For any institute, the campus placements process essentially starts with the admissions process itself. After all, the students that are admitted, will be the students that are placed after their course completion. Now, most of the institutions use standardized admissions tests as the first stage. Exams like JEE, NEET, CAT, CLAT, XAT, MAT, State CET(s), etc. are used to judge the aptitude and theoretical knowledge of candidates. Most institutes then have subsequent rounds for selection, which are generally another round of written tests, or group discussions and interviews.
Why do admission policies have a bearing on campus placements?
The dissonance between student competencies and industry demand in a way, starts at this juncture. There is hardly any concrete data correlating student competencies and talent with the kind of jobs they land once they graduate. Thus, even if the intent is there, it is next to impossible for an institute to align the admissions policy in a manner that can have a direct and positive influence on the placements outcome.
Additionally, in our country, a lot of onus is also placed on institutions to get the students placed as it has a direct bearing on their reputation. In that regard, does it not make more sense to tailor the admission policy in a way that more and more students are admitted who would be an asset to the institution as well as the industry later on, rather than students who believe it is the institute’s liability to get them placed.
Now, this thought would definitely have crossed the minds of many of you and you may have taken affirmative steps in this direction at your institute as well. However, a lot more value can be added to this strategy if the huge amount of data an institute generates from placement activities year on year is leveraged correctly.
Institute Highlight: SPJIMR, Mumbai has been giving admits to students for the past many years basis their overall profiles, rather than just relying on an entrance test score. And as far as it can be seen, the average salary at the institute has been rising year on year. We believe that the institute has developed well the use of student profile as a proxy for innate skills and talents. This helps them get a better quality of students who might have scored lower on the entrance examination, but possess the requisite skills and talents demanded by the industry.
Why the industry differs from the institutions?
Institutes mostly judge students basis talents they can demonstrate in the selection process. While written tests take care of the theoretical knowledge and aptitude, interviews help institutes judge talents such as learning potential, leadership ability and so on. However, demonstrating these skills and talents in an interview is one thing, while demonstrating the same in a business setting is totally different. Till the time, the evaluation process for students is not designed to include every data point from admissions till final placements, it would be very difficult to say whether the mix of students being admitted complements the placements outcome or not.
Speaking on the subject of admissions and campus placements, Vinayak Talwar, an HR leader from the RPG Group puts forth his thoughts as follows:
“Where admissions are concerned, I believe it is important for academic institutions to align with the organisations across the country when it comes to selecting the right candidates and ensure that they are able to keep a healthy mix within. The key needs of organizations with respect to competencies and talent are more or less same the when it comes to campus recruitment and align with following requirements – Personal Excellence, Result Orientation, Customer Centricity, Growth Mindset, Developing People, Leading Change, Inspiring Innovation.”
“When it comes to skills, I feel institutes should take in depth recruiter feedback post each placement cycle and derive insights that can be used to tweak their admissions policies. In addition to analyzing the job profiles being offered by recruiters, direct feedback is one of the best ways to understand industry demand for skills.”
You can read the complete interview of Vinayak HERE to gather insights on the hiring process at one of India’s biggest conglomerates works, and how the industry is evolving with respect to its campus hiring practices.
How can curriculum design help?
Another factor that comes into play and has a direct bearing on placement is the curriculum design. Most institutes have a pre-set curriculum with some flexibility for students to choose their subjects. Students, however, have not much information to choose the right subjects. Institutes, as well as students seem to go with courses on skills that seem to be trending in the job market. It was digital marketing some years ago, it is artificial intelligence and machine learning these days.
There is nothing wrong with offering courses that seem to be trending in the job market. However, care needs to be taken that such courses are introduced well within time to be of value to students, and not as a reaction to industry demand. The skill learning cycle in the industry moves much faster than the speed at which institutes come up with such courses. By the time institutes train students, the industry has already moved on. Some of the recruiters we spoke to feel that it is imperative for institutes to keep engaging with the industry and proactively introduce relevant courses that create value for both students and recruiters. Quoting Vinayak here again:
“The industry’s demand for skills is dictated by business needs which can change at a rapid pace. Hence, even the curriculum focused on building core skills needs to keep evolving rapidly. This also reposes industry’s faith in institutions as the time and cost devoted to training hired students reduces.
I agree that the primary goal of any institution is to impart learning and not provide jobs to students. But the learning imparted at these institutes is sought by students so that they can contribute to the economy, and rarely just for the sake of learning. Hence, the best institutes in the country do take a holistic approach and proactively keep tweaking their admission policies and curriculum design so that it creates a positive outcome for all stakeholders involved – students, recruiters, institutes themselves, and the society at large.”
We believe that for an institute to benefit in the long term and keep improving the quality of students that go on to work in the industry, it is very essential to keep a streamlined and unified policy in place that covers every aspect of admissions, curriculum design and final placements. Perhaps institutes can learn from each other, or they can develop own polices based on internal learning, but it will definitely create a long term positive impact for them as well their students.
To know more about how Reculta is helping institutes revolutionize placements, check out our website HERE and our case studies HERE. If you are interested to know more, please drop us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org