Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Career Hotline
Lawyers with global writ
Pervin Malhotra

Pervin Malhotra

Q What exactly does someone specialising in International Law do? Does the field have sufficient scope?

— Sharad Mittal

A In today’s rapidly shrinking world where takeovers and mergers are the order of the day, a new breed of professionals called international lawyers are increasingly in demand. The term typically applies to lawyers who help companies and individuals put together business and investment deals that transcend national borders as well as to litigates who represent clients when such deals unravel.

Demand for lawyers with experience in securities and transactions is growing in proportion to changes in the global marketplace. While till some time ago only major companies were involved in international business, today even small ones have global transactions requiring the services of corporate lawyers with knowledge of international law.

With globalisation sweeping through corporate India, many major law firms have started offering this specialisation amongst their services to stay on top.

Knowledge of international laws is also useful for government officers in the relevant ministries as well as for those working in embassies and human right organisations.

Knowledge of Mercantile Law and Law of Treaties are a great asset for those working in or looking for jobs in the shipping industry (e.g. determining the nationality of a baby born at sea also incidentally falls within the purview of international law).

Working for foreign clients involves sorting through cultural differences and understanding the disparities in different legal systems. A major perk, besides the high fees, is the exciting opportunity for travel.

International law constitutes one compulsory paper of the LLB course, while it can be pursued as a specialisation in LLM at several universities. It also forms part of the second year MA (Pol Sc) course.

However, you can also do a focused one-year diploma in International Law & Diplomacy or Law of International Institutions at the Department of Political Science, University of Delhi. The courses are conducted by the Indian Academy of International Law, which is the teaching and research wing of the Indian Society of International Law, VK Krisna Menon Bhawan, 9, Bhagwan Das Road, New Delhi-110001 (

ISIL also offers one-year PG diploma courses in different aspects of international law: International Law & Diplomacy, Law of Air Transport & Aviation Liability, Human Rights & International Humanitarian & Refugee Laws, International Trade & Business Law., Private International Law.

Eligibility is a bachelor’s degree. Classes are held three-times a week in evening.

Apart from lawyers, students preparing for competitive exams who have taken law as an optional paper, government officials and NGOs may also find these courses useful.

Recipe for success

Q I want to be a chef. Can you please tell me something about the job prospects and salary package?

Devinder Singh

A The reputation of a restaurant mainly depends on the quality of food that is served and it is the chef who determines this to a large extent.

And now that Indian cuisine has emerged as a hot favorite globally and Indian chefs are in demand everywhere.

In fact, there is a serious dearth of trained chefs with good kitchen operations and management skills globally as well as for the slew of mid-size hotels, and the standalone and theme restaurants which are coming up in the country.

There are several different ways of becoming a chef in a hotel. After Class X or XII, you can take a craft-level course in cooking/baking at a Food Craft Institute. Admission is normally in June/July. These 6-18 month courses virtually assure you a place in the junior levels of the kitchen hierarchy, i.e., as a Commis 3 in a five-star hotel. Those trained in traditional/family cooking can also join as Commis directly.

Even those who have no culinary background can join a hotel directly as a Kitchen Apprentice. Starting at the lowest rung, you can work your way up to the supervisory level within 6-7 years. Another popular route is to opt for a degree in hotel management from a reputed institute after Class XII.

A good chef can earn as much or even more than the general manager of a hotel. Graduates in Hotel Management start out as Kitchen Management Trainee at Rs Rs.10,000 — Rs.12,000 pm. While non-graduates join as Operations Trainees at Commis 3 level at a modest Rs 5,000 - 6,000 p.m. Subsequently, your experience and ability to innovate can fetch you a bomb, particularly if you’ve packed in a stint abroad. Flipping through ITC’s latest Annual Report I virtually did a double-take. The Executive Pastry Chef at Maurya Sheraton earns a gross remuneration of Rs 52, 17, 936 p.a. while the Chinese Chef at Grand Maratha Sheraton gets a package of Rs 49,55,976. Whoo!

After a 1-year diploma from a Food Craft Institute you can also join the Army as a JCO (Catering). Entrance is through a written exam and screening, followed by an interview.

Design & degree

Q I want to establish my own boutique. Is it necessary to have a course in fashion design for this? Please advise.

