What after HIGH SCHOOL ??

   life_after_highschool           On Crossroads ??        

                                               Well… we all face a time in our lives when we ask ourselves the question: what next? One such a time and I think the very first time would be when we finish our Higher Education. As a typical child goes through school, he or she is only focused on the task at hand which is getting good grades or doing well in sports. And while primary education has its good and bad points, the worst flaw by far that I think it has is the fact that it doesn’t prepare you for what comes next. This leaves kids feeling confused and often times completely clue less about what they want to pursue in college. All they know is that it is absolutely essential that they go to college but what they’re going to do there and how they’re going to do it comes as a complete loss to them.

When I say how they’re going to do it I literally mean ‘’how are they possibly going to do it’’ because frankly speaking ‘’it ain’t easy’’ and I don’t see it becoming easy anytime soon because the school isn’t helping out, in the end the students suffer. The college application process can be long and arduous, while students can find what they want to study with a bit of soul searching, no one is going to help them get to the actual place where they can pursue their interest. If a student decides to go to college for such and such reason that may be the easiest part as the journey is harder than the decision. Once you find out what you want to do, the next big question is how you’re going to do or achieve it ? and that brings in many more problems for you to overcome, there are a few steps you could follow to make that whole process easier:

FACT  1)    Get Professional Guidance : Its your Career!

The moment you decide on studying abroad, you seek help from your friends/ seniors and Family friends. Then your family friend who’s son’s classmates uncle’s brother’s cousin went to US! Uff…! But this is not how you plan out on your CAREER! Some things need to be left to Professionals, they have experience in the field sending 1000’s of students & your friends/ seniors / family friends lack this.  It is no harm to take guidance, after all it’s the matter of your Career!  In fact you have to do it at some point so why not now ? and ask them for their guidance even if ,it comes at a cost, the money is well spent as they take help you along every step of the process and ensure you reach, your dreams career.

Think  2)    Do not be afraid : Stay clam & Think straight!

Fear and anxiety is one of the main reasons that students these days hesitate while doing something difficult, but important. They get depressed about their future and how to go about it & don’t know whom to approach. When students get anxious about themselves and their future they may feel themselves inadequate to take on the world and this may tend to lead to procrastination while doing something important. So realize that you are taking the next big step on the road down your career path and just act, do not think.

 Time  3)   Act Fast : Time is a crucial factor in Application Process.

When you apply for your higher studies especially when your destination is the U.S. the best thing to do is to apply early as this can increase your chances of getting a good amount of scholarship (sometime upto 100 % scholarship) and helps make the application process smoother and  much more easy. In addition to this, you can get done with the application process; students usually apply to Universities during their senior year of high school, so if they do not apply fast they will be wasting valuable time which could be used studying for their final exams, Universities hold the marks students get in these exams in high regard.

College-Scholarships  4)    Start early : Get Scholarships & Acceptance

‘Early bird catches the worm’– Means Success comes to those who prepare before hand & put in effort, but I say – Scholarships & Acceptance comes to students who prepare well in time and work Smart. Now, if you are one of those straight A students who ace every class and have some big names in mind like UC Berkeley, UC Davis / UC LA / Princton/ Virginia Tech or Yale while considering their higher education then it is best to start applying early preferably the 11th Grade. Even if you aren’t such a student you can spend 11th grade preparing for college admission tests like the SAT I or SAT II ( Subject SAT if required for your Course) because they count a lot when Universities look at your application file.

These are just some of the steps you can start off with when you consider higher education, there may be some others which your Career Counsellor will take care of but the point is, that you should do everything possible to make application process easier, especially when you plan to study abroad. Just keep in mind that you aren’t going to university just to get through it, you’re going there to learn and grow, be smart as an individual. So when you think of universities don’t think of it as a hurdle, soon to be over, think of it as an experience to will have, friends to be made, and knowledge to be gained.

