Sruthi Krishnan

5,000 students benefited from The Hindu Education Plus Career Fair

CHENNAI: “I have finished my XII standard and I am confused what to do next…” Seeking help to make that critical choice, more than 5,000 students attended the fifth edition of The Hindu Education Plus Career Fair 2009 held here on Saturday and Sunday.

Organised jointly with the University of Madras and sponsored by the Indian Bank, the fair gave students an opportunity to interact with experts from a wide range of fields, from information technology to film making.

Addressing the pre-counselling seminar on Saturday, P.V. Navaneethakrishnan, former director, entrance examinations and admissions, Anna University, spoke to students on how to choose between various options in the ever-increasing array of engineering courses, and provided practical tips on how to prepare for the engineering counselling.

Providing insights into medical education were S. Pappathi and Chitra Srinivasan, nodal officers from the selection committee, Directorate of Medical Education. They listed out various courses students could consider in medicine and allied disciplines, and provided a snapshot of the number of seats available in the State.

After outlining the current landscape of professional courses, it was time to get down to the details with Jayaprakash Gandhi, an education consultant. Mr. Gandhi sliced and diced each course, analysing employment opportunities and future potential. After sharing his analysis of what the cut-offs for this year were likely to be, Mr. Gandhi was bombarded with queries that had two data points – percentage in XII and desired course – to which he responded with his take on their chances.

“Any career you take, do not think of it as a 20-20 match,” was the message given by representatives from the IT industry who participated in IT-edge, a panel discussion for those interested in the field of Information Technology. K. Ganesan, vice-president (Human Resources), Tata Consultancy Services; Sriram Rajagopal, assistant vice-president (Human Resources), Cognizant; and Suresh Sambandam, founder and CEO, Orangescape, gave students an insider’s perspective on the industry.

Dispelling common notions such as “academics did not matter in IT” and “only engineers could get a job in IT,” panellists explained to students what the work culture in the industry was all about, and if they chose it as a career, how they could prepare themselves.

K.P. Raghavan, executive vice-president and head, Divisional Corporate Centre, L&T ECC Division; and a two-member team from Renault Nissan Technology and Business Centre, Nissan Operations, led by Grahame Conforth, senior vice-president & director spoke to students broadly about core engineering options, specifically civil and automotive engineering streams.

Sunday saw entrepreneur and politician Sarath Babu, founder and CEO of Foodking, combining inspiration and practical advice together as he traced his continuing journey of creating “a hunger-free India”.

He urged students to dream big and work towards it with unwavering focus. Mr.Babu’s talk was part of “Board the Board,” a seminar on Management studies sponsored by Park Global School of Business Excellence.

L.S. Ganesh, professor, department of management studies, IIT-M, asked students to “analyse the content and structures of various careers.”

The critical questions students needed to ask while choosing a course was “will this education give me a foundation for a career 30 years ahead,” he said, advising students to go by what they wanted to do, their strengths and their perception of a fulfilling life.

To help students figure out their personality types, which could help them make the right career choice, Bodhi, administered a psychometric test, which around 500 students took.

In the Off-beat seminar, sponsored by AMET University, T.M.Veeraraghavan, senior editor, CNN IBN, asked students to consider options in newsrooms such as camera work, editing and production.

These positions in the backroom were sidelined because the spotlight continued to remain firmly on the news anchors, he said.

For students who preferred a career that provided holidays that stretched into months, Captain S. Bhardwaj, vice-chancellor, AMET University, suggested marine engineering as a possible option.

The final talk was by K. Hariharan, director, L.V. Prasad Film and TV academy, who spoke on film making for those interesting in making a career out of narrating stories.