Career Counseling Session

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EME ALUMNI: for De-27 Electrical,
Venue: Lecture Hall (EE dept),
Date: 17November, 2008)
Speaker: Mr. Afnan Ahmad (De-18 Elec)
(Manager, Core Network Optimization, Telenor Pakistan)
Background
The meeting was arranged by SNS Faizan Razzaq (27 EE) on the platform of career counseling (C-3, initiated by shahid habib khan 26 EE). The meeting was a result of the continuing efforts of students of 27 EE for utilizing the alumni platform to the maximum benefit of the sophomores.

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Details of Session

Mr. Afnan Ahmad started the presentation by throwing some thought provoking questions at the students. He stressed out that start of professional career must be well planned and focused. Each student must know his/her talents and must have a plan about future direction.

Be selective in your career interests
It was stressed out that knowing the company one is applying to is a pre-requisite for all job tests/interviews. The students were told to apply in job openings in which they are really interested. The tough competition and limited number of job openings demands a high degree of planning and organization on the part of the students.

Be good at studies, projects and relations
Students were stressed to utilize their potential to the maximum. It was highlighted that students graduating from their college hardly appreciate the potential of the links and associations with seniors and faculty. Recommendation letters and appreciations from professors, Hod’s and people who know you are a powerful succeeding in professional career. Those who appreciate this potential can really build on it and prosper. This all discussion was followed by a categorical statement that GPA does matter: it is the first filtering criterion in job applications. Students must pay consideration to choose their final year project of their own interest. They must be specific in the scope of their project. Doing a project because it has been assigned to you is not the right attitude. Moreover, if the final year project is related to the field of your interest (with regards to career) it will improve your chances to get a job.

Take the job applications seriously
Mr. Afnan shared his experiences of interviews and hiring with the students and told them to be serious in their job applications. Resumes forwarded to a list of companies are the first ones to be discarded! For every job opening one must make a custom resume and attach a befitting cover letter. Blank emails are mostly ignored; however, the email text must not be excessively long either. The projects or work experience related to job opening must be highlighted properly in the email also.
The resume must consist of particular details and must reflect different dimensions of your personality. Each company has different demands and the resume must be tailored accordingly. (e.g. an R&D company will be more interested in your projects as compared to a company which is hiring for management vacancies). Email IDs must consist of your name; emails from weird/ridiculous IDs are not entertained (since they reflect your personality in a negative manner).

Choices of Career
Mr. Afnan presented several job prospects in front of the students:

  • Research and development / Software Houses
    Project and/or Product based companies
    Project based companies are those which work on projects (for others) and get their revenue out of them. Working in these has an inherent risk. If the country is in disaster, projects will be hard to get and thus financial condition of company will not be good. Software houses generally fall into this category.
    While product based companies are those which have their work developed into a finished product and they design, implement and sell their product. These companies are more financially stable.
    Pro’s
    · Excellent learning opportunities
    · Experience is a plus for graduate schools
    · Usually, casual atmosphere and these days, they are stable compared to telecom companies
    Con’s
    · Unstable due to shortage of financing. (smaller companies)
    · Public sector organizations are not good pay masters.
    · Growth is subject to graduate qualifications.
    Examples
    CARE, And/Or Logic, PalmCHIP, NESCOM (NDC/AWC/PMO), LMKR, Elixir, DPS, NCR/Teradata
    Mr. Afnan further added that if someone gets a job in NDC, PMO etc and has got some interest for research too…he will certainly recommend him to join. These defense related RnD institutes offer pay scales better than government but are somewhat lesser than that of private companies. However he quoted example of an eminent Mr. Abubakr who won tamgha-i-imtiaz for in recognition of his work to highlight the bright prospects of getting recognition on genuine work.

  • Academia
    Be specific
    Doing masters and PHD and then joining academia as a teacher is certainly not a bad option! Payscales are good and the R&D element comes as a bonus. However students must be specific in applying abroad too. They must specifically know which companies they are aiming at and which universities are favored for hiring by specific companies. e.g Those interested in communication must know which universities in Sweden are preferred by Ericson and for electronics and controls, students must know which universities can improve their chances of getting admission in Siemens in Germany.
    Mr. afnan stressed that students must know specifically for what they want to pursue for masters: Telecommunication industry doesn’t need masters at all in Pakistan!
    Use the resources well
    Mr. Afnan also told the students that in his view those going abroad for studies must use their research contacts well. They must try to find jobs or do research after studies so they do not have to start afresh when they return Pakistan (since masters alone is not much valued for jobs here). Examples of Dr. Shoab Khan, Dr. Mudassir, Dr. Muid Mufti, Dr. Mojeeb and Dr. Maud were quoted. Most of them are either running their own R&D companies or doing consultancy, all because of their research contacts abroad.
    Pro’s
    · Provide good careers in academia in Pakistan.
    · May open R & D companies in Pakistan e.g. CARE
    · Government scholarships available
    · Preference in public sector jobs
    · Excellent career opportunities abroad
    Con’s
    · Doing only MS is not a recommended option for most jobs in Pakistan.
    · Opportunity cost for MS+PhD is very high
    EMEnents in top colleges:
    MIT, Michigan, Ann Arbor, Stanford, USC, Georgia Tech, KTH(Sweden), Oxford, K JIST(Korea: Daewoo, Honda, Samsung are Korean) KFUPM (pays students for studying there!), HUT

  • Service Industry
    All the industry that provides services is called service industry i.e. telecom, oil and gas etc
    Service Industry is more interested in your presentation skills, co-curricular activities, management skills, interpersonal relations etc. rather than loads of technical knowledge alone. This industry requires MBA at specific stage of career (not in all cases, doing MBA directly after graduation is discouraged). People who have multidimensional personalities fit well.
    Pro’s
    · Excellent career gr

    owth opportunities (not applicable to Telecom: its saturated)
    · Job security
    · Excellent pay masters
    · Highly paid consultancy jobs available
    Con’s
    · Strong communication & presentation skills required for growth.
    · MBA is required at some stage.
    Companies
    Siemens, Motorola, Ericsson, Nortel, Huawei, Mobilink, Ufone, WorldCALL, MOL, Shell, Tullo , Orient, Petroleum, PTCL/NTC, Toyota/Honda

  • Production Industry
    Automobile, Electrical Appliances, Fertilizer companies fit here. These companies have much less glamour (in terms of packages) and very often the engineers have to work in remote areas.

Points to Ponder

• What makes you special? Why graduates from EME? Why you?
• In whichever field you work in, strive to be in the top 10%.
• Take your studies & CGPA seriously. Get guidance from alumni and guide your juniors correctly.
• Join the EME Alumni e-group (on yahoo groups) to be part of the EME grad community (EME_Alumni)

Mr. Afnan told the students that they must be in top 10% people in whatever they do. If they are not in the top 10% they will be the first ones to lose their jobs if companies start lay-off. Not being in top 10% also reflects that either you have made a wrong choice of field or you are non-serious.

Students were stressed to be smart and organized since the lack of openings, only allows the survival of the fittest!

In Q&A session Mr. Afnan told the students that sports, extra-curricular activities and management experiences also count in the job interviews. Therefore the students need to have an all round personality. Having the best of grades and co-curricular activities as well, is the best thing you can have on your resume.

Documented by: Muhammad Uzair Sukhera (De-27 EE)

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