Q&A for You
Learn to win the numbers game
Q I am a Class IX student and I love Maths. I do not like Science quite as much so I am considering a career in banking or a similar sector (my dream is to get a job in the World Bank). Could you please suggest which stream I should opt for in Class XI. What further courses will help me achieve my dream?
Maths has applications in practically all fields and that makes it one of the "super-skills" of modern times. It is wonderful that you enjoy Maths and are contemplating a career that puts your quantitative skills to use. If you don't enjoy Physics, or do not perform well in it, it will be best not to take up science in classes XI and XII. Since you are now only in Class IX, there is still time for you to decide whether you would like to take up Science or Commerce along with Maths. Keep an open mind till Class X and take a call when you seek admission to Class XI.
Do not limit your options at this early stage in life by deciding to work for a specific organisation. Instead, think about the skills you need to develop for future success. There are various skills that you need to master for success in life - no matter the field of your work - such as communication skills, both written and oral. While you enjoy the study of Maths in school and college, it may be worthwhile to ensure that your communication skills, too, get honed. Learning a foreign language also has several benefits and during the summer, you could spend some time exploring that option.
If your love affair with Maths endures, you could consider getting a Bachelor's degree in Maths and Statistics. A degree in Maths will open up several career options, including finance, portfolio management, banking, data analysis and so on. Studying to be an actuary (www.actuaries india.org) is another option you should give a thought to. Actuaries are professionals who use mathematical principles to work in the area of risk assessment in the insurance and finance industries. Some other options are a Bachelor's in Finance or Banking and, of course, in Economics.
While you are in school, focus on doing well academically and acquiring necessary soft skills. Also, continue to challenge yourself by solving more and more difficult mathematical problems. At the end of this year, you can take a final call on whether you want to take up commerce or science in Plus Two.
Q I am an undergraduate student of Zoology honours. I wish to do my postgraduation from a European university. Which are the European universities that offer a Master's degree in Applied Biology and also provide scholarships to international students?
Applied biology is a broad term which covers various specialisations. Universities in England and Ireland do not offer a general or a broad based degree. Master's degree courses tend to be more specialised. Hence, the degrees are more likely to be in areas of Molecular Genetics, Cancer Cell Biology, Immunology, Drug Design, Industrial Biotechnology, Genetics, Conservation and Agricultural Biotechnology. After completing a degree in Zoology you can choose to specialise in any of the above fields. Spend sometime reading about these fields before making your final application.
There are some prestigious scholarships that individual governments offer and information about these can be found at sites such as iua.ie, newdelhi.daad.de, www.educationuk.org/India, nuffic.nl, www.inde.campusfrance.org/en
Cut your teeth
Q I belong to a lower middle-class family. Is getting a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) degree a good career option? Will I be able to set up a dental clinic and practice independently?
If you manage to get a seat on merit in both undergraduate and postgraduate dental colleges, it will be a lot easier on your finances to qualify as a dentist. When you establish your own practice, you have to keep in mind the various expenses involved. Considering that private and very upscale dental clinics are now opening everywhere, it can push up the entry-level cost. Meet some dentists in your area to get an idea about the costs involved. In the meantime, also look at other medical professions where setting up your own clinic may be cheaper. An MBBS doctor just needs his stethoscope and his blood pressure measuring instrument to start a practice while a dentist needs an expensive chair and a whole gamut of tools.
Shivani Manchanda has Master’s degrees in Career Counselling and Child Development. She has been counselling about opportunities in India and abroad since 1991. Mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org