy material; preparing tests for language-learning aptitudes and language proficiency; consulting with government agencies regarding language programmes; or preparation of descriptions of comparative languages to facilitate improvement of teaching and translation., and so on.

A translator renders materials and documents from one language to another. With growing specialisation, translators may specialise in particular type of material, such as news, legal documents, or scientific reports; the latter a potentially fast-growing area given the need for unhindered flow of scientific, technological and business knowledge among peoples conversant in different languages. A translator who can translate spoken speeches or discussions rapidly can look to interpreter jobs, too.

An entirely new and highly paid career opportunity for language specialists and experts has now opened up in India’s booming call centre industry where demand for speech and accent trainers who can coach continuous new batches of recruits to speak in an American or European accent.

A linguist needs an in-depth mastery of the language; something which is typically acquired by studying linguistics at the Bachelor’s level, followed by Master’s (Linguistics/Appl. Linguistics), and perhaps even the PhD level. You would essentially work in academic and research institutions.

A translator obviously needs proficiency in at least two languages. Translators are employed in various government departments and organisations, travel and tourism industry, in the media and also work as freelancers.

Market research analyst

As the name suggests, a market research analyst or market researcher investigates market conditions whether in a city, region, or country to determine potential sales of products and services. Establishes research methodology and designs format for data gathering, such as surveys, opinion polls, or questionnaires. Examines and analyses statistical data to forecast future marketing trends. Gathers data on competitors and analyses prices, sales, and methods of marketing, advertising and distribution. Collects data on customer preferences and buying habits. Prepares reports and graphic illustrations of findings.

Key skills required include information gathering, appropriate use of mathematics and statistics to discover and analyse relevant trends, critical thinking and effective written communication. Accordingly, postgraduate-level knowledge of mathematics and statistical techniques and sales and marketing is needed. Education routes: PG in maths, statistics, MBE, MBA.

Prospects: The increasingly fierce competition in the Indian market with global and local companies locked in a combat for survival is highlighting the need for greater market research.


The good old family doctor, typically an MBBS allopath, is increasingly being joined by alternative healers, be they naturopaths, homoeopaths, acupuncturists or acupressurists. The toxic side-effects of allopathic medicines is inducing a larger number of people to try these alternative, holistic and gentler systems.

An accupressurist treats patients suffering from pain, stress, or tension using accupressure techniques. She/he determines causes of accumulation and the best techniques to increase circulation, according to knowledge of Asian acupuncture and pressure points and Western medical trigger points, bodywork techniques, such as Jin Shin, Do-In, Shiatsu, Swedish, yoga and Esalen. The accupressurist also recommends appropriate diet and practices for the patient to prevent a recurrence of the problem.

Outlook: Even as alternative healing methods slowly go mainstream in hospitals and organised clinics, the best bet currently is for private practice, particularly if you can network the hip, the chic, the jet-set and other New Age devotees.


Psychiatrists diagnose and treat patients with mental, emotional, and behavioural disorders and problems. They review and organise data concerning the patient’s family, medical history, and onset of symptoms and examine the patient to determine the general physical condition, including using special diagnostic tests. Once the nature and extent of the mental disorder is determined, they formulate an appropriate treatment programme, using a variety of psychotherapeutic methods and medications.

A psychiatrist’s knowledge-base includes medicine, psychology, therapy and counselling. Personal skills that mark out a good psychiatrist include active listening, the ability to speak and converse with patients, perceptiveness, and sensitivity.

Outlook: Psychiatrists typically work in hospitals or in private practice, and you get to be one by studying psychiatry at the MD or post-diploma level after MBBS.

In India’s tradition-based society, there is a general tendency towards denying and concealing emotional and mental disorders. These are looked upon with a sense of shame, and often loosely categorised as "madness". The increasing levels of stress and the break-up of joint families where a mentally or emotionally disordered person could be kept in a support group of family members is leading to a recognition of such disorders as something which need treatment. This trend is likely to create the need for a far larger number of psychiatrists than has been the case so far.

I want to be a model. How should I go about it?

Q I have completed class XII. I aspire to be model and want to participate in contests like Mr India, etc. How should I go about it?

Lokesh Rawat

A To participate in the Grasim Mr India contest you need to be 5’10". Although no minimum educational qualification is specified, it always helps to be well educated. You can also look at other contests like the Gladrags Manhunt Contest which is equally prestigious in terms of the opportunities it provides.

