Lure of cure
Usha Albuquerque

It is the time of the year when thousands of students across the country will be vying for limited seats to one of the most respected and sought after careers---medicine. The power to heal has traditionally placed the medical field several rungs above any other profession.

And while it requires years of hard work and dedicated study before you can see the light of day, the scope and prospects in the medical field have continuously attracted the brightest and the best. The enormous strides made in medical research for alleviating pain and curing diseases, pose great challenges to young men and women who opt for this profession.

Doctors are responsible for the overall health and well being of their patients, and for looking after their physical ailments when stricken by disease or disorder. Their work involves examining patients, discerning their problems, and providing them with medicinal treatment as well as the confidence and support required to overcome their ailments.

Medical training can enable you to work as a physician, diagnosing and treating ailments and disorders of the human body, by prescribing medicines to patients, or as a surgeon, who also diagnoses and treats injuries, diseases and disorders of the human body, by prescribing medicines and by means of surgical operations.

Most doctors combine clinical and scientific work, but there are some who opt for research and training work, developing new forms of treatments and new drugs and studying their effects on patients, or work in the area of community health, concerned with the promotion of the health of a whole community, primarily handling preventive medicine.

The field of medicine is very vast and specializations in medicine are increasing by the day. While an M.B.B.S. degree prepares a candidate for practice, it is not sufficient for providing specialist treatment to patients. It has become necessary for those who practise medicine to specialise in a particular aspect of medicine, so as to keep pace with important developments. A further three-year MD/MS course in any area of specialization is therefore essential. Thereafter, the specialist can also go in for further super specialisations within the specialist areas.

Specialised work

The major areas of specialisations include:
Paediatrics: Diagnose and conduct treatment of the diseases peculiar to children, they study the nature of growth and development of children to measure and assess against the established form of growth for children.

Cardiology: Deals with ailments and diseases of the heart. Cardiologists also perform specialized work, including by-pass surgeries, angiographies, angioplasties and other forms of surgery for the heart.

Obstetrics and Gynaecology: Diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders in females in the reproductive age group. While gynaecology deals with the problems of diseases and disorders of the female reproductive organs, Obstetricians handles pregnancies and childbirth. However, most practitioners of this field handle both areas. Neurologists specialise in diseases and disorders related to the human brain, and handle the treatment of problems related to the nervous system.

Dermatologists deal with the diagnosis and treatment of problems and diseases of the skin and related problems.

Ophthalmologists are eye specialists who diagnose and conduct treatment for the diseases of the human eye and its related parts, including lazer surgeries of the eye, operations for the removal of cataract, treatment of glaucoma and other such diseases and infections of the eye.

Orthopaedic Surgeons deal with the disorders and defects of the skeletal structure and the bones of the human body. They also suggest therapies and exercises for patients, which are then conducted by Physiotherapists.

Ear, nose and throat specialists deal with the diseases and disorders of the ear, nose and throat. These three organs are physiologically interconnected and so one specialist can handle nasal problems as well as throat and ear ailments.

Psychiatry: This is an area of specialisation that diagnoses and treats mental disorders by means of counselling or therapy and medication.

There are a host of other specialised courses in medicine, including community medicine, pathology, communicable diseases, venereology, preventive and social medicine, anesthesiology, plastic surgery, internal medicine and several more. Some of the newer super-specialisations include the research oriented assisted reproductive technology, dealing with in-vitrio fertilisation, andrology, which treats male infertility, embryology, cosmetology, geriatrics, which deals with old people’s problems, and so on.


Entry into the medical profession, is tough and competitive, so as to select the most able and competent to deal with human life. If you wish to practice as physicians or surgeons you must have completed the four-and-a-half year MBBS training from a recognised medical college, and have completed one-year internship to be eligible for a license to practice as a doctor from the State Medical Council. This only qualifies you to practice as a general physician.

Those who have cleared the plus two examination, with physics, chemistry and biology and a minimum of 50 per cent marks are eligible for the MBBS course. The MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) course is of five-and-a-half year duration, which includes four-and-a-half years of classroom study and practicals followed by 1year of internship.

