Thinkstockphotos/Getty imagesretail management
Ride the WAVE

Madhulika spends her day supervising the layout of the ladies salwar suits in her department, so that these are presented as attractively as possible. She also monitors the stock levels of all the fancy ladies apparel, places orders before any item sells out, and keeps an eye on customers visiting her department to ensure that any complaints are resolved quickly.

Thinkstockphotos/Getty images smart strategy: getting juniors to toe the line
Better bosses don't boss around
Who doesn't want to be a BOSS? Everyone does - either of his own or to others. But it is quite alarming that only a few people are able to become popular and likeable bosses. By popular, I don't mean famous or otherwise known to people other than one's co-workers or subordinates.

field of focus: rural marketing & agri-business
Route to cash in on rural growth
The importance of rural marketing is growing tremendously due to the saturation of urban markets and increase in the purchasing power of the rural population. As per the 2011 Census estimates, as many as 742 million people, which is 72 per cent of India’s total population, live in villages.

career compass: orthopaedic surgeon
Make no bones about hard work
Orthopaedics is a medical specialty that focuses on the diagnosis, care, and treatment of patients with disorders of the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendon and nerves. These elements make up the musculoskeletal system. The physicians who specialise in this area are called orthopaedic surgeons.

The fear of public speaking can be a major roadblock in one's career growth. In most cases this fear results from poor communication skills.


Members can master the art of public speaking through weekly meetings of Toastmasters clubs

Members can master the art of public speaking through weekly meetings of Toastmasters clubs


My lunch is cold, do you mind if I put it here.

Mum's the way to success
Female employees who want to succeed in the workplace should keep their mouths shut, while the more often men voice their opinions the better they are seen at doing their jobs, a new study has revealed. Research suggests that women who talk too much in the office are seen as less competent than their quieter peers.

scholarship roundup

course cruising

Happiness @ work

Career Hotline

fortnightly quiz 413



retail management
Ride the WAVE
Usha Albuquerque

Madhulika spends her day supervising the layout of the ladies salwar suits in her department, so that these are presented as attractively as possible. She also monitors the stock levels of all the fancy ladies apparel, places orders before any item sells out, and keeps an eye on customers visiting her department to ensure that any complaints are resolved quickly. Madhulika is a fresh graduate and a shop-floor executive with Shopper's Stop. She enjoys her work as she loves meeting people and working with clothes, has a good dress sense and sees a good future for herself in the retail industry. Vivek is a store manager and has to keep track of sales, and records of sales figures and financial transactions. He supervises a young team of shop floor executives, sales assistants and together they plan a variety of events and activities in the store— organising fashion shows, lucky draws, or serving coffee in the store to encourage buyers to stay and mingle.

Both of them are a part of a young industry that serves a young population with greater discretionary incomes and changing lifestyles that is driving the retail growth. Shopping in India has witnessed a revolution, it is no longer seen as a necessity, but has almost become a recreational activity. Shopping complexes are the new hang outs of thousands of young people who may not necessarily want to buy something. Today's multi-stored malls, huge shopping centers, and sprawling complexes offer food, shopping, and entertainment, all under the same roof, to a growing middle class with a strong income base. Retail today is, therefore, not only the fastest growing sector in the country but offers a range of jobs requiring selling, marketing, accounting, creative and managerial skills.

Vast potential

The retail industry is focused on the sale of goods or merchandise from the manufacturer for direct consumption by the purchaser. Retail management involves interacting directly with the customer in a store so as to be able to provide him/her the product closest to what he/she wants. Shopping has evolved into a science that provides vital information about the consumer, and how it can be used and the success of a retailer depends not only on his ability to gauge the consumer's mind, but also on how he formulates and implements marketing strategies. Today the Indian retail scene is booming, with a large number of corporate houses like the Tatas, Rahejas, Reliance, Goenkas entering this arena, with beauty and health stores, apparel stores, jewellery, supermarkets, self-service music stores, new age book stores, every-day-low-price stores, computers and peripherals stores, office equipment stores and home/building construction stores. International brands and retail chains are also waiting eagerly to make an entry into this sector.


With more than 800 retail stores already operational and several hundred more planned, this industry requires a staggering number of people, from sales executives and store managers to merchandise planners and buyers. Areas of work in the field of retail include stores management, inventory management, department layout management and customer service management. Most freshers start as a trainee in different function areas like accounts, sales, administration, purchase, logistic, marketing, customer contact and move up the ladder to work as store managers, category sales managers, regional managers, territory managers and then national head.

The store manager or retail manager plans and co-ordinates the operations of one or several retail outlets. Often retail managers work in different areas of a store, obtaining practical experience of each department and gaining selling, marketing and managerial skills. At the senior level retail management involves stock management, and overall supply chain management, looking at ways to cut costs, increase sales, maintain quality, trading analysis and planning

Getting in

The basic qualification necessary to enrol into a programme of retail management is Plus II. Some institutes offer PG programmes for which the minimum eligibility is a three-year bachelor's degree. The retail management course includes subjects like supply chain management, marketing information, finance management, inventory management and accounting in retail. Students also learn about sales promotion and customer relationship management, as well as business communication, and organizational behavior.

