Upgrade your skills during academic breaks

I am pursuing B.Com (Hons). I am planning to pursue MBA in the next academic year, which will commence in the month of September. I request you to kindly suggest a few courses that I could take up meanwhile.

Jyothi Gupta

Good that you want to make constructive use of this time. There are several skills that help managers succeed and grow fast in their careers. These skills are not taught or taken up intensively in MBA curriculum. So, you can use this time to learn them, which will be helpful for your MBA and also work life.

Firstly, decide on the specialisation you want to opt for in MBA. This will help you to choose the right course that will complement your mainstream academics and cover your shortfalls.

You can opt for a short-term course and finish it before your MBA classes begin or take up a distance mode or part-time course and pursue it along with MBA. Some of your options are:

Basic computer courses: Any specialisation you opt for at MBA, you have to participate in seminars and give presentations as part of your curriculum. So, you can take up a basic level course in computers that will help you make better presentations. Also you should be able to be good at MS Word and Excel. Managers need to prepare documents and Excel sheets frequently regarding budgets, sales figures, quotations and statistics.

You can approach institutes like NIIT ( > that offer this kind of short-term courses.

Special packages: If you are planning to opt for Finance as specialisation, you may be interested in learning accounting packages like Focus, Tally, Wings or finance module of SAP. Similarly, for HR specialisation, you may opt for SAP HRM.

Communication skills: Communication skills is one area where most of the students today are not up to the mark. It is a decisive factor in job interviews and indispensable to progress in your career. It takes some time to gain expertise in this skill. So if you are not quite confident, you better take up the course now and start practising.

There are several institutes offering training in communication skills in almost every city. These institutes offer Advanced English Speaking Course that covers Grammar, Fluency, Public Speaking, GDs, Presentations, Attitude Development, Business English, Vocabulary, Interview Training and Email Drafting. Soft skills: Soft skills are a vast domain that includes interpersonal skills; team building skills, behaviour, social grace and business etiquette. Good soft skills accelerate the person’s professional growth.

BK One, at its institutes spread across the country offers training in several areas like Customer Service, Cross Cultural and Diversity, Global Business Etiquette, Personality development, Customer Relationship Management, Behaviour and Marketing and Sales Training. For details, log on to >

Foreign languages: Learning a foreign language is especially useful if your specialisation is international business. Some courses you can opt for are:

University of Madras, Institute of Distance Education, Chennai offers diploma and certificate programmes in French and German. For details, log on to >

Some more courses: BSE and NSE offer courses related to financial markets. These additional qualifications would be helpful when seeking a job in stock broking companies. For details, log on to > and >

ICFAI offers Chartered Financial Analysts programme. For details, log on to >

If you are opting for MBA in IT or IS, you can take up IT related courses. Going for international certification programmes offered by Cisco or Microsoft is also helpful. A diploma in training management or a course related to labour laws can add value to a MBA HR student’s resume.

T. Muralidharan

TMI Network

(Queries for this column can be sent to >

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