The 1st of December is perhaps the most dreaded – as well as anticipated – date at IITB. It is, of course, the day that marks the start of the placement process every year, which arguably is the single most important factor that contributes to reverence that the IITs, especially the old ones, enjoy today.
The placement process is itself quite a marvel. In its last edition in 2014, 1675 candidates fought it out for 240 companies over the first 18 days. In this phase of the Placement process, which lasted from the 1st to the 18th of December, one can meet more powerful and important people than they would otherwise find in the Taj Hotel on most days. CEOs and senior management of some of the world’s biggest companies come down to show that they really value the talent that IIT Bombay has to offer. Managing this colossal organizational nightmare of an event would be a challenge for many pro event managers but surprisingly, almost all of it is entirely managed by students. And pretty well at that.
As the process progresses, the ‘good jobs’ get taken first. These would typically have ‘better’ or reputed employers and offer higher pay. Consequently, the best companies hire on Day 1, which is the 1st of December. Even within this day, better companies are given an earlier slot to conduct their process, so they have access to the best candidates before other companies.
The placement process, as anybody with experience can tell you, has a lot of uncertain variables. The job market, the economy, the quality of students in other colleges or even the personal preferences of the interviewer can dictate the job you could end up with. As a student sitting for placements, the anticipation, the fear, the expectations and the nervousness make for an emotional cocktail that can almost make you physically sick. Some students are obviously better prepared and qualified than others, but they too are no less victim to the agonies that everyone faces. Despite all of this, most students at IITB do get placed. Although the fight for jobs in ‘Day 1 firms’ is ferocious, most students know that they’d be placed somewhere or the other. The mission is to get a job as soon as possible since the employer quality level goes down as the process progresses.
Most firms look for what you’d expect from someone who has cracked the JEE and made it through the IIT education system – excellent analytical ability and mathematical aptitude. This is the reason why you can find a lot of financial firms hiring from the IIT’s. They are a major attraction for students since they usually have a big brand behind them and pay really well. Software/IT is another major recruiting sector. Contrary to popular belief, they do not look, in particular, for ‘coding’ experience. They look for the basic logical brain wiring in a student that will enable him to learn on the job. Consulting firms are also major recruiters, not in numbers, but in the kind of talent they hire. They look for a good academic performance as well as good interpersonal skills and an experience in leadership and organisational roles. These jobs are almost exclusively reserved for so-called ‘all-rounders’ and promise a lot of exposure in the business world.
Another trend that has only started to show up recently is startup hiring. Many startups are well funded and promise compensations that are comparable to what large corporates pay. Also, since quite a few startups have IIT alumni as part of their founding team, it makes them easily approachable even outside the placement process, if you have the required network. The cloud of optimism around the startup world is persuading more students every year to shun conventional jobs in search of something they are really passionate about without compromising on the paycheck.
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