Career counselling: questions and answers

December 04, 2023

Q1: Dear Mr Abidi, after a B.A in Political Science and Journalism, I want to study further, but am confused about which field to choose. My interest is in IT but I think I can’t be good in IT. Please advise a suitable field of study for me. (Areeba Mukhtar, Multan)

Ans: Dear Areeba, Political Science, Journalism, and International Relations are very emerging areas. Each has a sub-specialism when you wish to do a post-graduation. However, you would need to thoroughly do your research if you want to become part of this huge social sciences domain. As a female, you have great opportunities to find scholarships as a social scientist in either Women Studies, Gender Studies, or Poverty Reduction and most INGOs and institutions like World Bank, the United Nations, and UNESCO tend to hire such specialists. All areas of studies nowadays require the support of IT, therefore you can still use your interest in IT to move forward.

A woman speaks while pointing to a board a s a man listens during a professional interaction in this representational image. — Unsplash/File

Q2: Dear sir, I have done BSc (Hons) in Genetics in 2021 and MPhil in Genetics in 2022. I have worked as Research Associate at H.E.J Research Institute of Chemistry, University of Karachi for 1 year in the Biotechnology Wing/Tissue Culture. I was working on a Hybrid Rice Seed Production Project but I was not satisfied. I resigned from the job and now I am planning to do a PhD in Crop Breeding and Genetics from China on scholarship. Kindly suggest to me which subject I choose for my PhD or if I should work in a related field more or pursue and avail the opportunity for PhD. (Mugheera Gull, Abbottabad)

Ans: Dear Mugheera, if you are getting an opportunity of scholarship in China for your research in Crop Breeding, this would be an ideal opportunity. I suggest you explore the most relevant areas relating to the crop-specific industries. I would also recommend that you explore the universities in China that are doing research in interbreeding (crossing). Latest technologies are being implied within the genetics domain and more modern plant breeding through molecular biology to insert desirable trades into plants.

Q3: Dear Mr Abidi, I am doing a BS in Criminology from the University of Sindh. I am interested in joining the Armed Forces. What is the scope of my study in the future? Is it suitable for CSS or PCS? Please guide me to the best study area for going forward. (Dilawar Abbas Shah, Karachi)

Ans: Dear Dilawar, joining the Armed Forces has nothing to do with your graduation or your degree subject area. This is a competitive selection board known as ISSB which is followed by your interview and medical examination etc. They require intelligence along with physical fitness to accept you in the Army. CSS on the other hand is also a competitive exam but once you have done your degree, you should appear in their exams which is mainly with one specialist subject area and you need to choose optional subjects from a long list. CSS requires a high degree of English language proficiency, knowledge on current affairs, international relations, basic science and mathematics etc. Therefore a Criminology degree is not something that directly goes to help towards your CSS or getting into the Army.

Q4: Dear sir, I have completed BSc (Hons) in Agricultural Engineering in 2021 and now I am working in the Punjab Education Department as a SESE (BPS-14). I want to study further, but I can’t take regular classes for MS in the same field. Please guide me on how I can complete my Masters along with my job. (M. Karamat Mughal, Lahore)

Ans: Dear Mr Mughal, I think you will have to check with the university if they can allow you to take a part-time MPhil or research in your area of Agricultural Sciences. If not, then there are several degrees in Management Sciences or Economics that are related to Agriculture, which you can choose and take up in the evening. Once you have worked for two or more years, it would also be good to consider doing an MBA. This may help you in your 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).