Cometh the hour…Cometh the companies. 

It’s that time of the year when first year students across campuses ensure that their CVs are well-oiled or at least in a position to convey something of substance to the recruiters who would come down to campuses in droves. Despite placements in some elite institutes being likened to err… ‘Cattle fairs’, by a prominent industry figure, these processes continue to rank among some of the most awaited and closely-watched spectacles on campuses. As the D-day approaches, there is a build-up of nervous energy and the anxiety palpable.

Some basic features of the quintessential ‘summers’ that are common to campuses across the country:

 

CVs

A product of sublime artistry designed to garish proportions, a subject of intense scrutiny, an element of much discussion & debate and a matter of make-or-break; it forms an integral part of every B-school student’s armory. Be it the “wide appreciation” received for his contribution in arranging for “logistics” for the New Year’s bash at his/her workplace, his/her contribution to the 200% growth of the previous employer or exploits in the Junglee Dance in Class 5. The CV is an art of constant sculpting and smoothening to remove creases of imperfection till it is polished to precision, retaining enough goodness to make even Akshaye Khanna an Oscar hero. After the CV making exercise, one can boast mastery over a wide range of action verbs – Facilitated, Administered, Conceptualized, Arbitrated etc. to name a few.

The last time we heard a visibly irked junior digging through his folders searching for proof that he was “a self-motivated employee”.

 

Pre-placement talks

Pre-placement talks or PPTs are often a way for recruiters to connect with students. What often makes this connect easier is that most recent employees in these companies have been students of the institutes themselves not long ago. Students get a sneak-peek into the roles that the companies have on offer. With a plethora of companies jostling to make a mark early and get first-mover advantage, the schedule is choc-o-bloc with PPTs. Business casuals are the order of the day, sometimes many times a day. A good participative PPT ensures a feel-good factor among recruiters and students alike.

Students are advised to be well-informed about company details , a part which essentially  includes devouring every molecule of wiki-info and come up with questions which make them look intelligent in the eyes of recruiters and thereby a stand-out from the rest. The post-PPT Q&A session outside the presentation hall is an event which merits another article.

 

Some absolute PPT ‘pearls’:

(A guy to another, just before the PPT) “Man, I forgot to mug Derivatives Pricing and I did not read that article on ‘Investors sentiments in inflationary markets’ on Mint. Don’t really know what CP I am going to put now.”

(During the Q&A session after the PPT) “Sir, There was a worker union hartal in the factory of your XYZ product. What do you have to say about it?? (Managers can double up as journalists too)

“Sir, I have observed that most of your company’s products end with the same letter. Is it something to do with numerology.?”

“Why did you not come for the PPT dude? You will be penalized and the HR lady was awesome… (Pauses. Smells a rat) I think they deliberately planted her there to distract people from putting CP. Could be part of their process to filter out candidates”

(Guy to his friend, after the PPT): “The Company T-shirt they gave me is size S. I need an L. I am going to write a mail to placecomm to replace it”

(Thoroughly frustrated and a resigned look on the face, breaks into a rant after the PPT) “Damn! Everyone demands 2 ‘peaks’ for this profile! Where do I get it from now? The Himalayas? I am absolutely useless. I shouldn’t have come here in the first place. I shouldn’t have left my job.”

“This company is not worth it. I knew that right from the start. They didn’t offer pizzas too”

“They may pay a lot. But I am not impressed. After all, profile bhi koi cheez hoti hain.”

“Guys, where’s my HULL book. (Searches underneath piles of books and case materials) Been searching for it for some time now.”
“You never had one in the first place, idiot”
“Oh is it?? Ok cool. Can you lend me yours? Need it urgently. Got a Citi shortlist for tomorrow”

(But the Oscar goes to….)

Girl in the audience (Just when the recruiter has finished the PPT session and is turning to leave):“Sir, just one question. What is it that motivates you to go to work every day?”

The stunned recruiter who is an old alum of the institute gives the placement committee member a glare as if to suggest “why don’t you hang yourselves?” which is returned with a sheepish “It-wasn’t-me” look.

 

PPOs

PPO or pre-placement offer – wherein the company you interned with for the 2 months during your summers is mighty pleased with you enough to give you a permanent seat.  Again, a feature of most B-school placements, its elusiveness has left many a student baffled and bewildered. The news of a PPO spreads faster than the most viral video on YouTube and it sparks analyses of all sorts. Over years, people have tried to map the PPO-friendliness of companies across sectors. While in case of a few companies, people often state that it is obvious and predictable to the dot, in some others their predictions can only compete with the Indian Met Department for accuracy. Some of the sweetest moments and heart-breaks occur in this period leading up to the finals. And it serves as ideal fodder for some campus grapevine and conspiracy theories.

(A guy when asked whether about his chances of a PPO from the bank) “Well, that depends on whether Greece exits the EU or not” (??)

The common one

“How did she not get a PPO?”

(The above piece does not depict any particular institute)

-Vishwanath Hariharan

The author is a second year PGP student at IIM Ahmedabad (Class of 2013). He graduated from NIT Trichy in 2007 and worked for nearly 4 years in Mahindra & Mahindra, Automotive Sector in the vendor management function. His blog page can be found here

If you are preparing to secure your dream job, you may want to visit – The InsideIIM Career Guide

Also see results of the InsideIIM Recruitment Survey

Other articles by Vishwanath : The Many varieties of B-School students  The Many Varieties of B-School Students (Females)It’s that time of the season!

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