Imagine this – you had the liberty to choose the subjects you like and want to study. That once you enter college, you wouldn’t have to study subjects belonging to a specific portfolio – Science, Commerce, Humanities! Sounds too good to be true? Well – wait for it – it is true!
Liberal Studies are the saviour of students who are tired of studying a small set of core subjects throughout their graduation and post-graduation. Thank heavens that some noble people thought that our education system was becoming monotonous and not challenging enough for young minds. Liberal Studies allows you to not only study your core subjects but at the same time add breadth and variety by choosing subjects catering to your interests too!
When I came to Ashoka University to pursue the Young India Fellowship (YIF) program, it was exciting to see young people all around, who wanted to challenge themselves and explore subjects that they couldn’t study in their undergraduate or postgraduate years. Along with the subjects, I was stunned by the world-class faculty and the diversity of peers. The first few weeks were filled with enthusiasm and curiosity, but soon the question, “where will liberal studies take us?” started to draw our attention.
Recommended Read: Young India Fellowship (YIF): My Journey From Application to Selection
Where the YIF Landed 5 Of My Batchmates
So, for all those of you who are facing this question even before applying for Liberal Studies, let me provide some relief to your mind.
I’ll start by sharing with you some of the stories of my YIF batchmates who are now placed in different sectors. Trust me, it will be fun to know their journey and where Liberal Studies have landed them.
1. Varun Paul
Varun is an Electrical Engineering graduate from NIT Srinagar. After completing his graduation, he went on to work for a year with a private-profit company. However, his job didn’t satisfy him because he felt that he was not able to have an impact on society, which he desired to achieve through his entrepreneurial skills. He then decided to take a break and pursue liberal studies to explore more options.
In his final semester at Ashoka, he applied to a company called Sattva Consulting, which helps NGOs and other organizations maximize their impact on the social sector by providing solutions to their operations-related problems. His role as an Analyst here would help him apply his problem-solving and critical thinking skills which he was able to develop during his time at Ashoka. He feels that though this job is an indirect way to contribute towards the social sector, one day, with his skills that he will develop at Sattva, he can contribute towards it directly – through his own venture.
2. Disha Chadha
Disha is a B.Com (Hons.) graduate from SRCC. After completing her graduation, she went on to work for a year at Ernst and Young (India) in Risk Advisory. She felt that her role at EY was not challenging enough and wanted to try out other options. Her primary motivation was to take a break from the corporate sector and explore the social sector, and she felt that Liberal Studies would provide her with such a platform.
She is currently placed at Technoserve as a Program Management Associate. Technoserve is an NGO that works with different organizations to help implement their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiatives.
Recommended Read: Should Your First Job After Graduation Be With A Startup?
3. Kanishk Patel
Kanishk is a graduate in Manufacturing Engineering from BITS Pilani, Hyderabad. In his second year in college, he heard about the Liberal Arts program at Ashoka University, and was struck by the breadth of courses on offer in addition to the quality of the faculty. He found courses like Problem Solving and Statistical Thinking, Economic Reasoning and Public Policy, and Heart of Leadership to be highly interesting and felt that this program will be able to offer him something that was missing during his graduation studies.
On completion of the course, he was placed at Indiamart as Assistant Manager – Mergers and Acquisitions and Investor Relations. He had always wanted to explore the field of finance, and he is happy that this job would allow him to do so.
Recommended Read: Scope of Liberal Arts In India: Where Your Degree Can Take You!
4. Sylesh Suryakumar
Sylesh is a B.Com (Hons.) graduate from Loyola Academy Degree & PG College in Hyderabad. After completing his graduation, he worked as a Statutory Auditor at Deloitte for 2.5 months. He then went on to work as a Process Associate in Royal Bank of Scotland for a year followed by Deputy Project Manager at Shri Ram Value Services for 2 years. After 3.5 years at corporate, he felt that he needed a break and wanted to get back to learning. He was attracted by the concept of Liberal Studies and the diverse subjects, faculty, and peers it offers.
