IntroductionGiven the complexities of modern life, choosing the correct career is an extremely big challenge. Furthermore, choosing the right college and the course to study is the second most important challenge. Each of these challenges will involve a) Having an accurate idea of one's latent potential b) Exploring real interest in latent potential c) Exploring the global ecosystem to identify institutions and d) Having a wide arena to pursue one's career.
Having an accurate idea of one's latent potentialPicture this situation. As one who has passed the plus two examinations with over 98% marks in the core subjects, you could easily get a seat in a good engineering college in Bangalore itself. But your heart is in English literature. You tell your parents and plead with them. They reluctantly agree that you can go in for a career in English literature.
Excellent. Where exactly do you study? You can consider the best colleges in the country. Names such as the loyola college chennai would obviously be on top of your mind. The other choices are christ university or the madra christian college chennai. You just do not have an option. If you need to go out of Bangalore, so be it. Now comes the even tougher part. You need to do a Master's Degree and also the doctorate to become a teacher. Of course, you could also simultaneously do a distance education course in journalism and then also take up a career as a journalist. In fact, even a couple of years of experience in journalism will enable you to even become a columnist in some good English newspaper. However, you need to compulsorily study right up to the doctorate level and not stop with the PG qualification. With just the postgraduate qualification, you would land nowhere. This is one "given". Similarly, one needs to find out the ultimate in terms of what he or she should study for a good career. Obviously, the latent potential needs to be milked.
Exploring real interest in latent potentialTake the aforesaid example. Imagine for a moment that you are not at all interested in journalism. Fine. In that case, if your family can support you to some extent, take off to the UK or USA to even do a good doctorate in English literature or some advanced course in teaching English. If you are good, many job offers will open up and you can get placed anywhere in India if you choose to be back in India. Of course, you are likely to be placed in either of the foreign countries as well. Remember, English is a truly global language. There are reports that those who are very good in English, with a doctorate and also some diploma level qualifications in the German language, are very much sought after in Germany. Reason? The Germans are keen to learn English now.
Similarly, just take this example. Your uncle is already into exports of garments and he has established a good business. If you wish to join him, you need a good degree in Foreign Trade or Export Management from an institution of repute.
However, you need to note that this real interest within a given domain or specialization is person-specific. For instance, those who specialize in Computer science need to upgrade their skills in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Of course, they can still continue to be experts in one domain, for example, banking services. It all depends on the person. However, upgrading of skill-sets is no more a choice. It is imperative. You can choose any profession, but this is a must.
Exploring the global ecosystem to identify institutionsThere is so much information now available on tap. However, there are specifics that will not come to your knowledge only through the internet. Let us take one example. If you are preparing for the CAT examination, even a single phone call to one institute will mean that you will be continuously chased until you sign up. There is a terrific competition. However, you can ask for proof. Just wait near the specific institute and quiz someone who comes to study there. Direct interaction with students can help. Ask the institute the mobile numbers of students who were successful in getting an admission into the IIMs. If they are reluctant to give you details, you can jolly well assume that the college is not good enough.
Now come to the specifics. In the best of global Universities, particularly in the USA and Canada, you have quite a few that really stand out. You need to get accurate details and it is quite possible to find this out through friends and relatives settled in that particular country. If you do not have such friends and relatives, you can jolly well go on exploring information through the internet and then talk to knowledgeable professors. There are too many good courses in India and thereafter you can go abroad. For example, in Entrepreneurship Management, there is a very good institute called entrepreneurship institute of India at Ahmedabad. This offers many courses. After doing a good Post-Graduate course, you can look for advanced courses that include the doctorate from a good US Unversity. This will help you to simply go ahead in your career. You can also talk to knowledgeable teachers.
Similarly, if you can keep talking to career counselors at the local University and they do offer their services for free. Even within India, never sign up with an institution that goes on advertising its courses more than necessary. Such an institution may be hiding several facts. It may the case of all noise but no substance. You always need to be very careful and it is wise to start this exercise at least one year in advance. For example, if you are into engineering, the summer vacation after the third year will be the ideal time to explore all the global options for further studies.
However, please do note that in this journey, the more you know, the more you do not know. It is always advisable to have a good circle of friends and well-placed relatives. If you have any relative who works in a very senior position in the Indian Corporate Sector but has often gone abroad, go to such a person and ask him to help. There are chances that he will have first-hand information. You need to gather the best information and then you can easily make the next move.
Having a wide arena to pursue one's careerGet his fact right. For example, you are from a branded institute, with a PGDM in your belt. You had studied in New Delhi. You were to join the company, but the employer has put the appointment on hold. Your specialization is marketing. In the post-COVID scenario, supply chain management will be crucial. You just cannot sit idle and choose any job. Jump into the best possible opportunity in supply chain management and do not bargain on salary. You cannot choose jobs for the next 24 months. Stick to any job in a good company and then wait for a job in core marketing in the FMCG sector, for instance.
Similarly, if you are into finance, you need to compulsorily have exposure to corporate finance. This is where the strategies are made. You just cannot afford to stay put with just plant accounting and finance. You just cannot be complacent in a particular comfort zone. The days of such specialization are all but over today. The Corporate World tends to recognize only those with multiple skillsets and this is becoming an order of the day. One needs to understand the entire ecosystem of jobs in a particular specialization and then do the gearing up.
ConclusionBased on my own association with a number of different people in many specializations, I have discussed the finer details of what course to study and where to study and how to going about knowing what is the best. The discussion is indicative and not exhaustive. The scope for gathering facts is now wider than ever before.