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Dated 17th Dec 2003

What is the difference between M.S. and Ph.D.?

HEMA R

Orissa

An MS programme prepares students for immediate placement into the workforce as professionals. Typical programmes include coursework and perhaps a comprehensive exam or a thesis, and will take between one and two years to complete.

The Ph.D. programme, oAn the other hand, is based entirely on research, and works to increase the current body of knowledge in such a way as to benefit society. The first two years are dedicated to learning the foundations of the course and in developing an area of specialisation. The remaining years are dedicated to research and dissertation.

How do I send a formal thank you letter to an interviewer?

SHANMUGA RAJA

Chennai

You can choose between an email thank you note and a more formal mail through the postal service. Thank the interviewer for meeting you. Express your enthusiasm about gaining employment in the organisation. Reiterate your qualifications for and continuing interest in the position. Include any personal skills you may have forgotten to mention during your interview.

Emphasise a particular skill or accomplishment that would make you an asset as an employee. Towards the end,briefly thank the interviewer again for his consideration. Express confidence in your ability to be a good performer and of how you could fit well in the organisation. State that you look forward to hearing from the interviewer and give a specific date if you plan to follow up with a phone call.

Please tell me about job opportunities arising after the completion of a course in shoe designing.

EHTISHAM

Kerala

Designers can work with footwear companies as technical designers and stylists. While technical designers train themselves in pattern making, cutting, and designing, stylists are responsible for updating the product in fashion and style. Leather garment production houses and boutiques also employ designers. Established designers hire junior designers to work with them.

On gaining sufficient experience, one can also set up a unit for production and marketing of leather-based products. As far as career growth and progression is concerned, it is purely performance based and there is no limit to what one can achieve.

What are the career prospects for a market researcher?

RAJESH

Kerala

As a market researcher, you will work with other researchers. You will be involved in drafting proposals describing how the market research will be carried out and in dealing with volumes of data. Some companies and organisations, particularly well established ones, have their own market research departments, and employ researchers. Others use specialist market research companies and agencies to undertake research for them. You can find employment with the government, consultancies, advertising, NGO's, marketing firms etc.

I want to know how to prepare for a GD (Group Discussion) when we go for MBA admissions.

KARTHIK

Coimbatore

Be as natural as possible. Do not try and be someone you are not. A group discussion is your chance to express your views and be heard. Take time to think of what you are going to say, preferably jotting a few points as this could help you create the right framework for your discussion.

If you have any doubts regarding the subject or about what another team member has said, ask for clarification. In an open discussion it is always possible to gain attention if you give valuable insights. The marks you score depend not only on your verbal communication, but also on your non-verbal skills. Be assertive but not dominating. Try to maintain a balanced tone in your discussion and analysis. Don't take discussions personally.

Try to avoid usage of phrases like: `I strongly object' or `I disagree'. Motivate other members of the team to speak and listen to their views. Be receptive to others' opinions and do not be uncompromising.

Apart from the above, you will also be judged for alertness and presence of mind, problem-solving abilities, ability to work as a team without alienating certain members, and your creativity.

Don't be disheartened if you do not do well in your first group discussion. The best possible preparation for a group discussion is to learn from your past mistakes.

How do you handle questions about a career/ job shift during an interview?

MURTY

Mumbai

This is one of the most common interview questions and you need to be careful about how you handle it. Sound positive about your past experiences. Nobody wants to hire a person who complains about past employers. Attempt to keep your response non-committal. Talk about why it was time to move on, that you learned a lot, and required more challenging opportunities to grow, etc.

The FAQ column deals with career concerns addressed to C&K Management Ltd, Po Box 2178, Secunderabad 500003 or emailed to faqs@cnkonline.com

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