“Personally, today I am very happy that what all that I had built for all those years in terms of information, experience helped me to take a decision to get into Career Counselling full time. I have developed a concept called “Family Career Counsellor” just like Family Doctor and it has been well received by parents and students.”
– Dr. Anand Wadadekar
Dr. Anand Wadadekar is the Founder and CEO of Discovering Careers India. He has developed a concept called “Family Career Counsellor” which is being received very well by parents and students alike. He speaks about his career and career counselling in an interview with Amarjeet.
Amarjeet Sharma (AS): Please brief us about your Educational background.
Dr. Anand Wadadekar (Anand): I basically come from a Commerce / Finance background. I am a Commerce graduate, Economics Masters, post graduate in Finance & Banking from Symbiosis B-School Pune. I did my Ph.D. in Education Economics from University of Bundelkhand where my thesis was on higher education in India with reference to employability and its impact on labour market outcome. I also completed Diploma in Information Technology from CDAC, Govt. of India. I also got certified as Mutual Fund Advisor by AMFI. I have done Certificate course in Intellectual Property Laws offered by WIPO, Geneva. Recently I successfully completed Course in Entrepreneurship from University of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) through edX platform.
AS: What has your time as a Career Counsellor meant to you personally and why?
Anand: It means a lot to me. I remember that after passing the XII grade, I started developing a habit to collect information primarily of corporate law, economics, etc. That time I was planning to do Company Secretaryship course. I started reading a lot from newspapers, magazines (internet access was costly and not easily available that time). I used to write Letters to the Editor to TOI, ET, etc. on topics of economics, business, law, etc. and they used to get published. Slowly I also used to gather information about courses. Unfortunately I was never able to get a counsellor to help me decide my career. As I started reading and gathering information, my college and locality friends used to come to me for asking information about courses, institutes, scope, etc. By the time I reached the last year of my graduation, I was known in the college as a source of reliable information and slowly people started trusting me and my knowledge.
I had never thought that for Career Counselling the most important ingredient is of ‘information’. After I graduated, I build my own blog and used to post information about courses, etc. By this time, I started writing articles in newspapers, online newsletters, etc. on varied topics. This helped me build my image also as a subject expert. I used to then guide students online through email. People from all over India started approaching for guidance through Orkut, Facebook, etc. This all started from the year 2005.
Personally, today I am very happy that what all that I had built for all those years in terms of information, experience helped me to take a decision to get into Career Counselling full time. I have developed a concept called “Family Career Counsellor” just like Family Doctor and it has been well received by parents and students. Therefore, as a Career Counsellor it means the world to me and it also enables me to be among the student community, parent community and keep myself fresh and updated.
AS: How did you get into Career Counselling? What interested you into Career Counselling?
Anand: Honestly, getting into career counselling was a gradual process for me. As said above, the habit of collecting information, remembering it and sharing it made me love career counselling. This love increased when I saw that the aspirants I guided actually achieved their success, which is a proof that they trusted, believed and executed my opinion. Formally people started recognizing me as a Career Advisor from 2005.
Till the time became a post graduate, started working in corporate, I used to see many aspirants mis-guided, mis-informed and ultimately take a wrong career decision. Here, I used to talk to them and give them ways, options to get their career on track. Seeing, that aspirants required such guidance, doing career counselling as a profession interested me a lot. The two things which I feel that interests me for doing career counselling is one, there is huge lack of information among aspirants about various career options and second, there are very few real independent career counselors in the society which can give unbiased opinions. This has resulted into colleges and schools inviting me for Career guidance talk every year all over Maharashtra.
AS: Which tools do you use for guiding careers?
Anand: When I began giving guidance, information and counselling to aspirants, I was only aware about IQ / Aptitude tests. Those were paper based that time. There was a misconception that IQ / Aptitude Test is the only test which if done can be a tool to know about a suitable career option. But as I build my experience, my own study and interacting with parents & students, I realised that IQ / Aptitude is not the only criteria for selection of a career option. Then I came to know about Psychometric Tests which is a combination of IQ and EQ.