Many training institutes have been set up by retail chains. K.J.Somaiya Institute of Management and Research Studies, Mumbai, was the first to introduce the subject, and offers an 18-month PG diploma in Retail management, which includes 6-month professional practice in a Pantaloon store.

Others such as the Welingkar School of Retail Management Studies, and Indian Retail School, New Delhi, also offer specialised programmes in retailing and retail management. Fashion institutes such as NIFT and Pearl Academy of Fashion, New Delhi, offer specialisation in apparel retailing and merchandising.

The Bharti Wal-Mart retail has also set up training centres at Amritsar, Bangalore, Delhi and in centres in Maharashtra where they offer short-term vocational certification courses that equip candidates to become floor and sales assistants or supervisors through a special curriculum developed by Walmart.

Other retail chains are also training staff in the retail trade and offering internships for students.

Skills to get ahead

Retail is one field where if you have the right aptitude and a personality to match, your academic background really doesn't matter. You do, however, require good communication, organisational and leadership skills. This is a customer-oriented field and you must enjoy working with people and have a good product knowledge or interest in marketing areas like fashion, music, computer games, etc. You also need good numerical skills and have the ability to work accurately and neatly.


Freshers can get a salary between Rs 7000 and Rs 15,000 approximately along with bonuses and other incentives customary in the retail industry. A store manager would probably get Rs 25,000 - 30,000 which could increase rapidly with experience.

This is a young industry and, therefore, career growth is likely to be fast and it offers good prospects for those who are dynamic, able to multi-task and are equipped with great communication skills.

— The writer is a career expert

taste of luxury

A new area of work in retail management is that of luxury brand management. Cashing in on the upsurge of shopping interest, luxury brands like Longines, Valentino, Dior and Ferragamo, Mont Blanc and many others, catering to those with high disposable incomes and a penchant for luxury, have come into the country expanding the field of retail. The luxury brand manager, therefore, has to understand the value and tradition of a brand as much as managing the clientele who need to feel the requirement for such a product.

Institute Watch

  • Welingkar Institute of Management, Mumbai
  • K J Somaiya Institute of Management Studies & Research, Mumbai
  • Indian Retail School
  • Pearl Academy of Fashion
  • SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai
  • Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning (SCDL)
  • National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT)

options and opportunities

  • Opportunities are aplenty in this field. Departmental stores, designer boutiques, fast food chains, super markets, company stores, music stores, electronics showrooms, automobile dealers all employ retail professionals. Today some of the biggest names are in retail, and multinational retailers are waiting for the government to open FDI in this sector. Multinationals have already made significant inroads into the Indian retail sector, and are bringing in standards of customer service experienced never before in India.
  • The traditional food and grocery segment has seen the emergence of supermarkets/grocery chains like Food World, Spencer's, Big Bazaar, and convenience stores like Convenio, HP Speedmart and fast-food chains. There has also been a large increase in the non-food retail segment, such as the lifestyle/fashion segments like Shopper's Stop, Globus, LifeStyle, Pantaloon, Westside, as well as retail chains for books/music/gifts — Archies, MusicWorld, Crosswords, Landmark, even in appliances and consumer durables, as well as in healthcare and pharma sectors. With the spread of the PVR chain, the entertainment and cinema segment is also today offering a retail choice.
  • Pantaloons, one of the biggest retailers in India, has more than 450 stores across the country, and also launched the country’s first hypermarket 'Big Bazaar' covering possibly the complete shopping list from food and clothing to consumer electronics. The Tatas operate Westside and Star India Bazaar, as well as the largest book and music retailer in India 'Landmark'. The RPG Group started with food and grocery in its Foodworld stores and has extended this to pharmacy and beauty care outlets. Reliance, another big player, operates more than 300 Reliance Fresh and Reliance Mart stores, while the AV Birla group is in apparel retail with brands like Louis Phillipe, Allen Solly, and so on.

So if you would like to spend not only your evenings but most of the day hanging around the new shopping malls, here are some companies you could send your resume to :

  • Shopper's Stop:,
  • Pantaloon:
  • Reliance Fresh:
  • Globus:,
  • Fab India:



smart strategy: getting juniors to toe the line
Better bosses don't boss around
Shikha Sondhi

Who doesn't want to be a BOSS? Everyone does - either of his own or to others. But it is quite alarming that only a few people are able to become popular and likeable bosses. By popular, I don't mean famous or otherwise known to people other than one's co-workers or subordinates. A popular boss is the one who is a man of his own people, his own staff.

While people often take pride in the position that they have secured in an organisation, but most of them don't know how to make the most of their position. To some a position of authority means the right to dominate people and to prove themselves as a strict and an uncompromising boss, while to others it means taking revenge. To some it may mean showering their goodness on their favourites and making the rest beasts of burden.

