Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Campus Placement Process

Scene 1: The setting, early 1980s. Rakesh has done his father proud. He has made it to the coveted government engineering college. He is the first engineer from his locality. Well-wishers have made a beeline to his home. They have garlanded him and the sweets are being distributed to one and all. The boy, who was better known by his nickname “Raju”, has a new name now; “engineer sahib”. There is glint in his eyes. This glint symbolizes excitement. He knows that the road ahead is not easy. He will have to fight it out for the few available government jobs when he passes out after four years. But he is least worried rather he is excited about joining the engineering college. He has heard great things about it. It’s a temple of learning to him. He is keen to learn under the guidance of a few well known professors as well as eager to quench his thirst of knowledge at the institute’s library and laboratory, two things he sorely missed at the district schools and colleges.
Scene 2: The setting has changed to the 21st century, the 2000s. Suraj has the score card of the national level engineering entrance examination in his hands. He has a decent enough rank to get him entrance into some of the better known engineering colleges of the country. But the euphoria experienced by Rakesh (in the 80s) is missing. No, it has nothing to do with the exclusivity enjoyed by Rakesh (Suraj’s locality is full of engineers). In fact he is worried as well, as he is not sure of which college to join.

So, let’s try to make his task easier. How shall we start? Will you visit the websites of the institutes to find out the list of the meritorious professors or try to gather information regarding the lab or the library of such colleges? Well, these activities might take a backseat for now. You might want to start with the recent placement figures at the competing institutes. Isn’t it? Despite knowing the fact that we are not discussing placement agencies rather the institutes in question are engineering colleges. All I would say “welcome to the mysterious world of campus placements.”

Let’s note down some of the positive impacts of the campus placements:
  • The process brings together variety of prospective employees and employers under a common roof. The firms have a number of students to choose from and vice versa.
  • It’s a very cost effective process as the firms now don’t have to complete a lengthy process of recruitment and selection (inviting application from all over the country, sorting them, conducting tests etc.) and the students can get jobs without applying and appearing for selection processes across different cities.
  • Campus placements have considerably reduced the time lag between the date of graduating and date of joining the firms. So number of days of unemployment has reduced.
  • Timely placements provide enhanced social security especially with the cost of education increasingly being funded through loans. So it enables early repayment as well as self-sufficiency with decreasing dependence on parents.
  • Its popularity has given a major fillip to professional education in India. Families from different backgrounds are sending their children, be it sons or even daughters, to take up courses across the nation. More and more colleges have now come up to cater to the ever increasing demand.
  • Companies as well as colleges are going out of their way to attract the best talent across the country. The result can be seen in the form of pay packets going through the roof and the amount of effort being put in by colleges to ensure good placements.

So, with such advantages, do you feel that everything is hunky dory? Campus placement is the foolproof system that we were looking for. The answer may not be in the affirmative. It has its share of drawbacks. We will discuss them in my next blog.
Before that do let me know your views on the placement processes that you have come across. It might just give me some much needed fodder for the next blog.

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