To become a specialist in any field of medicine you need to take up the master’s programme - MS or MD. The postgraduate programmes are generally of three years’ duration leading up to the Doctor of Medicine ( MD) or Doctor of Surgery (MS) degree. You can also do diploma courses of one-two years’ duration in the field of specialisation. Those who go in for a postgraduate diploma course need to undertake a minimum of one years’ course for full registration with the State Medical Council.

After the completion of M.D/MS, doctors can choose to go in for super-specialisation in different fields of medicine and surgery. These could include neuro surgery; cardiothoracic surgery, gastroenterology, endocrinology, and other subjects.

Testing time

Admission to medical colleges is through a highly competitive entrance examination. There are several entrance tests, and most prospective candidates sit for at least 5-6 entrance examinations. Admission seats to medical institutions in the country are governed by restrictions of domicile status. There are however 83 medical colleges where domicile status is not required, and selection is based on the all-India entrance examination.

The major entrance exams include:
The All-India PMT which admit students on an all-India basis to medical colleges, which include the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi; Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), Pune; Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh; Benaras Hindu University Institute of Medical Sciences, Varanasi; Christian Medical College, Vellore; Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Pondicherry; Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Wardha (Maharashtra); and the Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, and to 15 per cent of the seats of state medical collges

The State Medical College Exams for 85 per cent of seats to domiciled candidates of the state. Most states consider those who have been residing in the state continuously for between 5-10 years, or whose parents are permanent residents of the state, as domicile citizens.

Open payment seats are available in certain private medical colleges, in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. In these states most private colleges offer 50 per cent seats as free seats for all courses, and 50 per cent as payment seats. Selection is based on merit and fees range from Rs.2000-8000 for free seats, and Rs.1, 00,000 to 5,00,000 for paying seats, while NRIs and foreigners pay US $50,000 or more.

After obtaining the M.B.B.S. degree, candidates are eligible for taking the entrance examinations for admission to the specialised MD/MS courses. They should also have completed 1-year house-job prior to their admission to a postgraduate degree/ diploma course. Postgraduate medical students get a stipend too, which starts from the internship period.

Job prospects

After completing the MBBS, doctors can either start practicing as general physicians, or study further for postgraduation. With the general state of health in the country, it would be assumed that any general physician with a valid qualification will never be without a job. But sadly, this is not the situation. With the existing trends and the requirements for specialists, most MBBS doctors opt for postgraduation which offers a variety of specialisations, and good career growth prospects.

There is, however, a bottleneck in the number of seats for postgraduate specialisations, with the result that there are many disheartened MBBS qualified doctors who leave medicine for better prospects in another field.

General practitioners can seek employment in government hospitals and dispensaries, primary health centres and clinics. Today, there are hospitals and dispensaries spread all over the country, and. every village block has access to at least a Primary Health Centre. There is a huge need for doctors and medical facilities in rural areas where there is ample scope for registered general practitioners to set up their own Clinics. But few qualified doctors are ready for this option.

Recruitment for government jobs is handled by the UPSC, which conducts the Combined Medical Services examination once a year for recruitment of doctors for the railways; central health services; ordinance factory health services; and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

State governments recruit medical professionals through the State Staff Selection Commissions.

The Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), which has hospitals and dispensaries all over the country to provide medical aid to industrial workers, fill their vacancies through advertisements and employment exchanges.

Medical Services of the Army, Navy and Air Force, under the Ministry of Defence, also offer excellent employment opportunities to doctors.

Private avenues

You can also look for jobs in Private Nursing Homes and Polyclinics, although most private hospitals and clinics require specialists with several years of experience. General Practitioners as well as specialists can also work in private clinics to build up experience, or set up their own Private Clinics, independently, or in partnership with Specialists in other fields of medicine, provided they have adequate capital for setting up the establishment, with the necessary equipment, medicines and instruments.

Research institutions, councils and clinical laboratories run by the Central and State Governments also provide employment to Doctors. Moreover, medical colleges and training institutions also employ various Doctors for purposes of teaching and research.

