Choose your subjects wisely. Work outside your curriculum. Build your networking and communication skills, advises Dr Tarun Pasricha.
Photograph: Kind courtesy SP Jain School of Global Management*
So you have paid the fees. The semester is about to start.
You are wondering: How do I maximise my Return on Investment (ROI)?
The investment is not only your parent's money or a bank loan. It is the next 3 to 4 years of your life you'll spend in a college.
Here are 10 tips on how to make the most of your undergraduate program.
1. Choose a career stream early on
You must be kidding. Decide my career at 17?
Till a few weeks ago, I didn’t know which UG program to pick and now you are asking me to pick a career?
The reality is that unless you do not have a career goal in mind, you are likely to fritter away your years in college.
But if you are clear what you want to do, you will focus your energies where they matter and single mindedly pursue only those activities which will put you at an advantage in your future career.
2. Pick subjects outside the curriculum
Besides the subjects being taught, see if your college offers opportunities to take additional subjects.
Otherwise enroll yourself for classes outside the college in subjects which will help you in your future profession.
For example, if you want to have a career in Advertising, make sure you enhance your knowledge in such areas as communication and digital marketing.
3. Do lots of projects
Choose an undergraduate school which offers opportunities to do live field projects whether as an assignment in a particular course or as a separate credit course by itself.
Choose the topic of the project in an area which not only interest you but will give you a competitive advantage. For example, we have a Marketing course in the first year of our BBA program and a group project was an assignment for that course.
One team of students decided to study the impact of Jio on Vodafone and Airtel and you can well imagine how interesting (and educative) that exercise was!
4. Develop your personality
An undergraduate program is not just about academics.
The great colleges offers you opportunities to develop your personality. For example, if you are of a shy and retiring nature, taking the lead in making group presentations to the class will help shed your inhibitions.
Participating in debate competitions will further enhance your public speaking skills and confidence.
5. Take advantage of counsellors
The good colleges offer in-house counselling services.
Not only do they provide career advice but also put you through a battery of tests to improve your soft skills.
Personalised, one-to-one consultancy sessions can also be a great away to improve yourself in multiple dimensions.
6. Acquire a global perspective
Choose your UG college wisely and if you can afford it, pick one that offers you an education in multiple campuses around the world.
Study in Dubai, Singapore and Australia, get exposed to diverse cultures and become a global citizen!
7. Develop relationships with faculty
Faculty members love students who express interest in their subject.
If you can impress them, they will go the extra mile, even after class hours, to inspire and impart learning to eager students.
Do remember to make the most of your distinguished faculty.
They will remain your Gurus forever if you develop a good relationship with them.
8. Go for exchange programs
Many colleges offer exchange program where you could spend a semester in another school in Europe, USA and other parts of the world.
A great opportunity to expose yourself to different methods of teaching and take subjects not offered in your home university.
9. Do internships
Don't waste the summer breaks -- intern for a few weeks at an organisation of interest and acquire valuable work experience which will stand you in good stead later on in life.
Most good colleges will offer assistance in landing internship assignments
10. Have fun!
Life is just not about academics. College life is about making new friends and new experiences.
Choose a college which offers you extracurricular activities both in India and abroad.
Have a blast during your undergraduate years!
The author Dr Tarun Pasricha is associate professor of marketing, S P Jain School of Global Management.
*Lead image used for representational purposes only.