A political journey
Q: Can I join politics after doing an MBA? In what way can I help a political party as a management professional?
A: Many B-school graduates have joined politics in the last decade or so, including Kumari Shailaja, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Naveen Jindal, Milind Deora and Sachin Pilot, but not as management professionals. However, graduates from top B-schools are now increasingly being employed in politics as management professionals.
IIM-Lucknow alumnus Ranjan Kumar, now a full-time Congress worker, gives strategic inputs to party general secretary Rahul Gandhis team.
Prodyut Bora, a 99-batch IIM-A graduate, left his consultancy business to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the national convenor for its IT cell.
Sidharth Nath Singh, an alumnus of FMS, Delhi, has found the right mix of running a business and devoting time and energy to the BJP. Singh deftly balances three balls: an assignment with UKs design and engineering consultancy firm WSP, while holding the post of party in-charge for Nagaland, besides being appointed as BJPs publicity in-charge for the upcoming Gujarat elections.
Young Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit, himself an alumnus of Institute of Rural Management, Anand, has motivated a few other IRMA graduates to work full-time on a project to assist over 50 MPs on policy and constituency development work.
Interestingly, IITM, Gwalior offers an MBA in public services management and e-governance.
At the other end, many of our top B-schools including some of the IIMs, SP Jain Institute of Management, MDI Gurgaon, TERI School of Advanced Studies (Delhi) amongst others, offer PG courses in public management and policy and political governance for mid-career civil servants and those in the government.
Will I have to take the IIT-JEE?
Q: I am an Indian student living in Nigeria. Can I get direct admission to the Indian Institute of Technolgies (IITs) etc without taking the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE)? What are the fees for students like me?
A: All candidates, regardless of whether they live in India or elsewhere, are first and foremost required to qualify in the JEE. The seats allotted to PIO / OCI / foreign nationals are treated as supernumerary.
The tuition fee per semester for foreign students is US$ 2,000 (non-SAARC countries) or US$ 1,000 (SAARC countries). Students who have PIO (person of Indian origin) and OCI (overseas citizen of India) status are treated at par with Indian students as far as the fee structure is concerned.
When teaching is as good as a corporate career
Q: Could you please tell me the prospects of a teaching career vis-à-vis one in the corporate sector?
A: We do need the best teachers for the elementary level. Precisely for this very reason, primary and elementary school teachers in advanced countries are the highest paid.
Since there are more primary schools as compared to secondary schools, jobs are easier to get. Also, now that the right to primary education is finally enshrined in our Constitution, there will be a greater demand for primary school teachers. While pay scales are clearly not as high as in the corporate sector, they are not to be scoffed at either. With the revised pay scales recommended by the Fifth Pay Commission, you have a rewarding career ahead of you.
Then there are the hidden non-material perks that make teaching so attractive. Teachers get two-three months of paid vacation in addition to the days off during the year and an assured pension. Their children get free education.
The work pressure is nowhere as intense as in the corporate sector where 12 to 14 hour workdays are the norm. In which other job do you get to have lunch at home - every day? The only pressure to perform, if you can call it so, is that which comes from within - to spark and challenge the young minds that surround you. Then there is a much higher level of job security with layoffs and downsizing being practically unheard of.
Contrary to the belief that teaching is a last resort profession, or that a teachers life is staid and unchallenging, there is never a dull moment! Continuous interaction with students and colleagues keeps you intellectually stimulated and informed.
Besides, teaching gives the academically inclined an opportunity to indulge wholeheartedly in the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge. The demand for qualified teachers is steady. Many public and private schools in the West need educators so desperately that they are offering bonuses and very attractive salaries. At the PG level you can opt for specialisations in instruction, technology, adult education, administration and more. Online coaching and instructional design are the other emerging options that pay very well.
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