Some techies find time to study while working
Some techies are a class apart, it seems. In between balancing their (often hectic) work schedules and their personal lives, they also find the time to study! There are quite a large number of techies who have enrolled for higher education courses, either through correspondence or by attending morning/evening classes on campuses across the city, all while working full-time in various companies in Technopark.
Sudhish Radhakrishnan, who works in corporate communications for a multinational company (MNC) in Technopark, is studying for a law degree at the Kerala Law Academy Law College in the city. Says Sudhish: “It takes a lot of effort, energy and more importantly, commitment and passion to study something completely different when you are working full-time.” He attends evening classes at the Academy, often going for it straight from work. Meanwhile, techie Ram Shekar (named changed on request) studies journalism at the Press Club Institute of Journalism, juggling his work schedule at an MNC, to attend class. “I have flexible work timings, so it’s easy for me to attend morning class at the institute,” says Ram.
Both the techies say that they are enjoying their second stint at college life. Says Sudhish: “I’ve always wanted to study law, even when I was an undergraduate student at St. Paul’s College, Kalamassery, where I was secretary of the Arts Club; my interest in law was piqued by the fabled campus culture of the Ernakulam Law College. At the Academy, I attend class with a bunch of people, from all walks of life, ages ranging from 23 to 68 – that’s three generations in one class, which makes campus life and discussions fun, varied and interesting. The best thing about attending class is that your academic life tends to be structured and systematic, which motivates and makes it easier for you to go with the flow and eventually complete the course.”
Ram too “gets a kick out of being a student once again”. The youngster, who hails from Rajapalayam in Tamil Nadu, says: “When I was studying for my undergraduate degree, I didn’t have the luxury to indulge in my love for writing in Tamil. Now I finally have the opportunity and also the wherewithal to study something that I enjoy and I am making the most of it. It is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.” While Sudhish hopes to use his law degree to make a move into corporate law, Ram, eventually, hopes to quit the tech world and make a career in journalism.
Sudhish and Ram, though, are exceptions rather than the rule, when it comes to their choice of subjects for higher study. Most of their fellow techies seem to prefer business and management degrees.
Ranjith Kumar, an accounts manager with UST Global and who hails from Chennai, says: “The nature of my job requires me to be familiar with strategic management and international business management. Hence I signed up for a management degree.” Techie Sojo P. Devaraj, who works at IBS, has enrolled for an MBA from Sikkim Manipal University, via distance education. “If you want to climb up the corporate ladder, especially into the management side, an undergraduate degree can only take you so far. Ultimately, it’s a matter of ‘self-upgrade,’” says Sojo, who is in his second and final year of study. Every weekend this Kottayam-native goes for classes at the University’s centre in Changanassery. “Its tough, but I get lots of support from the company, which gives me six days off a year just to sit for examinations. The others six to 12 days required for exams, I am able to adjust with my casual leave,” says Sojo.
In fact, most companies seem to encourage such efforts. Gulshan David, director, sales and marketing, Toonz Animation, for instance, has been given permission by the company to take necessary leave (every third Friday and a week every three months) to attend the executive MBA class at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.
Then again, some of the big firms even have their own in-house management programmes and often offer financial assistance (fully or partly) for post-graduate degrees, in association with major universities.
IBS, for example, has a ‘Young Leaders Development Programme’, an in-house programme, where a select group of employees (currently numbering around 100), are groomed on ‘time-table based training session’ and periodically tested on their progress. UST Global, meanwhile, has the ‘UST MBA Program’, a fully online and free of cost education programme customised for its employees, powered by Max Value Univ, and in partnership with the Bharathiar University. “We received more than 1,000 applications when we started in 2011, out of which there were seats only for 500 employees. The programme is part of our employee retention and employee engagement strategy. It’s an opportunity for our employees to grow, after all MBA is an aspirational degree more than anything. In fact, it has helped slow down our attrition percentage, and it has become so popular that we have introduced MCA too this year,” says Ajit Kumar, senior director, human resources, who spearheads the programme.