26 Jun 2015 20:21 IST

Making the right choice

Every individual is unique. So pick a prospective career wisely. Here are some tips

Management education today has evolved and become more industry oriented. The courses on offer, traditionally, used to be finance, marketing, HRD and operations. However, many B-schools now offer courses in retail management, family business, healthcare, e-commerce, enterprenuership, among others.

While all this augurs well for the students, it is very necessary that students are clear about their choices, thereby making an informed decision about the specialisation that should be pursued. After all, pursuing the right course is the first step towards a successful and fulfilling career. Here is a checklist to start you off:

Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses It is essential to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, and likes and dislikes. Some questions worth asking yourself: Are you great with numbers? Do you like analysing piles of data and drawing coherent conclusions from it? Are you a people’s person? Do you like engaging with different people and are you able to put your point across the table? Are you good at programming?

For instance, there’s no point in pursuing specialisation in finance, if you are not good with numbers and find it difficult to understand financial concepts.

Speak to your professors/visiting faculty Your professors, visiting faculty have years of enriching experience in teaching, as well as industry, to guide you suitably. Management education just prepares you academically for entry into the corporate world. Your actual learning begins on the job.

Engaging with faculty, who teach subjects specific to an industry you’re looking at, can give you insights into what the corporate world expects. They can also guide you on the actual work conducted in various types of industry as well as specific job roles. For example, if you want to be a brand manager – what does the role actually involve? What are the challenges, what is it like working in an advertising agency, and so on, are things a faculty member can give you more information about.

Speak to Alumni Alumni can be the best source of information for getting relevant and current information on the job scene. Network with alumni who are in your chosen line of specialisation or where you seek to specialise.

Speak to them about the kind of work they are doing. What are the other opportunities available and what kind of skills need to be developed to avail the same? This may at times help to burst the bubble of false expectation when you know exactly what kind of skills are required and the nature of work involved in your area of specialization.

Take your summer placement or internship seriously This is perhaps the best time that you would have in your student days to actually experience corporate life. Do your projects diligently. Actively engage with your supervisors and managers in the company where you are doing your internship to learn as much as you can about the task at hand.

It’s a good way to learn about the industry, its challenges, and its opportunities. Learn more about the company, its markets, its vision etc. While this may be a part of your assignment anyway, it helps to get a perspective.

Read, read, and read Today a whole lot of information is literally available at your finger tips. Industry wise reports are available focusing on the growth, challenges, and opportunities therein.

Today, many business magazines, journals are dedicated to specific industry and give great insight into its working along with a host of other information. Read interviews of leaders who have made a significant place for themselves in that industry or role.

All this will help you get a perspective and make an informed choice. Many times students fall prey to the bubble created around a ‘sunrise’ industry or an industry with very attractive job prospects. For instance, take a student who took up Systems in the final year as the previous year’s trend was that most students in the Systems division got picked up in excellent IT companies. However, this particular student did not have an engineering background and could not land a job at the end of the second year.

Warning! Never imitate the choices made by your peers. Remember every individual is unique. What works for them may not work for you.

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