Career Counselling – The Missing Link

With overseas Universities offering more than 500 different courses, cost of Education going up to $40,000 per year (Rs 25L per year), there is a significant challenge in selecting the right course which does ultimately help in building a successful career for the student. This is the biggest challenge which the Indian parents face once their kids enter the 8th grade. The question is which course and which faculty ? There have been number of cases within the family that there is a complete breakdown in terms of the Careeer path selected by the student against the Career path selected by their parents. Both may be right or both may be wrong. The challenge is to find the scientific way to find the best suitable career path for the students. Thank God the answer is ‘Yes’ this is where the role of ‘Career Counsellor’ fits in. The job of the Career Counsellor is to understand the personality of the student, match with the interest & aptitude that will lead to the selection of the ‘best’ suitable course for the student. There is the most scientific methodology and let me explain:

Step 1 – MCMF (Personality test)My Choice My Future (MCMF) is a scientific and career guidance solution to help the students  identify the right career path. The test taker obtains tangible insights into dominant career-related personality traits, to make informed and purposive career-related decisions. Parents understand salient aspects of their child’s evolving personality in relation to career interests, and support their child’s personal development and career-related choices. MCMF is developed in collaboration with senior professors and researchers at the Department of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. These tests are ideal for the students from the 8th grade & above. 

Step 2 – CDM (Interest test) – Career Decision Making – Once you go through the personality test, the next step is to match the ‘interest’ of the student with the Career options. This test also helps the Secondary & Higher Secondary School students select the right subject stream in preparation to the career option. Choosing a career or further education linked to one’s ability and values leads to more professional satisfaction in later life. The CDM reports six interest area scores, each corresponding to one of the six RIASEC themes which include:
1) Crafts 2)Scientific  3) Arts 4) Social 5) Business 6) Office 

Ideally this test should be taken in the 9th grade before selecting the key subjects for the 10th grade and above. 

Step 3 – DAT (Aptitude test)  Last step – Differential Aptitude Tests for Guidance – DAT for Guidance assesses eight different types of ability or aptitude of students, which can be related to success in different areas of future employment. The eight aptitude tests that comprise DAT provide an eight- point profile which indicates relative strengths and weaknesses in a student’s key aptitudes relevant for future professional roles. 

The eight abilities assessed by DAT for Guidance are: 

  1. Verbal Reasoning
  2. Numerical Reasoning
  3. Abstract Reasoning
  4. Perceptual speed and accuracy 
  5. Mechanical Reasoning
  6. Space Relations
  7. Spelling Language Usage

This test is ideal for the candidates from 10th grade & above. 

 When you combine all the above three reports the Parents & the Career Counsellor  understand child’s career preferences and capabilities for their preferences. Secondly, the most important, the parents achieve a better financial planning for their child’s education

The days are gone where the choice of a higher education degree or course is, more often than not, influenced by family, friends and significant others. The Career Counsellor plays a crucial role in steering the child in the right direction by helping the child make an intelligent decision by combining the scientific tools assessing his personality strengths with the current work trends and prospective lucrative careers. 


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Return on investment and successful career outcomes are what matter most to Indian students

When it comes to numbers, India is certainly one of the most impressive countries. It has a population of almost 1.25 billion people and – after more than 7 per cent growth in gross domestic profit (GDP) each year for the past 10 years – it is the third largest economy in the world in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). By 2030, the number of urban, middleclass households in India is expected to reach 91 million (up from 26 million currently).

Australian education providers have been visiting India and promoting Australia as a study destination for almost 20 years. The Australian market in India has grown tremendously: from 5,900 students in 2003 to 54,610 students in 2009.

The market took a massive hit with the so-called ‘Indian student crisis’ in 2009-10, but numbers are again on the way up from 5,519 in 2012 to more than 9,000 students in 2013. The way things are, the Indian market for international education in Australia will continue to grow.
Current scenario

Let me try and explain the current scenario and factors that affect students from India.