However, such an approach may give one the prime post but not the respect that the post deserves. One has to understand that it's not just a nod from the juniors over everything that is required. Much more important is to present oneself as a role model. As someone whom people look up to. It's just a matter of winning their hearts and earning their respect.

Strike a chord

To become a popular boss, one must become a people's man first and to become a people's man, one needs 'People's Skills'. This, however, is not a very recent term. It is a quality that has been seen in most of the successful bosses in the past as well.

The first thing is to develop an understanding with those working with you as colleagues or subordinates. To form an impression that all subordinates are useless and unwilling to work promotes difficult work conditions and spoils the overall work environment. To think that they are juniors and should work more than the boss, is also a false notion. To even nurture such a notion is like downgrading one's own position. As a boss, one's role and responsibilities diversify and multiply. The need is to develop a very deep understanding of the juniors' psychology and style of working.

Spread clarity

The next step is to equip the people with a clear vision towards all the aspects related to work — input and output both. Once there is clarity about the vision, mission and direction, the work will be completed smoothly. Here, communication also plays a crucial role. The information download must be very lucid and precise.

Though work takes priority, yet, its distribution should be such that people don't feel overburdened. Another important thing should be the focus on quality work and not on the quantity of work. Feedback from the employees should be encouraged and valuable inputs should be added by the boss so that even if a particular task becomes a challenge, it can be overcome by the staff. Remember to guide and show a problem-solving attitude rather than discouraging the people by telling them that they won't be able to solve the problem. As a senior, one must always be ready to take up queries and suggest alternatives to his staff.

It is said that one must not mingle personal and professional life. But it is easier said than done. Sometimes it becomes extremely difficult to cope with a personal matter and this affects one's work. In such a scenario it becomes imperative for a senior to cooperate with the person concerned and offer him complete support. A person at a much more responsible position may extend a helping hand to the subordinate in problem so that he can focus on his problem, get it fixed and be back at work. The support thus extended will certainly develop a sense of responsibility in the person, develop cordial relations with the rest of the staff, and of course with the boss.

Be the support system

One of the myths attached to professional attitude is that at work, we don't build relations. But in reality, it is not so. We do have friends or people whom we confide in at our workplace. It could be a problem with the boss or another work related issue, each individual seeks support at work. Each person at a senior level, thus, must strive to become the only person in whom his team/workforce confides. He must learn to be the person with whom people can share their problems, views, opinions, etc. At the same time, the senior should keep all these issues confidential. He should just be a support people fall back on.

Value of feedback

Another important part is giving feedback to the employees. Feedback should be focused on bringing improvement in work and not to embarras somebody or to discourage people. Feedback should be given only in private to the person concerned so that s/he does not feel humiliated.

A senior must maintain his dignity at all times. In case, he feels that people are taking liberty of his kindness, he must pull the reins. He must make his presence felt but by taking a mid-way to everything. He should be neither too moderate nor too rigid and always keep in mind if he will stand by his subordinates then they will stand by him.

— The writer is Assistant Professor, Chitkara University



field of focus: rural marketing & agri-business
Route to cash in on rural growth
Raghuvir Singh

The importance of rural marketing is growing tremendously due to the saturation of urban markets and increase in the purchasing power of the rural population.

As per the 2011 Census estimates, as many as 742 million people, which is 72 per cent of India’s total population, live in villages. Therefore, it is no wonder that with rising level of disposable income in the rural areas, the total market size (in Indian rupees) of rural India is huge. As per recent estimates, the FMCG market is around Rs 6,500 billion, agri inputs would make up about Rs 4,500 billion, automobiles will add up to another Rs 800 billion and consumer durables will account for about Rs 500 billion. Nowadays, the maximum growth of mobile service is coming from the rural market which is growing faster than the urban market not only for mobile telecom but also for most of the other product/service categories.

Moreover, there is huge untapped potential for further developing agri-business in the areas of agri inputs, processing, procuring, marketing and trading (for domestic and international markets) of all agricultural, horticultural, dairy, poultry, livestock, rural artisan products, food products, including inland fish and marine products. Therefore, management graduates having specialisation or with special elective subjects in Rural marketing/Agri business, will be much in demand in the job market, in the coming years.


Some major areas where such management graduates can have employment opportunities are:

  • All agri input companies marketing seeds, fertilisers, agro chemicals, farm equipments etc.
  • Large organised retailers (companies) who procure their farm and non-farm products from rural markets for selling in domestic urban markets and international markets.
  • All FMCG marketing companies selling their products in rural markets.
  • Most of the consumer durable goods marketing companies selling in rural markets.
  • Banks engaged in rural banking.
  • All micro-finance companies active in rural areas.
  • Companies selling insurance and financial products in rural markets.
  • Companies procuring, processing and selling dairy products.
  • Companies selling micro-irrigation products for rural farmers.
  • Companies engaged in grains, oilseeds, spices procuring and trading (including exports).
  • Companies selling tractors, 2-wheelers, cars and other transportation vehicles in rural markets
  • Companies engaged in contract farming as also procuring, processing, selling and exporting agricultural and horticultural products.
  • Companies engaged in organised retailing in rural markets.
  • Companies engaged in rural supply chain management, including warehousing.
  • n Companies engaged in procuring, processing and selling fish, poultry, livestock products.
  • Companies engaged in procuring, processing, selling, exporting marine products.
  • Companies selling healthcare, veterinary & animal feed products in rural markets.