Once you decide upon modelling as a career, ‘professional’ is what you’ll need to be at every step: regular with your workout, your diet and your grooming. It also helps to keep abreast of world affairs while keeping up-to-date with the latest trends in fashion to project that ideal mix of brains and brawn.

Usually the age specified for participants is 18 to 30 years. Typically you are required to send one full-length and one close-up colour picture along with your vital statistics. So the first thing you need to do is get some pictures taken by a professional photographer. For an aspiring model, a well-shot portfolio is the passport to getting noticed. Don’t stint on this one, rather consider it an investment.

If you have an expressive and photogenic face you can also take a shot at television, ramp modelling or press advertising to begin with.

Modelling has matured from being a vocation into a Rs 2000-crore industry over the past three decades.

For details of the Grasim 2003 contest and application process log on to their website and start preparing in dead earnest right away. A well-sculpted body or a healthy glowing complexion is not built in a day. You have to really work at it. Best of luck!


Q I could not make it to a good B-school this year. I am getting a pucca seat in a lesser-known private school for Rs 4 lakh. Will it really make a difference where I study once I get a job?

Anurag Rai

A If at all you get a job, that is! With even the IIM graduates finding themselves without commensurate jobs, the scene is bad for those who get their MBA degrees from many of the highly overpriced private B-schools. Most of these institutes boast of almost hundred per cent placement in major companies. They claim to place students in top companies like Maruti Udyog, Pepsi, Coca Cola, Phillips, Hewlett Packard, HCL, Hero Honda, etc. But in most cases, it is just one odd student who makes it to these companies.

Because of lack of proper infrastructure, the placement cells act as mere consultants. And if you are lucky enough to get a job, the starting salary could be as low as Rs. 5000 p.m.

So do check out the rating before you sign on the dotted line. A good MBA from a good B-school is your brand equity throughout your worklife. Make sure you don’t settle for a D-grade B-school.

Gather some work experience instead. And try again next year.


Q I am interested in pursuing a career in computers. Could you please tell me what sort of professionals in this field are in demand?

Saurabh Joshi

A To increase their value, the IT professionals need to instantly upgrade their skills and be willing to venture into newer areas. The IT companies look for people who can grow beyond their respective roles. It is imperative for the job seeker to be a good resource manager.

The IT industry grades candidates into various categories:

(a) Engineers with excellent communication skills;

(b) Graduates with Master’s in Computer Applications,

(c) Graduates with a recognised high-end diploma in computers.

Typically, the industry looks for people with at least two years of experience if they have postgraduate qualifications. In case of graduates, a minimum of five years experience is required.

For a successful career overseas, apart from technical skills, good communication, a strong quality orientation and being a good team player are key prerequisites. The industry looks for people with a logical and analytical mind, with a genuine interest in computers.



1. Name the Indian who has been chosen for this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Award for social work.

2. Which country has the world’s highest number of diabetics according to a recent WHO study?

3. Which was the leading pulse-producing state in the country in the year 2000-2001?

4. Which site in New York has been termed ‘Ground Zero’?

5. Expand TIPS.

6. Which city fell victim to the world’s first atomic bombing in 1945?

7. Who has been re-elected Prime Minister of New Zealand?

8. What is the capital of Ghana?

9. What prize money has been announced by the government for sportspersons winning Olympic gold?

10. What is India’s latest FIFA ranking?

11. With which sport discipline was coach Mohd Ilyas Babar associated?

12. How many gold medals were won by Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe in the recently concluded Commonwealth Games?

13. Which country won its first-ever women’s hockey gold in the 2002 Commonwealth Games?

14. How many gold, silver and bronze medals were won by India in the 2002 Commonwealth Games?

15. Which country topped the medal tally in the 2002 Commonwealth Games?




School address..........................

Winners of quiz 162. The first prize by draw of lots goes to Bhumika Bhalla, VII-B, DAV Public Senior Secondary School, Jagadhari Road, Ambala Cantt-133001.

Second: Anurag Sodhi, IX-B, St Joseph’s Convent School, Hoshiarpur .

Third: Charu, VII, Convent of Jesus & Mary, Naubahar, Shimla.

Answers to quiz 162: Kapil Dev; VVSLaxman; 326; Manchester; Elected MPs& MLAs; Dr APJ Abdul Kalam; Maharashtra; Baldev Singh; Muttiah Muralitharan; Hong Kong; National Aluminium Company Limited; Lima; Hockey; Ferrari; Morocco.

Cash awards of Rs 400, 300 and 200 are given to the first, second and third prize winners, respectively. These are sent at the school address.

Tarun Sharma