Sunday, March 10, 2013

Why you must upgrade your qualification to safeguard your career

Just beginning of this week, I was reading an article on HBR telling why corporates should stop considering college degrees. I completely agree to the article and at full extent I support it. Considering today when everybody is interested to buy degree (please read my older blogs where I have exposed the degree seller private universities and also people's query and  my response to them ). I believe except than the necessary field like medical and nursing, we must stop considering college degrees.

However, that one is my view but the corporate world do not follow it. Corporate world has its own perception and limitations. Perception - wrong or right perception that a specific qualification holder can only perform better like to think only CA and ICWA can become a better human resources in finance and accounts and there is sudden rush  to hire "qualified" people even for the simple job of an accounts executive who does job of checking vouchers clearing expenses and making data entry in tally or such system. The corporate feel that they are much better to elevate at higher level. It may it may not be correct and depend on certain factors. It is also true that people will not accept anybody as their leader.

I have seen many people in my career who are very good performer and even better than the people who have tag of qualifications like MBA from tier 1 institute or have professional qualifications like CA, ICWA and so on. However due to not having the tag, they are not getting higher positions and not growing in their career. Last week i  have discussion with one of my friend who has almost 15 years experience. He has deep understanding of business, analysis, people management skill. He is a graduate and an MBA. He headed accounts and finance function successfully for almost 4 organisation. In one of the company, he solved major 

Financial problem of the company and saving crore of  rs of the company. Recently when he applied for certain job, from most of the company who interviewed him he got reply "You are very good. We have no doubt about your capabilities but we are looking somebody professionally qualified". He was very depressed and angry, the anger was legitimate too however he lost something important for something which is not so important. He is not the single person, there are many such instances. I remember similar situation in 2007 when one of the leading company could not hire a very successful sales person. There were many MBAs and amongst them they liked this fellow's profile most. However they could not call him even for the interview. These all are not at all assumed examples, they all are real and I self experienced.

Then what to do?
Good question. One must believe in lifelong learning and constant upgrading. Career and company have no guarantees.  today, you may be in the same company for longer time and you have hardly few years left of your career. You know this company will not fire you as you are performing. What if suddenly your management decide to merge your organisation into another or say new HR, new management will come to the place. They have policy that all the people having manager or supervisory role must have certain qualifications from good institute, then what ? They cannot give you 2 or 3 years time. None of the reputed college and universities can grant you a degree in few months instead of the actual duration of the programme. Whoever will offer, they will be fake institute and they will never give you the required additional knowledge and skills as yours and theirs complete focus will be on selling and buying degrees. Also, by buying such degrees without hard work, what kind of value you will impart in your children and the society? If you cannot impart good value to society nobody will value it. Today world has become so short that wrong things come to people's knowledge. Even your children will not value you forget your co-worker.

I can give you one more example. In a leading healthcare a MD pathology qualified doctor did a mistake. The director of the company called him and bashed him. This Director was just a graduate and bought a fake Ph.D degree from a fake institute. Although the pathologist was wrong but he told "What will you teach me about pathology and reporting, I am a post graduate in medicine with experience and you are just a graduate". By saying so, he resigned immediately and left the organisation. So be careful.

Then how to proceed?
It is not so difficult. First of all evaluate yourself, your job, your role and your academic credentials. Then check the job market. For this simply search on job portals for the job opening related to your profile. Always search job posting of organisation of equal reputation of yours. If you are working for a smaller company with no brands and no culture of professionalism then look for the job posting of known companies. Check the eligibility condition I.e. academic qualifications and certification they are asking.

Now you know well your gap. Yo fill this search an institute who offer courses of your choice. Know the area in which you are strong and more interested. For example suppose you are just an intermediate or higher secondary. You are holding a managerial position. Now the common fact is that nobody will offer you the position outside the organisation unless you are a graduate. So you can decide to do a Bachelor of Business Management Course or any other graduation degree. So here, you need to do a graduation first.

Second, choose the right university. In India I always suggest you to  do course always from a state universities (example University of Mumbai, University of Delhi, University of Pune, Osmania University, Kakatiya University, University of Kerala, Tamil Nadu Open University, University of Madras, Kurukshetra University etc. All of them offers distance learning course ) or from a central university (IGNOU, University of Hyderabad, Pondicherry University etc). Never do a course from a private and deemed university as neither their quality is good nor their reputation (few are exception).

Third, shortlist at least 3 universities for same course, go through their syllabus, exam pattern and feasibility for you. Then choose a course and enrol before it becomes too late.

Academic upgradation is one of the step. Apart from this, you should also do following thing

1. Search and join online group of your job field. (For instances, passionHR, HRcommunity, trainers forum group in yahoo for HR) if such group is not available, you start one. Read all the discussion and also participate for it. Spend at least half an hour daily on such thing.

2. Attend regular events for example Thane HR Group events, MTHR Global events, SHRM events.

3. Attend webinars regularly. Many are available free of cost too. Like NHRDN webinars, webinars. This provide you uptodate knowledge on concurrent things.

4. Read good business magazine and spend at least 1 hour for it. It also provide you latest happening and also increase your communications. You even do not need to spend huge money as most of them available free online . Examples are:

5. Solve business case studies regularly. You may go through various portal and blogs including IGNOU website, HBR blog, citehr and so on. See what kind of business problem people post and solve by your own. It provides you lot of input and helps in your growth. 

Start investing on it today for better tomorrow.
If you have any question or comments about your career plan, please ask here. I will respond every single query.

Last updated and edited on July 10, 2014

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