Skill set

Management graduates with rural marketing specialisation, should develop the following skills for better employability:

Social skills: To understand rural economy, rural socio-cultural factors and rural consumer behaviour.

Product development skills: To develop products and services based on rural customer preferences and rural specific technologies.

Social marketing skills: To bring about the desired level of behavioural changes among the target audience, through various CSR activities.

Understanding of agri-business opportunities: Cultivation techniques, including application of various agri inputs, contract farming operations, procurement, grading, processing, trading, rural distribution management, special packaging, special pricing and special promotional tools for rural marketing and export opportunities.

Other than large companies selling agri inputs in rural markets, there are also quite a few large corporate houses in India that are engaged in agri-business. Some well known names are PepsiCo, Bharti Enterprises, Reliance Industries, Thapar Group’s Global Green Company, ITC, Tata Chemicals, DCM Shriram Consolidated Limited (DSCL), Godrej, Mahindra & Mahindra etc. Rural marketing and agri-business sector is experiencing an unprecedented high growth in job opportunities at all levels, including those meant for management graduates with specialisation in such areas. So much so, an exclusive job portal called '' was launched in late 2001 by Rural Management Consultants Private Limited (RMCPL). It addresses the need of providing a meeting platform exclusively for the employers and employees of agribusiness, rural marketing, retail and development sectors.

— The writer is Director, JK Padampat Singhania Institute of Management and Technology, Gurgaon.

Institute Watch

Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, Gujarat and Lucknow

It has two-year PG programme in Agribusiness Management (PGP-ABM).

The candidate must hold a bachelor's or master's degree in agriculture sciences or in agriculture-related disciplines, or bachelor's degree or equivalent qualification in any non-agriculture discipline from a university with at least 50% marks or equivalent CGPA (45% in case of the candidates belonging to SC/ ST category.

Institute of Agri-business Management (IABM), Noida, UP

It offers two-year PG Diploma in Agribusiness Management, affiliated to the Integral University, Lucknow, which is a UGC-approved university.

JK Business School, Gurgaon

Two-year full time PGDM (rural marketing management,specialisation.

JK Padampat Singhania Institute of Management and Technology

Two year full time PGDM (Rural Marketing Specialisation.



career compass: orthopaedic surgeon
Make no bones about hard work

Orthopaedics is a medical specialty that focuses on the diagnosis, care, and treatment of patients with disorders of the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendon and nerves. These elements make up the musculoskeletal system. The physicians who specialise in this area are called orthopaedic surgeons.

It is a specialised branch. If you are passionate about providing the best possible care with the highest clinical standards, and are excited about the idea of collaborating with like-minded peers and leaders in surgical treatment, then you can look at this career.

Work schedule

A day in hospital for an Orthopaedic Surgeon consists of:

OPD consultations: Examining patients, including physical examinations, ordering x-rays, MRIs or other investigations.

Operating patients:

Orthopaedic sugery encompasses various sub-specialties like trauma surgery, joint replacement surgery, spine surgery and arthroscopic procedures of various joints

Planning specialised post-surgery care, coordinating follow up medical support and meeting patients after surgery to answer questions and monitor recovery.

Managing records, patient charts and the required surgical and hospital records as needed

Getting in

To become an orthopaedic surgeon, one has to go through at least 10 years of rigorous training. A candidate must:

  • Complete MBBS
  • Complete post graduation in orthopaedics which includes a thesis submission followed by clearing PG exam (MS, Diploma or DNB)
  • Practice orthopaedic surgery as senior resident in various hospitals for a period of at least three years

There are three ways in which a medical graduate can train himself to be an orthopaedic surgeon. In India, three orthopaedic degrees are recognised: Master of Surgery in Orthopaedics (MS-Orth), Diploma Orthopaedics (D Orth.) and Diploma of National Board (DNB-Orth).

The MS (Orth) degree, a three-year course, is imparted by university-affiliated medical institutes. The eligibility for obtaining admission for this course is mainly based on the rank in the national and state level entrance tests. Private institutions offering MS (Orth) also conduct entrance tests. The demand for orthopaedic surgery is huge and, as a result, there is tough competition in the entrance examination. Diploma in Orthopaedics is also offered by the same institutions but it is a two-year course.