See you soon…

FACT  😉

Advertisements

Surviving the 21st century, a professional’s survival guide (Part -3)

Read Part 1                    Read Part 2

“If you enjoy what you do, you won’t have to work for single day in your life”

Picking up where we left off in the last installment, we get into the nitty-gritties of a “happily ever after career”. So once you have decided your discipline of interest, it is imperative that you stick to it come what may. Unfortunately this is easier said than done, so often times – caught in the avalanche of “well meant and practical advice” from one’s well wishers, and that of “the frequent gold rushes” that grip the certain industry sectors from time to time – you are bound to be plagued by doubts – especially when you see your contemporaries pursuing domains of expertise that seems to be financially more lucrative and guaranteed to take them on a fast track to “success”. Whenever you are confronted with such advice or self doubt, remind yourself that a choice of career is a decision that is going to stay with you forever; and therefore its returns quotient should be never just be judged on a singular short term financial parameter – but on a number of other intangible parameters, like job satisfaction, your passion for the domain, and most importantly if it is something you would be able to bring yourself to do for the next 40 odd years of your life. An acid test for such a situation is “the billionaire test”. If you were a billionaire and did not have to work for a living for as long as you lived, which is the profession you would have chosen to pursue, would you rather be a “shark slayer” a “video game reviewer” or “a chef”. “Remember there is more success to be had by being the best in a mediocre field – rather than be mediocre in the best field.”

 

 

Now that you have zeroed in on your area of interest it is important to create a roadmap for achieving that goal, the crucial element of which will – of course – be the education and training you need to pursue. The term quality of education offered by an entity is often misunderstood, it is of course true that infrastructural accompaniments contribute to the quality of education, but if one were to pick a single most important factor that is critical in determining the quality of education it would be the overall academic environment that is on offer, i.e. whether  the academic institution in question encourages a culture that is steeped in a relentless pursuit of excellence and knowledge – or is it purely an entity that is solely dedicated to following a checklist of a prescribed syllabi.

 

 

To understand the implications of the above statement let us ask ourselves – why is it that – when all colleges virtually teach the same principles of engineering, some are more sought after than others? The obvious answer from a casual observer’s perspective would be “better job opportunities after completing college” but then why do industries prefer recruiting from some universities / colleges rather than others – even though they teach the same subjects and books? Again the obvious answer is; it is because they expect a higher “return on their investment” on recruits from those specific entities. In other words the industry perceives candidates from these educational entities to be genuinely passionate and involved in their chosen discipline, therefore – more attuned to prevalent industry needs, trends and norms, and consequently – more likely to come up with new ideas and concepts that will prove profitable for their organization.

 

 

Thus it follows an ideal educational institution should strive to create an overall environment that encourages or in fact demands – genuine passion, a continuous exchange of ideas, a research oriented, knowledge seeking mindset among its students, while pursuing active ties and collaboration with respective industry segments.

So for those of you who are in still in the “good job” and “good money” frame of mind – this is how the equation goes, the less importance you give to the monetary criterion while making a decision pertaining to your career, the better chances of you making more of it.

 

 

Unfortunately though the above may seem an obviously logical process – a lot of educational systems (not just institutes) get it wrong. That is why choosing the right system of education is sometimes as important as choosing the right institute and the right career.

 

 

To illustrate the above point better, let me site a somewhat extreme example, if you were an automotive design engineer would you look for a career in New Zealand? In all fairness if you were not too particular about the type of “job” you did – it may make sense, but otherwise it is commonsensical logic – that it would be futile for an automotive design engineer to seek a career in a country which has does not boast of a single car brand. Yet, in a mad zeal for a good “job”, numerous students make such illogical decisions pertaining to their career with alarming frequency- and unfortunately end up making compromises with their original career aspirations.