So, if you believe you have the qualities to be a good doctor, and are prepared for at least 8-10 years of study after school, then don’t let the hardship and struggle deter you from your goal. You also need to b e in good physical health, have the energy and stamina for working long, irregular hours, have a strong sense of responsibility, with an urge to serve and heal the sick. You must also have keen and minute observation, good judgement and decision making ability, patience, a sympathetic temperament and objective approach. In addition, those who take up surgery must possess high concentration, manual and finger dexterity and stamina, and the ability to stand on your feet continuously for several hours dealing with life and death.

With these qualities and the determination to put in several years of toil despite poor remuneration and working conditions will reap you rich dividends in the long run. The doctor's profession can not only earn you a lucrative income, but also provide a tremendous satisfaction at having cured people, and in many cases, of having saved their lives.

The writer is a noted career expert.



Samsung to hire 2,000 engineers for R&D

Korean consumer durables maker Samsung plans to double its total number of research and development engineers in India to 4,000 by 2010, to strengthen product development and introduce customised technology for the domestic market.

The company is aiming higher market share across categories driven by new product launches in 2008. It is targeting 30 per cent growth in turnover this year and also plans to double exports.

"Samsung India currently employs 2,000 R&D professionals at the three centres. The plan is to have 4,000 engineers by 2010," firm's deputy managing director Ravinder Zutshi said in New
Delhi recently.

A strong research and development base in the country would enable the company to introduce customised products for the Indian market and meet the local requirement, he said.

For instance, a new range of Direct Cool refrigerator launched by the company has a 'Freshkit', which absorbs bad odours in the refrigerator, has been developed here. The range would be launched globally.

Also the semi-automatic machines introduced by the firm last year with silver nano technology was customised here.

The company has three R&D centres in the country, two for software development, one each in Noida and Bangalore, and a hardware development centre in Noida.

"We intend to double the exports to SAARC countries from Rs 200 crore last year to Rs 400 crore this year, while expecting a 30 per cent increase in turnover which was 1.3 billion dollars last year driven by new product launches," Zutshi said.

The company, which has launched 'Freshtech' range of Frost Free along with the Direct Cool range, is targeting to sell 1.2 million units with 51 per cent increase in its Frost Free volumes to grab 27.5 per cent market share and 21.5 per cent increase in the direct cool refrigerators.

Samsung has also come out with hi-end convection microwave range and is targeting 18 per cent market share by selling 2,25,000 units in 2008 with a volume growth of 50 per cent.

The company would also invest Rs 12 million for expanding its production facilities this year besides on new technology. — PTI



Demand for engineers on upswing

Union Minister of State for Human Resources Development D Purandeswari recently said that the demand for engineering professionals is going to be tremendous in the next 10 years due to advances in technology.

"Globalisation and liberalisation of Indian economy enabled the entry of multinational companies into India in all sectors. The reform process has led India to integrate with the global economy," She said while delivering the convocation address of Sri Sai Ram Engineering College in Chennai.

She said "engineering is an all comprehensive term which encompasses a range of professional abilities. Engineers are constantly striving to make the world a better, safer, more comfortable and enjoyable place. The engineering field has been the major contributory factor in achieving scientific marvels," she said.

Emphasising on the stiff competition for the talented pool, she said, "With more than 1,400 engineering colleges in the country and 4.5 lakh graduates annually, the world class talent is limited to 20,000 to 40,000 graduates".

"Now, it is time that the teaching fraternity reaches out to the industries, understand the research and inculcate the research in the syllabus which enables the students to have industry knowledge. We should ensure that the students are placed in research for integration between the industry and education," she added.

Urging students to take specialised education in technology, she said, "Industrial and scientific research deserves adequate provision and be viewed as an important component in the new educational system. Efforts should be taken to promote industry focused research and ensure their immediate application." — PTI



South set for strong hiring trend

Firms in the southern region expect the strongest recruitment plans in the current quarter with a net employment outlook of 39 per cent, ahead of the northern, western and eastern zones, a study has said.

“Employers in the southern region would witness the strongest hiring intentions for the April-June quarter, while those in the East are least optimistic,” recruitment firm Manpower said in a recent study.