The National Board of Examinations ( runs (DNB-Orth) in accredited centres in the country. These centres are mostly self-financed or private hospitals and, occasionally, may not be attached to medical colleges. The medical graduate takes a qualifying examination and an interview to be eligible to undergo three years of training.


The remuneration varies widely from Rs 60,000 to Rs 80,000 to start with and might go up to any value with experience. 

— Inputs from Dr Biren Nadkarni

Institute Watch

All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi

Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi

Christian Medical College & Hospital (CMCH) - Master of Surgery in Orthopaedic Surgery, Vellore

"An orthopaedic surgeon works closely with other healthcare professionals and often serves as a consultant to other physicians. Orthopaedic surgeons play an important role in an organisation and delivery of emergency care. They are members of the teams that manage complex, multi-system trauma. One has to be really dedicated in this field since it involves not only physical treatment but a lot of psychological counselling as well."

Dr Biren Nadkarni, Senior Orthopaedic and Joint and Replacement Surgeon, Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science and Research, New Delhi




The fear of public speaking can be a major roadblock in one's career growth. In most cases this fear results from poor communication skills. There is a growing awareness now about improving communication skills and it is a key component of the skill development initiative being undertaken by the government as well as private sector institutes, but the benefits of these initiatives are yet to reach a wider spectrum of students and professionals in small towns and cities in our country. Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organisation that helps people improve their communication, public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of 13,500 Toastmasters Clubs. Michael Notaro, president of Toastmasters International, who was in New Delhi last week to preside over the annual conference of these clubs in India, spoke at length about the need to build confidence and communication skills. Excerpts from an interview:

Are communication skills key for career progression? How can better communication skills improve career prospects of youngsters?

Communication skills are absolutely vital to succeed in the international workplace today. More and more companies require interaction with colleagues, customers and clients abroad. Career advancement in the global scenario depends not just on technical and managerial skills, but on the ability to speak in an articulate manner, to listen carefully and comprehend what others are saying and to have the confidence to negotiate and express one's opinions. All of this can be learned and developed further through the Toastmasters programme.

What's the role the Toastmasters Club has played in improving communication skills among people?

Since its founding in 1924, Toastmasters has helped over 4 million people lead and communicate with poise and confidence. The skills and experience gained through Toastmasters have helped people improve their personal lives, reducing conflict and promoting harmony. Members have benefited professionally as they become more comfortable, confident and competent communicators and get noticed and promoted. Many members have gone on to lead their organisations and become agents of progress in their communities.

The concept of developing communication and leadership skills is getting a lot of attention in our country of late and a lot of institutes are providing training in this. What are the techniques that make Toastmasters' programme unique?

Toastmasters is different from a workshop or tutorial programme as it is based entirely on a learn-by-doing approach, supplemented by peer feedback. There are no instructors and no exams! Members work at their own pace to achieve different milestones that mark advancing levels of skills attained as a communicator and leader. Several manuals and modules serve as the 'curriculum' that members work through to focus on different dimensions of speaking, listening and leadership. All clubs are run by members themselves, providing opportunities to learn about administration, moderating meetings and working with teams. Because clubs meet regularly, the learning is reinforced on an ongoing basis, unlike a course or workshop that is limited in duration. And the most unique USP of the programme is that it is fun! The mission of a club is to provide a mutually supportive, nurturing environment in which all members have the opportunity to learn and grow. The positive atmosphere, constructive feedback and generous applause make Toastmasters meetings delightful to attend.

As it is an international organisation, do you employ different techniques and programmes for different countries?

The Toastmasters programme has spread to 117 countries with meetings being held in over 13,000 clubs on a regular basis. The core resource materials are common across the world. However, given the expansion to non-English speaking countries and the inclusion of vernacular language clubs, many materials are now available in different languages such as French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Chinese and even Arabic! As the movement spreads and more non-English speakers wish to benefit from the programme, more languages will continue to be added to the repertoire.

How can a student or a professional become a part of Toastmasters club?

With so many Toastmasters clubs now operating in India, it should be easy to locate one near you. Just visit the Toastmasters International website You will find links to the 'FIND A CLUB' section with a list of countries, cities and towns to search. If there is no club in your vicinity, you can start one. Instructions on how to do so are also available from the link on the home page.

There are two types of clubs in Toastmasters , one is community club and the other one is Corporate club. Community club is the one which can be joined by anyone who is above the age of 18 years. But in corporate club the employees of that particular corporate can join. No outsider can join the corporate club. Out of more than 120+ clubs in India, 50 are community clubs and the rest are corporate clubs. In both types of club, the format of the meetings remains the same. The club meetings are usually held once in a week. To become the member of the community or the corporate club one has to shell out around Rs 350 per month.

What has your experience been in India and how popular are your clubs here?