 

 

Concluding Part-4  coming soon

Surviving the 21st century, a professional’s survival guide (Part -2)

(Read Part-1) 

During my eventful career as a business consultant and a career consultant, I have lived through a few more recessions and global economic shakedowns than I would care for. The one fact that was reinforced with unfailing regularity during these tough times was that – the ones who survived – and in fact sometimes flourished – were those who took a real passion in their professions, in other words, loved what they did – and was not just in it for the money. Though this might sound something out of a corporate motivational lecture, it is a fundamental truth of life that generates excellent practical real-world monetary dividends.

To elaborate on the above – when money is the sole motivator for choosing a career the end result is usually mediocrity, the mass of “casualties” that are the inevitable fallout of any major global shake-downs or economic meltdown are these “professionals “ in the wrong field, i.e. who jumped in on the bandwagon in search of a quick buck, basing their choice of careers solely on market trends.

Such a class of professionals usually provides grist to the mill of mediocrity, they have their uses when the economy – or any specific industry – is on the upswing, this is when organizations tend to be flexible with KPIs like productivity and profitability because the top-line looks so good and the future looks rosy. However they are the first casualties when things take turn for the worse. They were the casualties of the “dot com bust”, “the economic meltdowns” or other gazillion other debacles that the world of business and commerce has seen.   In other words they stop being RELEVANT.

Any career or education consultant will vouch for the fact that two questions they are asked most often are – “what is the job opportunity in this field” or worse “which field has better job opportunities”. These are possibly the single biggest career-destroying questions one can ask. To start with, one needs understand the clear distinction between the concepts of a job vs. that of a career, to put it succinctly a job is a temporary state of affairs – you may be in a job for 3 months or 30 years, but a career is something that defines your overall personal brand as a professional. To illustrate the point better consider the two following statements as the opening phrase of your CV and choose which you would like to be the statement that defines you.

“An electronics engineer with 5+ years of experience……”  

“An assistant manager with ‘xyz’ organization since 2002…..”

If you chose the second option, we wish you all the best and you can stop reading here.

If you chose the first option congratulations! You are already on the path of a successful career and your “relevance quotient” just went up a notch.

Now that we have established what you want your “brand identity” to be, the subsequent steps obviously are planning towards the goal and execution.

Planning: Ideally this stage should start from high school however, it is never too late. One of the most effective methods for narrowing down ones areas of interest, is to run, what I call the “boredom” test, i.e. if you did not feel like –or were bored of – studying during a particular study session; which is the subject or the book you would reach for to make the best of a bad situation? Look back and you will have your answer about your ideal choice of career.

Continued in Part 3….

Surviving the 21st century, a professional’s survival guide (Part -1)

“The more things change… the more they remain the same”

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

The essence of success or even survival as a specie or as an individual has been –and will be – staying relevant in the bigger scheme of things – the human race being no exception, our tools and methods of ensuring survival may have become more sophisticated over the years but their primary objective remain the same. Of course our stated objectives are oft coated with a veneer of civility like say “making a difference” or “creating value” for the society, but stripped of all its niceties all these terms are euphemism for the basic survivalist instinct of staying relevant. It is for this reason capitalism has – and probably will – remain the essentially organic all encompassing philosophy that transcends all geo-political and socio economic barriers.

In all possibility even Bertrand Russell had no idea how right he was when he said “knowledge is power”. If there is a single golden rule for staying relevant in today’s world it is to stay with if not ahead of the knowledge curve – a task that is becoming increasingly challenging given the exponential rate of change the world has seen almost on all fronts. By obvious extrapolation it follows that the quality of education one obtains is becoming an issue of ever increasing importance.

In a world of changing success paradigms, the definition of a “quality education” has also metamorphosed into something with more “survivalist” connotations. Academics, researchers and professionals can no longer be insulated in their glass houses from the hitherto murky world of real world business diktats; neither can degrees continue to be a piece of paper that gives them a starting advantage over their contemporaries. Fresh graduates no longer have the luxury of a “honeymoon” period. In this day and age the business world demands market ready professionals who can hit the ground running and start delivering from day one. Among the lucky who survive the challenge of course is to stay relevant.

