Responding to our Right to Information (RTI) query in the context of the misrepresentation of salaries and job offers in their 2012 placement report as described in our August story, the Department of Management Studies (DMS), Indian Instititute of Technology (IIT), Delhi denied having released any official placement report at all. The institute sidetracked almost all our questions, repeatedly insisting that it had not collected any salary or offer data during its placement process nor had it ever released an official placement report.
Here is a recap from that article,
Refusing to go on record with their responses for this story as any transparent placement or media committee of a b-school should, Shubham Maheshwari, the placement committee coordinator of DMS, IIT Delhi cited confidentiality reasons and instead asked us to get them by filing an RTI application. Although we consider this diversionary and a completely out-of-protocol treatment of a media query routed through proper channels (which by the way DMS has in the past has always replied to promptly, without bringing up confidentiality and without asking us to file an RTI application), we are still filing an RTI application with DMS, IIT Delhi with these questions and will publish another story with the school's responses in about a month's time, after we get the reply.
As recommended, we filed the RTI query with IIT Delhi on August 27, 2012 and received their reply on September 20, 2012. Read our questions and their responses below or download from here.
Asked about the non-response to our RTI questions despite his recommendation to us to seek them by filing an RTI application, Shubham Maheshwari, the placement coordinator of DMS, IIT Delhi refused to comment.
The following are our observations,
1. The placement report released on dmsiitd.org in April 2012 (and later removed) did not have the official endorsement of DMS, IIT Delhi's administration or faculty. A copy of this 'unofficial' placement report is available here.
The RTI reply expresses DMS' inability to produce a placement report as all job offer details are confidential between students and companies and neither provided to nor asked for by the department. If that is true, on what basis was the unofficial placement report prepared?
Can anything on the dmsiitd.org website be believed as correct and reliable information?
2. With the department distancing itself from the placement report, the student placement committee removing the placement report from its website altogether, and the placement coordinator refusing to comment on or answer any questions about placements at DMS, IIT Delhi, what is the method for an MBA applicant or the media to seek reliable information about this b-school's placements? Or is it impossible?
3. Even by moderate standards of corporate governance, DMS, IIT Delhi would have invited a criminal lawsuit had it been a public company instead of being a government b-school, for misleading shareholders or customers with false information. This is a telling example of how ill-prepared many of our our reputed b-schools are in teaching best practices in corporate governance, as out of tune as parts of their own house are.
Meanwhile, our story on DMS managed to spark some debate within the DMS, IIT Delhi community about the propriety of their salary fudging. Through our sources, we received access to several internal group emails and Facebook community discussions involving members of the placement committee openly supporting the salary inflation and indicating that similar inflation was done in the DMS 2011 placement report too. We are sharing one of them below.
In the following screengrab of a discussion happening in the now graduated DMS, IIT Delhi 2010-12 batch Facebook community, a member of the placement committee suggests that unless recent alumni did well in their jobs and come back as recruiters, future batches of DMS might have to fake their placement reports too.
The replies by the placement committee member have been marked in RED. A few other telling comments have been marked in PINK. Individual identities of the posters have been blacked out.
One gathers the following from these discussions,
1. There is little, almost no repentance within the batch for fudging their placement figures. The belief that inflated placement reports are required to strengthen the 'DMS brand' and secure better jobs for the current batch is so strong that there is complete insensitivity towards applicants who would have been misled in joining the school based on the false placement reports.
2. The placement committee member, whose two comments have been marked in RED, admits to the placement data fudging and justifies it as necessary to attract recruiters. While showing no repentance, he/she suggests that the inflated figure can be reasoned by claiming that it was calculated only over the top 60 offers. He/she also suggests that the figures were fudged last year as well, and might need to be fudged in the future too unless current graduates did well in their jobs to get into leadership positions and become recruiters.
In other tidbits, the placement committee member admits to having lied to Infosys that the school had an average salary of Rs 15 lakh in 2011 and that Infosys would be a Day Zero company on the DMS, IIT Delhi campus if it agreed to recruit from there.
3. A few are singlemindedly focused on 'finding the black sheep', supposedly a member of the school's community who they think leaked the information to PaGaLGuY and 'thanking him in a special way'. Accusations are flying around among the posters hinting that one of them could be that 'black sheep'. Amidst the exchange, someone reveals that the junior batch, the 2012-14 one which joined DMS just a couple of months ago and using the now-deleted placement report a the basis for making their decision, has been told that PaGaLGuY published the August story because it had some kind of a vendetta against DMS.
(We have no vendetta against DMS, IIT Delhi. We did this story in the interest of the applicant community that we serve and also because a few people related to the DMS community and among its recruiters were conscietious enough to pass us information showing the placement report fudging.)
4. A couple of sane voices do in fact lay the blame for the disclosure not on this 'black sheep', but on the placement commitee itself for having put out inflated placement figures without consulting the rest of the batch. One poster expresses the wish that they had acted earlier to 'cure DMS of this disease', but did nothing. Another expresses open appreciation for the so-called 'black sheep'.