Placements And Its Colourful Characters

The placement season undoubtedly brings out the best of the characters in a typical hostel setup at a b-school. People say MBA is a very grim, competitive setup right from day 1 to the day of placements. Although I’m not going to deny that being true, but the intensity of this competitive spirit comes in crests and troughs. College events and festivities bring out the camaraderie between batch-mates, not to mention days spent in rooms packed beyond capacity, ignored in a drunken stupor. And more often than not the intense competition and the heavy air of uncertainty is subdued, and kept aside for certain days. These days are the ones for placements.

For an outsider, the setting in the hostel during these days, would seem apocalyptic. A hostel, erstwhile, bursting with activity would suddenly turn morbid. Deserted lobbies and shut rooms; the same lobbies where the blaring music would make it difficult to converse. And sadly, none of the hits from the 80’s with people dancing in unison to Govinda’s tunes. What more, there is absolutely no one ‘passed out’ in the hostel lobby. A rare sight indeed. Placement season is a strange, strange time. In fact, I’ve even seen the guards exchange worried glances, fearing the well-being of the hostel dwellers.

However even these testing times can conjure up a myriad of characters. I for one, took the effort to categorise them during this tenure. So, here goes:

1.) The fledgeling ones: You can always see the freshers herded up together and can be seen impatient and scurrying about in the lobbies. “Bro, should I have taken marketing instead of finance?”, “Are there enough FMCGs coming on campus this year?” and particularly, “Why do they have to have the package proportional to the work-ex!”, are common questions on all their lips. In a natural habitat, they can be likened to the behaviour of a squirrel. Always restless, unsure whether one nut is better than the next.

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2.) The learned ones: The experienced lot are generally a little more composed in the build-up to D-day. They seem to be one doling out tips and tricks for interviews and have a more realistic stand of where their years of experience will favour them and where it will be a deterrent to them. The good part of everyone is, they not only prepare for their own placements but also help out others, at the same time ensuring that everyone is calm and composed; well at least the nice ones.

3.) The PPO holders: This lot are the most hated ones generally in the campus. And this is first-hand, self-inflicted hatred. They would be the few who would always have the music playing, doors open, and ensuring the guards that there is no epidemic that has struck the hostel. Every other minute, you would see them heading out to the canteen, or to KFC or the local theka, with a broad grin on their faces. A grin that, they will ensure that you had a good look at before they head out. Oh, and there are a few extreme ones who might even come up to you and bemoan, “Should have put a little more effort into the internship no? Lol JK bro!!”

4.) The opt outers: These are generally the dark horses of the lot. Known to be all quiet before placements and suddenly land a great job off campus. Apart from being a subject of hushed discussions and occasional finger pointing, not much is known of their whereabouts. This is mostly due to the nebulous circumstances under which a candidate secures a job. The membership of this group is highly speculative and forms the major topic for gossip during these troubled times. Eventually, the actual number of opt outers are only a fraction of the speculated numbers, that too those who either have their own start-up, join the family business or realise securing a job after MBA isn’t really the most important thing in the world.

5.) The A-team: The revered lot. The ones who are an absolute stand out, in terms of GPA, competitions and extra- curricular. These are generally discussed by the commoners, as the ones who should quickly get placed, so that they can be next, up for reckoning. They can be seen around the hostel with an air of confidence and a slight hint (or more) of condescendence. Mostly day zero people, unless something drastically goes wrong or their overconfidence gets the better of them, much to the dismay of the commoners.    

6.) The techies: Finally the really unsure lot. Their main concerns are two-fold; first that I want to do anything but write codes for the rest of their lives. Second that in retrospection the pay at a tech job isn’t all that bad; also there’s a lot of supposed demand for tech roles. You could see them talking to themselves after a long night, “Would it be that bad if I went back to a tech role? Like a technocrat? They are cool right?” So most of the time you’ll see them oscillate between marketing, finance, operations and then eventually get placed in a tech company. Booyah!

At the end of the day, it all comes down to your preparation in terms of the company, the role and the specialisation where your learnings from the MBA can be applied, and luck which also plays a big role but cannot really be banked on. And when it comes to skills I think the meme below sums it up pretty well. 

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About the Author:

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Aroop takes great pride in his free-flowing sarcasm and tries to dole out as much as possible without being things hurled at him. He is a part of the Sponsorship team at ‘Dhruva’ and the Coordinator for ‘E-Summit 2016’ at IIM Trichy. He also enjoys taking note of his batchmates’ behaviour so that he could write about it later. Clearly.

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