Out of the four regions, the East is the least optimistic, while the South is the most optimistic at 39 per cent, followed by North and West at 36 per cent and 35 per cent, respectively.

“Thanks mainly to rapid industrialisation and infrastructural development, the southern region is witnessing a surge in hiring activity,” Manpower's managing director Naresh Malhan said.

Of the 1,899 employers surveyed in the South, 39 per cent felt there would be an increase in the hiring tendencies and 53 per cent of the employers felt there would be no change in the hiring intentions. About eight per cent were unsure about their hiring plans.

The outlook in the South fell by two percentage points as compared to 41 per cent in the first quarter.

"... while on a year-on-year basis employers in the South have reported a moderate increase of eight percentage points," the study pointed out.

Meanwhile, out of the 445 employers surveyed in the eastern region, 28 per cent felt there would be an increase in hiring and only two per cent expected a decrease.

Over 60 per cent employers felt there would be no change in the hiring plans, while seven per cent were unsure about it.

The Net Employment Outlook of 26 per cent in the East represents a significant decrease of nine percentage points over the previous quarter and on a year-on-year basis the net employment outlook in the region remains unchanged, Manpower added.

India has emerged as the second most optimistic nation in the world, next only to Singapore in terms of employment expectation with an outlook of 36 per cent.

In the Asia-Pacific region, employers in Singapore are the most optimistic with a net employment outlook of 60 per cent, followed by India (36 per cent), while employers in China reported the weakest hiring forecast in the region for the third consecutive quarter.

Of the 5,279 employers surveyed, 37 per cent expect an increase in staffing levels in the second quarter of this year, a marginal increase of one per cent anticipate a decrease, and 54 per cent are expecting no change.

Hiring sentiments are positive across all seven industry sectors such as finance, insurance and real estate, manufacturing, mining and construction, public administration and education, services, transportation and utilities, and wholesale and retail trade. — PTI



What India Inc wants: women
Refer a female worker, get a bonus

With an increasing number of women climbing the competitive corporate ladder, companies seem to be leaving no stone unturned to lure them and are even offering existing employees an additional bonus of as much as 25 per cent for referring a female employee.

The latest trend for India Inc is that it seems to be taking in a larger female workforce as women bring their own perspective to things and have emerged as better professionals in any situations, experts say.

“Women bring in their own perspectives and also a diverse set of views to flow on to the table. We are giving a lot of preference to women and give them equal opportunities in all programmes,” Oil exploration and production firm Cairn India director (HR and administration) P. Senthil Kumar says.

Companies have also introduced certain women-centric incentives in order to attract more females to join the companies and also as a part of their retention policies.

There is a lot of importance for cultural values in our country and that is one of the main reasons we are providing more flexibility for women at work.

Due to our initiatives, the population of female employees in the company has gone up to about 21 per cent last year, as compared to just 13 per cent in 2004, information technology provider CSC’s Associate Director (Human Resources) Anuj Kumar says.

Apart from flexible working hours, the CSC has also an exclusive website for its women employees called Planet W. The site acts as a discussion forum to exchange ideas and get useful tips on diverse issues.

According to Kumar, the CSC's website was launched somewhere in August, 2006, and has gone down well with the firm’s employees. Moreover, different courses on dieting and personal grooming are also offered for the fairer sex, he adds.

Further, the company also provides regular health check-ups, including those for screening breast cancer.

A majority of the firms in the country empathise with female employees and are also giving different kinds of incentives.

In many cases, female employees are considered to be better professionals, says Anand Varadarajan, a partner at Mumbai-based management consultancy firm ESP Consultant India Pvt Ltd.

Further, women are also recruited for the operations side than just technical work, Senthil Kumar adds. Recently, Internet major Yahoo! had launched an exclusive website for women.

The site ( offers nine categories, ranging from food, parenting to fashion and beauty. It also provides a blog platform for the users to share their thoughts.

You can count on us to bring attitude and personality and find humour in almost every topic we cover, Yahoo! Editor-in-Chief Shine Brandon Holley had said in a statement. — PTI



Career Hotline
Fear not recession
Pervin Malhotra

Pervin Malhotra Q. I have been working as a temp for the last two years in an IT firm in Mohali. People say that the economic slowdown in the US will jeopardise temporary jobs the most. If so, what should I do?
— Rimpy Khetrapal

A. Do not worry. Temporary staffers continue to find favour with India Inc, notwithstanding worries over any economic slowdown. And they are the most sought after in talent-hungry sectors such as communications, information technology and IT-enabled services. The TeamLease Annual Temp Salary Primer 2008 has found these three sectors ahead of others in hiring temporary staff in rewarding them. The survey covered temporary staff working across more than 200 profiles and 10 industry domains in 12 major locations in India.

Interestingly, the communications industry, which was covered for the first time this year, moved in sync with IT and the ITeS sectors in terms of salaries and wage hikes for temporary staff. Metros like Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi emerged as the cities that offer best salaries and pay hikes. The survey revealed that qualification preceded experience this year. For example, for the post of a collection officer in Delhi, a postgrad with no work experience can draw as much as a graduate with up to three years work-ex. This is 1 per cent higher than that of graduate with up to 5 years work experience. However while this trend is most visible in the IT sector, experience still holds importance in the sales function.



Earn and learn in USA

Q. I have just completed my BA Eco (Hon). Is there any way I can get some work experience abroad, even if it is for a short while, before I start preparing for my MBA exams?
— Girish Lakhanpal

A. If you are a college student, here is something that could make your summer vacation memorable. Under a US government programme, you can travel to the USA and fund your trip by working there. The “work and travel” programme is a US government initiative under which college students across the world can visit the country for temporary jobs during summer vacations from May to August.

The scheme aims to enable students to “understand and experience American culture and life”. The US Department of State’s Council on International Educational Exchange has hired two agencies in India -- as partners to administer the J1 visa program meant for this purpose. Any graduate or PG student can apply under the scheme. The applicant will be screened by the designated companies for suitability to visit the US. One of the prerequisites is a working knowledge of English. During a maximum stay of 4-months in the US allowed under the programme, a student can earn around Rs 3 lakh.

Living expenses, which must be borne by the student, typically run up to Rs 1 lakh for four months. Students are normally offered unskilled jobs in retail outlets, tourist camps, entertainment parks and restaurants that fetch $8-12 per hour. The total cost of travel under the programme is Rs 1.16 lakh, which the student has to bear. Of this, Rs 50,000 constitutes the return fare, Rs 25,000 goes as fees to the consulting company and the rest is converted into $750 for buying insurance and meeting other statutory requirements.

Another good option you could consider is applying for the international traineeship exchange programme run by AIESEC (an acronym for the Association Internationale des Étudiants en Sciences Économiques et Commerciales). Incidentally, AIESEC is the world’s largest student association with chapters in several cities in India. Details:



Have a field day

Q. I am a science graduate. I am keen on pursuing a career in Rural Development & Management. Can you please tell me about the scope of pursuing a postgraduate course in this field?
— Harsha Goel

A. Rural India (65,000 villages) which contributes 60% of the country’s GDP and accounts for 53 per cent of the fast moving consumer goods is the veritable backbone of our economy. The 300-500 million rural consumers offer a huge untapped opportunity and challenge for global marketeers.

A programme in Rural Management imparts specific management skills for targeting this segment and managing a rural enterprise or co-operative. It therefore deals with all the functional areas such as marketing, managerial accounting, finance, rural behaviour, rural environment and production, rural research methodology, field studies of rural producers, human resources, integrated rural management, communicating developmental and social messages, etc.

Anyone with an agricultural background or leaning, who is interested in working in a rural set-up, is well suited for a career in rural management.

You can find meaningful work in rural development projects with NGOs, the government and corporates in their rural initiatives and various agricultural or agri-business cooperatives and international/ national development agencies.

