January 12, 2016, by rajeshramesh

The Red Pill or the Blue Pill? How I Chose My Postgraduate Course

By Rajesh Ramesh, student blogger

Red or blue? When Morpheus poses this question to Neo in The Matrix, it introduces the theme of choice. If you hold a bachelors degree – or will do soon – you will probably have much more than two options to consider when it comes to your future! 

Choosing the right postgraduate course is an art form, and for an electrical engineer like me, my inspiration and passion for what I do, a well-researched set of options, timely guidance from senior friends and colleagues, and a bit of street-smart thinking, all played a part in my choice.

How did I choose the right postgraduate course?

Back in 2012 when I graduated in India, I had two job offers from multi-national companies – each with a pretty good pay package. One was a global IT and software giant, and the other was a subsidiary of a famous sports car company.

However, having been inspired by nature, renewable energy, and humanitarian service, getting into a mainstream workforce didn’t give me the professional euphoria I sought. I felt that a purely academic-oriented undergraduate course might not guarantee a successful transition into a career, so I decided to create an opportunity for myself by working for three years before taking up higher education.

After getting in touch with my alumni network at Sri Venkateswara College of Engineering (SVCE), I realised there was an opportunity to work towards my dream of providing renewable energy to rural communities. Research was something I was keen on, so I spent three years working on technology and policy under the guidance of an international clean energy expert.

I was learning new things every day, which had a huge impact on my choices because my options were no longer limited to what I read in my text books. I took time each day to make sure I read about what was going on with the renewable energy industry in the news and social media, built a strong LinkedIn profile, and made lasting acquaintances and friends. If I found someone to be very inspiring, I would write to them asking for an appointment to meet them. Be it a CEO or a professor, a simple email could change everything you know about what you want to do.

I also made sure that the field I chose had scope in terms of research, jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Taking the next step

If you’ve inherited a million pounds, then I wouldn’t worry. But for those of you who are heading out there into the competitive world to lead a new, satisfied and independent life, a bit of preparation always helps before you choose your postgraduate course. Experimenting only works well if you aren’t experimenting all the time.

So to wind up, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Stick to what you are passionate about and always do what inspires you
  • Dream big, but also look at what’s happening around your field of study
  • Make sure you balance both academic satisfaction and salary expectations
  • Reach out and network with people to create your own opportunities
  • If it’s the right thing to do, don’t be afraid to change your mind

Engineers can become artists; poets can become programmers; carpenters can become car racers – you’ll get there in the end.

If you’re considering postgraduate study, but aren’t sure of your options or want some advice, take a look at our online resources or book an appointment with one of our experts. We can help you make an informed decision that is beneficial to your future.

Image Credit: Tom Bullock – Red Pill/Blue Pill

Posted in International StudentsStudent Bloggers