Friday, 1 May 2015

HOW TO COMMENCE YOUR CAREER

30 March 2015. The day gave me a new experience totally, thanks to my Alma Mater Mar Athanasius College Of Engineering (MACE), Mahatma Gandhi University.I was invited to make a keynote address to out going final year Engineering students of the institute on the topic- How to commence a career after graduation in engineering.Though I had opportunities to interact in many levels with people in the corporate world, speaking to a forum of students was for the first time,that too in my own Alma Mater ushered in me a lot of nostalgic feelings. I had prepared the speech carefully to make them- who were in their early twenties- understand my own thoughts on the subject. 

I was visiting the college after 44 years! Obviously a lot of changes had taken place in the campus for good but one thing remained the same-warmth of the green,beautiful misty mountains in the background.I was a bit excited about this trip as I did not not even dream  of such an experience while in the college - I was an ordinary average student in academics!!

I have written my own views as on date on the topic, still learning more each day, for Indian engineering students in the mind but most of the points are valid for any  career aspirants any where in the world. I am reproducing the  same...

        
                                       

Respected Principal, teachers and dear budding engineers,

Good Afternoon. I thank the Principal and all concerned for giving me an opportunity to meet you all on this occasion of induction to MACE alumni. In fact I am visiting my alma mater after 44 years. I had joined in 1967 and graduated from this noble institution in 1971.

I am of the view that our alma mater is like our own mother. We don’t give much consideration to her when we are young. We may have even complaints about her in spite she might have given us everything she has. As years go by, as we get matured by age, we understand the pains she might have taken in grooming us up. By the time we start respecting her, in most of the cases she might have gone out of this world. In my case I am lucky. I am now getting an opportunity to visit and thank openly this great institution and the teachers of mine without which I would not have reached what I have in the corporate world.

I had the opportunity to meet and closely interact with hundreds of professionals and businessmen all these years from different parts of India and different countries of the world. I have trotted widely in the world on business. I am almost 65 years old, an active professional who is reaching the fag end of the career, while you are young and about to start your career. I can assure you that the standard of teaching in our institution is one of the best available which is good enough to take you to professional heights anywhere in the world. I think what really makes MACE stand out among others is the best teacher-student relationship. In Qatar I was one among the few who organized MACE alumni Qatar chapter 26 years back. In the first year of existence itself, which we continued for many years, we could offer scholarships to financially backward students in this college, at a time when banks were not available to offer loans. My wife and I were active members of the association and enjoyed family interactions there since then.  

I am very happy to induct you to our great Alumni Association. Be a proud MACE Alumnus or MACE Alumna wherever you are in the world.

I understand that in another few weeks you all will be full-fledged engineers. Some of you may be already placed while some are not. Few may have decided to go for PG studies. But all of you, I am sure, are eager to commence your career in the right way. I think in this context I can share my own observations derived from years of exposure to the corporate world. I shall outline few points in the chronological order of importance. Please listen and try to understand:

1. What is the definition of your dream job or career?
If it is a job with excellent salary and perks, limited working hours and little or no responsibility, then you better change your definition simply because such executive jobs do not exist anywhere in the world. Your career should be your passion, your love. The more you are attached to it the more you should be able to enjoy.

2.Be selective in choosing your career.
Please try to understand different type of career options. After your graduation in your discipline whatever it is- civil, mechanical, electrical, electronics, chemical, instrumentation, IT or anything else-various types of jobs are available which will ultimately take you to different career paths. You can go for sales and marketing jobs. You can go for jobs in the construction field of projects or for industries and manufacturing. You can go for consultancy, teaching or research. You can be in the management. For more than a decade IT software or hardware sector also is an option. You can also be an entrepreneur. For all these jobs, primary requirements are different.

Personal skills, in born with you play a big role here. All of us have some talent or the other within. Some can paint, some can sing. Few are better in academics but bad in sports and games. Some can speak very well but poor in reading as a habit. Few excel in extracurricular activities but need not be the same in curriculum.  In the same way each career you opt demands certain talents without which you cannot go up the ladder. One may get an entry in any career but if a wrong choice is taken one will not go up the ladder or cannot enjoy the job as years go by.

For example unless you have traits of leadership, pl do not go for management career. Even a prime business school can only bring out and polish the talents you have within yourself. If you are an introvert it is better you choose technical jobs which can be performed as individual. For projects or industries, one’s talent in man management is essential to perform. My point is that you should choose your career to your taste and talents. First offered job need not be your career although it is advisable to join where placements are offered now and judge yourself.

3. Be positive, be ambitious,be confident.
Without ambition one cannot reach anywhere. Be ambitious. Be a dreamer. Just because others don’t, you should not stop taking steps your way. Set a target career. Find ways how to reach that. Work hard for it. I am sure you will reach your goal.

