Their placements set the trend for the rest. Their salaries make headlines. Come December 1 and the biggest companies line up to recruit on their campus.
The placement season of the Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay (IIT-B) is the most awaited in the country. Although the season is from December to June, preparations begin almost as soon as the previous season is over. While placements are supervised by faculty members, a major chunk of the work is done by students who make up the placement team.
“The placement team is very important and we take great care in selecting students for it. There are several ethical issues involved and students have to handle a lot of confidential information about companies,” said Ravi Sinha, chairman, placements.
The placement team has 65 students and getting in is tough. The team consists of five overall administrative managers, 25 company coordinators who communicate with companies, 35 department representatives (elected by students) who identify student preferences and skill sets.
There is a rigorous selection procedure for managers and coordinators. “We have to make a presentation to the previous year’s placement team about the strengths and weakness of the placement strategy and ways to better it,” said Shobhit Gupta, a placement manager.
There is another round of personal interviews where students are put through a pressure test before finally making it to the team. After making it to the team, the real work begins. Company coordinators get in touch with at least 3,500 companies and finally zero in on 250 companies that come on campus. They have to slot companies and students and on day one. As many as 25 companies visit campus.
“It is not like every company is a phone call away. We make 30 phone calls to each company to invite them and there is a lot of coordination involved. We create a separate strategy for each company. We use the alumni network, tap into industry bodies such as the Confederation of Indian Industries and tie up with consulates to ensure smooth foreign placements,” said Prateek Vidya, a coordinator. The biggest high, of course, is roping in companies that have never come on campus before. This year, the team has roped in 50 new companies.
But the privilege of such information brings in other pressures. “We are final year students so even we are up for placements but when we deal with companies we are very professional. We also have to ensure that our batch mates never feel that we have an unfair advantage just because we are in constant touch with companies,” said Neeta Dixit, a coordinator.
There are several checks in place to see that ethics are not compromised. For example, students can never meet company representatives outside campus and faculty is present during any discussions.
Through all this work, students have to prepare for their own interviews. “Although many of us were placed on the first day, we had no time to celebrate. If we have few free moments, we would rather catch up on sleep. None of us get more than a few hours of sleep during peak placement days,” said Nishant Kachawa, a placement manager.
“It makes us more responsible and teaches us how to deal with pressures,” said Udai Gujrati from the placement team.