With a rural management degree, you can work in banks (NABARD, ICICI, UTI), insurance companies (ICICI Lombard, LIC), retail giants (Future Group, Reliance Retail, Godrej Agrovat, Bharti, RPG, Spencers, Big Apple, Subhiksha) and MNCs or rural consultancies (ITC e-choupal, the SCS Group, Grossman & Associates). You can also join research agencies, including the UNO and its subsidiaries.



Prospects for higher studies

Q. I belong to a family of very modest means. I have always dreamt of going to the US for pursuing higher studies in physics. I have worked very hard to excel at studies both in school as well as college. What is the possibility of getting a scholarship or fellowship for pursuing my PG studies in a good college there? My family does not have a house or land which could serve as collateral for getting a student loan from a bank.
— Krishen Kumar

A. Most universities in America generate income from several sources — primarily tuition fees, public funds, returns on endowments, rentals on university-owned housing, grants and awards, industry funding, and other private financial support.

What you need to do is look at the endowments and college funds vis-à-vis the number of students enrolled in that particular institution. While the endowments of a larger university would probably exceed that of a smaller one, the per-student funding for the latter could be much more inviting.

There are three major and a couple of minor sources of funding at the graduate-level in US universities.

n Fellowships: These are only given to the extraordinary students. Fellowships pay full tuition and provide for a comfortable living. No extra work is required. Fellowship-holders are academic ‘superstars’ and are expected only to deliver research results in their chosen field.

n Teaching Assistantships: TAs assist the department that is funding them in grading term papers, taking occasional classes, supervising lab sessions etc. In exchange for a committed number of hours per-week, teaching assistants get a tuition waiver and adequate money for living expenses.

n Research Assistantship: Research Assistants are funded and selected by professors. Applicants need to be skilled and knowledgeable about the ongoing research in their respective departments. For a certain number of hours of work per week, these graduates get a tuition fee waiver plus adequate money to live comfortably.

All universities offer assistantships and fellowships — the wealthier universities naturally have more of them than the others.

The good news for undergraduate aspirants is that there is substantial money available on an extremely selective basis. Meritorious students with outstanding academic track records, strong recommendations from teachers, top SAT 1 and II scores, high TOEFL scores, leadership experience, and potential, and record of community involvement find the going comparatively easy as far as funding goes. Universities look for bright well-rounded students who exhibit evidence of an abiding passion and excellence.

The writer is a noted career consultant.



UK qualifications now in India

The Association of Business Executives (ABE), an international examining body and provider of Business and Management qualifications, launched its British qualifications programmes for India in Chandigarh recently.

First secretary British Council, Kevin McLaven, welcomed ABE to India and discussed the predominant role British Education obtains in the world. The British Council co- hosted the event with ABE.

Maria Wejshag, business development manager of ABE UK, informed that an ABE programme can lead to an MBA with approximately 55 universities in the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, Kenya, Malaysia or Switzerland.

Students can complete the ABE qualification of their choice in two years by finishing the certificate, diploma and advance diploma in any of the six streams: Business Management, Tourism and Hospitality Management, Business Information Systems, Financial management, Marketing and Human Resource Management.

Nilesh Tandon, ABE's north India representative, said the qualifications were perfectly suited to the growing economy of India, especially with the two initial years spent in India followed by the final years overseas, making it an affordable option. — TNS


Accentia to raise headcount to 5,500

Outsourcing player Accentia Technologies is planning to increase its headcount to 5,500 by the end of the current fiscal to meet its business requirements.

We are enlarging our manpower base to meet the increasing order book pipeline, besides catering to the existing customers, CEO and Director Accentia Technologies Pradeep Viswambharam said.

In line with its plans, the company has acquired 51 per cent stake in US-based Oak Technologies Inc (OTI) in an all-cash deal.

Oak Technologies has five units operational in the US and India, Accentia said in a stock market filing.

"Through the acquisition, Accentia has put in place the internal accruals in a synergistic operational investment," Viswambharam said. The acquisition has added 700 personnel to its workforce.

Accentia plans to build on its acquired OTI base through aggressive HR development over the next two years. "OTI has its presence in Hyderabad, Nagpur and Bhubaneswar. Accentia plans to add about 2,000 personnel in these locations," Viswambharam added. — PTI