We caught up with Professor S.K. Srivastava, to get a deeper insight into the placement process.
TSA: How would you rate the placements this season as compared to last season?
SKS: This placement season was definitely as good as the last one, if not better. True, some problems persisted with sizeable chunks of students in some courses failing to get placed, but overall it was a successful placement season.
TSA: KGP enjoyed some superb success in this placement season, with several students grabbing tremendously lucrative jobs in Facebook and Google. What do you think is responsible for this grand success?
SKS: I think a lot of credit should be given to the various summer internship programmes, which offer students an opportunity to learn a lot. These programmes are especially beneficial as they help students pick up key skills necessary for such work environments and thereby enhance their preparation for the decisive placement interviews. Also, I feel that the dynamic atmosphere prevalent in our campus is an important factor in shaping a person’s career, as a person is getting to interact with his co-students and work as a team in the various societies that we have.
TSA: Yet there still remain a number of departments where placement statistics are poor. What is your take on the reasons for the same?
SKS: I think the faculty of such departments should play a more active role and take more responsibility. There have been cases where a company has promised to come to our campus for placements but declined at the last moment. Problems are also faced by us during post-graduate placements, on account of their courses being highly specialised and the TnP cell not knowing exactly which companies to contact. In such cases, guidance from the department is highly necessary. The department representatives should be guided by the department faculty in this regard.
TSA: What do you think are the most important skills one requires to be placed in a company of his/her dreams?
SKS: I think that the basic knowledge of his stream comes first and foremost. A person who does not have the required knowledge about his core subjects and courses can never compare with his counterpart who has this knowledge. Programming is also a fairly important skill which students should know. Nowadays there is a tendency among many students to go for non-core jobs, such as those in financial companies. Communication becomes a very important skill when being interviewed for such jobs. In this regard, Gymkhana office bearers are better off because they have had invaluable experience in communicating within a team and handling a lot of responsibility.
TSA: Could you elaborate on some of the new measures being taken by the Gymkhana to streamline and better the placement process?
SKS: There is an important initiative in the pipeline regarding creation of an ERP portal to upload complete student profiles or CVs. A student will have the facility of uploading his entire CV, prominently featuring positions of responsibility held by him, in his ERP profile. However, there is an associated problem regarding the verification of thousands of such profiles. Who will guarantee the correctness of so many CVs? Hence, I believe that there should be a rule regarding freezing of CVs, in other words, there will be a time after which a student cannot change his resume and append new details to it.
TSA: Any particular problems faced during this placement season?
SKS: There were infrastructural problems regarding allocation of rooms to conduct tests and group discussions during placements. With an increasing number of companies coming and the number of students also increasing, there was a recurring issue of space crunch. The timings of the tests and related procedures are also not flexible and mostly depend on companies’ whims. Also, although postgraduate placements were fairly decent this time, they cannot match the success at the undergraduate level owing to different student backgrounds and a certain degree of communication problems.
TSA: Exactly how important is the day of placement?
SKS: I think a lot of importance should not be attached to the day of placement because it is mostly dependent on luck. Companies have certain primary expectations from the people it will eventually hire and if they get such a person on the first day, it’s that person’s luck. It should not bear down on a student’s mind if he is not placed in the first few days.
TSA: Lastly, your thoughts on the fact that there is a preponderance towards going for a job immediately after completing one’s degree and not higher studies.
SKS: I was the placement committee head and as such, will not like to comment on this. I have stepped down from the post, but my message to all students will be to focus on their core subjects first and foremost. Not getting placed very quickly or not getting an offer lucrative enough should never have any serious negative impact on any student.