The Gap Year Dilemma

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With a large number of college students preparing themselves for post graduation options and carefully selecting prospective career decisions, taking a gap year to allow them to take a careful and calculated decision to choose a career path has become a lot more common. Meera Jakkli has a word with the experts to tell us their opinions on students opting for the gap year and how they may go about it

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How have the students evolved over the course of the years and does that affect your teaching methods?
Today’s students are a lot more serious about their studies and curriculum. They are aware that on joining the corporate sector, they have to compete effectively with their national as well as international peers. Faculty members are implementing new pedagogies to make classes more interactive including use of cases, role plays, group projects and field work in addition to the usual class lectures and assignments. At IMT there is a renewed focus to write and include India-centric cases and the Institute provides support for writing field based cases.

What should the students do aside from the set curriculum?
The transformation of students into professional managers requires a coordinated effort from the B-School as well as the students, their parents and the corporates. In addition to learning from the course curriculum, students should actively engage themselves in business related hobbies and to the extent possible the colleges should facilitate the same. Students can also undertake short term live projects with the cooperation of the colleges or by arranging on their own. Several premier B-Schools today have student clubs that operate mock stock exchange and case writing or case analysis activities, which help in the evolvement of students.

What is do you think about gap years?
More and more of our students are coming with prior work experience, which means they have had a gap of some years between their undergraduate courses and the PGDM/ MBA programme. Such prior experience adds a lot of maturity to students; they learn faster, interact better and have the ability to effectively contribute in class room discussions.

What would you ask a student to choose: passion or profession?
To me it is not a question of choosing between passion and profession. The students must choose both, in the sense that to succeed in their career they must be passionate about their profession. When your profession is your passion, you enjoy doing what you are doing. It is passion WITH profession that is required.

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What is your opinion on gap years?
Taking a gap year is a unique and an individual choice. Students who aren’t aware of what to pursue to have an accomplished career may need an interlude between their education and careers. If one plans to take a gap, invest it in exploring new opportunities.

What do you recommend a student do during a gap year?
Use it as an opportunity to explore potential careers. Vocational education by means of short term courses is the need of the hour. Such courses offer students with practical knowledge and specialised skill-based programmes which help in pursuing a career.

How does taking a gap year affect a student’s lives?
Gap years don’t generally fit well with universities and the corporate world, resulting in students having to clarify their reasons for taking one. Furthermore, it’s easy to lose focus and fall out of the academic routine. Students should analyse their reasons before committing to a gap year as it could have a major impact on their subsequent careers.

What should the students do aside from the set curriculum during school/college?
Today, a graduate degree is the bare minimum requirement. It is important to have a competitive edge which can set you apart over your peers. There are various certification courses that can be looked at – both from a domain and personality grooming perspective.

Have the students evolved over the course of the years? And how have you evolved your teaching style to fit that?
Students these days have become technologically advanced. Every task at hand is expected to have a technological aid to it. Keeping up with the trend, our 21 learning centres are equipped with Wi-Fi enabled classrooms, interactive whiteboards and Virtual Collaborative Interface for e-learning.

MR. DEEPAK LAMBA,
PRESIDENT, TIMES CENTRE
FOR LEARNING LTD.

 

Volume 5 Issue 3

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