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Banking is a good option for you

Banking-JobsIf you are looking for a career in the banking sector, you have good news. Demand for bank jobs is increasing among Freshers now than ever before in comparison with any other career options. New banking licenses, fast paced expansion of existing banks, huge number of retirements of existing staff, etc. have all contributed to a massive recruitment drive in banks. About 3 lakh vacancies are likely to arise in various banks in various cadres by the end of 2016.At a time when economic growth is not at the expected level and many industries including software are going slow on recruitment, this is the reason for cheer. Security of job, decent salary, other perks including soft loans, likely posting at your place of choice, esteem in society, good career, have all contributed to this new found attraction into banking  by the youth of this country.

Before you understand the various career options in the banks, let us have look at the structure of banks in India. At the apex level, we have the regulatory cum development banks, starting with RBI, which is called the bankers’ bank. Other similar banks are NABARD and SIDBI. Below it we have public sector banks, regional, rural banks, old generation private banks, new generation private banks, foreign banks and lastly, co-operative banks.

RBI, NABARD, SIDBI etc. recruit staff as per their requirements through advertisements and the details like age and qualifications will be available in the website of these banks. Generally, except for assistants in RBI, which is a clerical post, all other openings are mostly limited to specialists in economics, statistics, IT and other engineering and management fields.

Generally a post in a foreign bank is most coveted and the best brains in the country from premium management and engineering institutes are generally recruited to fill the vacancies. The posts of the regulatory banks and foreign banks are generally difficult for most aspirants of banking career .This is not, however, the case with other banks where anybody can get a job with determination and effort.

IBPS is the apex body to recruit personnel for all public sector banks. They recruit for clerical cadre, officer cadre and officer specialist cadre. Separate exams are held for nationalized banks, State Bank Group and RRBs. The qualification required is graduation with 50% for clerical and 60% generally for officer cadre. The test is online objective multiple choice type and the topics include knowledge in English, test of reasoning, quantitative/numeric aptitude, computer knowledge, Marketing aptitude and general awareness.

Specialists’ posts are generally in Information Technology, other engineering streams for Industrial Development Officers, agriculture/ Vetenary science and related fields for Rural Development Officers etc. Management specialization includes Marketing, HR, Law, Chartered Accountancy and so on .They will have a separate paper on their specialization subject. Speed with accuracy is the norm to pass these tests as you have to complete the test within limited time and with the least mistakes as there are negative marks.

While various books and magazines are available, it is better to go for coaching as only in a coaching institute you can simulate the actual exam hall and practice tests with speed and accuracy. In fact, almost all who clear the exams nowadays have gone to a coaching institute. Once you clear the written test, you have to attend an interview where your personality is assessed. You have to have mock interviews before you attend the actual interview as you can rectify a lot of your flaws in soft skills, including in appearance (etiquette), Behavior and communication. For that you need the assistance of an experienced person or a coaching institute.

Private Banks do not depend on IBPS score for personnel selection. They go independently to various reputed campuses, management Institutes, engineering colleges, and Law colleges and so on and recruit people through tests/interviews in the college campus. Banks like Federal Bank and South Indian Bank and many new generation and old generation private banks generally follow this method. Make it a point to attend these recruitment drives in your campus when they arrive.

It is found that most of the people selected through the above routes are generally from the engineering stream as they find it very easy to score in the exam. But it is to be understood that the Maths and English used in the recruitment test are of only high school standard and those who lack basics may go through an NCERT  book of class V to IX.Then, if you polish your skill in a coaching institute you can easily clear the test. During the interview you stand a better chance if you are BCom or Economics as interviewers very rarely come across people from streams other than engineering.

Now some of you may want to study banking subjects and want to enter banks without a test as above. You can even study banking as your elective and get the benefit of appearing for any job for which a degree/post graduate degree/Post graduate diploma is necessary. Most of the UGC approved Indian Universities offer courses on banking in the BCom and MCom courses. Join in a college where there is campus recruitment. Distance MBA program with Banking Specialization also is a good option. While these are general courses with no job guarantee in banks, there are also a number of specialized institutions with placements offer.