Bank education loans
Most students who choose Australia as a study destination opt for an education loan to fund their tuition fees and living expenses. Tuition fees currently average A$25,000 (₹14,50,000) per year and living expenses are around A$18,000 (₹10,44,000) each year. A typical Australian bachelor degree requires four years of study or two years for a master degree.

Against the Australian dollar, the Indian Rupee (₹) has depreciated from ₹37 in 2008 to ₹58 currently. Tuition fees, on the other hand, have increased from A$18,500 in 2008 to A$25,000. In the last five years, depreciation is approximately 80 per cent and the fees have increased approximately 30 per cent.

As per the Reserve Bank of India guidelines, students can opt for a maximum education loan of ₹20,00,000 (A$33,900), which is subject to repayment capacity. This does not even cover the first year of tuition fees and living expenses. What’s more, it hasn’t been amended in the last 15 years.

The Association of Australian Education Representatives in India (AAERI) – the peak body of Indian-based representatives of Australian universities – is strongly lobbying the Indian Ministry of Finance to re-look at the current policy and increase the limit to a minimum of ₹30,00,000 (A$51,000) per year.

Visa Grant Rates

From 1 April 2013 to 30 June 2013 the grant rate for offshore (in India) student visa applications was 83.5% up from 51.7% in the same quarter in the previous year (1 April 2012 – 30 June 2012)

Student visa applications granted between 1 July 2012 and 30 June 2013
Indian Citizen (Offshore): 9383
Indian Citizen (Onshore): 15412

Source: Student visa program quarterly report – Quarter ending at 30 June 2013, Department of Immigration and Citizenship

Causes for concern

Is TAFE the neglected child?

TAFE is one of the gems of Australia’s education system, but it has been treated like a neglected child. It has been 10 years since efforts were made to export it to India, but as yet there hasn’t been a successful business model to run collaborative TAFE institutes. India needs more than 11 million vocational skilled professionals per year over the next 15 years, but in the absence of any professional skills training institutes both countries are at a loss.

If current data is anything to go by, the TAFE and non-Government VET sector is bleeding badly. According to the DIAC website, the total number of lodgements under the 572 visa category for India and Nepal is 1,122. This includes 5 per cent lodged offshore and 20 per cent that include a spouse visa. This leaves only 850 visa approvals remaining. India accounts for 80 per cent of these, which is approximately 600 approvals for 572 category visas (TAFE and non-Government VET). There is clearly a case for access to streamlined visa processing (SVP).

Packaged offers

Packaged offers with higher education courses are also cause for concern. After obtaining packaged offers, I have seen a few students who eventually change education providers on completion of their diploma course. Under non-streamlined visa processing, they would in fact never have been granted a visa.

Another concern is the academic progress requirements of English language courses to commence the main course. If a student fails to achieve the required grades and is unable to commence their main course, he/she may wish to change education provider. Under non-streamlined visa processing, they would not have gained any visa access.

The way forward

The Indian market is currently driven by the following key factors:

Against the US dollar, the Indian Rupee has significantly depreciated by 17 per cent in the last six weeks: from ₹55, it is now sitting at ₹65 to the US dollar. Chances are, the Indian rupee will depreciate even further. This creates insecurity in the minds of the Indian students and their families seeking greener pastures. This is a driving force and the pull factor for increasing marketshare of Australian education in India.
Post-study work
The opportunity to find work after study clearly attracts many students. From 2004–2009, international students were often able to find work after study and this had a significant effect on Australia’s student numbers. Canada has offered post-study work since 2008 and its numbers are growing significantly from 2,600 students in 2007 to 13,000 students in 2012.

The big question is, can Australian education providers rely on Government-led ‘post-study work arrangements’ to increase marketshare? Frankly speaking, if post-study work arrangements are stopped today, Australian numbers could fall by approximately 4,000 students a year – this is a 100 per cent decline.

