I first visited Pune in 1989, hunting for a place in the BCS program of Fergusson College. I walked from Lakshmi Road (where I was staying) to FC, and beyond and back every day. In those days, I can honestly say the University of Pune was pretty much the end of buzzing social life. Areas beyond that were developing and settling.
I returned in 1996 to do my post-graduate bachelor’s in journalism and a year later, I graduated from the Ranade Institute (Department of Communication and Journalism, University of Pune) on Fergusson College Road. The job opportunities were great – return to Mumbai and get into a newspaper, advertising, or corporate communication; maybe head to Delhi and try to get into broadcasting; apply for Masters or an internship in an overseas’ media organisation; maybe apply for positions in newspapers in Bangalore.
I decided to stay in Pune, in print media, and see how it goes. There were three English newspapers and seven major Marathi newspapers back then. Advertising was also promising because it was at a nascent stage, but print was it for me since I wanted to hone my basic skills.
There were two serious institutes for journalism studies – Ranade and Symbiosis.
I analysed the prospects, weighed the opportunities, made my choice, got in with luck (my friend Sanjay Pendse informed me of the recruitment drive) and started working.
Today, 20 years later, there are several newspapers, advertising agencies, corporate communication houses, PR agencies, content writing firms, eLearning companies, Tech writing companies, online portals… a fantastic array of career choices for someone in communication and journalism.
There are at least six major institutes offering communication and media studies, several minor institutions offering related courses, many mentors and a plethora of niche content offshoots.
Then in December 2002, I started thinking of exploring a new field. I had the same choices as in 1996-97 – pick a new field, go to Mumbai, Delhi… I picked eLearning and after doing my research on eLearning companies in Mumbai and Delhi (then the key hubs), I chose the youngest of the three serious eLearning companies in Pune, applied, gave a test and six interviews in a day and started working in July 2003.
Today, 13 years later, there are more than 20 serious eLearning companies/units in Pune, at least five started by former employees of that youngest company in 2003. Pune is well known in the 51 billion USD global eLearning market as an outsourcing destination, there have been M&A transactions in the past decade, its companies have won global awards for their solutions, and there is a workforce of thousands employed in this relatively new sector for Pune.
My experience then says that this is a great city for anyone who’s hungry for new starts, different opportunities, and is willing to learn and work hard!