CAREER GUIDE Friday, June 20, 2003, Chandigarh, India

Right call for graduates
Umesh Ghrera
revity may be the soul of wit, but for these youngsters being voluble pays. Barely out of college, they ooze with confidence, have excellent communication skills and can attend to customers, hours on end, by making and attending phone calls. And why not. They are paid handsomely for this.




Right call for graduates
Umesh Ghrera

Brevity may be the soul of wit, but for these youngsters being voluble pays. Barely out of college, they ooze with confidence, have excellent communication skills and can attend to customers, hours on end, by making and attending phone calls. And why not. They are paid handsomely for this. Little wonder then that an increasing number of fresh graduates are eyeing the service sector — customer care, banking, insurance, finance, sales, etc — nowadays . At a time when finding a job is like looking for a needle in the haystack, the service industry, particularly call centres, have come in as a boon and is growing at a fast pace. Since retaining existing customers is cheaper compared to finding the new ones, companies outsource their services to call centres to look into the customers’ queries and complaints.

According to industry sources, nearly 70 per cent of the new jobs are in the service industry. "The best part is you do not require mega qualifications, but the right qualifications, to gain entry into this sector. What you need is an excellent communication skill, patience to listen, commitment towards work, the right attitude, fluency in English, willingness to work at odd hours and the ability to handle stress," says Mr Baljit Singh, director of a training and recruitment centre, Antares Services Pvt Ltd, Sector 34, Chandigarh.

There are a large number of training centres where candidates, selected on the basis of walk-in interviews, are imparted training to make them suitable for jobs in the service industry. The duration of the training varies from six to eight weeks.

Mr Baljit, however, cautions against fraudulent call and training centres, which are out to make a quick buck. He says training is at its infancy and the industry is gradually maturing. So do check out for the authenticity of the training centre before applying. The fee varies from Rs 7,000 at an average training centre to Rs 20,000 in the more reputed ones.

At the end of the training programme, candidates are given internship and performance certificates, on the basis of which they can hunt for a job. A majority of the training centres have tie-ups with call centres, which in turn help you find a placement.

However, finding a job is not as simple as it may sound. It is deceptively simple. According to the sources, only 3 per cent of those who apply for such jobs are able to find one. They say not more than 50 per cent of those trained at various centres are able to find jobs even though big and bold advertisements released by such centres claim full placements. The prime reason is that call centres recruit youngsters who have particular skill sets. In fact, there is only a small talent pool available for international call centres since it is here that one has to handle a more demanding and aggressive set of customers. However, those working in call centres are always under a scanner. All their conversations are taped.

Says Ms Neeti, a counsellor with Placement Consultants, Sector 17, Chandigarh, " Call centres can be broadly classified into two types—international and domestic. While the former deal with foreign customers, the latter is where domestic customers can call up regarding their problems pertaining to products, sales, services, etc." Normally, domestic call centres have day shifts, while international call centres have night shifts mostly and a majority of them work round the clock.

In Neeti’s opinion, call centres are a good option for fresh graduates and can be taken up as a full-time profession. The work environment in such centres enhances their personality and gives them know-how about the lifestyle and the work culture abroad.

Among the leading call centres are GE Capital, Daksh, EXL, Convergys, Wipro Spectramine and HCL.

More than the thrill, what draws youngsters to these call centres are the prospects of handsome pay-packets, which grows rapidly as one gains experience. While a fresher working at an international call centre in Chandigarh can hope for a start of nearly Rs 6,000 to Rs 8,000 plus incentives, in New Delhi one can expect anything between Rs 8,500 and Rs 12,000 plus incentives. The starting salary at domestic call centres is between Rs 3,500 and Rs 5,000 plus incentives in Chandigarh and between Rs 4,500 to Rs 6,000 plus incentives in New Delhi. However, based on performance, one can expect anything around Rs 20,000, within a year’s time.

