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Good CGPA in College Enough To Get Jobs in Biotech Sector?
We often come across this debate where people are arguing about whether good CGPA is necessary to get a decent job in Biotech. But how much exactly this GOOD CGPA be and how does it define our capabilities wholly? We are going to discuss some interesting points regarding this and will try to find out where exactly the reality lies in this huge biotech industry.
This topic will also highlight the key aspects which a recruiter perceives before hiring a prospective employee. So, let’s jump into this topic which we as students and prospective employee should think about before applying for a job in Biotech.
Think about it as a fresher applying in a conventional manner how will a recruiter judge you. He/she would want to know your CGPA in order to understand some aspects which are necessary for that job profile.
Let’s be honest and find out the reasons as to why some students score well than others:
a. Hard work and striking the right chord
b. Being ambitious and disciplined
c. Being intelligent
d. Working smart
and pretty much these are the things which a recruiter wants in a candidate when he/ she is hiring. So, if they come across such a CV having such good grades it is easy for them to judge the candidate in a shorter frame of time. But does that mean that a good CGPA is all they are looking for?? The answer is no.
The other qualities that they are really interested in a prospective candidate includes – relevant experience and good recommendations. This holds especially true when someone is looking for a job in biotech. Biotechnology is a vast field and hence the job profile or the job description varies widely with each job advertisement. For example, if a candidate has done some project under a good scientist as his/her master’s project and if the candidate has really put good efforts and hard work to complete the project successfully there are high chances that this candidate might just get absorbed in this scientist’s laboratory. Provided if the scientist has good funds and job openings of course. In such a case usually, the CGPA does not matter much especially if the scientist is aware of your skills and other aspects which are required in the job.
But there is one important point to be noted. If this Scientist is working in renowned institutes like IISERs, IISC, IITs even if as much he/she wants you to hire for the job on the basis of the skill set that you have, there is a minimum criterion of screening which is broadcasted by these institutes. They basically consider the minimum CGPA as 3/5 i.e. 60% and the major subject in the masters as a filtering criterion. As there is a huge amount of competition for such jobs it will be better if we consider getting good scores to start a promising career in a renowned institute.
Now let’s explore the scenarios present in life science companies
Biotech companies are more interested in a candidate’s skill set and recommendations hence they usually do not put much stress on the CGPA. Their so-called “FUNDAS” is clear. They want a candidate to be decent in terms of discipline and motivation and most importantly in the cast of having a skill set. Hence, they usually seek out for candidates which can full fill these few criteria and they don’t like to invest their money, energy and time in hiring someone who just has good CGPA and not good practical knowledge.
In companies, the profit is very important and is also directly related to the skill set that the employee has. Like if the candidate has a good practical knowledge that will be eventually reflected in getting the profits early. So, all in all, it matters whether you are applying to an institute or in a company.
In order to increase the chances of getting selected for any biotech job, a job seeker having low CGPA alter the way in which he/ she seeks for a job. Like a CV with a low CGPA will most likely never get selected from the pile of resumes, especially for a fresher. But here a good network can work. On various occasions, the recruiter can get impressed by the engaging, ambitious and eager young people and may not put much stress on CGPA if these qualities are upfront. Sometimes a high recommendation from a credible recommender can work wonders while applying for a good biotech job profile.
One most important aspect to CGPA is it matters less and less as you get more and more experience and as you advance in your career. Like nobody asks a 45 years old executive what grade he had in his master right!! But the gist here is we should responsibly take this opportunity to learn and grow in our career to take up new challenges as it will help to advance in our career. It all comes down to learning whether you learn while you are in your college and get good CGPA or else work very hard after it to gain good knowledge and experience.
Having Low CGPA and still wants to excel in the Research Field
The next aspect is what if someone has low CGPA and still wants to pursue a good career in the field of biotech research. The path that fulfills this dream requires hard work. They say it’s never too late and it’s true thankfully in this case. National exams like CSIR-NET, GATE, SET, ICMR, ICAR also talk about the credibility of the candidates apart from the CGPA, recommendations and practical knowledge. Of these recognized exams, CSIR NET is a blessing for every life science student. It is one of the rare exams which can be taken by a candidate having at least 55% in the postgraduate exam. After clearing CSIR NET JRF a candidate has its own fellowship which is going to fetch him/her for 5 years with the required academic and research funds. This makes it much easier for any candidate to start a career in the biotech sector.
One can do this by consistent participation in extracurricular activities in the volunteering work to reflect the discipline that he/she has. One can also do this by taking additional classes or courses to upgrade and polish their skill sets like courses on CRISPR, Next-generation sequencing, molecular biology tools, plant tissue culture techniques, etc.
Scenarios present outside India:
While being a citizen of India we can still get a decent job with the help of networking, internships, and recommendations, if someone wants to apply outside India it is a bit difficult with low CGPA. Companies and institutes are very clear about the minimum criterion for selecting the job seekers, of which CGPA is a major filtering criterion so CGPA of 3 and above out of 5 is usually the basic criteria to get selected for the next round of the selection process. Being a University student, one knows that 60% marks is the basic requirement to pass the graduation.
Whether a good CGPA or not keep the following questions in your mind while applying for any biotech jobs:
1.What are the skill sets required for the job profile?
2. How do my background and qualifications align with the responsibilities and functions which are required in this job?
3. What is that which is needed most for the successful completion of the job profile?
For this you can ask questions to the employer who is currently working in the same job profile eg; QA/QC and understand what all skills and qualities are important and how can I full these requirements?
A creative resume can make wonders!!
Now resume writing is also an art! While writing the resume we need to paint it well. Usually, CGPAs lower than 3 shouldn’t be mentioned in the CV. Rather highlight your internship projects with the skills you have hands-on experience on, special projects, research experiences, poster presentations, and achievements, etc which will define the zest for this field.
Hence in order to summarize in few words “Make the most of the opportunities present in front of you” something we keep on listening at every stage of our lives but how many of us really follow it?
Good CGPA can make the struggles less but that does not mean that seekers of biotech jobs having low CGPA will fail. While the job seekers having good CGPA will have better and vast opportunities already present, the low CGPA candidates will have to create opportunities for himself which means putting extra effort, time, energy, etc. If the approach is relevant and practical they can succeed too by putting extra efforts and setting realistic goals.
And lastly in this rat race which is prevalent in almost all the field, “Learnings” and “Knowledge” are the two tools one should concentrate on just like Amir Khan had rightly stated in his movie 3 Idiots:
“Kamyab hone keliye nahin, kaabil hone keliye Padho!! Success ke peeche mat bhaago; excellence ka peecha karo! Success jhak maarke tumhare peeche aayegi !!!!”