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Career counselling: questions and answers

Monday, Jun 17, 2024

Q1: Dear Mr Abidi, I completed a BSc (Hons) in Genetics in 2021 and an MPhil in Genetics in 2022. I worked as a Research Associate at the HEJ Research Institute of Chemistry, University of Karachi, in the Biotechnology Wing/Tissue Culture for a year, focusing on the Hybrid Rice Seed Production Project, but I was not satisfied. I resigned and am now planning to pursue a PhD in Crop Breeding and Genetics in China on a scholarship. Should I pursue this PhD or gain more experience in the field? I would appreciate your advice. (Anam Batool, Abbottabad)

Ans: Dear Anam, if you have the opportunity to receive a scholarship in China for research in crop breeding, it would be an excellent path to pursue. Focus on areas related to crop-specific industries and explore Chinese universities conducting research in interbreeding (crossbreeding). Plant breeding involves a variety of techniques, from selecting plants with desirable traits for propagation to advanced molecular methods. Modern plant breeding often uses molecular biology to introduce desirable traits into plants. This advanced approach can significantly enhance your research and career opportunities.

Q2: Dear sir, after completing my BA in Political Science and Journalism, I want to pursue further studies. But I am unsure which field to choose. I am interested in IT but doubt my ability to excel in it. Could you please advise me on a suitable field of studies? (Musna Iqbal, Multan)

Ans: Dear Musna, Political Science, Journalism, and International Relations are rapidly emerging fields with numerous postgraduate sub-specialisations. Thorough research is essential to find your niche within this vast social sciences domain. As a woman, you have excellent scholarship opportunities in Women’s Studies, Gender Studies, and Poverty Reduction, and organisations like the World Bank, United Nations, and UNESCO frequently hire specialists in these areas. Additionally, all fields increasingly require IT skills, so you can leverage your interest in IT to enhance your career prospects.

Q3: Sir, I am currently pursuing a BS in Criminology from the University of Sindh. I am interested in joining the Armed Forces. What is the future scope of my studies? Is it suitable for CSS or PCS? Please guide me on the best study area for my career. (Ali Kirmani, Karachi)

Ans: Dear Ali, joining the Armed Forces is independent of your degree subject. It involves a competitive selection process known as the ISSB, followed by an interview and medical examination, where intelligence and physical fitness are crucial. The CSS, on the other hand, is a competitive exam you can take after completing your degree. For CSS, you need to choose a specialist subject and optional subjects from a comprehensive list. It requires proficiency in English, as well as knowledge of current affairs, international relations, basic science, and mathematics. While a degree in Criminology does not directly help with CSS or entry into the army, it can be part of your broader educational background.

Q4: Dear Mr Abidi, I completed a BSc (Hons) in Agricultural Engineering in 2021 and am currently working as a SESE (BPS-14). I want to pursue further studies, but I am unable to attend regular classes for an MS in the same field. How can I complete my master’s degree while continuing my job? (Usman Asghar, Lahore)

Ans: Dear Usman, you should check with universities to see if they offer part-time MPhil or research programmes in Agricultural Sciences. If not, consider degrees in Management Sciences or Economics related to Agriculture, which you can pursue in the evening. Additionally, after gaining two or more years of work experience, consider doing an MBA. This could significantly enhance your career progression within your department.

(Syed Azhar Husnain Abidi is a renowned educationist in Pakistan, with more than 20 years of experience as provider of education counselling services. He has represented Pakistan in over 100 national and international seminars, conferences and fora. He is a recipient of the most coveted civil award Tamgha-e-Imtiaz).