Between degrees, youngsters opt for ‘work ex’

June 13th, 2009 - 11:55 am ICT by IANS  

By Vaishali Bhambri
New Delhi, June 13 (IANS) Standing at a crossroads eight years ago, 29-year-old Ramneek Khullar decided to take a break from studies after graduation and “experience” some real work - as a sales executive with a private bank. The decision paid off.

“I wanted to gain some experience before doing post-graduation. I took a break for two years and then did my MBA,” said Khullar, who is now working with the Citi Group’s finance division as a branch manager in Gurgaon.

“My two years of work experience with Citibank not only gave me an edge over others when I went for the MBA interview but I also got a promotion with Citibank,” Khullar told IANS.

These days many undergraduates feel taking a break from studies gives them an edge when they actually seek a job because of their “hands-on knowledge”.

Career counsellor Jayanti Ghose said taking a year’s break is a concept from the West that is now being adopted by Indians.

“It has become a trend to take a year’s break after graduation. Until a few years ago, this concept was very popular in Western countries but now is a hit here too,” Ghose added.

Ghose told IANS: “Many students are not sure of the field in which they want to pursue a post-graduation degree. So I often tell them to work for a year or two. This not only puts some work experience in their pocket but also broadens their horizon and helps them find their field of interest.”

For many, taking a break from studies means some time to relax and earn some money.

“I want to work for a year because I desperately need a break from studies. I think it will give me a chance to roam around and relax,” says Saanya Khanna, a final year English student.

The 21-year-old is not only relaxing at home after her examinations, learning aerobics, but also writes occasional articles for fashion magazines to earn some extra money.

“I want to become a full-time writer later. The one-year gap would give me the much-needed experience. The money is also good,” she said.

Teena Jha, a journalism graduate, feels: “I think, with a strong portfolio, one stands a better chance than other candidates at an interview. I have just completed my graduation in journalism and I plan to work.”

According to career counsellor Pervin Malhotra, director of Career Guidance India, many students come to her every year after their graduation.

“Taking a break and going for a job will certainly give an edge to a student who wants to do an MBA. But if one wants to pursue a masters degree in disciplines like English, history or sociology, work experience will not be of any help,” Malhotra said.

Rachit Puri, a second year student of the Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology, an engineering college under Delhi University, has already made plans for dropping a year before he pursues a post-graduation degree in business administration.

“I want to take a break for a year or two before I sit for the entrance exams of various MBA institutes. I want to utilise this time to prepare for entrances and also learn some new software and programmes because there is a new invention every day in the IT industry,” he said.

Mehak Sharma said she was in a dilemma after she completed her graduation.

“I was confused about what subject I should do my masters in. So I took a break. Now, I have decided to pursue a diploma course in travel and tourism.” She reached this decision after working with a private airline for a year as a phone operator.

Rahul Duggal, a graduate in bio-chemistry, worked with a research centre for over a year and now wants to take up research methodology as a subject.

“Just imagine, if I had not worked, I would not have realised what I enjoy most. Thank god, I decided to take a break and work. I now know what I want in life,” he said.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at

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