Saturday, March 31, 2012

M.Sc Biotechnology students-sob for a job! :)

“What do you want to do on completion of this course?” is a question asked by many. It’s very difficult to answer that question! It’s because there’s always a difference between what we want to do, what we end up doing and what we actually get. If you ask a kid what he or she wants to become in life, the answer will be clear (doctor, engineer or pilot) initially, but will change with time. Situations can make one change one’s goals suddenly. For instance, one might have had a childhood dream of becoming an astronaut, being fascinated by stars and wanting to explore outer space. But with time and growing levels of sense, practicality and maturity, one becomes down-to-earth and probably settles for a more attainable, softer option such as investment banking. It’s been no different for me. I have had wacky goals of becoming a teacher of social science, then an astronomer and a bike racer! J

But I gave up on those dreams, as they were not feasible to be followed considering my impulsive temperament and my awareness levels those days. I became interested in life sciences when I was in the eleventh grade (as I did well in a nationwide Biotechnology Olympiad). I decided that biotechnology would be a suitable career option for me. The thought of modifying DNA to heal the world seemed amazing to me. My dream company was Genentech, a San Francisco-based biotech firm. I thought biotechnology could make a better impact than information technology in any way. I wanted to join VIT University and pursue its well-known B.Tech programme in biotechnology. But sadly, my VITEEE-2008 rank (5327) wasn’t enough, though I had been called for counselling. I had done better in VITEEE compared to other engineering entrance exams. I was left with 2 options: To pursue a B.Sc in life sciences at St Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad or the newly introduced 5-year integrated M.Sc programme in Biotechnology offered by VIT University, Vellore. I opted for the latter, thinking it’d be an excellent alternative to the B.Tech programme offered by VIT.

Three and a half years later, looking at the final year B.Tech Biotechnology students getting placed or coming to Vellore for their reviews, I feel a better VITEEE rank would have made a significant difference. Placements are assured for B.Tech Biotechnology students, as the course is well-known and established. It’d have been really different if Maaruthy, Mayur and Anchit had been my classmates, though there’s no shortage of creative people in my class such as Deeptiman, a fellow blogger. I can’t understand why M.Sc Biotechnology students aren’t given priority for placements. I feel a plethora of subjects, ranging from modern physics to environmental health, is covered in the curriculum. But why we can’t intern at ISRO or a pollution control agency (just because it’s mentioned that M.Sc Biotechnology students are not eligible?) Not everyone can pursue a PhD after an M.Sc, owing to financial or other constraints. Pursuing an MBA after an M.Sc may raise a lot of questions, as an additional investment has to be made, for yet another Masters degree! Cognizant can hire M.Sc Chemistry graduates but why not M.Sc Biotechnology graduates (in the life-sciences department)? This was something I got to know from a classmate of mine, Kshitija. What do M.Sc Biotechnology students lack which other graduates apparently have? Nothing! It’s not industry-specific skills (M.Sc Biotechnology students have had more rigorous laboratory sessions than B.Tech students-who have readymade culture media provided for ease in performing experiments and reporting results.) It’s really sad, considering M.Sc Biotechnology students spend 5 years learning and trying to apply what’s been learnt, yet falter when it comes to employability in the global scenario.

I agree it’s a competitive world out there, where the ascent up the corporate ladder is full of people waiting to pull you down. So go ahead, do what it takes to get that dream job, as you are different from others. Looking at your CV, recruiters should feel you're different. You can be a successful person with a good job amidst a crowd of others. It is sad that engineering and medicine rule the roost as the most popular careers in India, apart from management, civil services, chartered accountancy and banking. There are other options in sectors like hospitality and hotel management, but they’re not popular owing to lack of awareness. Moreover, a doctor or engineer still commands respect in society, as pay packets are good despite the recession. I got to know from today’s newspaper that a B.Tech student of NIT-Allahabad got a mind-boggling offer from Facebook. No wonder M.Sc students turn green with envy. Now I feel it’s worth dropping a year after school, to pursue a B.Tech degree after slogging for engineering entrance tests. Siddhant (a B.Tech Biotechnology student) couldn’t pursue a career in medicine. But he decided to make the best of whatever he got. He stood first in his batch and went to Imperial College, London for his final semester project.

I hope an apparently underestimated course such as M.Sc Biotechnology gets recognized not merely in society, but in terms of employability as well. It’ll be justified if some people such as professors dare to venture into entrepreneurship and generate new avenues (in terms of employment) in different sectors for M.Sc Biotechnology students.    


  1. yeah! amazing one! hope we could mail this to chancellor :D

  2. nice one ak..but nce u stop by nd try thinking y u joined this course..i m a firm believer of the supreme power of knwledge nd skil...if u nvr had a slight inclinatn say towards computer programming do you think you could survive long in sector with satisfactory pay scale...even now you have option to join some free finishing schools, prove that you are concrete at basic knowledge of your field and you would surely find yourself a job comparable to what mass recruiters offer..every field has something to serve to the society..we are being trained to develope not follow..we are here to optimise stuffs for people to follow..I completely agree with you that we don't deserve to be treated with difference on a negative perspective..even we would like to earn few coins right after our education that I would say that we just have a taken a bit more difficult path ...well that's a drawback of our education system...a small suggestion ..consider yourself lucky that we are professionals of a field which is mandatory to human survival as the things are taking shape..and respecting this importance we gotto be terrific in executing our job...and for that we are spending more goes without saying that you do need hell lot of patience support from family and friend..I tell you go the long run you will be super satisfied with you status and contribution to the society..again just be more sure and firm of what you want and how you approach it!

  3. well... expressed ...
    And I feel that M.Sc Physics people are also in the same poise..
    Though you don't have many people pursing B.Tech/M.Tech Physics.

  4. I guess, the M.Sc in every field are in the same phase.. nicely written ak!

    1. and thanks for tagging me in the league of creative people, much appreciated! :D we missed you at tennis today btw.. next Saturday, again? And one thing I forgot to mention.. there is a very basic difference between the B.Techs and the M.Scs - M.Sc have a faaaar greater understanding of the subject, far greater knowledge.. but the B.Techs have the flexibility and application that most of us, sometimes, even the toppers of our class, lack..

  5. Why dont you mail it to the right person concerned? Our Chancellor. But nicely written. As far as i know for Biotech, companies dont come recruit in bulk as in with consultancies. We guys are more scruitinized both for as well as

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  7. True fact,nicely said man! Companies don't care for msc biotech students they all want btech's but the actual fact is that msc students have got more experience and basically a depth in knowledge.

  8. HI. Nicely written Ajay. I had lots of dilemma between B.Tech and MSc Bio-tech. Your blog gave a lot of clarity. Are you placed now in any company? What are your further plans?

  9. Even i have joined the same group in the same University. I am a first year student.
    Even i happened to feel what u felt in the first two months itself !
    kind of feeling fed up.

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