|CAREER GUIDE||Friday, August 8, 2003, Chandigarh, India|
future lies in entrepreneurship
US bureau to offer
help to foreign students
English test for
doctors may go
The future lies in entrepreneurship
This is a true story. The story of Mrs Kala Menon who, after retiring from a government job at the age of 58, decided to do what she wanted to do all her life — prepare and sell pickles and chutneys. Mrs Menon started in a small way from her small quarters in a small town. But before you think that she lived happily ever after, allow me to add a sentence, she died at 93, leaving behind a fortune worth many a crore. But then like her sons tell me today, money did not matter to Mrs Menon, it was the fact that she had at least in the last years of her life been able to do what she wanted to and died a very happy woman.
BY the time Mr Chandra Mohan, former CEO, PTL, and currently the Managing Director of 21st Century Batteries Ltd, has finished narrating the story, you have already been let into one of the most well-kept secrets of success — you can do what you want to do — and make a fortune out of it. "Be a self-employed entrepreneur. That is where the future is," he says.
Mr Chandra Mohan, who is spearheading the entrepreneur networking in this part of the country through the Chandigarh Chapter of TiE, has a rather straight point to make. "Whether you like it or not, the future of the country lies in entrepreneurship. Be self-employed and if you make it big, create employment for others. The government is going to downsize, the industry is already in bad shape and the private sector has limited options. So even if forced by circumstances, we will have more and more persons in India taking up as employment what they genuinely want to do."
"And why not? Outstanding results have been achieved by those who have chosen to do what they felt intensely about; who have gone ahead and taken up what they believed in strongly. Entrepreneurship comes from within; your dad cannot make you an entrepreneur, simply because the driving force has to come from within, not outside.
Focusing on what you want to do is the first important step on the journey towards entrepreneurship. "If you can make a fortune out of your hobby, then it is perfect, but even otherwise choose the field which interests you. To be clear about what interests you, look within. One way of knowing what interests you is to take your role models seriously.
If Mr Arun Shourie is your role model, then it is no wonder that you are into journalism, even if it is a job you do for someone else. Maybe tomorrow there will be an opportunity which makes you venture into media entrepreneurship. What you end up actually doing need not and, in fact, cannot be decided beforehand, but the field you choose is important. What is required is clarity of objectives and imagination," he says.
A Padma Shri and author of
"Managing from Zero to Blue Chip", Mr Chandra Mohan stresses
that Indian parents have to get out of the IAS-doctor-engineer
mindset. "Life is not cramming books and passing exams alone. A
productive life full of joy is much more satisfying. It is also not
money alone. Roots of mankind’s progress lie in risk by individuals
who dared to be different. Dreams are important. Dream big and act to
realise your dreams. Victory never comes to the faint-hearted. Tough
spirit is the basic grain of an entrepreneur," he adds.
bureau to offer help to foreign students
WASHINGTON: The US Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has opened a round-the-clock command centre to help ease the entry of foreign students arriving in the USA for a new academic term.
A new data-sharing system is being implemented, requiring educational institutions to electronically provide information to the ICE about the students they have accepted and enrolled in the new semester.
Called the Student Exchange Visitor and Information System (SEVIS), it will be the primary data source immigration officers will rely upon at ports of entry to determine whether a foreign student is eligible to enter the country, says an ICE press note.
It says that more than 5,900 educational institutions have gone online with SEVIS, but more than 600 US schools have not done so. There is concern in the academic community that students entering non-compliant schools could encounter difficulty entering the country.
The ICE has opened the command centre to help deal with those problems. The agency has sent guidance to US ports of entry providing specific instruction on how to deal with a variety of situations that could arise with foreign students.
The ICE will also be prepared to provide information technology assistance to educational institutions having technical problems with the complex data-sharing system.
In the last academic year, the
highest number of 66,836 students among foreigners studying in the US
were from India, representing 12 per cent of the total number of
international students. Indians are expected to come in big number
this time as well. — IANS
test for doctors may go
LONDON: A compulsory English language test taken by foreign doctors hailing from outside the European Union and wanting to work in Britain is proposed to be scrapped.
The General Medical Council (GMC) proposal is likely to stir up a controversy in view of several instances of foreign doctors being unable to communicate with patients and nurses due to lack of English language skills.
Doctors from Commonwealth countries like India, Canada and Australia account for 25 per cent of the doctors working in the National Health Service (NHS).
Doctors from the European Union account for 5 per cent while overseas doctors in NHS number more than 53,000.
Currently foreign doctors have to pass an English language test before they are registered for practice. The test takes four hours to complete and comprises four sections that examine listening, speaking, reading and writing abilities.
