Making it big with IR
Q:I am keen on pursuing an MA in international relations. Which are the good institutes and what are the job prospects'
A: MA in international relations (IR) is offered only at a handful of universities. Jawaharlal Nehru University, School of International Studies, New Delhi offers an MA in politics (with specialisation in international studies) and an MA in economics (with specialisation on world economy). You could log on to www.jnu.ac.in for more details.
The other institutes to offer this course are Jadavpur University, Calcutta (www.jadavpur.edu), Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar University, Agra (www.brauagra.ac.in) Jiwaji University, Gwalior (www.jiwaji.edu), Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam (www.mguniversity.edu) and Pondicherry University, Pondicherry.
You could opt for research, PR or liaison-related work in embassies, the ministry of external affairs or international organisations such as the UN and its specialised agencies. These organisations require experts in international studies to man their special desks or work on projects related to issues of global concern. However, these posts are few and are accessed mainly on the basis of networking.
Since a great deal of statistical modelling is required, number crunching skills are an asset.
Journalism is another popular avenue for those who have specialised in this subject. IR will hold you in good stead if you want to be a foreign correspondent or an international policy analyst.
It also forms a significant part of the UPSC curriculum. You could take political science as an optional paper for the Civil Services exam provided you combine it with a scoring optional subject like anthropology, psychology, etc. And if you are academically inclined then you can take up teaching.
Voice training for BPOs
Q: I have a strong vernacular accent but am keen on joining a BPO. Will that affect my chances of getting through'
A: Most BPOs are sticklers for clarity, diction and accent. However, there are several ways to rectify this. Concentrate on elongating your vowels and articulating consonant sounds. You can seek professional help. Voice and accent trainers make your voice globally intelligible. They teach young aspirants when to give a pause and regulate the pace of the speech.
By the way, if your accent is proving to be a stumbling block, you could start out with a domestic call centre where you can improve your skills and subsequently move to an international one once youíve acquired a neutral accent.
Alternatively, you can opt for non-voice based data intensive outsourcing jobs.
Going places as a fashion photographer
Q: Can I opt for fashion photography after a commerce background' What is the eligibility and what are the prospects'
A: Photography is about split second decisions to capture that fleeting moment that can be easily missed with the blink of an eye. And fashion photographers breathe life into pictures by brilliantly orchestrating the
elements of light, juxtaposition of objects, colour, composition and a beautiful subject.
A fashion photographer is essentially an artist with exotic locales as his canvas, gorgeous models as his muse and the camera lenses and an array of supplementary equipment as his paintbrush.
However, even the best looking model and the most breathtaking backdrop can look drab and jaded if you donít have the technical skills and an understanding of blending colours, backdrop, texture of garments or the ability to control the play of light and shadow.
The best part is that a student from any stream, be it arts and humanities, science or commerce can opt for this field so long as you have a keen interest in the subject.
As a beginner you start by shooting portfolios for aspiring models and actors. The Internet offers an excellent opportunity to market and display your work. Make sure you are familiar with the latest digital technology and printing techniques to get the best results.
Some perfectionists will wait endlessly for that one picture-perfect moment to capture a breathtaking sunrise that will form the backdrop of the picture. And if your reflexes are not sharp the moment passes and you may never be able to recreate it again.
The fun part is that you get to jet-set to fancy locations, hang out with the rich and the famous and draw a fat salary if you make it big. However, it also means heavy investment as the bill for digital cameras, lenses, film, outdoor shooting paraphernalia, tripods, lights and flashbulbs, etc, can run into lakhs.
Once you make it big you can take up assignments with big designers and fashion houses or even a fashion channel.
In the beginning it is difficult to break even but once you make it big in the world of fashion photography you can charge up to Rs 1 lakh per day.
In Calcutta, you can check out the courses offered by the National Academy of Photography, Calcutta.
Send your queries to Career Hotline, Careergraph, The Telegraph, 6, Prafulla Sarkar Street, Calcutta 700 001. Fax: 22253142; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org