With the economy growing at a robust pace, employment opportunities are multiplying, particularly in the rural sector, with companies focusing on the untapped potential there. Mint presents a fortnightly column on job prospects in the sector.
I am considered an expert in managing crop production for a variety of crops and I manage large farms in West Asia. What are the career opportunities for me should I return to India?
Indian agriculture is opening up like never before. Our generation is witnessing corporatization of the sector. Lower average farm holdings prevented the use of advanced technology. With the corporate sector stepping in and contract farming likely to rise, India would need experts who can manage all aspects of cultivation and bring about international quality and high productivity. By networking and interacting with placement consultants, you need to start a dialogue with the strategic business unit heads of these businesses and discuss the strengths and drawbacks you may have in managing these emerging opportunities. India does not house many such experts because there has been very little professional farming on a large scale. So it could be a win-win situation for the firm and you if international expertise is offered by an Indian.
I am a chartered accountant and have also done an MBA in international business. I have around three years of experience, of which two and a half years I had spent in sales, as I wanted to learn that. Now I am an executive assistant to the business director. So I get to interact with all functions and also participate in most of them. I would like to know how you see my career shaping up, may be a year or two down the line, when I plan to change.
Your current role is likely to familiarize you with the end-to-end working of an organization. This role will permit you an appreciation of the linkages among various departments, their contribution and constraints. Similarly, it offers an opportunity to observe the rationale, logic and compulsions behind several decisions of top management. Hence, an executive assistant’s role for about two years can be a great teacher in managing multifaceted aspects of business operations compared with learning drawn by managing one desk. This position usually permits close interaction with the top management team. In the process of meeting demanding needs of your superiors, you are likely to sharpen your management skills and shape up into a far more efficient officer compared with current delivery levels. Considering that you have a base experience of markets already, yours is a coveted assignment, one that’s going to polish your managerial abilities. You need to be cautious, however, as the role is highly challenging. Lastly, you may expect yourself to be a prized catch by any of your competitors for a sufficiently senior role post in about two years when you have plans to make a change. On an overall basis, this looks like a great opportunity for furthering your career.
I did a PG course in agribusiness management from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and have moved to a non-agriculture profile in banking. I am contemplating a career overseas. To launch my career overseas, I am thinking of doing an MBA abroad. Please tell me if such an MBA will be valuable to my career.
Many people enrol in a second MBA abroad, but most of them are not graduates from a premier Indian institute; their main objective is to obtain a degree from a good institute. You are a graduate of agriculture or an allied subject. In banking, your competition must be with people who have specialized in finance. Since you are doing well here, it can be assumed that despite your non-specialized background, you have been competitive.
To assess the usefulness of a shift from a high-performing job to an education and then to another job looks tricky. If you are clear that you want to get into highly specialized areas such as investment banking or equity fund management, etc., a second MBA with focused specialization could prove helpful. Also, too many shifts (including from agribusiness to banking to second MBA and then to some other industry) may mean a lot of inconsistency to prospective employers. The usefulness of a second MBA depends on your going to a top-league institution.
Ajay Gupta is CEO of ruralnaukri.com. Send your career queries to firstname.lastname@example.org