If Australia wants to grow without the blessings of post-study work arrangements, it will need to break down the wall between international offices and careers and employment departments. I’m not suggesting students should have guaranteed jobs, but careers departments would do well to internationalise their focus. They could forge better relationships and connections with Indian companies or other offshore companies to assist students in their search for employment opportunities.

I have seen careers departments at American universities start contacting students about careers fairs and job placements from their first day of enrolment. Indian education providers are similarly proactive with placing their students, which is highly attractive.

The opportunities for careers departments are endless. Some of these include:

  1. Career fairs showcasing Indian companies in Australia and India.
  2. Circulating job announcements from Indian companies to international students studying in Australia.
  3. Promoting internships with Indian companies for the international students in Australia.
  4. Enhancing connections with various Indian Chambers of Commerce on the employment scenario.
  5. Inviting Indian entrepreneurs to inspire students as guest speakers.

There is a growing need to internationalise careers and employment services. If Australian education providers can offer world class careers services, they will have a much greater edge in their promotions and marketing. For a consistent growth that is not dependent on Government-led policy, this is the way forward.


What is Career designing ?

Hello Everyone,
Thank you for your support for the ongoing Take off Education campaign on the Facebook and other social medias. I am in receipt of various feedbacks and from now on every week I will be sharing my thoughts on career designing across various subjects / faculties.
This blog is purely with a view of increasing awareness for the students who are studying and also for the people who are working. Needless to mention that there is no age for learning and Education.
Let me start todays write up by sharing simple FAQ’s……
1. What is career designing ?
Planning your career considering your skills, interest, Education opportunities with future work opportunities.
2. Is Education necessary to progress in life ?
 To progress in life one needs to have a vision and hence Education is necessary.
3. But Education is expensive and hence what are the options ? 
Just like other assets such as shares, real estate, fixed deposits, Gold, provident funds, Education is also an asset which needs investment of time, efforts and resources.
4. Is Education available in India ?
 Any format of Education is good. But how much value it will add will depend upon your short term and long term goals in life.
5. How much resources one needs to consider while evaluating Education options 
 The amount of resources varies from the course & the Education provider the student opts.
6. Is job guaranteed during and after Education ?
 Even today there are online projects (jobs) available on the internet and they pay well too. But whether you qualify to execute the project depends on the skills, Education and past experience.
7. Will Career designing give success in life ? 
 Yes if you are true to yourself and no if you take shortcuts.
8. I have seen lot of people changing careers and why is it so ?
 People who don’t plan careers end up switching professions and valuable time, efforts & resources are wasted. Lack for Career planning / designing is the reason for changing careers and so on.
9. So what do you suggest at the end ?
 Spend time thinking about your future, where you are working with your passion and not due to compulsion.
10. How do I start the process ?
 Contact us on  and we will guide you step by step.

Is online Education the way forward for International students ?

Last few days the media has been quiet busy reporting press releases on the online Education. I am sharing most of the articles and they are:
These are substantial press releases in the world of International Education and such news were non visible a few years ago. One will easily conclude that the future belongs to online / digital Education and to an extent it is true. However, most of the International students may not prefer to study online. This is due to the fact that for an International student studying overseas itself is an experience which gives an exposure to the academic world, different culture, work environment and so on and no technology can replicate that experience. Hence, making future projections of International student online enrolments / assumptions by a few Universities may not be a realistic approach all together.
Online Education is certainly a product for the Indian corporate world which the Universities need to explore more in depth. Indian corporates do spend substantial resources on training and enhancing the skills of its employees.  The ground reality is that corporate market not only requires a serious thought but also requires a new business process of delivering training / skill ehancement and that too at a competative price in India.

Time to change the mindset. Approach towards Jobs needs to be changed.

Who doesn’t want a full time job on graduation ? Frankly, everyone wants it. However, the approach towards employment needs to be changed. Days are gone where graduates would secure a decent job after graduation. I am sharing an article / film / URL have degree, will work which is based on the difficulties international students face in attempting to work.

We are in a global world with borderless economies and hence we at Take off Education (your career designers) believe that careers needs to be designed way ahead at a very young age.  The student needs to focus on short term / long term goals before even selecting the University, course, country of study and so on.

