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Exploiting online courses to achieve career advancement
Geographical barriers and monetary reasons need not come in the way of our students acquiring the cutting edge. E-Learning portals can provide that edge effectively and cheaply. It is ironical that e-Learning has not received its due in India.
RECENTLY I ran into a former student of mine at a seminar organized by a leading trade body. Now working as a Marketing Executive with a hi-tech private sector bank, he is all set to join a multinational investment bank as an officer, at the middle-management level, soon. But the job has come with a rider – within two years of joining, he has to successfully complete the Professional Risk Manager (PRM) Certification Program offered by PRMIA, the Professional Risk Managers’ International Association.
If my memory serves me right, he was a studious and quiet boy who distanced himself from the uppity kids. But he always wanted to be one step ahead of his classmates and to achieve that goal, he would go the extra mile.
Impelled by curiosity, I browsed through the course-related handbook (issued by PRMIA) which he was carrying. The exercise left me pleasantly surprised. The syllabus caters to the requirements of the present-day banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) industry even while keeping all the flab out. This ensures that the transition from the classroom to the workplace will be smooth and hassle-free for the student upon completion of the course. Additionally, the course contents bear universal relevance and hence should enjoy universal recognition. So the course will come in handy whether the student takes up the job in Singapore or UK or USA or Canada. Can we say the same thing about the courses offered by even our professional institutes? 
The courses offered by our universities in particular (barring a few exceptions, of course) are a joke. The syllabus they prescribe is not updated periodically and has never been industry-friendly. This makes the transition from the classroom to the workplace an ordeal for the student and the employer as well. Haven’t we heard of the trite joke centring on the pathetic plight of a Physics Professor, who in the pitch darkness of his house, anxiously awaited the arrival of a lineman from the power transmission company, to fix a blown fuse? The joke is valid even today because more our universities change, more they remain the same! 
Incidentally, PRMIA offers the only globally endorsed Professional Risk Manager (PRM) Certification Program, which is pursued by over 1,800 active candidates from more than 90 countries. In India, over 155 candidates are already into this program and over 385 candidates will join this year.
But how will the student prepare for the PRM examination? Who will coach him? Is it possible to access coaching facilities in our country for a course with a universal appeal and designed in another country by an association of risk management professionals?
Yes, PRMIA’s partner, Kesdee Systems Private Ltd, Bangalore, has developed and hosted a private-label portal exclusively for PRMIA courses. KESDEE’s ePRM Coach is a comprehensive online tutorial for the PRM Examination. The tutorial imparts concepts and practices to the student through user-friendly features. 
The intention behind writing this article is not to promote courses offered by PRMIA or KESDEE. Being a teacher myself, I believe that it is my duty to remind the student community that geographical barriers or monetary reasons need not come in the way of their acquiring the cutting edge; sadly most of them lack that edge. E-Learning portals can provide the cutting edge effectively and cheaply. In the circumstances, it is ironical that e-Learning has not received its due in our country. Hopefully, our student community will get over this mental block sooner rather than later. 
Incidentally, Mr David Millar, COO, PRMIA, who was in Bangalore on the 9th instant, stated at a press conference that within a year, every single bank in the country will have a risk manager working for them, as banks will have to become Basel II-compliant by 2008. KESDEE will provide us valuable support in addressing this need in the market and continue to support all our existing members and also support our growth in other markets.
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