Careers: Visibility is not the only problem

One of my assumptions about career design lays shattered today. I thought that students do not have visibility into their next career spaces, and that is why there is so much confusion in the careers area.

However, after reading this post by Rashmi Bansal, it’s not just career visibility that is the problem, but also something else. In the post Rashmi has put down her conversation with an ambitious fellow. This fellow is an engineer (aren’t they all!!) working in an IT MNC firm (you knew this would be there) and wanting to work in a finance role such as i-banking or analyst (surprise, surprise). For this purpose, he has done enough research on the pros and cons of giving the CAT, doing an MS from IIT Madras and doing a PhD from a US University.

The boy has done his research, at one point Rashmi tells him to do give the CAT and to do an MBA from the IIMs; to which the boy replies that he wishes to do a PhD due to a demand-supply difference in the no. of PhD students v/s the no. of IIM grads.

All said and done, the boy is still in a quandary and hell bent on doing a PhD. Interestingly enough, all his choices can get him there. So the visibility is not stopping him, then what is? It’s fear.

Fear of making the wrong choice. He wants to foist off the choice making to someone has informed as Rashmi Bansal. In his latest book, even Seth Godin has touched upon this point. It’s fear that makes us fit in. Here the boy is talking about PhD because less people are doing it, but he is afraid of fitting in – because if he makes the wrong choice, then he will be singled out.