The most prominent of these is Indira Gandhi Institute of development Research. The courses offered here include Master of Science (MSc) in Economics and M. Phil. /Ph.D. program in Development Studies. Minimum qualification for admission to M.Sc. The program includes one of the following degrees or their equivalents: B. A. /B. Sc. In Economics/B. Com. /B. Stat. /B. Sc. (Physics or Mathematics) / B. Tech. /B.E. With at least a Second Division for Economics Discipline and First Division for other disciplines. All students must have taken mathematics, at least at the higher secondary level.

Mode of admission is written tests and interview. The written tests focus on analytical, verbal and mathematical abilities. After completion of PG you can either opt for a job or continue studies with MPhil and PHD. Since the institute has the backing of RBI, getting a job in RBI is very much possible.

There are a number of institutes that offer specialized banking subjects with placement assistance. The first one among them that comes to mind is NIBM which is managed by RBI and all major banks in India. Its 2 year PGDM offers assured placement in any of the major banks in the country. The two-year PGDM (Banking and Financial Services) is designed as a contemporary, rigorous, innovative and practical source for management education.

The Program is pitched to provide to the financial system, on a regular basis, a pool of talented young executives who is thoroughly trained in Foundations, Analytical Skills and Perspectives in Banking and Finance and fully prepared to shoulder managerial responsibilities in the banking and financial sector. A perfect blend of analytical skills, subject knowledge and a thorough understanding of the practical nuances of banking business makes the students of PGDM and PGPBF offered by the institute a class-apart from other management graduates. Admission to PGDM& PGPBF are based on CAT score (test conducted for IIMs), group discussion and interview.

Another Institute is the Manipal School of Banking in Bangalore. Banks like Bank of Baroda, Indian Overseas Bank, Federal Bank, ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank and many other banks have tied up with this institute so that on completion of the prescribed course, as devised by the particular bank, which usually extends to a year or so, resulting in a postgraduate diploma, you are placed as an officer in scale I in these banks. Punjab National Bank has tied up with ManipalUniversity for a PGDBF with one year duration and on completion of the course you will be absorbed in the bank as a scale one officer. Here also you have to appear for the written test and interview.

You can go to the web site of the Manipal School of Banking and the website of various banks mentioned above to get more details about admission procedures. The minimum qualification is graduation.

All the avenues discussed so far involve a test either when getting admitted to a bank or to a course. Mathematics and completing test within a time limit is a challenge for many candidates. This is very much true of arts graduate and even commerce graduates. Those of you who think that entrance test is not your cup of tea and you still hope to work in a bank, there is still hope. There are certain private institutes that specialize in banking studies for graduates who wants to go for a career in banking. One such institute is IFBI which has a branch in Ernakulam.

They offer two courses; one PGDBO streamlined for ICICI with assured job in ICICI as junior level officers and another called PGDB meant for a number of banks, including Kotak Mahindra Bank, Axis Bank, ING Vysya Bank, HDFC and so on. After PGDB you may get a chance to appear up to four interviews in any of these banks but there is no guaranteed job.However, you have a realistic chance of getting a job in one of these banks. You should have at least 50% marks in all exams up to graduation. Other details can be had from IFBI web site.

The most important institution that specializes in banking studies, however is Indian Institute of Banking and Finance (IIBF) run by Indian Banks Association. A variety of diplomas and certificate courses are run by the institute. While these are primarily focused on people who already work in the financial sector, others can also enroll for some courses. A qualification from IIBF will be a sure gateway to come out in flying colors in any bank interview. You can see all the details on the website.

Now, is there a chance for non graduates to join a bank? At present there is no opening as such, but now banks have individually started calling applications for attenders/office staff, etc. Usual qualification for the post in most public sector banks is SSLC pass but +2 failed. Through internal promotions, they can also become clerks and even officers in due course.

In whatever job position you enter a bank; it is to be borne in mind that banking is more than a job, a career. There is now a realistic chance for anybody who joins the bank as a clerk / officer to become a General Manager (which is the maximum you can reach within the bank) within 20 years/ 15 years. You can even become an Executive Director /Managing director/Chairman and a Deputy Governor RBI subsequently. But more than a career, you become part of the nation building process through upliftment of the poor, development of the Industry and all-round development of all types of customers from varied walks of life, age group and circumstances.

So hurry up ,get set and go because the dream may not last long as now the new government is contemplating merger of state bank group and reducing the total number of nationalized  banks to about six.

Faculty In Charge, Indian Bank Staff Training Center

Thiruvananthapuram