Positions, jobs or even departments are constantly being rendered redundant and to paraphrase Charles Dickens “these may be the best of times, but not certainly the worst of times”. The obvious solution is to stay mobile. Mobility has become the buzzword crucial to the survival as a professional in today’s world, mobility that is not just guaranteed by ones nationality – but by ones competencies and perceived contributions to the global business model as a professional.

Depending on one’s perspective (east or west) one of the biggest flip sides to the story of globalization – albeit unintended – has been the free flow of high end trained labor across markets, whereas this has brought many of the former economic powerhouses to their knees – as their pampered denizens fight for their “overpriced and underworked” way of life – it is no secret that it has opened up a whole new vista of opportunities for a select sector of trained manpower within the “third world countries” – with somewhat mercenary ethics.

But as with everything there is a dark lining to this silver cloud, as complacency sets in, the “nouveau rich” breed of third world professionals run the risk of falling into the same trap of easy money as their western counterparts and -keeping with the laws of business – run the risk of being made redundant once they outlive their utility cycle. For as with technology – skills and knowledge come with a lifespan as well.

So stay relevant by staying ahead of the knowledge curve. How? Read the follow up article…

Read Part -2

Destination USA – The Brilliant Success Story of an average Student

This is a story of a confused yet a bright engineer who took 5 years to complete his engineering studies and yet succeeded in securing admission to the masters program in one of the better ranked universities in the USA.

Kartik came to us as a confused soul who had his heart set on making a fresh start in the USA, he had already taken his GRE as well as TOEFL examinations but had messed up in both of them. We encouraged him to retake the tests, but in spite of his best efforts, he was just not able to focus on the same.

We were candid in advising him about his options, which was to apply to universities with his existing scores, but not to put a lot of hope in securing scholarships/funding. We believed in Kartik and more importantly Kartik believed in us.

We ensured that there was absolutely nothing left to chance when it came to the documentation for application, chief among them the SOP which went through umpteen revisions before it met was deemed “as good as it could get” crisp and compelling.

Then there was the additional problem of his sponsor as well, his father ran a small business and the paperwork was far from sound. We managed to get around the problem by documenting some of his other close relatives as sponsors, it was universally accepted by all involved that Kartik’s only chance of making it as a professional was a change of geography, he had far too many setbacks in India.

We finished his documentation process within the time constraints and guess what; he was offered admission by 5 different universities. He was more than happy by what he had achieved. He told our counselors that this was beyond his wildest expectations; especially with his range of scores and academic record. He thanked us profusely for whatever we did for him, but there was one more hurdle to cross: his Visa. With complicated and somewhat less than sound finances, his prospects for a VISA was a constant source of worry and lack of confidence in Kartik, but as before we believed in him – as he did in us – the team at FACT put in its all in preparing Kartik for his Visa Interview.

Kartik got his F1 Visa approved at the very first attempt, and he was off to the land of opportunities to secure a career of his dreams.

In summation, Kartik was probably one of the weakest profiles we had come across, a year drop during his bachelors, lesser than average academic scores, GRE & TOEFL Scores in the lower range, yet his career has received a fresh lease of life, he was on his way to USA securing Masters in Computer Science and his career flying high and prospects looking up.

The last we heard from Karthik – he had secured near-perfect GPA, and had also bagged an internship at one of the reputed firms in USA. Meanwhile he is also pursuing his passion as a guitarist (he had his own rock band in India)

Kartik’s success story is a typical case study that exemplifies the stories of a thousands of FACT students who walk through our doors every year, filled with self doubt and looking for a chance to realize their potential in the land of opportunities.

Check out our web page to read summaries of more such success stories.

Are counselors a must while planning to study abroad ?

With globalization becoming worldwide phenomena, and global compatibility becoming more of a norm than an exception, the purpose of going abroad to pursue higher education is no longer succeeded by a “why” but a “how”. What role do consultancies play in helping students pursue their education abroad? Is it an absolutely a must?
The question should would better read as “ what role should consultancies play “.

