Student speak- Financially inclined

Samrudhi Khanna > Third year, Bachelor of Financial Markets (BFM), Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics, Mumbai As a student, I was always in clined towards the commerce stream in general and finance in particular. Coming from a family of bankers and retail investors, I grew up watching financial markets news on a daily basis. The interest I developed in this field early on was the main reason for me to make a career in the same.
My interest in this field grew prior to the commencement of my undergraduate degree. Furthermore, my professional aspirations in the fields of equity analysis and investment management made me opt for a BFM degree. While all courses have unique advantages, BFM, in particular, is gaining huge popularity among students. This is because Indian markets are volatile and our economy is developing like never before. The demand for professionals in this field is increasing as is the awareness about it among the retail investment crowd.

As part of the course, among the many modules that a student is trained in are principles of investment, debt market, equity market, foreign exchange market, derivative market, portfolio management, risk management, commodity market, economics (micro and macro), corporate finance, global capital market, mutual fund management, security analysis, etc.

Internships play an important role in the course. Last summer, I interned in the credit analysis department of a financial consultancy. It was a pragmatic experience and an eye-opener. That was my first reallife stint in the finance industry and I learned a lot.

I also worked on a 12-week mock stock exchange project. We were divided into teams and were given a script of listed companies. We conducted weekly trades and created a detailed report of the analysis for the buyingselling decisions we took.This project was what gave us an actual insight into analysis -both fundamental and technical.

The course opens up opportunities in various finance and allied fields like financial research analysis, market analysis (all domains like equity, debt etc), mutual fund management, asset management, portfolio management, wealth management, investment banking, insurance sector, financial operations analysis, etc.

 

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COURSE CURSOR – In good spirits

A course in winemaking and viticulture combines the theoretical knowledge of fields such as chemistry, biology and agricultural studies with applied research

A rapidly growing winemaking and viticulture industry means the need to recruit qualified professionals. To cater to the demand, the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) has launched a Bachelor of Viticulture and Winemaking, on its Marlborough campus in New Zealand.

The three-year, full-time programme takes a realistic approach to viticulture and winemaking to equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to work in this industry.

“The course, spread over six semesters, is suitable for students with a range of experience, from high school graduates to mature people who wish to retrain or gain academic recognition in their current employment,” informs Tony Gray, chief executive, NMIT. Applicants under 20 years of age are required to complete the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) level III (60 credits at level III or higher and 20 credits at level II or higher). Apart from this, applicants must have a standard of English sufficient to be able to study at this level. Candidates whose first language is not English must have an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) overall academic score of at least 6.0 (with at least 5.5 in each band), issued within the past two years. Students will also need at least a secondary-level chemistry background.

With 30 seats, the course is meant to train students in wine analysis, wine science, viticulture ractice, wine production, vineyard bio-protection, economics, project plan ning and management, research methods, and other areas. Students will be able to take up short-term, paid unpaid internships during the course.

Gray elaborates, “The first year provides a solid foundation in the basics of viticulture and winemaking, while the second focuses on further developing and refining one’s technical skills. The third year consists of a mix of higher level viticulture, winemaking and research skills and has significant components of applied research and work experience which allow students to specialise in viticul ture, winemaking, industry management or a combination of these which suits their career aspirations and interests.”

Assessment will cover a mix of ongoing in-course work, through assignments, problem-solving and case studies as well as practical projects. Examinations would be conducted at the end of each semester. The overall balance between in-course assessment and examinations is set at 60:40.

Students who complete the course can make a career as a viticulturists, research and development technicians, vineyard managers or owners, wine marketers and winemakers, etc.

Join summer school

The Centre for Science and Environment is going to organise an interdisciplinary month-long summer certificate course on environment and development issues from June 1 in Delhi.

Titled Agenda for Survival, the course covers the environmental movement in India, poverty and the biomass economy, conservation and conflict: wildlife management debate, sustainable industrialisation and public health concerns, climate change and global environmental governance, among other topics.

