How fresh commerce graduates can make pragmatic career plans


There are a variety of B.Com courses now available in India. Many of these courses also have some portions of further courses embedded in the syllabus itself. In some cases, the students are able to pursue a good career based on their experience. However, there are thousands who literally get stuck in their careers. This article is an attempt to offer some good career guidance for such commerce graduates.

Introduction

What is the difference between two undergraduate students who study in two different colleges in Chennai or New Delhi, and another who studies, in say, a remote town in Kerala or Tamil Nadu? While metro city students are very much aware of what is going on around them and also rub shoulders with many professionals in the same field, the lack of exposure of the semi-urban graduate limits his or her worldview and does not take him or her to a bigger level of achievement. The parents are sometimes farmers who sort of reconcile to the fact that their sons or daughters are employed in non-teaching accountancy positions in local schools or colleges, small-scale industries, or even trading companies, and there is no further achievement at all.

This has to change. This should change. It is quite possible to learn from other successful experiences. Based on my rich experience of interacting with highly successful fund managers, chartered accounts, cost accountants, company secretaries, and finance professionals mostly based in the metro cities and abroad, it becomes obvious that if commerce graduates follow some basic steps, they can also be very successful, irrespective of where they come from.

Highly fruitful careers can result from a) Constantly looking for value-adding practical experience b) Compulsorily acquiring higher qualifications c) Migrating to the big metro cities for experience and exposure d) Going abroad for global exposure and e) Changing track after 45 years of age.

Constantly look for value-adding practical experience

Thousands of fresh commerce graduates have moved out of South India and have really made it so good in Mumbai, the commercial capital of India, where the demand for experienced financial professionals is the highest in India.

An example of a successful commerce graduate is an individual who as a young man, armed with just a commerce degree from a small town near Tanjore in Tamil Nadu, migrated to Mumbai. He learned the art of trading in the stock market by joining a small company. In those days, there was no computerized trading as of now. He went from strength to strength. He got a good job with a good Mutual Fund, then started by a leading Public Sector Bank. He switched gears and today he heads a prestigious Mutual Fund, that is part of a huge Indian conglomerate as its CEO. Now in his fifties, this professional is recognized as a Guru of sorts in the Indian Stock Market and the world of Mutual Funds.

Such is the growth for finance professionals in Mutual Funds. The professional also acquired a Post-graduate Diploma in Financial Management on a part-time basis from the University of Mumbai but has always added value to his resume, by taking on many challenges.

In the manufacturing sector, one needs to graduate from accounting to Finance. Most starting experiences are always in accounting. Even here, one must deal with suppliers and customers. And be familiar with working capital management and every other single piece of experience in a manufacturing organization. One should take on additional responsibilities even when no one asks him or her to. This will obviously get noticed and the promotions will automatically come, particularly when the improvement of operational efficiencies results in profits, and when several cost-cutting measures are put in place. In reality, finance professionals are very close to the Management, even when they cross swords with the production professionals, who are often asked to manage with minimum input costs in terms of raw material usage and they need to reduce rejection of the final product before leaving the factory. This learning process should be complete.

Acquiring higher qualifications

A mere B.Com degree is just not enough. One needs to become a Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India New Delhi.

The Commerce graduates can also acquire the highly rated Master's Degree in Finance and Control from the University of Delhi. There is another route to a good career. The commerce graduate can also take up the Company Secretary from the Institute of Company Secretaries of India. Of course, commerce graduates can also become cost accountants from the Institute of Cost Accountants of India

It should also be noted that there are facilities to do the CIMA course, right here in India, and there are many colleges that offer coaching for the CIMA examination. In the USA, one needs to pass the CPA examination, as the Indian ACA is not recognized in that country. All this and other such information should be known to each Commerce graduate. It is also possible to pass an entrance examination and simultaneously do the graduation and the courses like CIMA or even ACS or the AICWA in India. Of course, the student will be advised to take up the course in prestigious Universities like the Christ University Bangalore or the Loyola College Chennai.

Of course, it is difficult to pass the tough entrance examination for admission to these colleges, but one should always be competitive. A superb course like the Master's Degree in Finance and Control from the University of Delhi is considered to be excellent, leading to highly fruitful careers.

Migrating to metro cities for experience and exposure

The example of the Finance Professional given above has been given for inspiration. It is quite possible to have work exposure and one's career is bound to improve. This is not possible, for example, in a remote cement factory or a sugar factory, or even a paper factory. Of course, when one is 55 years of age with 30-plus years of experience, one can always join such companies for high-quality contributions to organizational goals.

Going abroad for global exposure

Those who have migrated to the Gulf or to advanced countries like Canada with the CPA qualification have done exceedingly well for themselves. Global exposure in a muti-unit, multi-product environment, particularly in the Corporate Finance Function, where vital decisions taken on investment, diversification, and so on, are taken, will add tremendous value to the professional.

Changing track after 45 years of age

After 23 years across many responsibilities in three different organizations, one of which was an IT company, a 46 years old finance professional took a plunge. He went abroad to the USA to acquire a professional qualification in Portfolio Management and had for several years dabbled in the stock market as an investor. His own relatives were Fund Managers with three prestigious Mutual Funds in Mumbai. He left behind his well-settled family in Chennai and first moved to Mumbai in a fairly senior position. He worked his way up and is today a leading Fund Manager.

When he looks back, he has made a full circle, across many responsibilities. He is a qualified ACA but has also acquired the ACS and the ICWA qualifications. This is exactly what I mean by changing track. Today's world is not the same. Mergers and acquisitions, acquiring core competencies, and so on, are intimately linked to financial decisions and it is essential that Finance Professionals are ready for such dynamic changes. When these things happen, there is bound to be a massive change in the careers of ambitious professionals.

Conclusion

Nothing is going to remain the same in Corporate India. The 50+ professionals with years of work experience across all domains of finance and accounting will always be in demand. Hopefully, the above career guidance will add value to commerce graduates, irrespective of where they study for their degree.


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Comments

Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao26 Dec 2022 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 6

The steps suggested by the author are helpful to all and not alone to finance professionals. Young people graduating from colleges in semi-urban areas are unaware of the various opportunities available to them. They depend more on the advice of their teachers whose exposure also will not be that dynamic. So they suffer a lot. In fact, they should decide on their career path even before completing their graduation and accordingly, they should take a decision whether to go for higher education immediately or to attain some experience by working somewhere.

I have seen many people going for higher qualifications just for obtaining an additional qualification but they never think about the value added to them by doing so. I have seen many commerce graduates completing their MBA from a local B-grade college which is of no value. Instead, they should have gone for a job and then acquired a higher qualification through online mode from reputed institutions. These young people should think of acquiring new skills that are useful for them to prosper well in their careers. Instead of going for MBA or M Com, they should do some certification courses related to software programs that are useful for their accounting and financial practices.



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