The Toastmasters movement has been growing exponentially in India over the past few years, with new clubs being set up every day. India currently has about 260 Toastmasters clubs split across District 41 and District 82. The latter covers the peninsular Indian states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, while District 41 covers the rest of India. In District 41, we are experiencing the greatest growth in the corporate sector. More and more companies are setting up Toastmasters Clubs for their staff as they discover how communication and leadership skills can benefit the individual as well as the corporation. Companies such as TCS, Infosys, CSC, Deloitte, Accenture, Microsoft, Genpact, IBM, Amazon, Oracle, Hewitt, Bechtel, Ford, L&T, General Mills and several others have set up Toastmasters clubs. Educational institutions such as IIT, IIM, ISB and other colleges have also set up Toastmasters Clubs for their students and faculty. We also have a growing number of community clubs that are open to the general public and have a varied membership, including youngsters, retirees, professionals and homemakers. Toastmasters meetings provide a lot of learning and fellowship and are a productive and pleasurable way to spend a few hours investing in yourself.

Are there any plans to expand the horizons of this movement in India?

The Toastmasters movement in India has spread from the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean and from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal. As more and more people discover the benefits and realise how cost-effective it is to be a part of this great non-profit organisation, the number of clubs and members is growing rapidly. Over the next year, we will continue to work on sharing this treasure with our compatriots. Toastmasters delivers results and is the most effective forum for helping people become more effective communicators and leaders.

— As told to Geetu Vaid

first person

"Public speaking is a bigger fear than death. Besides, it is but natural to get butterflies in your stomach before giving a speech. And unfortunately the more people in the audience, the more is the number of butterflies in your stomach before you start. Therefore, it becomes mandatory to find the right words to express and the confidence to deliver in a manner that connects with the audience,"

— Michael Notaro, president, Toastmasters International



Mum's the way to success

Female employees who want to succeed in the workplace should keep their mouths shut, while the more often men voice their opinions the better they are seen at doing their jobs, a new study has revealed. Research suggests that women who talk too much in the office are seen as less competent than their quieter peers.

The researchers say that chatty women are seen as a nag who is 'domineering and presumptuous' if they speak too much. Their depressing conclusion is that if you are a woman who wants to get ahead you should hold your tongue — especially in front of men.

"When men talk a lot, people want to reward them. But when women do it, they are seen as being too domineering, too presumptuous," the Daily Mail quoted Victoria Brescoll as saying.

The Yale University research involved asking 156 people to read an article about a fictional chief executive.

The executive was described as either a talkative man, quiet man, talkative woman or quiet woman and the respondents were asked to rate how competent they were on a seven point scale.

Talkativeness was measured as how often the executive voiced an opinion in article. — ANI



scholarship roundup

Singh-Obama 21st Century Knowledge Initiative

The UGC invites applications for 300 Post Doctoral Fellowships for Indian scholars in USA for year 2012 under Singh-Obama 21st Century Knowledge Initiative 2012. These awards will provide an excellent opportunity to young Indian researchers (permanent faculty), to interact with the American academic/scientific community and get first hand information of the developments taking place at the international level and acquaint themselves with new academic and scientific research methods and to participate in collaborative research projects. It will enable young Indian researchers to carry out a clearly defined research project and/or acquire newly emerging research techniques and technologies at a place of their choice in USA for a period of up to 12 months.

Study Subject(s): Energy, especially renewable energy; Environment, especially climate change; Health, especially public health; Food security; Information security

Course level: Postdoctoral Fellowships


  • The applicant should be a permanent teacher in a university/institution recognised by UGC under 2(f) and 12B of UGC Act.
  • The applicant should possess at least 60 per cent marks or equivalent in the post-graduate degree.
  • The applicant should possess a Ph.D degree in respective academic discipline (humanities, social sciences, natural science, engineering, technology, agricultural sciences) or MD/MS/Ph.D.
  • The applicant must provide proof of having carried out independent research work published in peer reviewed journals preferably indexed.

Age limit: 40 years as on December 31, 2012.

Details: The Fellow will be entitled to fellowship amount of US $ 3000 per month." The minimum period of the fellowship would be 6 months and maximum period of fellowship would be 12 months.

Fellow will also be entitled to a one time personal contingency grant of upto a maximum of Rs 50,000 to cover for visa, airport transfer, medical insurance etc. Medical insurance expenses, visa fee, airport transfer charges will be met by the fellow from out of this personal contingency grant.

Fellow will also be permitted to travel within USA to attend conferences or visit other institutes of interest with the approval of the advisor at the host institute. The Fellow will be entitled to avail one of the following grants for this purpose.

  • Grant of $ 600 for fellowship period up to 6 months
  • Grant of $ 1200 for fellowship period beyond 6 months

Selection: It will be a two-step process -

  • Short-listing of the candidates,
  • Personal interview of the short-listed candidates.

How to Apply: Online

Deadline: July 11, 2012

Check out:



course cruising

Hardware, networking and security systems

Check out IACM’s MasterConnect, a 14-month programme in hardware, network and security system management. IACM SmartLearn Ltd, has announced its NextGen MasterConnect programme with induction of skills on convergence, telephony, virtualisation, cloud computing and besides mapping the modules with 18 International Certification, which is highest in numbers for any career program in hardware, networking and security system training across India. The objective of the course is to prepare students for a successful career in the IT industry. The industry-centric syllabus facilitates the students to get hands on exercise for comprehensive understanding of the ever mounting IT industry.