One also needs to work on the back up plan incase if the jobs are not available after graduation. I am sharing popular free lance portal odesk wherein the student can earn decent income during and after graduation too.
Lets not forget that the prime objective of any Education provider / University is to provide Education and not to offer jobs. Though there are many Universities who offer exposure to career fairs and so on but should be considered as a bonus during studies.


Economic Implications and its impact on the demographic of the students community

Changes in the Economic conditions does affect the demographic of the students community in a public University. With the funding cuts from the Govt, more Universities strive to stand on their feet. I am sharing an article which is worth a read US UniversitiesThough it is not true that the Interest of any University is purely financial but the students certainly needs to be aware of this new trend while taking a decision.

International student tuition fees in “Dollars” & “Gold” show inverse relationship

After the Federal reserve announced the QE3 (Quantitative easing), I came across to the bold statement made by Marc Faber (Investment Guru) and he said  “Fed reserve (USA central bank) will collapse the world and don’t save the Gold in USA”. Indirectly he is saying that time has come to shift the assets in Gold and Fed reserve is printing unlimited dollars which will collapse the economy and one day Gold will be the only currency.

 Casey Research said  – The “petrodollar” system was a brilliant political and economic move. It forced the world’s oil money to flow through the US Federal Reserve, creating ever-growing international demand for both US dollars and US debt, while essentially letting the US pretty much own the world’s oil for free, since oil’s value is denominated in a currency that America controls and prints.

Now let’s imagine, if we had a system that the Indian International students can pay the tuition fees by paying ‘Gold’ and not the fiat / paper currency. In such circumstances the tuition fees for an Indian International students in Australia will be the cheapest at this point. Let me explain with the help of the below table:


Avg Tuition Fees

Avg Exchange Rate

Avg Fees in

Avg Gold

Price per KG

Avg Tuition

Increase in


AUD$ equivalent

Indian Rupees

in India

Fees per

Money supply

HE courses

Indian Rupees

/KG of Gold

US$ (trillions)



C = (A*B)


E = C / D

Base money

















































































































unlimited supply

Exchange rate –
Gold prices –
Tuition fees – past Take off Education offer letters
USA money supply –

Some signification observations from the above table are:

  • International student tuition fees in terms of ‘Gold’ – Today the cost of an annual tuition fees if quoted in Gold is equivalent to 430 grams. In the year 1997 it was 650 grams and in the year 2003 it was 1130 grams. This proves the fact that the cost of Education in Australia has not gone up at all. It is the monetary policy which has failed to take the correct economic decisions which has resulted in the loss of purchasing power of the Indian rupee.
  • International student tuition fees in terms of ‘Indian Rupees’ – In terms of Indian rupees the annual tuition fees in the year 1997 was approx Rs 310,000 which has now climbed to Rs 13,30,238 currently. The increment (inflation) is approx 22% cumulative every year. The Indian Govt still announces the official rate of inflation at 10.03%. It is no longer true as the figures don’t match at all.
  • Exchange rate – In the year 1997 the exchange rate to an Australian dollar was Rs 27.01 and today it is Rs 55.03. India’s fiscal deficit is approx 4% of the GDP, growing population, growing demand, growing gap in rich & poor, lack of competitive Education, lack of productive work population, slow growth of exports and slow economic reforms has resulted in the loss of purchasing power of the Indian rupee.
  • Australian Dollars tuition fees – In terms of the Australian dollar, the tuition fees for higher education has gone up from average AUD$ 11,500 per year in the year 1997 to average AUD$ 24,180 currently. Historically the Australian inflation from 1973 to till date has been approx 5.73%.

A few interesting questions

  •  What is the relationship between US$ money supply, price of Gold and the exchange rate ?

