The cynics may dub them as ‘idiots’ but that’s exactly who they intend to follow — the protagonists of Bollywood hit ‘3 Idiots’ who excelled in life by following their hearts.
At least 10 students of the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow (IIM-L), one of the leading business schools in the country, were happy to sit out of the placement process to chase their own dreams and passion.
IIM-L achieved 100% final placement for its 31st batch of 435 students in a record time of just over three days. The recruitment drive witnessed participation from over 170 domestic and international companies and recruiters.
“I have decided to pursue my passion in writing fiction. I want to succeed as a writer and I had to fully immerse myself into the craft. I think this applies for pretty much any field. That is what prompted me to stay away from placements,” Sharath Kumar told Hindustan Times.
And his family is backing him.
“Yes, my parents are supportive of the decision and see it as a way for myself to do what I really enjoy doing. I wouldn’t be where I am without their constant support along the way,” the 23-year-old said.
Kumar said the decision was very difficult considering the benefits that come with a stable job.
“However, I spoke to a lot of people and weighed my options carefully before committing to this. I don’t regret it and never will. Whether or not I become a successful writer is secondary to me, what matters is that I must give my best shot,” he said.
Jay Shah, another student who sat out, wants to become a social entrepreneur after completing MBA from IIM Lucknow.
“More precisely, I plan to do integrated organic farming. The fact that I decided to sit out of placements astonishes many. The decision was frankly a big one for me too and it has a story to it,” he said while revealing the story behind his decision to skip the placements.
When 25-year-old Shah joined IIM-L, his plan was to work for about 2 years before becoming an entrepreneur. However, a number of things guided him to take it up straight away.
A course on business sustainability and externalities market sensitised him about environmental issues and the practices of sustainability. “It was this course that got me excited about the idea of making a difference,” Shah said.
Till two months back, his plan was to work as a social consultant which he saw as a convergence of his social and financial goals. In the long run, Jay hopes to play his part in transforming the rural sector and promoting inclusive growth by propagating his practices once he sets up an established model.
These are not isolated cases. A senior IIM-L professor said a handful of students who are financially well off and have the complete backing of their family take such bold decisions.
“In many IIMs, there is a practice called deferred placement wherein a student is conditionally allowed not to take the placement. They are required to submit a detailed project report of their startups, ventures or what they are passionate for,” the professor, who did not wish to be named, said.
“It is then reviewed by a pool of two professors. If they do not succeed in their ventures, they can again take part in next year campus placement,” he added.
He cited the example of Kumar.
“He has wonderful idea and topics ... He was then interviewed by 2 professors who found him a suitable person who can become an acclaimed author,” he added.