Wedding industry beckons the enterprising
Raman Mohan
NDIAN weddings have always been good business. But in recent years weddings have changed and so has the business these generated. Wedding management is now an industry which has opened new self employment avenues for the enterprising.

Indian call centres low on communication skills: study
While representatives at call centres in India score high on motivation compared to their US counterparts, they are perceived to have lower communication and call management skills, says an American firm’s study.




Wedding industry beckons the enterprising
Raman Mohan

An expensive lakeside wedding setting provided by a wedding coordinator.

INDIAN weddings have always been good business. But in recent years weddings have changed and so has the business these generated. Wedding management is now an industry which has opened new self employment avenues for the enterprising. The wedding coordination industry, which first found eager customers in the metros, has now spread its wings to even medium-sized towns. But who is a wedding coordinator? A wedding coordinator is the rank outsider in a wedding who still is an integral part of the whole show. He or she is a professional who directs and arranges the wedding from the sidelines, making it sure that every detail is taken care of. Wedding coordinators arrived on the scene just as weddings were transforming from simple brief family affairs to mega shows requiring several outside agencies to work in unison to put it together. They provide expertise in planning and coordination of the biggest event in the life of an individual. They conceptualise the wedding, depending upon the budget, right from the first ceremony to the return journey from honeymoon. They suggest the theme and ambience for the wedding, arrange for the venue, decoration, catering, lighting, invitation designing, still photography and videography , security and everything else. Needless to say, a wedding coordinator charges a hefty fee. This kind of work requires that a professional wedding consultant should be a fastidious, imaginative and mature person with an eye for detail. The profession offers immense job satisfaction and mega bucks to the artistically inclined youth looking for self-employment.

Wedding coordination is basically a service industry. It does not require large elaborate offices. A small office with the right ambience in the right commercial area will do. Staff requirement is also a bare minimum. No large investments are required to be made by way of assets. The only asset needed is to ensure perfect coordination between different service providers at the wedding. The returns are handsome. Several wedding coordinators in the metros are raking in the moolah by bagging contracts for mega weddings of the rich and the famous. However, there is ample scope for the newcomers too.

Virtually anybody is eligible for the profession, though a graduate with sharp business sense, amiable manners and full of creative ideas stands a better chance of success. Presently, several online educational websites are offering courses in wedding management. The main among them is Zee group’s and Several American universities, too, offer such courses, but in the Indian context their utility is limited since social scenes in the two countries are entirely different. The fee is reasonable and there are no fixed hours of formal studies. The flexibility allows one to complete the course in a chosen time frame along with regular degree courses. The course content is designed to help you set up your business and learn its ropes. It usually comprises seven modules. These include: different Indian weddings, pre-wedding arrangements, ceremony management, post-wedding arrangements like reception management, honeymoon, skills needed to become a wedding coordinator, self-marketing and advertising. The online course is followed by a workshop or a project. In the project the students undergo practical training in negotiations, networking with people and a host of other activities. They will also be involved in a project where they will learn to coordinate a wedding under the supervision of an expert. The workshop usually lasts 10 days. It involves exposure to the practical side of the profession of a wedding coordinator i.e. tasks, duties, performance, prospects, income, how to get started and setting up your network, customs and rituals, dealings with clients, naming the agency and most importantly, costing and budgeting.

A word of caution here. Such courses though extremely useful are not by any standards the passport to the profession. The prospective wedding coordinators should do well to seek employment in established wedding coordination agencies for about a year or so to gain first-hand experience. These agencies offer reasonably good pay-packets to the right candidates. The experience and insight gained from such a job is of immense help in later on setting up your own business. Always remember, wedding is once-in-a-lifetime event for Indians. So, there is no margin for error in the execution of a wedding. One small mistake could mar the whole show and ruin even established agencies overnight.

Though most wedding coordinators stick to their line despite it being a seasonal business, yet nothing stops a successful wedding coordinator from branching out or expanding into party management too. However, such agencies usually operate under different names to retain the speciality tag. All said and done, wedding coordination is an excellent choice for the extrovert young entrepreneur.

Indian call centres low on communication skills: study

CHICAGO: While representatives at call centres in India score high on motivation compared to their US counterparts, they are perceived to have lower communication and call management skills, says an American firm’s study.

The lack of skills of call centre employees in India leads to lower customer satisfaction, according to the study done by Aon Consulting.

“The less developed communication and call management skills of India-based representatives, combined with their more frequent failure to resolve customer issues, lead customers to generally view contacts with them in a more negative light (than with US-based representatives),” said Miriam Nelson, Senior Vice-President of Aon Consulting.

Aon monitors the call centres — two in the US and one in India — set up by a large US-based credit card processing company.

Aon’s assessors rated the representatives from the US and India on specific behaviours using a set of call monitoring standards that reflect the best practice service in three areas of performance.

These include service orientation (courtesy and professionalism towards customers), communication (clarity of speech and grammar) and call management (using time efficiently on the phone).

Aon's assessment also included the percentage of calls transferred out by the representative and repeat calls, in which a customer indicated that he or she was calling back about an issue that was not resolved on a previous call.

Representatives from Indian call centres outperformed the US-based call centre employees in service orientation. They were especially skilled in using the customer's name, offering additional assistance and closing the call.

But the US-based representatives were rated higher in overall communication skills. Most notably, US workers sounded more confident, spoke more clearly and used language that was more appropriate to the call. — IANS


Where can I pursue a course in perfumery?