To put it in one sentence, positive people look for solutions while negative people see only obstacles when confronted by a situation or problem. Always be positive, ambitious and confident in life and work. Be reasonably patient for results.It matters!

4. Be informed.
Motto of our college is Knowledge is power. It is very true. But I may add up here- information is success. Well, definitely one has to be knowledgeable but also keep abreast of what is happening in the current world especially corporate world. Spend at least half an hour extra daily in quality articles, periodicals, books or internet related to your career, corporate India and the world in general. Watch business channels even if it is boring for you initially. Keep this habit as long as you work and beyond. You will find yourself a different person among fellow professionals as years go by.

Let us consider typical cases of two individuals present in this hall now whatever their grades be. I can assure you that one who keeps informed will outsmart the other by 100% in ten years time. Right information, in the right direction, at the right time hit the bull’s eye always. If graduates having lesser grades while in the college or those from not-so-known-institutes at times overtake those who come out from premier institutes in the career growth can be attributed to this reason. Humbly I believe I am one among them. An average graduate will overtake the topper of the university if this is practiced.

5. Opportunities are abundant.
I have seen many complaining now that there are too many engineering colleges; it is difficult for proper employment. But I differ this view. Now opportunities are also abundant. It is no more a case of poor India but a rich India where we have the monies to spend for development works. You might have read about the spectrum auction which has been recently conducted. What we have received is over one lakh crores for that!Expected revenue from such auction for licences in the near future may run to many times of that amount. Developed and technologically advanced nations have already identified India as a futuristic manufacturing hub. Multi millions worth of development projects in infrastructure, telecommunication, petroleum and natural gas, light and heavy industries, IT, space exploration etc. is in the offing. All this will transform our country to another level altogether in next two decades. Luckily for you no country can develop without deployment of engineers. All you should do is grab the right opportunity.

Pl do not restrict you to Kerala state. Comparatively new openings are very less here and business environments are not conducive for the right growth of a professional in engineering and management. In fact better you focus on states where development activities are more vigorous or commercial metros like Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi etc. You will find that only few established companies will go for a fresher like you. That’s because they think you are very raw to do an engineer’s job now and after training you may vanish and join elsewhere. Try smaller private organizations now, as you can go for known business houses later. You may compromise on salary or stipend but do not ever accept under employment. That is if you are offered a diploma holder’s job refrain from accepting that because you will be scoring negative in your career graph if you are looking finally for an executive job.

 Scenario in Gulf States
I hope all of you know how many countries are there in what we call ‘Gulf States’. 
There are 6 countries. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman. Except Bahrain and Oman, all the 4 countries recruit engineers now. I would strongly recommend making a career there because of excellent opportunities while life is much more peaceful and pay packet is still better than here although the gap is bridging closer. Local Arabs like Indians especially Keralites as employees. Unfortunately they don’t look for fresh graduates. As such if you are intended to do a career there, please try there after gaining 2 to 5 year’s relevant experience.

Good openings are available for civil , electrical and mechanical graduates. For civil and electrical, go to Mumbai or other metros and work for 2-3 years in project infrastructure or  multi storied smart buildings. You can gain easily a right opening in gulf then. Mechanical graduates should work in India in petroleum or petrochemical project contracts or air conditioning package or chiller systems and then try for gulf. A job in the relevant fields with contracting companies which is not difficult in India to get is sufficient and perhaps more valuable than jobs in the Govt or public undertakings. Sales and services jobs for all these basic branches are always available for right candidates. Jobs in IT are open these days for experienced persons. It is better to avoid jobs in gulf as a fresher because you will be under employed if at all.Recommendations are absolutely not required but ensure about the  quality of recruitment agents and the firm itself.

Experience of working in the private sector in gulf states will be an advantage for you in case you want to switch over to India later.

Conclusion
My time is restricted here and as such I have to conclude. I don’t know whether time is there now to take your doubts if any ….

Let me make my last point. I had been sitting like you 44 years back in the same campus. Thank God, for the last three decades I have conducted so many interviews and recruited hundreds of personnel from lower to senior managerial levels. All a recruiter looks in a candidate for a junior engineering job is:
      1.   Acceptable technical knowledge,which you have already acquired here.
2    2. Good communication and presentation skills in English   and
      3. Lot of common sense....something not that common!
If you have these three ingredients in you, nobody can deny a bright career.
Thank you very much for a patient listening. Wish all of you the best …..
Thank you……………..





4 comments:

  1. As usual you are excellent in giving advise to budding engineers....I always remember your guidance during our interaction in ABC

    ReplyDelete
  2. SAJI ITTOOP wrote:


    Saji Ittoop Thomas
    May 1 at 10:17pm

    Right guidance from the industry expert

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sir, noted that guidance. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Abraham Joseph
    Excellent message Sir. Thanks to you and MACE

    ReplyDelete