DEEPA KURUP

The Hindu career guidance programme shows the way forward for students

Ever heard of a shy and reticent young boy who kept to himself and barely spoke through his childhood, but later went on to win two Nobel Prizes in Physics, not to mention create a social revolution with his invention? John Bardeen, who co-invented the transistor in 1947, developed into a giant of science by “inventing a product that is at the crux of your computer and IT revolution and modern life,” said C.N.R. Rao, scientist and Linus Pauling Research Professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research. He was delivering the keynote address at “Looking Ahead,” the annual career guidance programme conducted by The Hindu EducationPlus on Saturday.

“Such are the possibilities of taking up a career in pure sciences. If you do the right things, you can do work that will make the world stand up and take note of you,” said Prof. Rao, exhorting young students to take up basic sciences. As sweepingly dismissive as he is about the business-oriented careers, Prof. Raosays that investment in scientific education and research has almost tripled. “So, there is no shortage of money, the shortage is going to be of talent, because the value system here has changed.” He presents facts before his young audience that are both dismal and alarming: less than one per cent of the global scientific research, which is a true indicator of overall development, comes from India.

Exciting career

An old Bangalorean, the professor expresses anxiety over the fact that very few of the students who do opt for pure sciences and research are from Karnataka. “What is preventing bright young minds from taking up such an exciting career? Please use your ability, and disagree with those who dissuade you and tell you it is not profitable.” Remembering naturalist Charles Darwin, whose 200th birth anniversary year is being celebrated, and scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose, who in Prof. Rao’s words was cheated out of his right to go down in history as being the first Indian to win a Nobel Prize, he tried to make out a strong case for pure sciences.

While Prof. Rao spoke with passion and eloquence about a career in pure sciences, brand expert Harish Bijoor put forth a case for a marketing career, which was “recession-proof.” He entertained students with anecdotes and examples from daily life. “Every Indian is touched by 47 brands in a day, while in the U.S. you are touched by 157. So, marketing is a horizontal — it is found in every vertical of business across sectors.” The prognosis is that, Mr. Bijoor claimed, 4.2 million jobs will be available in the marketing sector over the next five years.

This inspiring lecture was followed by an interactive session with S.G. Hegde, Executive Director of the Karnataka Examinations Authority, and S. Kumar, COMED-K Executive Secretary. Students, not to mention their anxious parents, flooded officials with their queries ranging from admission process to quality control in private colleges.

Mr. Hegde explained various modalities about the casual vacancy round, and also briefed the audience on the newly-introduced concept of parallel counselling in three cities. Mr. Kumar spoke about professional education in general, and about various career options and their scope in medicine-related professions.

Clear idea

Bindu Chopra, Regional Director of The Chopras, spoke on foreign education and funding followed. Her presentation, across sectors and locations, provided students with a clear idea of how the foreign education system works, what exams to take and what kind of funding is available. “If you intend to pursue a PG degree abroad, make sure your bachelor’s is broad-based. There are plenty of scholarships available, particularly in pure sciences and engineering, for those who are willing to perform,” Ms. Chopra said.

CEO and co-founder of MeritTrac Madan Padaki held his audience captive with his lecture on “The Relevance of Soft Skills from an Industry Perspective.” “Spend time over the next four years with people in different sectors. Ask them about their jobs, and what their day is like — small acts like this will help increase your perspective.”

Students went back with useful pointers and tips on how to equip themselves with this much-desired skill-set over their college years.

Good response

The event met with tremendous response from students, parents and teachers from across Bangalore. The venue, Xavier Hall at St. Joseph’s College, was packed with students on the threshold of their professional studies.

The three-hour event, the first of a five-city tour across Karnataka, took students through various career options available for them, be it a “highly rewarding career in the pure sciences” or the less academic yet lucrative one in marketing. The event opened with the release of The Hindu EducationPlus’s annual career guide “Looking Ahead” by Prof. C.N.R Rao in the presence of all speakers.

The spirit of the programme was best captured in a question posed by a pre-university student. Standing up to voice her dilemma, she said: “You say that we should make our own decisions regarding our career, but how can I decide when I am as confused as my parents?”

The Hindu EducationPlus team hopes that this lecture series opens a few more windows for you, at least offers a clearer and in-depth picture of the various options that lie before you.

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The career guidance programme organised by The Hindu EducationPlus continues at the following dates/venues:

May 26: Udupi: Ravindra Mantapa, M.G.M. College campus; May 28: Hubli: Bio-tech auditorium, BVB College of Engineering; May 29: Gulbarga: Doddappa Appa Auditorium, S.B. College.

To register, send an e-mail to th.educationplus @gmail.com