Course: 12 months of Computer Hardware and Networking training of which last one month is dedicated to 70+ Industry simulated labs sessions and two months of Security Systems training.

Duration: 14 months

Eligibility: Plus II (any discipline)/ Undergraduates can also apply/ students with ITI diploma or two years course after 10th.

Application Form: Application forms are available at their Head office and all the learning centers across India.

For more information on Learning Center Enquiry:

Deadline: May 30, 2012.

Check Out:

Thinkstockphotos/Getty imagesEntrepreneurship management

XLRI School of Business & Human Resource, Jamshedpur, has announced the launch of a unique full-time six-month programme in the domain of entrepreneurship administration — Post Graduate Programme for Certificate in Entrepreneurship Management (PGP-CEM). The programme has been designed and developed to provide competency-based education to the eligible candidates with a view to promoting entrepreneurship in the country.

Eligibility: Graduates from any recognised university having an interest in entrepreneurship can apply for this programme.

Selection: Eligible applicants will be subject to a process of personal interview and, if necessary, group discussion for final selection.

Deadline: May 30, 2012.

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Fashion diplomas

Those interested in making a career in the fashion industry can check out the postgraduate courses being offered by the Pearl Academy of Fashion.

The courses: PG Diploma in Fashion Merchandising which provides the students a firm grounding of fashion sense and business expertise and helps them acquire skills required for fashion merchandisers, such as forecasting, research and analysis, combined with fashion industry knowledge.

PG Diploma in Fashion Retail that provides extensive knowledge and technical, behavioural skills in the core functional areas such as Retail Merchandising, Retail Operations, Retail Marketing and Visual Merchandising

Duration: 2 years

Location: Delhi/Chennai. PG diploma in fashion retail is also available in Jaipur campus

Seats: 30 (in each campus for each course)

Eligibility: Graduate degree/ equivalent degree


nGeneral Proficiency Test

nDesign Aptitude Test

nSituational Test

nIndividual Interview

Deadline: May 25, 2012.



Happiness @ work
Gems of ancient wisdom
No donkeywork please

Effort produces fruit, but not always. Sometimes, bosses assign pointless work, which doesn’t enhance the product in any way, just to stamp their authority or give confused orders because of their inefficiency thereby vexing their juniors.

One day, an Englishman spotted Bankim Chandra Chatterji inside a train coach reserved for Britishers. He told Bankim to get out immediately. The Bengali poet and novelist calmly replied, “If you can show me how to get off a running train, I’ll follow. And if you need any help, I can always give you a push.”

When Karamchand Gandhi, father of Mahatma Gandhi, attended state durbars, he, according to the uniform code, had to wear outlandish stockings and boots. A move meant to break Indian pride, Gandhiji had observed.

During an argument in an inebriated condition with the chief of the merchants’ guild, Lalitaditya, King of Kashmir in the 7th century, gave an order to reduce Pravarapura town to ashes before dawn. When the king awoke, he saw thick smoke outside his window.

He called his wise minister Mitra Sharma and asked him if his order had indeed been carried out. When the minister replied in the affirmative, the King repented his rashness and decreed that an order by a King in a drunken state is not binding. Then, the minister reported that the town was fine and that the smoke was due to the burning of some haystacks.

On his way from China to India, Hiuen Tsang reached the royal city of Turfan. The King didn’t want to let go of the scholar so he put Hiuen Tsang under surveillance. In protest, the Chinese traveller embarked on an indefinite fast. After three days, the King gave in.

At the annual feast for 1,000 Brahmins organised by Nanda royal clan, there were 1,000 silver plates and 10 gold plates. Nine of the gold plates were for the King and the princes and the 10th one was for the ‘most learned’ Brahmin. In this utensil, Subandhu, the King’s preceptor, ate year after year till the day Chanakya challenged the royal order.

“The plate is not reserved for the King’s preceptor, but for the most learned Brahmin present. Hold a debate and let Subandhu prove he is better than me,” said Chanakya. Enraged, the King threw Chanakya out knowing little that the Nanda clan would soon be wiped out by this wily Brahmin.

To emphasise the common thread that runs through all creation, saint Jnaneshwar declared there was no difference between animals and humans. But a sceptic said, “If you say so, make a buffalo recite the Vedas.” Jnaneshwar requested a buffalo to do so and the beast obliged.

Pointless work only makes you fall in the juniors’ eyes.

— Sai R. Vaidyanathan

The writer can be contacted at



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Should I go in for social sciences course at TISS?

