Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Career Hotline
Foreign banks eye multi-skilled employees
Pervin Malhotra

Q I am planning to take CAT in November. I hear of high salary packages being offered to IIM graduates by international investment banks and consulting firms. What do these companies look for?

— Nalin Nagarkar

A A lot of information about what these companies look for can be found on their websites.

When recruiting employees from top management institutes and engineering colleges, the international banks and management consultancies such as Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, and McKinsey, look for following characteristics: people skills, ability to work under pressure and analytical skills etc.

Relationship building is a vital part of the job. You need to come across as approachable and should be articulate enough to be able to communicate your ideas to the client, whether in the conference room, over golf, tennis, lunch or drinks.

There is no substitute for hard work. You should be prepared to often work 15-16 hour days as well as multitask.

You should be able to sift through volumes of data and focus on key issues to be addressed. Adequate quantitative skills, including knowledge of calculus and differential equations, become important.

Also, you should be creative enough to come up with new ways of responding to challenges, and have initiative and appetite for risk.

Good luck!

Disseminate knowledge in villages

Q What is extension education?

— Manju Nath

A Where can one study extension education and what are its prospects?

Extension education is largely the process of teaching rural people how to live better by learning ways to improve their farm, home and community institutions.

It is 'helping people to help themselves' by changing their behaviour (knowledge, attitude and skills).

Hence, an extension educator must simultaneously wear multiple hats — that of a teacher, guide, friend and philosopher. To be a successful extension educator, you must not only have a sound knowledge and understanding of the subject, but also an interest and ability to work for and with the villagers.

Almost all state agricultural universities (SAUs) and four national institutes (NIs)/deemed universities (DUs) of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) offer masters and doctoral programmes in different branches of extension education.

The premier institutes under the ICAR are:

Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi. Courses: MSc and PhD in Agricultural Extension Education.

Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), U.P. Courses: Master of Veterinary Science (MVSc) and PhD in Veterinary Extension Education.

National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI), Karnal. Courses: MSc and PhD in Dairy Extension Education.

Central Institute of Fisheries Education (CIFE), Mumbai. Courses: Master of Fishery Science (MFSc) and PhD in Fishery Extension Education.

Besides getting teaching and research positions in different educational and research institutions, as an extension educator, you can also be employed by national and international NGOs engaged in rural development and related research activities.

Translate your dreams into reality

Q I will be finishing my class 12 next year. I find that I have interest in foreign languages, and would like to pursue further studies in this area. Could you give me some guidance on good language schools in the country and the career prospects?

— Tavleen Kaur

A The winds of globalisation and high-speed communication have made the world a truly small and more accessible place. While this has spurred global transactions both at the government, industry and corporate level like never before, language barriers, at times, do pose problems in the smooth running of business. Which is why both private sector and the government hire qualified language specialists for translation and interpretation.

Of late, call centres have been actively recruiting those conversant in foreign languages.

Moreover several other avenues have opened up — in industry, trade, BPO, information and media, travel and teaching, to name just a few. Of late, voice-based call centres have begun to recruit people. The wider BPO sector also recruits people for translation and documentation and transaction processing operations.

European and South-East Asian languages are particularly highlighted in view of the number of foreign collaborations. In addition to languages like French and German, there is a premium on specialists in Chinese, Japanese and Korean and even Russian. In fact, there is a premium on Chinese-speaking tourist guides.

As for work in the government, the cabinet secretariat recruits specialists in Chinese, Pushtu, Burmese, Nepali, Tibetan and Sinhala, an indication of the importance attached to following developments in our neighbouring countries. A government job would require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in the language concerned in addition to a high degree of proficiency in English.

The writer is a noted career consultant

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