“It will allow Indian participants to understand and critically evaluate is sues that lie at the interface of environment and development such as poverty, democracy, equity and justice,” says Sharmila Sinha, deputy programme manager, education and training, CSE.

The curriculum comprises classroom lectures, seminars, several local field excursions, and a week-long field visit to rural India, together with individual andor group project.

The course is open to young professionals and college students from any stream. Candidates are required to send their latest CVresume with a short covering note to sharmila@cseindia.org by March 30.

Career Guidance

PERVIN MALHOTRA Director, CARING Career Information & Guidance, New Delhi e-mail: pervin-et@careerguidanceindia.com or write to -Editor, Education Times, TOI, (3rd floor), 7 Bahadurshah Zafar Marg, New Delhi-110002

MOLECULAR STUDY

I am a student of physics, chemistry and biology. Could you please tell me something about molecular biology and the employment prospects in this field?

Avantika Saluja

Molecular biology is the study of biology at the molecular level. This is a highly challenging and fascinating interdisciplinary science, which overlaps with other areas of biology, chemistry, genetics and biochemistry. Cell biology involves the study of cells, including their physiological properties, structure, organelles, interactions with their environment, life cycle, division and death. Molecular and cellular biology are interrelated, since most properties and functions of a cell can be described at the molecular level.

Like all other life sciences, molecular biology examines and solves a broad range of biological problems, that is designing, producing and testing new drugs to treat AIDS, cancer, asthma, diabetes or new peptides to fight bacterial infection. A lot of work is under way in new areas such as gene mapping, gene therapy and drug delivery systems, which is using advanced DNA technologies.Starting from the evolution of the cell and small molecules, your study of microbiology at the Bachelor’s level would cover areas such as energy, biosynthesis, macromolecules, protein function, basic genetic mechanisms, recombinant DNA technology, control of gene expression membrane, ionic basis of membrane excitability, intracellular compartments and protein sorting, cell signalling, the cytoskeleton, maintenance of tissues, the immune system, among others.

You will learn various computational methods, including molecular mechanics, molecular dynamics, pharmacophore mapping and modelling (plot ting the spatial arrangement of a small number of atoms or functional groups) and some software packages as well. Theory will be complemented with considerable lab work. Gene mapping and gene transfer -introducing genes directly resistant to drought, disease, etc -into plants has tremendous implications for agriculture.

If you are fascinated by the beauty and intricacies of the tiniest life forms and are prepared to work hard, this can be an extremely promising field. You will essentially work on research programmes at institutes, pharmaceutical and agri-biotech firms and universities to provide accurate and reliable diagnostic data based on modern molecular methods to cure disease and develop new and high yielding plants. You could become a DNA fingerprinting expert or work on research projects at the global level.

CRICKET CURATOR

I am a cricket buff but could not go for professional training to join this field. Who are cricket curators? What is the procedure to become one?

Girish Saini

In the world of sport, the `curator’ is a person who prepares a sports ground for use (especially a cricket pitch). The job is equivalent to that of the groundsman’s in some other cricketing countries. Good pitches and grounds are crucial for good matches. So far, the goal has been to make what are called sporting pitches, which offer equal advantage to batsmen and bowlers in a bid to ensure a fair contest. Of late, however, host teams or countries are sometimes preparing pitches tailormade for their strengths, be it batting, pace bowling or spin bowling. This in turn puts the curator under considerable pressure.

Indian curators prepare pitches that assist spin bowling from the first ball. This practice has come under considerable criticism from international cricketers, who contend that it would give an unfair advantage to the Indian team.

To impart scientific training for improving the condition of pitches across the country, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) offers a threeweek certification course, spread over 75 sessions at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium in Mohali, followed by a two-day 150-mark exam. You require a minimum of 60% marks in theory and practical tests to clear the two papers.

Typically, each state association is asked to nominate a curator, who has been associated with pitch preparation, to take the course. It is another matter that 14 out of the 31 curators, who at tended the course, could not clear the exam in July. Perhaps inexperience on the part of participants was a major reason for this outcome.