As the US$ money supply increases via quantitative easing the price of Gold appreciates against the US$. Depreciated US$ increases the demand for the crude / oil and the petro dollar appreciates which leads to inflation and the commodity prices go up. In return, India will pay a lot more for importing crude, oil and commodities and hence the inflation goes up. This leads to depreciation of an Indian Rupee against the US$ and the Australian dollar. Hence, the Indian rupee has depreciated from Rs 27 in 1997 to Rs 55 currently. Now with Fed reserve (USA central bank) printing unlimited currency the Indian Rupee will depreciate further against the US$ and the Australian dollar. This will make the cost of Australian Education for an Indian student more unaffordable.

  • How does the US$ money supply impact the Indian students ?

Traditionally Indians don’t sell gold. Most of the resources are invested in Indian rupees (assets) and are not hedged against the US$ money supply. As the Indian rupee depreciates the cost of Education in Australia becomes more expensive.

  • What are we trying to prove at the end ?

There is a significant correlation between US$ money supply, Gold prices and the impact on the Education Industry. As the US$ supply goes up the Gold prices go up and the Indian assets (spending capacity) don’t increase in that proportion.

Bottom line – US$ money supply causes structural damages to paper based wealth. History has taught us that paper currencies will come and go but Gold hold’s value and have preserved wealth for over 5,000 years.

QE3 and its impact on the Education Industry

What is QE? QE stands for quantitative easing which in simple terms means increasing the money supply from the thin air. On the 13th September, Federal reserve (American central bank) announced the third QE. As per the announcement the Federal reserve will increase the unlimited money supply to reduce the unemployment and to boost the economy & growth.

How does this announcement affect the Education Industry ? Well let me share the simple economic data / mechanism under which the global economy operates.

  • US$ is termed as the worlds ‘reserve currency’ since 1944. It meant that US Govt guaranteeing other central banks that they could sell their US dollars reserves at a fixed rate of gold. As a result Japan and a few European countries devalued their currency in order to boost exports and development.
  • On the 15th Aug, 1971 President Nixon ended the direct convertibility of the dollar to Gold. As a result the US Govt could print as many US$ required to boost the economy.
  • In 1973 the US$ was also termed as ‘petrodollar’ meaning that all crude / oil transactions will be termed in US$ meaning ‘petro dollar’. This resulted increase in demand of the US$ in the world.

Let me also share the National statistical data of various countries as on today:

  Inflation Interest rate Population (million) GDP (billion US$) GDP growth Govt debt / GDP
USA 1.70% 0.25% 311 15,094 1.70% 103%
Australia 1.20% 3.50% 22.62 1,371.62 0.60% 22%
UK 2.60% 0.50% 62.64 2,431 -0.50% 85.70%
NZ 1.00% 2.50% 4.40 142.48 1.10% 37%
Canada 1.30% 1.00% 34.48 1,736.05 0.50% 85%
India 7.55% 8.00% 1,241 1,847 0.80% 68.05%

(source – trading economies)

As on today US$ is not backed by any security or the gold and hence any increase in supply of US$  has the following effects:

  • Increase in spending (short term)
  • Boost in the economy (short term)
  • Appreciation in the stock market (short term)
  • Increase in prices (long term). This results in higher inflation in the world.
  • Devaluation of dollar (both short and long term)
  • Increase in Gold prices (both short and long term)

I am of the very firm view that there needs to be a balance in printing more currency and reducing the unemployment. Based on the above inputs, my forecasts are:

  • UK pound, Canadian dollar, NZ dollar and the Australian dollar will appreciate against Indian rupee and the cost of Education will also increase in the U.K, Canada, NZ and Australia and it is due to increase in supply of US$.
  • Indian rupee will depreciate drastically and this is due to high inflation, low GDP growth, high fiscal deficit, high debt / GDP and increase in US$ supply.

Based on the above forecast the Indian students will find even more expensive to study overseas and there will be a point where the parents would prefer to invest the resources in Gold rather than Education.


India needs 600 more Universities and 50,000 colleges

“Foreign Education bill” put in backburner due to resistance. The HR Minister  – Kapil Sibal blames opposition for holding up Education reforms

The minister says: