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Life as an overseas education consultant is not as easy as it looks. This job has many hidden aspects to it. Pooja Kishin talks about it.
Life as an overseas education consultant is not as easy as it looks. This job has many hidden aspects to it, reveals practitioner Pooja Kishin.
Pooja Kishin is a 33-year-old overseas education consultant. She loves travelling, experimenting on vegetarian food, making friends and shopping. She completed her Bachelors in Journalism, English and Economics and her Masters in English Literature.
She has worked as the branch manager for SI-UK Education Council Pvt Ltd with more than 8 years of experience. In this interview, she explicates on her interesting job, the unique people she meets and what it really means to be an education consultant. Here are some excerpts:
How would you describe yourself?
Pooja Kishin: I would say, positive, friendly, willing to learn and an explorer.
Describe your role as an overseas education consultant so that even a layman can comprehend it.
Pooja Kishin: Well, there’s a long list. I help students understand their options while choosing to study overseas. I also assist with the complete application process, choosing the relevant university, guiding the students with their accommodation, finances, Visa and arrange for their travel as well. I have to guide the student and their parents with regard to any queries they have at any point of time during the application process. I have to remain well-informed constantly.
Is any special training given for overseas education consultant? Should they possess any specific qualifications or skills?
Pooja Kishin: There is no specific training required as such. There are certain exams that one can appear for like the ‘Professional Development Program in Promoting UK Education and Training’- Conducted by British Library. There are various Certificates Sessions conducted by specific universities, like’ Cambridge Education Group Certificate of Excellence in UK Education.’
What did you do prior to becoming an overseas education consultant?
Pooja Kishin: At that time, working in BPOs, was the ‘it’ thing. I too worked with an International BPO – and I took care of a UK project. Before that, I was a lecturer in SBRRM college, which is in Mysore.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Pooja Kishin: The art of convincing. Unfortunately, being misinformed can ruin the confidence of the student/ parents. The way to approach the students and provide details to them in a way they can understand is very challenging.
What is the one thing you would like to change about your field?
Pooja Kishin: Nothing actually. But I would like to improvise on myself and be able to multi – task.
Why did you choose to work in this profession?
Pooja Kishin: Since I was a student, I have always been a people’s person. Incidentally, my work involves dealing with youngsters/students. During my Bachelors, I was motivated to work in my current profession. As I continued studying, I was more inclined to assist an individual to build up a good career, something more to do with UK Education. The other reason being, I was also keen to work for an organisation that does not charge their clients, or charges the minimal amount.
Many organisations charge for their services and do not provide the kind of services they have promised. Some organisations are just money minded. I am lucky as SI – UK Education Council Pvt Ltd provides most of the service free of charge.
In addition, the employees are chosen on a strong professional scale. The employees have either studied in UK, lived or travelled in the UK. Some employees also have a very strong work experience in the relevant field. This only enhances the confidence of the student that they are in safe hands.
What is the most exciting aspect about your job?
Pooja Kishin: The first would be, travelling. Well, my profession exposed me to do what I really like the most, interaction with prospective students looking forward to build their career. The second would be meeting new people from different nationalities.
As a part of my training, I often get the chance to explore the U.K. and taste their cuisine, this would be the final aspect.
What is the most common misconception people have about your profession?
Pooja Kishin: Many people think this profession is a cake walk. It’s obviously not.
I deal not only with the student, but also their concerned parents and at times, the respective bank personnel. I’m not just helping students find their dream University, I’m connecting with them on a personal/humane level.
People assume that I just do the research and file the application. Being a consultant is more than that. I discern the psychology of the student and their parents, their needs, their choices and their fears.
Not to mention, it’s a common assumption that when the student leaves the country to study abroad, my work is done. The students may need my help at any point of time during the application process, or during their stay in the U.K., in such time, they seek for my assistance. I will help them even if they are in the U.K., in case of any emergency.
Education consultants aren’t apathetic. Our job is to provide you proper guidance and assurance that your choice to study abroad is correct and that you will be benefitted from it.
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