In Chandigarh alone, there are nearly 1,000 jobs at international call centres and 250 to 300 jobs are created every month. The number of jobs in domestic call centres is much higher at around 6,000.

A call centre training course can take you places. Starting as a call centre executive, you can reach the position of general manager or even chief operating officer.

However, despite this parents are still hesitant to send their children for such jobs, mainly because of the odd and long working hours. The sources say nearly 65 per cent of the workforce at the call centres comprises girls and had it not been for parental dithering, the percentage would have been much higher. The reason being attributed for this is that girls are good communicators naturally and are brought up in society in such a way so as to be good listeners.


Q What exactly do credit analysts do, and where do they work?

Amarik Singh

A Credit analysts rate the credit worthiness of a company. Banks as well as financial services providers hire them. They manage the relationship between front line managers servicing the public to ensure that they receive quality service and quick response to requests for credit.

Credit analysts undertake risk assessment analysis of various types of lending proposals. They make a decision based on a number of factors such as the purpose of the loan, viability, track record, credit-worthiness of the customer and the collateral provided. They provide quality service to internal customers by developing and improving the quality of credit submissions, financial analysis, advising and recommending changes to policy and procedures and offering a consulting service on credit issues and quality.

A credit analyst must have strong quantitative skills and a sound background in finance.


Q I am in Class XI and am keen to pursue a BCA. What is the eligibility? Do universities conduct an entrance test? Will I be eligible for an MBA at the PG-level or a CA/CS alongside?

Baljinder Gill

A The typical eligibility for BCA is 10+2 with mathematics. Admission to most BCA courses is on the basis of an entrance test which consists of objective-type questions covering: Maths at 10+2 level, logical & analytical ability, English comprehension and general awareness. The test is usually held in the months of June/July.

Those who do not have maths in 10+2 can still pursue a BCA from IGNOU. However, they have to first enrol for a CIC (Certificate in Computing) and PPC (Preparatory Programme in Computing) before they seek admission to BCA. A BCA from an Indian university, being a fully recognised Bachelor’s degree, will entitle you to appear for any MBA entrance test. You can also enrol for the CA/CS Foundation Course along with your BCA.


Q I am keen to study law. But my parents will not permit me to go to a co-ed college. What should I do?

Ravinder Kaur

A To encourage women to pursue law, particularly from the rural areas, the Central Government has sanctioned a law college for women in Kanya Gurukul, Khanpur Kalan (the largest educational complex for women in the rural North where women from Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Punjab, HP, and UP are studying).

Affiliated to MDU, Rohtak (Har), the college will offer both 5-year as well as 3-year degree courses in law from the coming academic year. This would be the fourth such college in India after the three women’s law colleges at Coimbatore, Hyderabad, and Jaipur.


Q I am a student of class XI. I wish to pursue a career in biotechnology. Please tell me how I can realise my dream.

Gurnam Singh

A Biotechnology essentially entails research-oriented work in diverse fields such as agriculture, animal husbandry, pharmaceuticals, textiles, chemicals, genetics and environmental sciences. With the aid of biotechnology, researchers have been able to improve the quality, nutritional content and yield of food products, alter genetic defects in animals and humans, create pesticides that protect crops without harming consumers, deal with wastes in an environment-friendly manner and so on. As ongoing research keeps extending the horizons of knowledge, the scope of this field remains virtually infinite, making BT the hottest career avenue today after IT.

Some other major areas of work in this field include Bioinformatics, Industrial Research & Development, Academic Research, Marketing & Planning, Plant Biotechnology and Biomedicine.

Presently, BSc (Biotechnology) is offered by only a handful of universities i.e. Kakatiya University, Warangal (AP); Osmania University, Hyderabad (AP); University of Madras, Chennai (TN); Patna University, (Bih); Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut (UP).