Shilpa Khanna

A Quite a few of the leading designers or boutique owners have little or no formal qualification in fashion designing.

However, it might help you to pursue a course to gain first-hand knowledge of the designing and manufacturing process. Even some of the top institutions like NIFT offer a slew of 1-year part time certificate programmes which you can pursue on the side to gain some valuable professional insights.

The NIFT also offers short duration part-time courses under the continuing education scheme. Integrating theory with practice, the CE Certificate Programmes complement the practical knowledge of industry professionals with formal technical inputs in their respective areas of work. The flexible schedule enables participants to pursue the programme without interrupting their professional activities. They can be a great help to those aspiring to join the industry.

Alternatively, you could hire or partner with someone who has the necessary qualifications, while you handle the business side which is an equally important aspect.

If this is your first business venture, you need to tread carefully. Starting a new venture is easy. It’s sustaining the business over a period of time that’s the tough part. Make sure you have enough working capital and a decent location to begin with.

If you are a novice, it may even be a good idea to briefly intern with a practising designer or work in a reputed boutique to learn the ropes before venturing out on your own. If you keep your eyes and ears open, you pick up valuable insights and tips that will go into making your venture successful.

Prospects in paper technology

Q What is wood & paper technology? Where is this course offered?

Sameer Sahni

A Wood and paper technology is all about applying chemical, physical and engineering principles to analyse the properties and behavior of wood and wood products. It is used to develop processes for converting wood into paper and other products.

The course will teach you how to classify and test wood and develop wood-based products. You will also learn about the latest manufacturing and processing technologies, and how to design and develop related equipment and systems.

You can pursue BTech Pulp & Paper Tech:

IIT - Roorkee, Roorkee 247667, (UP) (

Amravati University, Department of Chemical Technology, Near Tapovan, Amravati 44602 (

Nagpur University, Laxminarayan Institute of Technology, Amravati Road, Nagpur 440010.

Dubbing artiste

Q I’m keen on making a career as a dubbing artiste. Is it a viable option?

Tejeender Singh

A Considering the multilingual nature of our country, there is a great demand for dubbing and voice-over artistes. Some of the larger film and television production houses have their own in-house dubbing departments.

As a dubbing or voice-over artiste you should not only be fluent in the language but also versatile enough to match your inflection, lip sync, tone and pauses to synchronise with the gestures and body language of the character in the original sound track or visuals. Clarity of voice, diction, dialogue delivery and emotion in the voice are the key differentiators of a dubbing pro. You must also be careful about the choice of words while translating the script. A literal translation can fall flat and kill the programme.

The epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, which were originally made in Hindi, have now been dubbed in most of the Indian and several foreign languages. Also, almost every Hollywood film, big or small, which is now screened in India, has a Hindi release. Similarly, a large number of popular serials and ‘infotainment’ programmes are now being dubbed in Indian languages to increase their viewership.

In TV serials, dubbing artistes are paid about Rs 1500-2500 per episode, but depending on the artiste’s capability and the length and complexity of the role, they command as much as Rs. 10,000/- per episode. In films you can make as much as Rs 75,000 to a lakh by lending your voice to a single character on the screen, if you are really good.

You could also lend your voice to documentaries, presentations and radio/TV spots. (The Cartoon Network, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, BBC dub a major part of their programmes. If you manage to get empanelled, you’ll have a steady stream of work. But you need to be very good in the first place). Contact some of the better-known recording studios in your town for a break.

Software marketing

Q I want to know about the specific qualifications required for marketing of application software?

Gurdeep Kaur

A For any marketing job, two types of knowledge are required: knowledge of marketing and knowledge of the product.

The first is always important. In the case of many traditional products, product knowledge is something that can be gained quickly on-the-job. In the case of software, however, some formal knowledge/experience of IT/software is often necessary.

While not absolutely mandatory, a BE / BTech / BSc (IT) / BCA / MCA / MSc IT NIIT / DOEACC certification, etc would put you on a firmer footing. So would a good MBA or a PG Diploma in marketing.

It is difficult to give you a more specific answer without knowing further details about your academic background and work experience.

The writer is a noted career consultant

Please send in your query, preferably on a postcard, along with your full name, complete address and academic qualifications to: Editor, Jobs and Careers, The Tribune, Sector 29,
Chandigarh — 160030, or at [email protected]