The purpose of a consultancy is not limited to just getting students admitted to an institution of higher education abroad. Given the vast number of apparently enticing quick fix choices on offer, it has become imperative to be highly selective about the destination country, the institute and the courses on offer, else there is a good possibility that a student may find himself in a redundant career after having invested a lot of time and money in the venture. One should learn to distinguish between agents and consultants. An agent is one whose chief source of income happens to be the commission he gets from the universities he has ties with, thus his loyalties and are more likely to lie with the institutions abroad rather than the student in India.

A consultancy or consultant is more of a career maker i.e. it should offer solutions that do not cater to just short term needs but should take into consideration the long term perspective, that is future career prospects, student aptitude and interest and in short advise students about the best course of action rather than the easiest course of action, because often the end result of the later is frustration.

The efficacy of a consultant must not be judged by its ability to produce admits with least input from students, students should be made an active part of the process providing constant inputs and feedbacks.

The major purpose of consultancy is value addition. So while choosing a consultancy the focus should be on the actual benefits he/she stands to gain rather than the ad-ons. In other words the experience, knowledge and credibility of the consultant in question, but credibility being a matter of perception therefore the student should go about with an unbiased mind. For example many consultancies like other businesses, high light success stories, but twenty students with full financial out of the two thousand who availed their services does not speak of a great record, rather go for a consultancy where for example 50% of the twenty students acquired financial aid, even if the number of students enrolled were comparatively paltry. Second they should look for a personalized consultancy service, often enough, the entire process of consultancy becomes a check list of assembly line processes, with each process adding little value to the application, there being no concerted effort to build the student as a brand and focus on his/ her USPs. A strict appointment system does not always work in such cases because more often than not numerous course corrections are required before applying, the consultant should be at hand to advise.

Where well established consultancies score over students going about it on their own, are in their vast experience of interaction with thousands of students over the years, because often enough a students source of information happens to be his friend or family circle which is often limited. The inputs are often colored with personal perception and a tendency to justify ones own mistakes by blaming it on extraneous factors, for example the highly erroneous impression that US visas require a twenty to thirty lack bank balance for six months, else it is impossible to come by.

The other factor is analysis, a consultancy with its vast resources and well established network not only draws on data and facts, but also analyzes them to arrive at the real picture. For example, “studying abroad especially in America is an extremely expensive proposal and is not meant for middle class students”. Analyzing the figures officially released, there were around 80,000 Indian students who flew to USA last year to pursue their higher education. Now it is a commonsensical point that majority of these students happen to be from middle class families with parents in service, it is inconceivable that even 10% of these aspiring students let alone 80,000 will have had twenty lack to splurge for education, because this amount often happens to be the life’s savings of an entire middle class family. It may sound surprising but children of State Transport Bus drivers, second grade clerks in MTDC have successfully completed their degree from the US of A, and to clear up the point they were average or above average students, with their parents having no “additional” sources of income.

The answer to the second part of the question, as to whether consultancy is necessary, is It is not a must for any student merely seeking to get away to any country and any institute as long as it is outside India. But it is a must for any discerning, serious, career oriented student, because the repercussions of the smallest of decisions are often felt many years down the line.

Soft skills Training at Navi Mumbai

In the current competitive scenario merely attaining exceptional hard skills does not help one keep a good job. Nowadays companies look for professionals with excellent soft skills as these skills reflect the personality of the individual. In short soft skills are the personal characteristics of a person that help one to communicate effectively with one’s peers. Soft skills augment one’s career opportunities and in turn help bolster one’s career.

Soft skills include attributes like sociability, good communication skills, good manners, leadership qualities, presentation skills among many others and are thus the pre-requisites for a successful career in any business enterprise. Realizing this need, renowned institute of foreign languages Bindas Bol has been running soft skills training program at its Vashi centre.

A well-rounded program, it identifies each student’s needs and works towards grooming the students so as they fit in the competitive environment of the corporate scenario and thus help them become thorough professionals. The professional faculty of Bindas Bol at Vashi identifies the students’ weaknesses and works toward encouraging them to leave behind their reservations and in the process draws out a well-groomed personality.

In addition, students are coached and motivated so as to enhance and broaden their outlook which in turn broadens their perspective and they step out into the world with more self- confidence and an impressive personality.

Residents of New Bombay enroll in the soft skills training program at Bindas Bol and experience the difference in your personality in a matter of weeks. If you are shy, reserved and diffident then don’t waste any more time. Come to us and let us help you build your flourishing careers. Contact us at our Navi Mumbai office for more details.

English Speaking Classes in Navi Mumbai

Are you talented and qualified enough but unable to find your dream job because you are not fluent in English? Do you feel inferior to your peers because you fail to converse with them effectively in English? If these are the problems that overwhelm you and sap your confidence then worry no more because we at Bindas Bol are here to help you with your dilemma.

Residents of Vashi, wanting to improve their English speaking skills can visit Bindas Bol (with centers at Dadar, Andheri, Borivali, Thane) and see the difference in you in just 2 weeks. With professional coaching and guidance from experienced teachers, learning English was never so much fun. You may be weak in expressing your ideas or may need to learn how to pen your thoughts. But under the expert tutoring of our faculty of English speaking at Bindas Bol in Vashi, you can overcome all your weaknesses and diffidence and will indeed be able to master your English speaking skills.

Effective communication is the foundation for the success of any business endeavor. And this is only possible if the communication is lucid, fluent and most importantly effective. So, residents of New Bombay, join us, be a part of Bindas Bol and help us help you to build your successful career. Do visit us at our office in Navi Mumbai for more information and make the most of this opportunity.

German speaking classes in Navi Mumbai

German is one of the most important languages in the world. Just as English speaking is imperative for the success of any business; German language is just as significant in Europe for a successful career. German is fast gaining weight as a language of technology. As a result learning German is fast gaining an impetus throughout the world and India is no stranger to this growing trend.

Considering this need of German Speaking, recognized foreign language institute Bindas Bol has introduced German language coaching at their Vashi centre. Residents of Navi Mumbai, if you are looking for effective German language speaking coaching class then the wait is over. With its efficient professors and dedicated staff the students are taught German in an interactive environment and under expert supervision. Every student is encouraged and is thus given enough confidence to be able to communicate efficiently in German.

The study material provided helps the students understand the nuances of the language in a lucid fashion. As a result, learning German becomes less onerous and more pleasurable. Just like in Mumbai, residents of Nerul will benefit from this German speaking program offered by Bindas Bol and like their other foreign language speaking programs (French and Spanish) will be able to hone their German speaking skills. You can see the difference in you in just a matter of weeks. So people of New Bombay interested to do this course can visit our Bindas Bol Vashi office.

French Coaching in Navi Mumbai

French as a foreign language is extensively learnt and spoken throughout the world. French is one of the most significant languages in Europe and is therefore used widely in written and spoken communication. In India too, importance of French language is evident as more and more schools and colleges introduce French language in the syllabus. Therefore it won’t be inaccurate to say that learning French will indeed be a boost to one’s career and will definitely be an asset in one’s resume.

Identifying this, the well known foreign language institute Bindas Bol has its French Speaking program at Vashi (other centres at Dadar, Borivali, Andheri, and Thane) for students eager to hone their French Speaking skills. French is an easy language closely resembling English, but even so the French pronunciations are tedious and are the main source of consternation for many students. Realizing this, special attention is given at Bindas Bol to make sure that students are able to converse fluently in French by encouraging them to participate in interactive sessions held during the class. As a result self confidence is built in the students and they are able to give presentations without faltering.

The Vashi centre of Bindas Bol with its expert tutors and diligent staff provides the students with the best of study environment and the study material provided makes it easy for the students to understand even the most complex parts of the language.Residents of New Bombay can make the most of this opportunity. For more details visit the Bindas Bol office at Navi Mumbai.