Q I come from a family of traditional perfumers (attars). I wish to expand the business. Now, I wish to pursue a course in perfumery abroad. Could you please suggest a relevant institution?

Ismail Sheikh

A Grasse, the French capital of perfumes (just inland from the French Riviera), has opened a special school where students are taught to recognise 500 odours, without which they can never hope to become perfumers.

Run by the Grasse Guild of Perfumers, the school accepts all students regardless of age and experience as long as they know English, which is the medium of instruction. Students must, however, pass a half-day test to assess their motivation, sense of smell and desire to create and innovate.

After nine months the student perfumers will be qualified to start blending. An expert ‘nose’ however, must be able to distinguish 4,000 odours — which will come after another five years of apprenticeship. The school teaches the techniques of traditional perfumery, discerning the natural raw materials, which are more difficult to master as compared to the synthetic fragrance, which is increasingly used in perfumes because it is cheaper.

Air Force

Q I am a graduate from a small town. I have applied for ground duty officer’s post in the Air Force. You had spoken of Officer Like Qualities in one of your earlier columns. What exactly does that mean?

Rajesh Mehta

A If you have successfully cleared Step 1 (i.e. your application has been scanned and processed by the UPSC), you will receive a call letter to report to any one of the Air Force Selection Boards located at Dehra Dun, Varanasi and Mysore for the next step of the selection process.

Step 2: comprises a number of psychological tests, an interview and group activities, which are collectively called officer like qualities (OLQ) tests. These tests are designed to gauge your potential and suitability as an officer in the armed forces.

* The psychological tests are written tests that are conducted by a psychologist.

* The group tests are interactive indoor and outdoor tests. They expect active physical participation from you.

* The interview involves a personal conversation with the interviewing officer.

The tests will be explained to you in detail before they are conducted.

Those who don’t make the passing grades in screening tests are routed back home the same day.

There is no screening for those who have applied through the CDSE (for the flying branch).

At the conference held on the last day, all the assessors, i.e. the psychologist, ground testing officer and the interviewing officer, discuss your performance. Based on your performance, you will be selected for the next step.

Step 3: If you have applied for the flying branch and are found suitable by the selection board, you will be sent to the Air Force Central Medical Establishment, New Delhi, or the Institute of Aviation Medicine, Bangalore, for a thorough medical examination.

If you have been found suitable for the technical or ground duty branches, you will be asked to return home and await a call for a medical examination, depending upon your position in the merit list.

Step 4: An All-India merit list is compiled on the basis of performance in the group tests and the medical examination. If you qualify the merit list, depending upon vacancies, you will be instructed to go to the training academy. Just put your best foot forward and you’re sure to make it!


Q I have done MA in English with 55 per cent marks. I want to do MPhil through correspondence. Which are the prominent institutes that offer MPhil in English through correspondence? Please also tell me about NET.

Parth Arora

A MPhil in English through correspondence can be pursued at any of the following universities: Karnataka State Open University, Manasgangotri, Mysore 570006, Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, (Dept of Distance Education), Hyderabad 500007, Kakatiya University, (School of Distance Learning and Continuing Education), Warangal, 506009, Kurukshetra University (Directorate of Correspondence courses), Kurukshetra 136119, Madurai Kamaraj University, (Directorate of Distance Education), Palkalainagar, Madurai 625021

The UGC conducts the National Educational Test (NET) for lectureship eligibility and Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) to ensure minimum standards for the entrants in the teaching profession and research in humanities (including languages), social sciences, computer science and applications and electronic sciences (the test for other science subjects is conducted by the CSIR jointly with the UGC). NET is conducted twice a year, generally in June and December. The UGC has allocated a number of JRFs for a period of five years to the universities for the top position-holders who qualify NET and are keen to pursue research.


Q I want to be a dietician. Can I do a correspondence course in nutrition and dietetics? Could you please tell me about the career prospects in this field?

Suman Sawhney

A While the University of Mumbai offers a specific BA in Nutrition and Dietetics, Delhi University offers BA in Nutrition and Health Education (only for local female students).

However, nutrition forms an essential part of the Bachelor’s in Home Science course that is offered in almost all universities, including several agricultural universities across the country. Dietetics is also offered as a postgraduate specialisation, both at the degree and diploma levels.

IGNOU offers a Diploma in Nutrition and Health Education after 10+2 and a Diploma in Nutrition for the Community (non-credit course) after class XII.

The fast developing food processing industry spurred by the entry of multinationals, offers well-paying job opportunities.

Dieticians continuously research and experiment at improving the nutritive value, flavour and general acceptability of the food while keeping the calorie and fat content to a minimum.

Food processing units, food research labs, wholesalers of edibles, hospitals, large industrial and educational canteens, besides hotels, health clubs and fitness centres employ people specialising in food technology, nutrition and food services management.

Sports nutrition is another emerging field of specialisation. Moreover, should you wish to strike out on your own, you could start your own consulting practice, or catering service, supplying balanced and nutritious low-calorie meals that can be eaten at the desk, for instance.

Teaching is yet another option. With a BEd under your belt, you could teach nutrition and dietetics at schools that offer home science as a subject. However, to teach in a college or at the high school level, you require a Master’s in Home Science.

— Pervin Malhotra, Director, CARING

Please send in your query, preferably on a postcard, along with your full name, complete address and academic qualifications to: Editor, Query Hotline, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh-160020, or at