Placements: By the students, for the students
This post is a formal entry for the InsideIIM Debate 2014.
Name: Manchi Vamsi Krishna
Institute: Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
Team name: Quarks
Team-mate’s Name: Ishan Dogra (http://insideiim.com/dograkgp/)
Article Refuting: 5 Reasons why student run placements should give way to CDC at IIM. (http://insideiim.com/5-reasons-why-student-run-placements-should-give-way-to-cdc-at-iim/)
Placement is an activity that is integral to the B-School, and no one can do it better than the student representatives of the placement committee. They understand the batch strength, weakness, diversity, interest, and requirement and strive towards getting “Dream Companies” for all. It is for this reason that I chose to counter an article of the title: 5 Reasons why student run placements should give way to CDC at IIM. (http://insideiim.com/5-reasons-why-student-run-placements-should-give-way-to-cdc-at-iim/)
1. MBA is not just about academics
The author’s point is that the primary purpose at a B-school should be to learn and acquire knowledge and not to woo companies.
Well then, the same can be said for any club, committee or extracurricular activity that the student performs. Media Cell, Sports committee, Cultural committee, etc. are also student run. Going by the author’s point, all such activities should be scrapped and students should only be allowed to study.
The major incentive in a B-school is the opportunity to be part of such student driven activities. They give the student a first-hand experience in managing tasks, people and help hone their leadership skills. And most importantly, MBA is all about prioritizing the right tasks and managing your time. Any student who really wants to study will make time out of his schedule for his academic interests.
The author also says students should not try to woo companies. What is a Resume’ then. Isn’t that a way of marketing yourself? Isn’t that trying to portray yourself according to the company’s requirement so that they are interested in you and offer you an opportunity to work for them? In layman’s terms, isn’t that wooing? Day in and day out, we try to market ourselves in different situations. If at all, though in a crude way, this gives the Placement committee members an edge over others by improving their marketing abilities.
2. Alumni always recruit from their alma mater, for obvious reasons.
The author feels that having a professionally run Career Development Centre (CDC) will help reduce the trend of Alumni recruiting from their B-Schools. Frankly, I feel there is no connection. Alumni will anyway help their campus, regardless of placement being handled by students or CDC. Alumni know the ground reality of the campus, they know the strengths and weaknesses and would any day prefer to recruit from their alma mater.
In fact, if an Alumni comes forward with a recruitment offer, I’m pretty sure no CDC is going to say no. Even in United States, Alumni play an important role in offering jobs. If nepotism really need to be addressed, then the recruitment system of companies should be focused and not the student run placement system as it is of no relevance here.
3. You can take a horse to a pond, but you cannot make it drink water
The author says that placement committee students can influence the selection process by pushing their friends through in the selection process. Placement committee can bring companies and provide opportunities, but there is little they can do to influence the selection of candidates. At the end of the day, it’s how the student performs during the selection process that influences a recruiter to consider the student for the job. And frankly, recruiters have been recruiting for so long that they know better than to be influenced by students from the placement committee.
Even in case of CDC, there will be a set of student who will be assigned to assist the CDC, and they might end up getting the benefit. So, even in case of CDC, there can be a situation of no transparency. Also there are numerous examples of big private universities spending a large sum of money in advertising. Such universities can be hand in glove with CDC and influence companies to visit the universities. In that case, such a system would essentially be playing with the lives of numerous students.
4. Students do their research.
The author says that very little information about the company is given during placement time. There is just 1 presentation in which most companies gloat about their successes. No or little information is given about the job profile and the students are not able to interact with the company and find out the exact information needed.
Frankly speaking, if company interaction is what is needed, then even placement committee can also arrange it. But if we are talking about getting details about the job, job environment, etc., then it is the responsibility of the job seeker. And speaking about companies bloating their success in the presentation, no company is ever going to disclose its negative features in a public forum, and definitely not in a recruitment forum. If a student wants to know about the negatives of a company, he/she can visit various online forums or contact alumni and enquire about the same.
Taking the point further, there is no guarantee that the same thing will not happen when this process is handled by CDC. Even in that case, the company is going to give a similar presentation and the same confusion is going to prevail.
The author gives examples of informal placement meetings happening in the west. While that is a good way forward, it can be done by the student driven placement committee itself. This doesn’t warrant the change of placement committee from student driven management to CDC.
5. It’s all about one’s perspective
The author feels that companies are lied to by the placement committee. They say to companies that they have day 0 slot while actually that would be day 5 slot. CAT percentiles are not disclosed to companies.
As far as the CAT percentiles is concerned, government regulation states that you cannot disclose them. Disclosing CAT percentiles would lead to disclosing caste details and defeating the reservation purpose.
Talking about companies being lied to, it’s all about perspective. Consider a company with multiple clients. To each client, the company says that they are the most important client. That might not be necessarily true, but no company is going to disclose to a client that they are the company’s 2nd or 3rd preferred clients. The same analogy applies to this situation too.
And finally, one major factor to consider is the cost involved with CDC. Student run placement committees are free. If B-Schools move towards a professional CDC run placement committee, then that is going to cost them more. This would in turn force the B-Schools to raise their fee structure.
Also, the learning that one gets from being part of the placement committee is un-paralled. Also the personal touch that students get when their batch mates handle placements is extremely good. So considering all these points, I conclude that having a student run placement committee is more beneficial to a B-School.