Pick up the nuances of social sciences at TISS with the five-year integrated programme
Pick up the nuances of social sciences at TISS with the five-year integrated programme

Q. I am interested in the new five-year integrated programme in social sciences offered by TISS. I would appreciate it if you could outline the job opportunities after this course? Will Class XII marks be factored in at the time of selection to the programme?
— Sabyani Horo

A. You can download the information brochure from the website that contains the details regarding admission procedure, details of pattern of the entrance exam and the course outline.

This is an inter-disciplinary course that covers social, economic, political, cultural, social psychological and environmental theories drawn from all social science disciplines. Students will also study mathematics and take foundational courses in biological, physical and chemical sciences and languages in addition to philosophy of research, research methodology, logic and history.

In many ways, it's structured like a liberal arts programme offered in US colleges.

It's not a rigid five-year integrated programme.

After completing the third year you can either choose to study any master's course on the same campus without having to give an entrance exam. If, however, you choose a course offered at a different TISS campus then you will have to appear for the entrance exams like everyone else.

The application deadline has been extended to: June 30, 2012. The entrance test is scheduled to be held on July 15, 2012 and the course will commence from August 1, 2012.

ECE is a better option

Thinkstockphotos/Getty imagesQ. I am a student of B.Tech (ECE) first year. But after one year now I am not sure if I should continue with electronics and communication engineering or shift to computer science engineering. Whenever I discuss this topic with others, they all say that computer science engineering is a better option than ECE. Please guide me about the prospects of both and also tell which stream is better keeping in mind the growing demand of engineers in the IT sector.
— Aishwarya Sharma

A. I think you've done the right thing by opting for ECE. Besides telecom, some of the other core industry sectors which ECE grads can look at are embedded systems, VLSI, PCB designing, automobile, aviation and IT. And as far as IT is concerned, companies recruit engineering graduates from across engineering disciplines, so you can have a wide choice of options to choose from including IT.

Wide range of choices for medical stream students

Q. I am a student and I have just completed my Class X. Now I want to opt for the medical stream as I find it interesting. But at he same time I am scared that I may not be able to clear the PMT. What are the courses other than MBBS and BDS in the medical stream that are interesting and also promise a good future? I am very confused whether I should opt for the medical stream or not. Please guide me.
— Srishti

A. Nothing ventured, nothing won! There's nothing you can't achieve if you try hard enough. After all, thousands of students do it every year. But since you've asked, there are a plenty of other interesting career options beyond the traditional which you could consider. For instance you can pursue pharmacy, and get into drug discovery, take biology and pursue biotechnology or biochemistry. The range of options available in this sector is truly wide and varied.

Besides looking at some of the branches of alternative or traditional systems of medicine such as ayurveda, homeopathy, Unani, siddha, naturopathy and yoga, you could also look at related fields like bioinformatics, microbiology, molecular biology, genetics, physiology, veterinary science and animal husbandry, zoology, agriculture, nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and audiology, optometry etc.

You could also look at the field of medical technology which includes ophthalmic technology, lab and X-ray technology, perfusion technology, biomedical engineering, dental mechanics, hospital administration, health management, nutrition, dietetics, food processing, medical transcription, medico-legal work, rehabilitation counselling, etc.



fortnightly quiz 413

Global Convenience Snack 1. Which European country has been facing a grave economic crisis for the past five years and seeking a bailout from foreign lenders?

2. How many years were recently completed by India’s lone sea-based aircraft carrier INS Viraat?

3. Which noted Urdu writer’s works include ‘Toba Tek Singh’, ‘Tamasha’ and ‘Thanda Gosht’?

4. Name the founder of Facebook.

5. To which place in Punjab does the Bir Khalsa Gatka Group belong that recently made it to the Guinness Book of World Records for breaking the maximum number of coconuts placed on forehead with a baseball bat?

6. Which museum recently unveiled a new waxwork of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II to mark her 60 years on the throne?

7. How many years have been completed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)?

8. Name the only listed microfinance company in India.

9. How many years ago was the world-popular snack sandwich invented?

10. After how many years did Manchester City win the English Premier League recently?

— Tarun Sharma

Winners of quiz 412: The first prize by draw of lots goes to Nayan Arya, class VI-C, Gurukul Senior Secondary School, Dhand Road, Kurukshetra, Pin Code - 136119

Second: Gauri Sharma, class VII, Convent of Jesus and Mary Chelsea Navbahar, Shimla, Pin Code - 171002

Third: Ripu Daman, class V-C, Cambridge International School for Girls, Urban Estate, Phase II, Jalandhar Pin Code – 144001

Answers to quiz 412: Sixty; Francois Hollande; April 24; Japan; Mitt Romney; Sriharikota; 2,500-3,000 km; ‘The Scream’; Suresh Raina; Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Rahul Dravid

Cash awards of Rs 400, 300 and 200 are given to the first, second and third prize winners, respectively. These are sent at the school address.

Note: Kindly mention the pincode of your place on the letter/postcard to facilitate the delivery of the prize money.

Answers can also be sent at


Class ....………….......….……..............

School address ............................