Rural Manager Career Information
What a Rural Manager does
As a Rural Manager your main responsibility will be to help various rural sector organisations and institutions in professionalising their operations. For e.g., you will help cooperative firms, rural development organisations, farming organisations, handicraft units, healthcare units, educational institutions and others. You will help them to devise systems, understand traditional marketing and product development principles, run production processes and manage human resources.
As a Rural Manager you will be in close proximity with people. You will have to understand their problems, culture, ethos and their need for development. As a Rural Manager you will devise and implement methodologies to empower them with the know-how of managing micro enterprises of production. For the interested, a micro organisation is typically a household organisation in the rural sector.
To be able to do this as a Rural Manager you have to understand the relationships among agro-climatic conditions, natural resources, production systems and livelihoods of rural people. The rural resources are land, soil, water, forest resources, animal husbandry, dairy, fisheries, etc.
There are also some non-farm activities like trading, retailing, education, etc. With this understanding, you will have plan and implement rural development programmes. You will be devising a way to use the rural resources in the right way.
As a Rural Manager you will research rural systems of livelihood and identify areas where the system needs intervention, or improvement. You will plan whether a cooperative needs to be set up or the government must intervene. You will decide if an NGO should address the problems. As a Rural Manager you will plan how to sustain these developmental efforts and how to expand.
As a Rural Manager, you will identify projects, plan out strategies and implementation, raise funds required and then set up the organisation. You will do a social cost-benefit analysis and make presentations to the potential funding organisations, Government, or corporate organisations as a Rural Manager. You will monitor and control the progress of the project.
As a Rural Manager you will be developing micro organisations in the rural sector, which are needed for rural development. You will empower rural people with the knowledge of running those micro organisations and help them with finances. You will often have to help them understand the nuances of finance, marketing, and production. You will assess their proposal for setting up organisations and help them to get the required finance.
As a Rural Manager you will be working in various rural organisations like cooperative firms, NGOs, and joint sector firms in association with the government. You will set up and run these firms and thereby help the rural development process. In these firms, you may be working in areas like micro finance (giving small sum of money to the rural folks), marketing of products manufactured by cooperatives, finance and accounting, raising funds to run the organisation, etc.
As a Rural Manager you can also work for other organisations involved in the rural sector in a range of areas. Planning and information systems, production management, inventory management and logistics, marketing, finance, accounts, human resource development, rural development and natural resources management are other areas of work.
The most exciting part of this job is the fact that as a Rural Manager you will be working towards the development of the rural folks. For that you don't always have to live in villages and small towns. Only some positions in this field require living in rural and semi-urban conditions. But then you will be away from poisonous city fumes.
The job profile of a Rural Manager is fast changing. You will be using modern technologies like IT working in rural computerisation programmes! So you need to be tech savvy as any other corporate manager.
In organisations working in the rural sector there are very few levels of jobs. You will enter as a Junior Officer or Trainee. Depending on your performance, you may be handling big responsibilities as a Project Manager. You can progress very fast here if you have the right attitude and skills.
As a Rural Manager you will have a number of opportunities to choose from:
• NGOs involved in rural development like Eklavya Foundation
• Consumer product companies like Hindustan Lever Ltd., BPL or other companies involved in the rural sector
• Banks like NABARD, Grameen Bank; rural banking branches of other banks, etc.
• Large scale cooperative like Amul
• Other cooperative organisations
• Government organisations like National Dairy Development Board and KRIBCO
• Government departments and programmes run by various ministries
• National and international donor agencies engaged in promoting rural development like the Aga Khan Foundation, Partners-In-Change, etc.
• Top corporates and institutions from the Agribussiness, Banking & Insurance and Development & Microfinance like Azim Premji Foundation, Dow Agrosciences, Action Aid International, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, SKS Microfinance and Citi Financial to name a few.
Career Prospects as a Rural Manager:
India is an agrarian economy where almost 80 per cent of the population lives in rural areas and directly or indirectly depends on agriculture. With economic and technological developments and globalisation, the future of Indian economy is bright. The demand for trained Rural Managers is also going to swell in the near future.
This could also be contributed to many factors namely the ever growing and booming commodities and procurement markets, the galloping successes of Micro finance and Mr. CK Pralad's Fortune at the bottom of the pyramid to name a few.
There are also numerous jobs with donor agencies. And the money they offer is quite good. For instance, on an average, US$ 7 billion was given to various Third World NGOs by US Donor agencies between 1995-96 to 1999-2000.
Now this kind of money needs efficient managers to deal with. So more and more professionally trained Rural Managers are finding jobs with donor agencies.
Abilities & Traits Required
First look at some of the attributes that you will need as a Rural Manager:
• A desire to work for the development of the society
• A helping nature to reach out and help people
• Enjoy interacting with people from various streams of society
• Good communication skills
• Leadership ability
• An ability to adapt to difficult conditions in life
• Strong reasoning abilities
• Dynamic, suave, tactful and diplomatic
• Ability to persuade, and convince people
• Ability to sympathize and empathize with people
As for the educational qualifications to be a Rural Manager, you will do well if you have a postgraduate degree/diploma in Rural Management/Rural development/Rural Administration. A degree/diploma in Social Work/Social Welfare Administration will also do. As a Rural Manager you can specialize in Rural Marketing under some MBA programmes.
Apart from these courses, there are ample opportunities for you as a Rural Manager to enter the field of Rural Management with qualifications and experience from other fields. For example, you can work in advertising/marketing and then switch to Rural Marketing. With experience in financial companies you can join rural sector financing or work in grameen banks. Even those with a degree in medicine can join one of the NGO firms working in rural health sector.
As a Rural Manager you can earn around:
• In an NGO firm you will begin at Rs 15000-18000 per month depending on the type of organisation.
• In consumer and other corporate companies, you will start with Rs 25000-40000 per month.
• Banks pay Rs 15000 per month in the start. A postgraduate in rural management from a premier institution can earn you Rs. 600000 Per Annum as a starting salary.
• Cooperative firms pay Rs 18000 or more per month.
• Government organisations pay you in the range of Rs 15000-20000 per month.
• National and international donor agencies pay in the range of Rs 10000-12000 per month. * In most of the NGOs, cooperative firms and donor agencies you will generally have to work under contracts of say one to two years. Under contractual jobs, you generally get a consolidated salary. No other benefits like House Rent Allowance, conveyance allowance, etc.