POST-PLACEMENT DILEMMA

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This article is written by Ajitesh Singh, Anish Gupta, Deepak Dilipkumar, Junapudi Mrudula Raj, Krutika Patil, Nikhil Allamsetti, Nitish Sontakke, Pavan Prakash Duvvuri, Prudhvitej Immadi, Sagar Sheth, Sidharth Prasad and Sreesh Venuturumilli

All tied up, with polished shoes, suited to please the eye, only students in their final year can be seen in this neat attired form, gearing up for their interviews, placement assessments and scheduled meetings. While some anxiously await their PPO-results, some wait for the cherished Day 1 companies to open up. We are all too familiar with this elaborate process lasting a whole semester – the placement hustle. However, what is less known in the institute is what happens after the placements. Is all the hype worth it?

Switching jobs

We’ve come across quite a few stories indicating that our alumni have been quitting their jobs taking up different career paths relatively early after their graduation. This made us look a little deeper and try to validate these trends, and come up with possible explanations. We thus, surveyed the previous three alumni batches relating the issue. Surprisingly, we found out that nearly 40% of the people surveyed have moved from a job to a different field within 3 years, including some who’ve quit it without even completing a year! After quitting their jobs, apart from moving to work for a new company, people have picked varied fields like Entrepreneurship, Higher studies, Research Assistantship (RA’s) and Social Work. Although the fields are diverse, these trends seem to stem from a common source – the student mind-set during placements?

Placement flaws?

About half the students who’ve quit their jobs in 0-3 years didn’t initially plan to leave it, which highlights the uncertainty a student might face after he/she picks up the job. A variety of reasons have been provided when asked about the reason to change jobs/fields. An overwhelming majority who picked up Entrepreneurship, Higher studies, RAs or Social Service stated that they took it out of interest. The statistic that probably stands out is that 50% of the students who switched jobs did it because they didn’t like the work profile or that they had a conflict with the companies’ values. Others added that they wanted to explore different fields or raise money for their future career paths. In all the cases apart from the latter, it interests us to see why the students took up the job in the first place. While some picked up the job because of the humongous amount of money it was offering, a significant percentage of the people claimed that the job they took up initially was to pursue their passion, suggesting a lack in understanding about whether they were actually suited for the job. Furthermore, there are people who picked up the job only because it was a back-up option or because they weren’t sure at that time. Also, understandably, some portion of the people who had joined just to gain experience already quit their jobs. This combined with the rationale as to why they picked up that particular company during placements gives us more insights. A clear majority felt that the particular company was a good-fit. A company’s brand value also seemed to also have played a major role in the decision making. Other reasons include the fact that everyone else was eyeing the job.

The Glamour Jobs

 Most seniors are well aware of the attention consulting and finance jobs have been getting in the past few years. The Day-1 hype is mainly due to the high-paying non-core jobs and most of the students see them as their ‘dream jobs’. As mentioned before, a company’s brand value, the fact that many students are eyeing for the same job and the compensation being offered, play a role for students to take up such jobs, thus setting these job opportunities very lucrative for the students. From our Senior Survey Analysis of the batch of 2013, we learnt that almost 30% of the batch is going into consultancy and finance. It indeed is surprising to see such a statistic for one of the country’s best technological institution. Turns out, such a trend prevails in premier universities like Yale and Harvard too, where more than a quarter turn towards the Wall Street for their employment. From the current survey there seems to be a significant drop in that regard-9% of the UGs surveyed, probably indicating the switch to other jobs or career paths. The possible disinterest in work-profile, figuring out their passion, or wanting to be their own boss could be few reasons why people are heading out of their job. We have also come across various opinions where people said that they would have pursued “core” fields if there had been more opportunities to do so. The general opinion that students are more likely to take up non-core jobs may be true, but it is possibly due to the lack of lucrative opportunities in core, and not an inherent disinterest in the fields themselves. But then again, we can see the role that competition plays here. Student goals might just be dictated by achievements which are in turn dictated by societal expectations and probably not what they might be ‘wanting’ to do, which can be inferred from the fact that people are switching fields to pursue their passion.