It is a demanding job for sure. Preparation of the 22-yard pitch starts weeks and even months before a test match. Besides the demands of the home team, you need to take into account the soil and climatic conditions. So, curatorship is a never-ending process. You learn as you go along experimenting with different pitches and stadiums.

BCCI’s Curators’ Manual lists all the modern methods of preparing pitches. But you could also refer to some relevant books published in Australia and South Africa, besides gathering more information on the internet.

NO SHORTCUT

Does any university allow students to take the exams of all three years of a Bachelor’s programme in one sitting?

Is this legal? Being in the army, at times, it is hard for me to take a leave of absence during exams. So, please guide me.

Rakesh Kumar

No University Grants Commission recognised university offers a Bachelor’s degree in one year, any more. All single-sitting BA programmes have been discontinued. As per rules, the duration of a Bachelor’s programme has to be at least three years. However, you will come across a number of unscrupulous institutes colleges or their `agents’ that make these promises. There is no guarantee of their so-called `degrees’ being recognised by the government of India or the UGC.

However, if you are pursuing your Bachelor’s degree from an open university such as Indira Gandhi National Open University, you have much greater flexibility in terms of completing the course, which may suit your requirement, keeping in mind, the exigencies of leave, etc.

FOREST SERVICE

I am a student of chemical engineering, but I am interested in the environment. Am I eligible for the Indian Forest Service (IFS)?

Gautam Wirk

Yes, you are. If you love the outdoors and are interested in protecting our country’s environment and wildlife, the IFS offers a challenging and adventurous career. A career in the IFS is a combination of desk work and extensive field monitoring. It is mainly concerned with the management, maintenance and protection of forest flora and fauna, reforestation, wildlife, revenue collection, etc. To qualify for this service, you need to write the Indian Forest Service exam conducted annually by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

To be eligible for the test, one should have a Bachelor’s degree with at least one of the following subjects: animal husbandry and veterinary science, among others; or a Bachelor’s in agriculture, forestry or in engineering or an equivalent qualification.

‘Current placement system to blame for IIT grads’ burnout’

MUMBAI: Around 55% of IIT-Bombay’s graduates placed with various companies two years ago have switched jobs and 35% are unsure whether to stay on. This, revealed in a survey by the institute’s students’ media body, indicates that IIT students aren’t making the right choices during campus placements.

Over 50% of the respondents say the placements process is to be blamed, not just in IIT-B, but all engineering institutes in the country. The pressure to land a job in the first few days and societal expectations are leading to students making wrong choices. One of the drawbacks of the system is to invite non-core companies in the initial stages of the placement process, which creates the perception that high-paying, non-core jobs are ‘dream jobs’.

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The survey was of around 220 respondents from the 2011, 2012 and 2013 batches and was published in the latest edition of the students’ magazine Insight. It reports that around 35% of those who switched jobs thought while making their initial pick that it was a perfect fit for them.

Over a third of the respondents claimed that they moved jobs within three years, including some who quit within a year, as reported by TOI on Thursday.

An editor of the magazine said, “The placement process is currently aimed at placing a maximum number of students. This has to change to a system where the focus would be more on placing students in the right jobs. A lot of non-core companies come to the campus in the first few days and pick the best of the lot. The institute can, in future, call the core companies before the process begins.”

It has a lot to do with the student culture too, said a student. “The Day One hype is mainly due to high-paying non-core sector jobs, which most students perceive as (glamorous jobs),” said the report. “Students want to get placed at the earliest, making them pick up jobs that might not be of their interest.”

Avijit Chatterjee, professor-in-charge of placements, said the process is complex. “It is not possible to call non-core companies later. They might refuse to come if they are not called on the first day. This will mean denying a chance to interested students. But from this year, we have also started calling core firms in the initial days.”

He said the reason for graduates quitting their jobs in three years could be due to the plethora of opportunities available today. “These are signs of changing times. Students want to quit and start their own ventures. Otherwise, we have known of people who stayed in a single company for decades.”