The Mentoring Committee, School of Social Sciences at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) organized a panel discussion on Career Counselling at School of Humanities Auditorium. Prof. Aloka Parasher-Sen, Dean, School of Social Sciences; Prof. Sheela Prasad, faculty in the Centre for Regional Studies and Prof. R. Siva Prasad, faculty in the Department of Anthropology were present on this occasion.
The speakers, Prof. B. Rajashekhar, Dr. Kartic S Godavarthy, Prof. S.M.Ilyas and Shri C. Shankar talked about the present scenarios in terms of career, where the students are heading to and where their future lies. The panel revolved around the Social Sciences studies and its importance.
In a scenario where students who are qualified for NET and JRF, post-graduate students want to go for teaching but there are less positions in colleges and universities in India, B. Rajashekhar, Professor at the School of Management Studies counsels that there are many opportunities outside academics as well. Talking from his experiences, he pointed out one major concern is the lack of skills among students. He says, “There is a huge gap among our own students as compared to the market requirements. He called upon the students to build upon the needs of computer proficiency, language proficiency, research methodology, statistics proficiency, data analysis and data interpretation.”
Prof. Rajashekhar advices students to undertake SWOT analysis. SWOT is a structured planning method used to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats involved in a project or in a business venture. He also encouraged the students to do a parallel PG Diploma course along with masters which has now been allowed by the UGC. “Apart from hard skills, you must work on soft skills,” says Prof. Rajashekhar.
Another panelist, Prof. S.M.Ilyas, the Programme Director and Head of PGDRDM, NIRD and Former Director of NAARM says, “We select ourselves, no body else selects us. That means you have to have the kind of confidence, that kind of competencies and skills.” Besides getting good marks in the subjects, one also needs to be acquire soft skills like presentation, behaviour, time management skills. Looking at the funds government is raising for the sector, Professor also informs that there are tremendous opportunity in Government sector as well as in NGO for the Social Sciences students.
The third speaker was Kartic S Godavarthy who is the Founder Director of Grey Scale Media Solutions Pvt Ltd and Faculty at “Brain Tree”, Hyderabad. Putting optimism into audience; he says, “21st Century is the century of Social Sciences.” Normally Social Sciences people see teaching as their primary goal, but there is an opportunity beyond teaching. There is a lot more opportunity and a niche in the market. There is a dearth of Social Sciences people. Kartic observes that there has been a paradigm shift in Civil Services. “80% of the new syllabus is purely based on Social Sciences and hence it is the ideal time for students to take up civil services,” he added.
He talks about the importance of lateral thinking, to think out of box while there had been domination of pure sciences. “If Science is socially not relevant, it is not a science and the branches of knowledge can only be rendered by Social Scientists,” says Kartic.
The last speaker of the panel, C.Shankar, the Founder and Director at S-Paradigm Consultants, Hyderabad shares the importance of Social Sciences studies. “I am a story teller. I tell stories on behalf of companies. In the course of story-telling, I engage with people, people from diverse sectors from power, mining to health care sectors. This has become easy because of my ability to understand the society on the account of my social science background,” says Shankar. He concludes saying that the key to success would be the ability to talk, the ability to write, the ability to listen and the ability to engage with people.
The scenario is changing. Students should be able to multitask. They should be able to keep an eye on the latest happenings in the world, they need to be opportunists. It is no more time to be merely a specialist; the students should rather aim to be generalists, was the advice that all the speakers gave the students.
By Nidhi Gupta, MA-Communication