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Where’s The Light At The End Of The Tunnel?

August 2, 2013

A look at placement rules and regulations of IITR

For its self effacing, almost nondescript exterior, the placement cell appears uncannily tall and imposing around this time of the year. Although the exact happenings within the walls of the placement cell remain elusive and delightfully subject to wide conjecture on part of the students, it has not gone unnoticed or unacknowledged that the last few months here have been particularly hectic, frenetic and bustling with activity. Several calls have been made and several mails dispatched. While those several companies are still scuffling amongst themselves to lay hands on the coveted train tickets to R land, WONA attempts to uncover the inside of the placement cell, its functioning, its flaws, its policies and the rationale behind them.

Expectations and beliefs

Once upon a time, a B.Tech degree was deemed enough. Nowadays, it is considered the bare minimum qualification. For some this leads to Masters in the foreign lands. For some the B.Tech degree is an extra with the IIT tag as they move on to MBA. And for others this is it for now, as they dorn their best piece of suit in their quest to impress the other side of the table.

IITR’s placement team is composed of students mainly with a professor in charge. So naturally, a lot of blame gets shifted on these students, be it a mishap with the letter sent to a company or in any of the numerous other steps needed, when some of the major companies decide to skip Roorkee. One of the most common demands of the students in R is to have a professional placement agency at the helm of affairs. Many students feel that a professional firm, unfettered by lack of either contacts or experience, would translate into a much higher turnout of companies.

Surely if it were so logical then we should have had one a year ago itself. Dr. N.P. Padhy, professor in charge of the placement cell, says “Students are reluctant to pay Rs 500 for placement cell registration and Rs 100 for soft-skills training. Do you think they will shell-out Rs 20,000 for outsourcing the placement cell?” While the issue of spending 20k can be sorted out by spreading it over the 4 years period, what puts the final, irrevocable damper on the plan is the issue of sharing the database with a third party. Dr. Padhy raised a valid issue against outsourcing asking a rhetorical question, what happens when the contract expires with one agency? How will the institute guarantee that a proper database will be handed over to the next one? Turns out outsourcing placement agency’s work isn’t quite the silver bullet.

Rules and Regulations, and some more rules and regulations

Even as we find ourselves begrudging the placement cell its very existence with its draconian rules on occasions of an inner conflict between attending the ppt and doing anything but spend two valuable hours on a PPT, the placement team finds it only reasonable that recruiters be offended at a tepid initial response from students. “When a team of recruiters travels all the way from say Bangalore to Roorkee, the least it expects is a good response from students and sizeable number of them at the pre placement talk,” says a senior member. While this may be a valid reason, the drastic response taken against offenders of being barred from the next three companies seems to be harsh. IITD uses monetary fines as the deterrent starting from Rs 500 and sum goes up as the number of defaults by a student increases. IITK also follows similar rules.

PPT rules, while irksome, are not the most contentious ones either. Getting selected in multiple A list companies would be a dream come true for many. But with rules of R, this is simply impossible. In R, if two companies release the selection list on the same day and if a student gets selected by both, he is forced to accept the offer of the first one, regardless of the student’s priority. When compared with other IITs, this rule seems unexplainable. In IITD the student gets to choose in case of such a situation while in IITM a priority list is taken in advance. Surely we can have a similar model too?

PPOs present another questionable rule. In case a student rejects a PPO offered to him, he is only eligible to sit for companies that offer a CTC greater than the one that offered him a PPO. What explains such rules as these and whose interests they cater to is rather difficult to fathom for an average student. The placement team, however, seems set unwavering on its stance as is clear from Dr. Padhy’s take on stringent rules- “I will opt for 0% leniency if it helps IITR get one more placement.” Rules and regulations, even ones greeted with skepticism and indignation, are crucial to ensuring a smooth placement climate for now as well as for posterity. “Rules are often flouted by people who are to be least affected by them, such as those set on pursuing higher studies. The brunt of a company’s displeasure is usually borne by an average student and would persist when you, your batch and I have left and while the system still remains.”

Unsatisfied Students, unsatisfied companies

People outside the IIT system imagine it to be a place where companies are clamoring to find its new recruits. The situation turns out to be a little different on the inside. Apart from Computer Science, many branches do not see enough core companies turning up to cover majority of the batch. The companies that do turn up for recruitment often remark that the quality of students at R is not at par with other IITs. The apparent contrast in terms of number of jobs offered vs the number of students looking for a core job is often blamed on geographical location. This could have been the accepted reason if only IITKgp was facing similar problems. But by the looks of it, they don’t.

Dr Padhy, does not deny that location may only be a small factor deterring companies from recruiting from a campus. It pays to have students trained well in soft skills so they are better armed to face the interviewers with all their fabled quirks and foibles. “Students here are emotional. They do not understand the psychology of the interviewer. They don’t know how to react (to certain situations in an interview). Top professionals in the field have therefore been recruited to train students. Efforts are being made to have training sessions every 15 days.” Initiatives like these coupled with initiatives taken by more aware student community could solve the issue of unsatisfied students.

At the end of the day

Problems are in plenty and the culture in IITR is so that most of the first years are made aware of the situation right after their orientation program, and this maybe the reason behind a general negativity that persists. But on the brighter side, awareness of the problems is the first step in redressal. With Dr Padhy at the helm of affairs, we have heard a lot of reforms are going to announced for next year. Whether they will be enough and in time for our readers is a question that only patience can answer.