Candidates need an average score of 70 per cent and at least 60 per cent in each of its four sections to pass.
Doctors from within the European Union are exempt from language tests under the Treaty of Rome, which allows free movement for all workers within the European Union.
The GMC move is based on advice from its solicitors that using the test could leave it vulnerable to allegations of racial discrimination from overseas doctors.
Q I have completed a diploma course in Medical Laboratory Technology. Can I open my own medical lab?
A: In an attempt to curtail the indiscriminate proliferation of substandard diagnostic centres and labs, which has generated a great deal of mistrust among the public at large, some states like Delhi, for instance, have formulated strict norms for setting up and running these centres.
There have been countless instances where labs have messed up even simple investigations such as measuring the blood glucose level thanks to untrained technicians and lax standards. It’s not uncommon for results of the same test varying from one lab to another. It has also been found that tests that involve a high degree of sterilisation are the ones that often elicit inaccurate results.
As far as opening a lab is concerned, I’m afraid that’s out, unless of course you team up with a qualified specialist.
The mandatory requirement is an MBBS registered with the state medical council or MSc in the relevant biomedical field.
Only a doctor with a post-MBBS specialisation — i.e. either a post-diploma or Md in Pathology, Radiology, etc is allowed to sign a report after reading the investigation. A Laboratory Technologist (from a recognised institution) can only assist the doctor in taking the samples, centrifuging, making the slides using specified stains, etc under the guidance of a qualified pathologist.
Moreover, no pathologist can supervise more than five labs. The mandatory registration of the labs would be reviewed every five years. There is also a proposal to ensure that the labs be accredited to the National Accreditation Board of Laboratories (D/o Science & Tech), and the WHO.
Q I am a student of engineering after 10+2. I want to know about the job prospects for engineers in Punjab.
A Although the Punjab Government has opened a number of engineering colleges and polytechnics in the past few years, most of the trained youth from these institutions are unable to find suitable jobs in the state. According to information available from the Statistical Abstract of Punjab, more than 40,000 trained engineering candidates were registered as unemployed youth last year. This includes graduate engineers, diploma engineers from polytechnics and certificate holders from ITIs.
Job opportunities in the state have declined after the closure of thousands of units in Ludhiana, Mandi Gobindgarh, Rajpura, Batala and other industrial towns.
Improving the quality of technical education and creating job opportunities needs to be done on a war footing.
Although there are over 12,000 seats in ITIs, polytechnics and engineering colleges in the state, but job opportunities are limited to only a few hundred.
According to the Directorate of Employment, Punjab, about 521 lakh youths were registered with the state employment exchange offices.
Q I have completed my diploma in engineering and now am unable to decide whether I should go ahead with higher studies or start working. Please advise what I should do.
A Unless you need to start working right away to meet your family or personal requirements, it may perhaps be a good idea to go in for a degree. Studying for degree in engineering at a regular college provides exposure to various fields, besides enhancing your chances of getting a well-paid job in the competitive job market.
Many engineering colleges offer direct admission to the second year of BE/BTech. Typically, however, the seats in the second year are somewhat limited.
If you want to have your cake, and eat it too, you could even consider going in for a part-time BE/BTech degree instead. However, since it is a four-year course, your studies will stretch a year longer.
But on the other hand, as the classes are held in the evenings, you will be free to pursue a job alongside. Think about it.
Q I went to give an interview for a call centre. I was asked to introduce myself. Since it was my first interview I was confused and couldn’t answer that properly. What should have I answered? Then they said to speak on a topic given by them for two minutes. I got a bit nervous and did not participate. How should I cope with this? Please advise me.
A Call centres are looking for confidence and the ability to speak well in unfamiliar situations, basic customer service and computer navigation skills, and of course excellent spoken English with a decent voice quality.
Before being put on to "live" international calls, you will be given 2-3 months of rigorous training to give you a real feel of the business.
The best way to overcome the nervousness many face in interviews is advance preparation. Prepare some topics that you can speak on confidently and at length. Get help from friends in the industry or from a good training institute. Above all ensure that you improve your spoken English. This is not the English most of us are used to speaking. You need to speak good grammatical English (no slang), with a clear diction and neutral accent (i.e. one that is easy for most people — in particular foreigners, to understand).
Additionally — from your message there is a clear need to improve on grammar. A lot of us feel that we have the liberty to be ungrammatical when casual, but can do much better in formal situations. In reality this is not always easy. If you are normally not careful about your grammar, this is bound to come through in front of an experienced interviewer.
Increasingly, knowledge of an additional foreign language is becoming an asset. This will help you converse with the customers in their mother tongue.
Please send in your query preferably on a postcard along with your name, complete address and academic qualifications to:
Editor, Query Hotline,