Admissions to Placements: The burden of Expectations

 

Placements at institutions (especially professional institutions) have had a long history in our country. One of the key factors driving the selection of institutions by students as well as their parents has been the placement records of these institutions. And nothing wrong with that. After all, in our country, education is one of the optimum ways to grow financially as well as socially unless you are born with a silver spoon.

That is why when any student takes admission in an institute, there are expectations! Expectations of parents of their child’s future, expectations of the child regarding his/ her future, and expectations of the institute from the pool of students it has admitted.

Students 

More or less every student enters an institute with the expectation to land a job at the most renowned employer, in the most fulfilling role, and at the highest possible salary. Of course, these expectations get tempered down over time as they move through the years at college. Or else, as a recent article from LiveMint succinctly shows, these expectations are let down when the placements season arrives and the students finally face the recruiters.

“Everybody [at engineering colleges] expects a research profile but they don’t do well in the assessment or their track record is not consistent.”

                                                                          –         Neeraj Sharma, Senior Director HR, FourKites[1]

Some students end up finding the jobs they aspired for, some students mould themselves to get the jobs they think they should aspire for, while a majority settle down with whatever comes their way. No doubt they get guidance from their peers and teachers. But ultimately, this guidance is based on anecdotal evidence and has no backing based on concrete data.

“When I first started college, the dream was to work at Google, Facebook or a similar global tech company. In my second year of engineering, I realized that I wanted to work for the betterment of my community in UP. In my third year, one of my senior friends told me how getting a master’s degree from the USA would help me land a well-paying job. I prepared for GRE for one year then. But in my final year, after my 6 months internship at an India tech company, I realized that ownership of work was more important to me than the salary. So, I rejected the job offer I had, and chose to join a tech startup where I can be the lead engineer in 1-2 years. The salary is around 20% less than that at the job I rejected. But it does not really matter now, as it is more than enough till the time I am single.”

                                                        –       Mohit Kumar (a recent graduate from SRM University)

“I know I am capable of doing any job in the Finance domain. I have full confidence in my knowledge and skills. Its now a matter of which company can offer me the highest salary and a location of my choice.”

                                 –        Anonymous, (2nd year MBA Finance student at University of Mumbai)

Institutions 

With every new batch of students, an institute’s expectations are generally on a collective level. The institute generally develops its yearly strategy with the focus on – 100 % placements, improving the highest and average compensation offered to students, and sustaining and improving relations with recruiters. The key aim is to improve the institution’s brand among potential students. And the way the higher education system works in our country, a stellar placement record is the best way to achieve that.

“Case in point, A ratings and analytics company like CRISIL has reporting standards (IPRS) that are followed by many institutes for reporting placements data. Auditing placements data? At an educational institution? Where students technically come to gain knowledge and skills? Well, this shows how placements rule above all when it comes to the image of an institution!”

But there is a catch to achieving stellar placements. Placements are a function of both student quality and reputation among recruiters. And both feed off each other. A good reputation among recruiters will result in better placements, which will attract a better talent pool year on year. And having a better talent pool which performs well at their jobs after graduation will increase the institute’s reputation among recruiters.

A stumbling block for the institute in carrying forward this cycle of improved branding and better talent pool comes when students are unable to perform well at their respective jobs or leave their job for greener pastures in a matter of months. This happens mostly due to:

       Lack of skills, whether technical or non-technical.

       Not being the right fit for the job.

       Lack of training on work ethic and undertaking responsibility.

Parents 

Parents have two key expectations when they send their children off to study in any institute after school. One is that their child gets a job that enables him/ her to lead an independent life and support them in their latter years if required. This essentially boils down to a question of the job a student gets after graduation and the kind of money he/ she earns. Essentially, it’s an expectation with respect to ROI, against the cost of studying at that particular institute.

See, there is a simple relation between the fee I pay for my daughter’s education and the money she can earn for herself. If I am paying 6 lakhs as the fee for her MBA, I will be happy if the institute gets her a job that pays her at least this amount per year.”

                                                                                               –  Mr. M R Singhal, Govt. Employee

Then there are also societal expectations to be met. Neighbours and relatives in our country are more than interested in judging young graduates on where they work and how much they earn. And this judgment is purely driven by perception. Working at Google at a lesser pay than working at an unknown company with a higher pay may be seen more favourably by the society. And whereas the young graduate may not really care about the society’s perception, most of the parents do care.

I do not care how much my son earns. He should get a job in a company that the neighbours know of. If that company can send him on a foreign posting, even better.”

                                                                                               –   Mrs. Ruma Chatterjee, Private Employee

And that is why parents are generally so keen on their child getting into institutions with a stellar placements record. Essentially, the quality of placements at an institute is seen as a proxy indicator of the quality of teaching. And rightly so. After all, why would a recruiter pay good money to hire someone from an institute if the student did not have the desired skill sets and competencies.

Conclusion

We hope that this posts starts you thinking on how placements are used as a sole metric for deciding an institute’s quality by a majority in our country. You can evaluate an institute on pedagogy, curriculum, infrastructure, student facilities, and a lot other parameters. However, the fact remains that no institute can stay away from the scrutiny of its placement metrics. And that is why almost all institutes strive to have stellar placements as an outcome of tweaking all the other parameters.

Reculta is dedicated towards being the one stop solution for campus placements and everything related to them. Keep reading our blogs to know more about campus placements in India and how Reculta is helping make them easier for all stakeholders.


[1] M., Rashmi. When new grads make unrealistic demands. Livemint. April 2, 2019. https://www.livemint.com/mint-lounge/business-of-life/when-new-grads-make-unrealistic-demands-1554143899102.html