A Job will do

More often than not, students view the placements as a source to just secure a job, which means there is some form of an assurance or guarantee. This leads to fact that students would want to get placed the earliest, making students pick up jobs that they might not be as interested in the actual work-profile

More
Understanding on the Jobs

 At first sight it
seems like the mindset of the student seems to play a critical role in the game
at hand. Although it is quite natural for people to change jobs, the percentage
of those who did so in the first 3 years seems to be quite high. There are a
few who did plan to quit either for exploring or for raising money for later
career switches, at many instances to entrepreneurship. But the rest did not
plan to shift this early. And here we suspect we need a student who is more
aware of the options, his ambitions irrespective of what others are aiming for.
A placement process should be conducive for such choices. Slightly more than
50% of the respondents who changed jobs seem to think that there are issues
with the placement process. One of the most important take-away is that we need
to understand the requirement of a placement process where more informed
choices are made. We can understand that there are a few who’d want to
experience working in different sectors, but the placement process must ensure
that this doesn’t stem from the lack of information or a thorough understanding
of the job in the first place. Also it can be inferred that there are quite a
few who thought they’d be a good fit for the job or took it mainly because of
its package and brand value. The institute has come up with new initiatives
like the deferred placement which can be useful to many students, looking at
the rise in entrepreneurship in the institute. A student needs to explore all
the available options all the more carefully based on what he’d rather do later
on; weighing the options; interacting with seniors who’ve had similar options.
To figure out about individual sectors, check out the individual sections
relating to each of the career paths.

Jobs

The survey results show that more than 31% students taking
up jobs out of campus placements have switched jobs at least once in the past
2-3 years. 35% of the respondents switched their jobs even when they felt that
those jobs are a perfect fit for them during campus placements citing different
reasons such as increased compensation and experience in a new sector/field.
This result has a greater reverberation and tells more about the mentality of
the student community who often fail to take an informed decision at the time
of graduation which could be due to many reasons, one being lack of avenues
which facilitate students to talk to people in particular industries. We also
asked our survey participants about the possibility of switching jobs in the
near future, and we found that 50% of the people are thinking of leaving their
current job.

 Of the 2012 batch
passouts, 55% of the people intend to change theirs while 35% are unsure of
their decision. Such numbers point out to a trend that many people are shifting
jobs even before they complete their first year in the company. Entrepreneurship
The survey on the current entrepreneurs shows that 3 out of every 4 have
previously worked for a company, all of them for a period ranging between 0 – 3
years. While most of them did so with the intent of gaining experience in the
industry, a few do it either to raise funds for their future ventures, while
others were not sure that they’d ever start up at that time. Also, a large
majority of the people who’ve started their own ventures coming out of jobs had
pre-planned their future shift and 54% of them made this shift just out of zeal
to pursue their passion, indicating that the dream ‘to become their own bosses
one day’ are more often than not, born within the hallowed provinces of IIT
Bombay and that our institute is indeed doing well enough to nurture the
entrepreneurship culture. This also in a way explains the short term job
quitting trend; they want to build their own companies. However, it seems a bit
astounding that every 3 out of our 4 entrepreneurs have their start-ups in the
non-core sector, especially considering that they have the best technological
institute in the country as their alma mater.

When it comes to being happy and satisfied with what one is
doing, among the people who’ve shifted, it is clearly seen that the shift has
increased the overall happiness quotient. It suggests that entrepreneurship in
general is more satisfying and pleasurable. Among the other category, the ones
who’ve got their hands dirty with entrepreneurship right after graduation,
every 4 in 5 said they wouldn’t have changed their minds, even if they’re given
their dream jobs during placements which suggest that there exist a few ‘born
entrepreneurs’ as well. Also, for 67% of them, their dream was born right
inside the institute campus and a huge majority of them think that their
entrepreneurial experience will come handy in the long run. Things like
‘deferred placements’ are further offering a safer option to our budding
entrepreneurs cultivating healthy entrepreneurship culture.

Higher studies

Some of our respondents moved from a job to higher studies.
Most of them wanted to get a flavour of what it’s like working in the industry,
to judge themselves on being fit for a ‘job’ and to look at how things are on
the other side before applying for graduate schools. Every second person who
has moved from a job to higher studies said they took up a job early on just to
gain experience since (s)he had always had an option of moving to a grad school
later on. Further, they took up the job just because, well, it seemed like a
‘good fit’, and finally went for a post-grad school primarily driven by his
interests. Among the ones pursuing higher studies, 3 in 5 dream of starting
their own ventures primarily out of passion while 4 in 5 think that their
post-grad studies will count once they start building their own company.

Miscellaneous

Every 4 out of the 5 people who are currently working as RAs
had taken it up right after graduation, their prime motivator being either
passion or an idea worth working on. This gives an indication that people who
decide to go into research seem to be a lot clearer of the path they want to
follow.

There goes our InsIghT into post placement dilemma…

This article has been republished from the IIT’s magazine InsIghT

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