He is now placed as a Management Trainee at RBL Bank. He is happy that he took a break to pursue Liberal Studies as it has helped him freshen his mind with new and diverse ideas. Though RBL is his back up option, he is also considering to apply for Masters Programs.
5. George Jose
George was a fresh graduate in Physics from Kerala. Like most of us confused souls, he also realized that his UG subjects were not meant for him. So, to take a break and find what other options he has, he opted for YIF. Well, he did not find his true calling but instead found a job that he loved and could see himself working in.
He got placed as a Curriculum Developer at an education company called Schoogle. Schoogle is an interactive platform that allows people to find schools and courses according to their preferences and gain information related to courses, scholarships, student loan options, etc. He is happy with his job profile and says that this will give him more time to think about his options further.
These stories are meant to give you an idea about the kind of placements that are offered after the Young India Fellowship Program and is not a comprehensive list of the kinds of companies that come in for placements. Other profiles that are offered to fellows are in the fields of Management, Consulting, Project Management, Marketing, Human Resources, Data Journalism, Content Creation and so on.
What the YIF curriculum aims at developing your problem solving, analytical thinking, and communication skills through group projects, seminars, workshops, courses, experiential learning modules and critical writing and thinking classes. The goal is to make students all-rounders so that for whatever jobs they apply, they can excel at it.
Recommended Read: Unsuccessful at Campus Placements? Here are 8 Steps to Get On Track!
If Not Placements, What Next?
The story doesn’t end here. For all those folks, who like me, want to continue with their education and are confused about what options you have after liberal studies, read on. Spoiler alert: the options are aplenty!
1. Master’s in Liberal Studies
For starters, Ashoka University provides an option for YIF fellows to extend their fellowship to pursue Master’s in Liberal Studies. It is a research-oriented degree where you would need to decide your area of interest like International Relations, Philosophy, Politics and Sociology, Economics, History, Gender Studies, Anthropology, etc. and then find yourself a mentor in this field. A master’s degree in liberal studies will give you a deep insight into the field that you are interested in and the option to decide whether you want to explore it further or not.
2. Go for the Exchange Program
Ashoka University has tie-ups with foreign universities like Sciences Po, Paris and University of Pennsylvania, USA that allows students to complete a semester abroad (after YIF) in a specific area of interest. You would go to the university you applied for, for a semester, and will be given credits for it in your transcript. If you are interested in getting global exposure in the fields mentioned in the previous option, this program helps you in getting one. Although, there is high competition between the number of students that apply and the number of students that get selected – that shouldn’t discourage you from applying!
3. Full-fledged Master’s Programs
If you are not interested in opting for either of the two options mentioned above, Ashoka University also gives you an option to apply for various other, full time, Master’s Programs. Their strong networking has proved very helpful for students who are interested in applying to different foreign universities for pursuing courses like Master’s in Management, Sustainable Development, International Relations, Public Policy, etc.
There are also concessions available in tuition fees, waiver of application fees, in certain cases – waiver of entrance exams, language proficiency tests, etc. but only for the colleges tying up with Ashoka. University of Pennsylvania, HEC Paris, Sciences Po, Trinity College Dublin, University of Michigan, King’s College London, University of California – Berkeley are some of Ashoka’s international university tie-ups.
Besides these options, if you have a specific or niche interest, you can take the help of the career development office at Ashoka that will help you in getting in touch with companies that cater to your interest – for jobs or even internships.
Recommended Read: 8 Reasons Why You Should Not Pursue Master’s Right After Graduation
Take a Note!
Liberal Studies is a field that gives you time to breathe and think – in case you are confused about “what next?” Speaking from my own experience, I would urge you to apply to a Liberal Studies program not with the goal of placements but with the mindset of exploring the diverse subjects offered, interacting and networking with students and faculty, and just getting the best out of your experience here. Liberal Studies has a lot to offer!
If you are more concerned about placements or getting a job, you might miss out on some of the wonderful things that this course has to offer. The best thing about Liberal Studies is that it will give you whatever you want given that you know how to get it.
And in the words of Pramath Raj Sinha – founder of Ashoka University – the Fellowship never ends!