As students, we spend the most impactful years of our life at school . What do we do at school? For 12 or more years we do what we are told, learn different subjects specified by our regulatory boards – ICSE, CBSE or State boards.

So we learn Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, History, Arts, Civics, Geography, Arts, Economics, Statistics and many more subjects.

Now let me start with a simple example. If you are approached by your friend and handed over the keys to a car and asked to drive, what would be your first question? Where are we going? You need to know the destination before you start driving.

Similarly, as we grow up, students ask themselves and people around them (teachers, parents, relatives) several questions, the most important being, “why am i studying these subjects? what can i do with them?” But, these questions are rarely answered, and if they are answered, there are only standard answers – Engineering, Medical ,CA or Law.

We spend more than 12 years at school, learning more than 15 subjects, to narrow down our careers to very few choices. The diversity of our student population is way greater than these choices. Instead, what if a student is good at English and loves to get involved in Nature Conservation. Or, a student is very good in Maths but doesnt know what careers to pursue in maths other than engineering?

How can we help them pursue careers that merge their interests and skills?

We decided to provide students the answers they need through our Subject to Career Mapping workshop. This is a workshop we have been conducting at schools for class 9 to 12.

So what do we do in our workshop? For a section strength of 35-40 students we assign each student 2 subjects each at random. The idea is the students dont get to choose the subjects because they dont know what they dont know.

We give them a list of 15 subjects and so there is an overlap where 3-4 students will share the same subjects. Each student is assigned a primary subject (Say, Arts) and secondary subject (say, Physics). They have to browse through our portal ( which has around 2000 interviews of individuals who chose their career paths based on their interests. These interviews are in turn mapped/tagged to subjects taught in school. That is, the career path of the interviewee is based on one or more of the tagged subjects that are taught at school.

The students have to select 3 careers for each subject, a total of 6 careers per student. To select these 6 careers the student has to go through several interviews based on the 2 subjects and shortlist. So this itself becomes an exercise in exploratory research. Here discovery is the key.

Once done, each student is given 10 minutes to present the 6 interviews , 3 per career based on 4 guidelines –

1) What were the early interests (nature/wildlife) of the interviewee?
2) How did that interest evolve into skills/professional education, based on chosen subjects (biology)
3) What do they do currently ? (Career concept) and
4) How does their work benefit the society? (Mission)

The most important takeaways for students are

1) Total of 40 students get exposed to 240 careers (40 * 6) in 15 subjects
2) They understand how to evaluate careers based on a structured approach
3) A student might not be interested in careers they presented but liked few careers that other students presented because we covered 240 careers
4) Students learn how to communicate their thoughts through these sessions
5) They see through stories how professionals merged their interest (nature) and skills (biology) to pursue a successful career .

A few links to our workshop