Couple of weeks ago, a colleague (who seats in next cubicle) and I were having chat about career prospects in India. He joined the company last year as a campus graduate. He completed 4 year engineering course and got his Bachelor’s degree. Like most people from that age group, he wants to study further and do MBA to enhance his career prospect. This is a very common trend. People get their Bachelor’s degree, work for a year or 2, then they go for higher studies. This couple of years of job experience helps them identify field of interest and develop plan for higher studies.

Some people do Masters in their technology or core engineering fields. Some people go for MBA. MBA has multiple options to offer. You can go for Finance, Human Resources or Sales among others. Now a days Engineering as base or launch pad for future career is a common pattern. This has lot of advantages. First and foremost is basic Bachelor’s degree helps with career in Science, Technology and Maths. This is strong base to launch career.

To put things in perspective, let me give you an analogy. In India, white rice is base for exotic cuisine. If you mix appropriate ingredients, you can convert white rice into variety of things. If you add curd to white rice, it becomes curd rice. Add tamarind and you get Pulihara. If you add chicken and spices you get Chicken Biryani. If you mix vegetables, then you get Pulav.

For all practical purposes, Bachelors Degree in Engineering is just like white rice. You can add ingredients of higher studies and you get exotic output. Higher studies after Engineering offers great prospects and opens new career horizons. Slowly, converse is slowly becoming true as well. Just like you can’t survive on white rice, these days survival in job market with just Bachelor’s degree is getting tougher.

I have met couple of people who went to law school after their engineering. It’s an unusual combination than traditional MBA after Engineering. But its a trend that’s likely to grow. Engineering + Law combination offers very interesting career prospect. Law degree on top of Technical Engineering degree helps you have best of both worlds. Certain specialized areas like Intellectual Property need this combined skill set (couple of years ago, I went through patent filing process at work. Our lawyer had Bachelor’s Degree in Tech and then went to law school). Another area where Engineering + Law degree combination is very much in demand is contract negotiations between companies and their suppliers.

This phenomenon of higher studies is not limited to Engineering. Doctors have been doing this for years. In their case, MBBS offers basic Bachelor’s degree. Then you do Masters in field of your choice (or compulsion) and you get specialized Doctor. This practice has resulted in Medical students studying till late 20s or early 30s. With trend of doing higher studies after Engineering, I am afraid Engineer’s are soon going to be in same boat as well….

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