Now I use CareerGuide’s Psychometric Tests as a starter to my counselling session with aspirants. Category wise psychometric tests by CareerGuide.com are the most effective and reliable. Aspirants tell me that they never imagined that a psychometric test would be so interesting and much more inclusive than normal IQ / Aptitude test.
AS: Why do you think it’s important for students and parents to undergo Career Counselling together?
Anand: It’s very important definitely, the reason being that in India, we have various cultural traditions. Likewise many families follow career traditions as well and very religiously. This gives rise to parental pressure on the child to choose a specific, traditional career option, disregarding any other option even if more suitable to the child or much in demand in the industry. Unfortunately I have seen that parents just send their child for counselling just for the sake of it. May be this is due to their apprehension that they know everything and need not listen to the counsellor. My interaction with hundreds of parents every year, I have found that parents too are completely unaware about the new career options, changing dynamics of the industry and they are much more comfortable in asking their child to select a typical and proven career path. I personally in my counselling sessions, make a compulsion that parents (both of them) must accompany their child. I believe that when both – aspirant and parent – become aware of the career options, about the aspirant’s capability, parents expectation, it can result into a well informed and a strong career decision. This also helps in sorting out parent-child issues, contribute towards building a much more stronger relation between them. I personally try to imbibe the relationship of ‘friendship’ between aspirants and their parents, which does wonders.
AS: What are the top 3-5 skills you should have to become an effective Career Counsellor?
Anand: The top most skill to become an effective Career Counsellor is ability to collect information about career options and ability to relate it to the industry and economy. Other skills which are important are communication skills, listening skills, being unbiased in opinion and being a subject / domain expert. Today, being a good career counsellor is not just about collecting information and reproducing it, but being an industry experienced person is also important. I believe that a person wishing to get into career counselling should have spent a good amount of years working in the industry in a specific domain, which gives him the knowledge about the way industry works which can help him as a value add to his counselling. Today a career counsellor should also make the aspirants aware of the ‘employability’ aspect so that the aspirants know what it needs to become employable.
AS: What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at building a career in Career Counselling industry?
Anand: Career Counselling is the need of the hour and its importance is now being realised by parents and even by Government of India. My advice to the newbies looking at building a career in career counselling is that they should have passion for counselling and extreme urge to help students. Newbies should be very good subject / domain experts primarily. I believe that being a generic counsellor is of no use but being a domain specific counsellor is important. For being a domain specific counsellor one should have relevant qualifications and related industry work experience. They should try to get full knowledge and avoid giving opinions to aspirants on half knowledge.
AS: There are many new career options that have come up over the last decade which was not heard of before, how do you stay updated on the latest trends in Career?
Anand: Staying updated about the education industry and the corporate dynamics is very important to be an effective career counsellor. I personally see to it that I read a lot through blogs, magazines, newspapers, tv, etc. about various career avenues, courses. I have subscribed to few good e-newsletters which give information about education. Every career option is related to the economy of the country, so I see to it that I also gain knowledge about how the economy is performing and the future. Further I always make it a point to keep interacting with all types of people around (through online or in person) and increase my information library.
AS: Which are the Career Information resources (i.e. newsletters/ blogs/ websites/ apps) you visit regularly?
Anand: I am a regular reader of newspapers like Education Times (TOI), The Economic Times, magazines like Advancedge, websites like MBAClubIndia, MBAUniverse, CareerIndia, etc. I am also an article contributor to these newspapers, magazines and websites.
AS: Share the names of 3 people you respect when it comes to Career Counselling?
Anand: Honestly I did not have any person in front of me when I started career counselling. However I respect Dr. Arun Mudbidri (Former Director of Symbiosis B-School Pune) from whom I learnt a lot about skills, employability and student development. Then it is none other than Ms. Surabhi Dewra whom I see as a torch bearer for the career counselling industry.
AS: Would you like to share few words/suggestions about the work we are doing at CareerGuide?
Anand: CareerGuide.com is definitely close to my heart as a career counsellor community and the work which is being done and planned by it is outstanding. As a Career Counsellor, I have high regards for the entire Team CareerGuide.