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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Soft skills can take you places

Q: I have recently completed the chartered financial analyst (CFA) course and am currently working in the accounts department of an educational institute. I am not happy with my job so I have decided to do a course in chartered accountancy (CA). Am I am on the right track?

— Subir Mondal, Barrackpore

A: The CFA course offered in India is not similar to the one offered by its parent institute in the US. Hence, the acceptability of the programme is quite limited in India. You have not mentioned what it is about your career that disappoints you. Is it the salary or the job content?

The fact that you undertook the programme implies you are interested in a career in finance. You could also consider doing the international CFA programme from the CFA Institute, the US.

A career in chartered accountancy can lead you to a diverse range of careers in the world of finance and accounts. The CA programme is rigorous and you need to be hard working to clear all the exams. But considering its wide acceptability in the job market it is definitely worth it. Don’t let your age be a barrier to realising your dreams.

You could use the CA qualification to start your own practice and become an entrepreneur. Or, you could seek opportunities in medium or large companies. Apart from a good qualification, the soft skills you project to an employer also make a difference to your career.

Thus apart from focusing on improving your qualification, also analyse your communication skills and attempt to refine those further. No matter what qualifications you have, getting a good job also depends on the soft skills you bring to the table.

 

Fly high but stay grounded

Q: I am in Class X. My dream is to become an air hostess. I come from a middle-class family. Is this a good career option? — Sunaina Agrawal, Jamshedpur

A: A middle-class background should not prevent you from dreaming big but since you are in Class X you have plenty of time to think it over. You can join an air hostess training programme after Class XII, but is better to complete graduation and then consider a job as an air hostess. You also need to plan a parallel career alongside so that you would be in a position to take up other roles in future. If you are an extrovert, have physical stamina and a pleasant personality then this career may be for you. Air hostesses have to be on their feet for long hours. They also have to be away from home for long. The glamour of pretty dresses and travel can run thin when you have to deal with the challenges associated with the job.

 

Become a certified planner

Q: Is it worthwhile to do a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) course? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

— Rukhsana Akhtar, Calcutta

A: It is wonderful to know that you are considering a career in financial planning. India today is poised towards growth and there is a demand for financial planners who can guide ethically and responsibly. If you are interested in becoming a certified financial planner, there are several options you could consider. National Institute of Securities Markets in India (www.nism.ac.in), an educational initiative by Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), offers certificate courses for professionals who are interested in the securities market. The advantage of opting for courses offered by SEBI is that they are well researched and in tune with the needs of the industry. You could also consider appearing for the Certified Personal Financial Advisor examination. This course can enable you to benchmark your knowledge and gain trust of your client. You could work in merchant banking, a brokerage firm or even work as an independent consultant. Apart from that, you could also join courses run by the Bombay Stock Exchange (www.bseindia. com/training) Here you could specialise in risk management or stock markets. If you are interested in capital markets then you could enrol for National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) certified Capital Market Professional programme could also be the way forward. This programme is run by NSE (www.nseindia. com/education). While doing any of these courses also try and see if you can associate yourself with a company involved in providing financial advisory services.


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