At a time when hundreds of graduating IITians are preparing themselves to sit through a series of interviews during the upcoming placement season, Bikram Kumar Sinha is an exception. A final-year MTech student at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B), Sinha is one of the six students who have been awarded two years to work on their start-ups and try their luck at the 2018-19 placement season, if their ventures fail to produce desired results.
The offer comes as part of the Deferral Placement Programme (DPP) introduced by IIT-B in 2012. Under this programme, students who want to start their own firms or work in the social sector, by moving away from the safety net of a regular campus placement, have a cushion to break their fall. The students, who have been awarded deferrals this year, can come back after two years and be part of the campus placements.
“Some of us have been working on setting up an e-commerce platform with a pan-India presence where people can buy plants online. While the rest of the team has opted for placements this year, I chose to work on the start-up and see how far I can take it,” said Sinha.
While he has been working on his start-up, plantley.com for the past seven months, he now plans to find suitable investors for the project and eventually push it towards self-sustenance. “The idea is to contribute 1.5% of the profits through this venture to the Green India Project,” he added.
While Sinha is the only student from the Metallurgical Engineering and Material Science (MEMS) department, the others include an MTech student from the Computer Science and Engineering Department and four BTech students form the Aerospace department.
This quartet is working to develop an English Natural Language Processing (NLP) tool to be used as scalable architecture for user level sentiment analysis. They have also developed a proprietary algorithm that analyses social media feeds to predict user or crowd sentiments and their business model had finished in top 12 (out of 7000+ start-ups) that had recently participated in an international business model competition organised by IIT-B.
While the first year of this program found no takers followed by only one student in 2013, almost 13 students opted for this back-up plan in the year 2014 followed by eight students in 2015. This year, the number is still stands at six. “Deferral placements are permitted only for start-up and social cases, and we commend the students for their sheer courage to prioritize their passion and interest over the mainstream path,” said an official from IIT-B.
Figures from IIT-B for number of students who opted for DPP: