On Campus

Parody of a placements process

Kalicharan Vedula | Updated on February 26, 2014

It may be shocking to an outsider as to how callous B-school students can be when they choose their careers.

No, this is not an ad for a soon-to-be released car....rather, come placement week, this is the question on the lips of many a B-school student. Before the firms coming for recruitment can evaluate the “talent pool”, their financial incentives are discussed, dissected (and in some cases) deridedto complete the alliteration.

It may be shocking to an outsider as to how callous B-school students can be when they choose their careers, but the truth is, all the sleepless nights, complex case studies, bad cafeteria food boil down to the stark “What do I get?” Simply put, if X is the money I spent on tuition, and Y is the effort I put in…then give me all the money that you have.

Now I am not saying all the MBA students are this calculative; there are certain exceptions. People who are on a sabbatical, in line for promotions (deservedly so) as they complete the course, family business scions who have the unenviable task of stepping into the extremely large shoes of their predecessors, and finally the rarest of the rare students, namely the ones who come to learn and enrich their minds. But this section of people is so insignificant (statistically speaking) that you can safely say “Put them among the outliers”.

Accept offers

And B-schools aren’t exactly helping the scene either. In a few months they start “advising” students to take whatever offers available and finally to the extreme scenarios where students sign placement agreements promising to get out of sight as soon as they get the first job. It would be fair to point out that no B-school offers you the promise of a job; they are expected to teach you the intricacies of running a business which most of them do well. But when you go about your advertisements with brazen statements such as “100 per cent placement record year after year”, “Exclusive partnership with industry giants” and so on and so forth, then you can hardly blame prospective students when they carry on with inflated dreams hoping for that dream job to set them up for marriage, honeymoon and the number of kids to have.

And, it is amusing to see the tectonic shifts of aspirations as the MBA progresses.

In the first few weeks, you are all pumped up to be the next banking or marketing wunderkind, but as time progresses you get a bit more generic in your dreams saying you want to be a “consultant”; nothing specific, just the title will do. Finally, you get to the point where you say, “I am an open universe, come and take me.”

And, it is at this point, where you are like a fat man trying to pull out that last cookie from the bottom of the tin, that you usually get placed.

Sure, there is the sound of your dreams shattering (usually, they are beer bottles), but what the heck, you got placed, no?

I guess there are two sides to every story and it would be great to objectively analyse both of them, but you can lose track of that when it affects your daily bread and butter (and this goes for both schools and students)

Anyway, there is an age-old MBA philosophy: “Great schools have career fairs, others have a circus called placement week.” OK, I made that up.

(Kalicharan Vedula completed his PGPM from Great Lakes institute of Management, Chennai.)

Published on February 26, 2014

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