Thursday, September 2, 2010

The side-effects of Campus Placement Process

In my previous blog, I tried to jot down some of the benefits that the campus placement process has brought. Most if not all of us would agree that campus placement has been one of the most positive development in the field of education and has increased the purchasing capacity of the Indian youth with its wide reach.

So you thought that such a process can only be considered a “shot in the arm” rather than “shooting yourself in the foot”. Well I know the second idiom is a bit of an exaggeration but nevertheless the drawbacks do exist. Let’s discuss them.
  • Campus placements are more of an outcome of increasing demand for the skilled workforce in India rather than the modern education system producing industry ready individuals.
  • There is no doubt that there is over-emphasis on placements nowadays. As a result basic but necessary aspects like professors, laboratories or libraries have taken a backseat. (You must have come across the buzzword nowadays: 100% placement guaranteed!).
  • Even the students’ attitude towards academic activities has suffered due to the over-emphasis. The intellectual aspect of the course comes second nowadays rather it’s the economic aspect that rules i.e. will it give me a job or will it give me mere knowledge?
  • It has been seen that early success say getting placed with almost an year to go for formal completion of course has resulted in lackadaisical attitude of successful students towards academic process which can sometimes bring down the overall competitive atmosphere at the institute.   
  • The process that could have brought professionalism in education sector with focused placement programmes has instead made way for crass-commercialization. Institutes with good placement records are nowadays charging exorbitant fees.
  • The pay packages are the new parameters of success nowadays rather than self development. After all peer pressure plays a major role in such an environment. My personal experience shows that because of the above pressure as well as that of the family, students who intended to study further or prepare for say civil services after graduating instead sit for campus placements.
  • Though the placements do create awareness about profiles or say all round capabilities i.e. importance of extracurricular activities but sometimes it hampers the creativity of the activities or the task at hand. As a result the attraction could well be the glamour attached to the task or the outcomes i.e. relative importance vis-à-vis other activities. The process is pushed into the background instead.
  • With the demand for jobs far outstripping the supply or let’s put it this way the supply of students much more than the availability of quality jobs even at top colleges, the firms increasingly have more options whereas the so called beneficiary the “students” have increasingly fewer (an oxymoron, isn’t it?) choices. 
Though it would be a Utopian concept that every student gets what s/he wants but effort must be made to strike the right kind of balance. The students apart from getting adequate preparation should also be taught how to deal with pressure and a realistic picture should be presented before them. Else as they say, expectation is the beginning of disappointment.


  1. After a series of really good reads, these two are extremely redundant. Almost fell asleep reading fundaes I have been reading umpteen times in umpteen places over four years.

    Hence, I won't comment about anything here.

    There are however some really interesting issues regarding placements though and even though not many solutions exist, you can come up with some innovations.

    The problem is that of attrition (if you can call it, at all). About a substantial 40% of students placed in our campus either get a schol abroad and leave for MS or get into B-schools.

    The result : Frustrated companies, tremendous wastage of company and NITT resources. A leading investment bank has stopped coming to our campus due to this particular reason.

    The solutions are of course money bonds, grilling the interviewee in terms of his career plans and closely following his profiles, maximum GPA cutoffs.

    All of these invariably fail. Bonds too low can be easily paid off, too high restricts no of students drastically. Grilling is of no use, what with the intense mock-PIs we have prior to the process.

    Some innovations include, companies coming after B-school exam results (March-April) and compulsory score reporting and sorts.

    Anyways I guess when you pick up a topic instead of making it prosaic and pedantic make it discussion-worthy or solution centric.

    Not an advice, just a suggestion.

  2. @Srinj, nice comments. I wanted to make it solution centric but decided against it so that readers like you could rather propose them. Else it becomes a case of agree and disagree rather than an interaction which I wanted. The post might have come out prosaic and pedantic and I take the blame for it but I still feel that it is discussion worthy as it's affecting the entire education system like anything. The other reason behind not proposing solution is that we can't have the same solutions across the colleges. You put forward some really good suggestions and that may very well work for your institute. On the other hand some colleges may prefer a longer placement session as they might be having trouble "placing" the batch.I think we need a institute-centric (as student-centric would be Utopian) solution rather than debating slots or cohort based placement process. Very constructive post indeed. Thanks.

  3. Nice post Sir,

    But your arguments clearly point out that you are addressing a far bigger picture out here rather than the basic element of the picture itself; common man.

    Quality education , sound learning & firm understanding are undeniably the key facets of a good education system. But, the question is : Are these the prime requirements of a common Indian ?

    The answer is certainly NO. The prime requirements of a common man are still the same as they were decades ago; Roti, kapda & makan. To summarize, a job that will feed him & his family. Hence, this is the most pertinent aspect to be analyzed in this issue prior to reaching any conclusion.

    While contrary to the statement above some may opine that there are numerous factors affecting Indian education system right from the most elementary stage, which ultimately lead to placements being as vital as they are today. But, a closer scrutiny will reveal that all these factors are actually aligned towards this single common need of the common man to get a good paying job. For example, schools are still focused on science subjects rather than art subjects. Parents still want their kids to become doctors or engineers rather than painters or sports persons. Students good in Maths are still respected more than those good in Hindi, amongst their peer group. The list goes on and on. And, all these social, educational & behavioral patterns have emerged eventually over time as the need for education to legitimately guarantee one's bread & butter became as evident as stars in the night sky.

  4. CONTINUED ........

    'An elder son in an Indian middle class family' is the typical example which many of us are, or someone all of us know of. No matter how ambitious this elder son is, he'll have to curb his dreams and desires to shoulder the responsibilities he was literally born with. Such are the characteristics of the habitat we are born in. Almost, every element of this environment forces the common Indian to fulfill the prime need of a job. Placements seen under this light is nothing but consummation of this need. No wonder placements have eventually predominated the current education system as the most important aspect.

    All the points mentioned in the mother post are focusing on a dream which is slowly coming true in India as the middle class is becoming more stable and contributing to the same. But, a complete turn around of the educational system would only be possible when the basic necessities are secured for majority of the stakeholders.

    To conclude, I would just say that history is evidence to the fact that individuals & societies who have actually honed their knowledge rather than just acquired it for economic output, have almost always been the ones not bearing the burden of "roti, kapda & makan", reason either being fate or choice. Few prominent elements this set includes are Romans, Greeks, Aryans & Chineese for civilisations and Buddha, Leonardo Da Vinci, Einstien, Newton, Aryabhatta & Socrates for individuals.

  5. Great analysis Ashu. My aim behind the two posts on placements was to highlight the impact it has on the educational set up. It has its pros and cons. There is no denying the fact that it doesn't address the issue related to quality of education. In fact even the existing academic set-up is taking a back seat.
    As i have pointed that its more about the supply and demand than anything else.
    Even you would agree that the existing parameters of success are materialistic in nature so subjects or qualities that help you earn money easily will get more respect. And these parameters are here to stay with the existing constraints.
    Would love to hear more from you.

  6. I love your post, as a high school teacher me students and I have love for your post
    Keep it up

  7. Thanks Anthony for your encouragement. Wish you all the success in your noble endeavors so that the children look up-to you as a role-model