“To take the road less travelled, you not only need to believe in yourself but also believe in the road you have taken”.
Becoming a doctor, engineer, lawyer, CA, MBA graduate does not appeal much now as it used to years back. The reason for the same is growing rigorous competition, saturation in these job profiles and their monotonous nature.
Welcome to the new age where youngsters are willing to explore new areas than the ‘conventional ones’. Being a writer, photographer, model, urban planner, politician, professor, jewellery/ interior designer, research associate and now youtuber is topping the trend.
Talking about stepping into the research domain, it is crucial to figure out and understand few things first.
“Research” does not always necessarily mean to find out something new but to extend the ongoing study on the chosen topic as well. Anyone who is keen to understand ‘What, When, How, Why’ and most importantly ‘What after this’ about any topic (public policy, marketing, logistics, IT, Telecommunications, Physics, Microbiology etc). Entering the research domain is a great platform to do that.
The job profile of a Research Associate involves working under a Professor/ Group of Professors (in a university) or with a whole network of team (in an organization). The Research Associate is expected to work one on one under the expertise and tested guidance of the professor and take forward the research study. Since there is no entrance exam/written test for this job profile and the candidate is shortlisted and finally selected based upon the Resume and a personal interview, the salary also henceforth depends on parameters like educational background, work experience of the candidate and primarily the place of work. The salary can range from Rs. 15,000-45,000 a month.
Now, the next question that comes to the mind is what are the perks of being a Research Associate? Firstly, you get the first hand experience and exposure of building your understanding and conceptual knowledge through various case studies, working/ research papers. Secondly, if you are planning to pursue your education (irrespective of the domain) for Master’s or PhD level (ultimately if you are aiming to become a Professor in a top notch institute), this is the thing you should focus your energies on. This will count as your work experience and will help you fetch brownie points. Thirdly, you always have the guidance, resources and opportunity to publish your own research paper and correspondingly build your profile.
Your networking in this field plays a key role. It depends on the place you are working at, to the project you are handling. Primarily, you are connected to the professors, fellow Research Associates from various domains and organizations.
Organizations/ universities offering this job profile:
Any university will have major departments and correspondingly the funds for research with the professors. In Public Policy domain, IIM-A, IIM-B, IIT Delhi, TISS Mumbai, IIPA Delhi are the top institutes. Apart from this, Mata Vaishno Devi University in Katra also offers the course. If we talk globally, Harvard, Stanford, London School of Economics, New York University, UPenn, Oxford, UNICEF, etc offer similar courses and research job profiles.
How to Apply:
You can keep a track of the openings in the research domain on the website of various universities and organziations and apply for the same. What is important to build your profile according to the domain you are applying for.
With your experience in this domain, you can take forward the same knowledge set to pursue your PhD from any top class institute given you have research papers published on your name with intensive research as well. Even if you are planning to sit for any competitive exam, this unique experience and immense knowledge will help you stand out and prepare you pre hand.
About the Author
Sanyukta Sharma is currently working as a Research Associate in IIM Ahmedabad. She is working in the domain of Public Policy and Management and joined as a Research Associate in Aug 2015, where she started working with the Right To Education Resource Center in IIM-A.
She was mainly involved with a project which aimed at working on Section 12(1)(c), which mandates at least 25% of the seats reserved in private schools for the children belonging from economically weaker sections of the society.
Currently, she is working on the project of “Healthcare Management: Malnutrition of children (0-5 years)” under Prof. K.V. Ramani.
Apart from this, she loves writing and has been working as a contributing author and content writer with various online portals. She has also interned with Discovery Channel ( in scriptwriting), the third Asian to do so. She is a national level swimmer and has played national tournaments during her school time. She aims to pursue her career in Public Policy in the future, and says that she will always keep writing.
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