If you ask any B-school aspirant, what he would never want to do in his life, he would probably say ‘sit for placements.’ The placement season is extremely hectic and mind-numbing. If not anything else, it will ground you and make you realise the level of competition you are facing!
Let me highlight why it is probably the worst phase of your MBA life –
As placements approach you, the level of PPTs you need to attend goes up exponentially. So, at a point in time, you are preparing for exams, sitting for corporate PPTs and even attending lectures. Any missed PPT will land you in a coup with the placecom team. You can even be barred from applying for that company!! This entire process leaves you exhausted.
The Shortlist Saga
For the 40-50 forms you will fill, you will probably be shortlisted by 5-6 firms. The disappointment after every rejection really hurts your confidence. And it does not end here. Just because you are shortlisted for an interview does not mean you are going to be called for one. God forbid they select their candidates before your chance comes. Then you can buzz off.
Life Goes On After Being Rejected
This is probably the factor which no one considers, but hurts the most. Let us assume you have five shortlists in a single day. By the time you reach your 5th interview, you start doubting your capabilities. Even if you were super confident at the start of the day, nervousness creeps in. You think you are being rejected because you are not good enough. Even with that thought, you have to put up a smile and face the next interviewer.
No Sleep Placements
A normal placements day starts at 5 in the morning and ends by 1 in the night. You have to be present the whole day, all suited up because your chance can come anytime. So if you are not placed for a couple of days, you can bid your sleep goodbye.
Waiting For Your Chance
Imagine you have 2 great shortlists – ABC and XYZ. Personally you want to go to ABC but XYZ calls you first. You are done with your first interview in XYZ and are waiting for the second one. Suddenly you hear the process for ABC has started. But by placement rules, you cannot leave this in between. The XYZ people keep you waiting for an hour and they eventually reject you in the end. By that time, the process for ABC has ended and they are not entertaining more people.
You think this is a one-off event? This is what happens with 30% of the people!
Your Classmates Get In, You Are Stuck
So you see your friends get in and you are left stranded. The amount of self-doubt that creeps in post such things is immeasurable. It is not about jealousy but getting free of the process. You can see a group of people just relaxed, smiling and you are there fighting for a spot in a tier-2 company!
Hundreds of Group Discussions
One of my colleagues appeared for 18 group discussions in a single day before getting the job - 18 freaking group discussions. Eighteen discussions where he has to sound fresh and smart and outwit the others. And if you sound desperate in either of these, you will be out. So you may be facing your inner demons, but hey, don’t forget to smile and wave!
Along the time you are struggling to get placed, you see placecom members being pushed for by the placement coordinator. This really pisses you off and it seems like you are a second-grade student in your own college.
Friends Given Preference
We have heard about this quite a few times – the placement team giving preference to their friends/girlfriends. The IIM Lucknow story of girls sleeping with the placement team members is evergreen after all.
Whatever be the reasons, placement season is the worst part of MBA. There is a reason why most people want to get a PPO and be out of the process. It is one of the most brutal and randoms processes you might see in your life; but truth be told, it has to be done!
Everyone is in for money after all.
Shawshank Redemption defines the placement season perfectly - “Sometimes you have to crawl through a lot of shit to come out clean.”