However, BTech & Integrated MTech-level Biotech courses are offered at the IITs; Guru Gobind Singh Univ, Delhi; Anna Univ, Chennai; Bharathidasan Institute of Engg & Technology, Tiruchirappalli; Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar (BTech Chem & Bio-Engg); UP Technical University, Lucknow and Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore (TN).

Alternatively, you can opt for any of the life sciences i.e. BSc (Biol/Zool/Microbiol/Biochem/Agri/Vet Sc) or even Phys/Chem. After which, you can pursue MSc Biotechnology at a reputed university like DU, JNU, AMU, BHU, AIIMS, GB Pant Univ of Agri & Tech. Entrance to all these courses is through competitive entrance exams which essentially test your basics of biology and biochemistry.


Q I am a student of computer engineering. I am told by my seniors about job-hopping in the field. I want to know if one should change companies frequently or stick to one?

Manjeet Wahlia

A The Indian IT industry is maturing by the day. Many IT companies are recruiting fresh graduates from reputed engineering colleges and universities. However, only 25 per cent of them stick to their first company after five years. Almost 75 per cent leave their first company in less than five years time. Young engineers change companies mostly for overseas assignments, designation, good technical work or salary hike. They think that this could be the route to fast progress. But a majority would not be thinking on a long-term basis. One should remember that stability also boosts growth.

Young software engineers should not change jobs just for salary hikes as there always will exist companies who can pay something more than the other. There are so many factors that should be considered such as company reputation, culture, individual growth prospects, infrastructure, etc.

Indian IT companies should also have a long-term perspective. Most of the software companies recruit people when they get a new project. These engineers should not be ignored once the project is over, instead. The company should retain them and give them technical and management training so that they are useful for future assignments. After all old-time organisations like TELCO, SAIL, L&T, BHEL, HLL, etc have employees sticking to them until retirement.

Career counselling is what the India IT companies should concentrate on to have the bright enterprising engineers intact. Usually, software professionals get plenty of opportunities after a three-to-five-year stint itself. This is the time the companies have to come up with attractive schemes to try make them not think of rather opportunities outside.

Pervin Malhotra, Director, CARING

Please send in your query preferably on a postcard along with your name, complete address and academic qualifications to:

Editor, Query Hotline, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh-160020, or at [email protected]




1. What name has been given by the USA to the operation in Iraq to root out armed resistance to its forces in that country ?

2. Name the Spanish football club for which David Beckham recently agreed to play.

3. Which place has been renamed Dr Ambedkar Nagar?

4. Which famous Hollywood star, who acted in films like ‘Roman Holiday’ and ‘The Guns of Navarone’, died recently?

5. Which American car company completed its 100 years of production on June 16, 2003?

6. Name the country’s largest car-manufacturing company.

7. Which city is proposed to be made the permanent venue for the International Film Festival of India (IFFI)?

8. Name the author of the book ‘Who is Kalam?’.

9. Which Asian nation will host the 53rd Miss World competition?

10. Which country tops in foreign direct investment (FDI) in India?

11. What is the capital of Laos?

12. Expand GAIL.

13. Which country won the three-nation hockey tournament in Sydney recently?

14. Name the winner of this year’s men’s French Open tennis title.

15. Who recently became the first Belgian to win the women’s French Open tennis title?



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

Winners of quiz 183: The first prize by draw of lots goes to Vikram Bansal, 10th B, Bhawan Vidyalaya, Sector 15, Panchkula. Second: Aditya Sood, VIII-B, Mount Carmel Convent School, Markanda, near Palampur, dist Kangra (HP), Pin-176102

Third: Danush Bansal, VIth K.H., British Co-ed School, Lower Mall ,near Polo Ground, Patiala.

Anwers to quiz 183: St Petersburg,Lt-Gen S.K.Sinha (retd), Conditional Access System, Junko Tabei, Reinhold Messner, Leh, Bindeshwar Pathak, 1953, May 31, Dominican Republic, Javed Miandad, 126, Werner Schleger, Athletics, West Indies.

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