A Hunt for the Next-Gen Heralds: PC Interns
In any institute, the importance of a Placement Committee is unparalleled because the journey of every student eventually crosses tracks with it. At NITR, this committee comprising of the Placement Head, the student Placement Coordinators and Secretaries, shoulders the responsibility of the entire placement season from inviting HRs from different companies to orchestrating the whole process smoothly. This calls for the selection of commendable and well-versed Placement Coordinators (PCs) who would be capable of enduring the most of the hectic courses of action. Team MM got in touch with a few PCs of the present academic year to delve into the selection process and shed light on a few common things.
A Three-Tiered Process
The first round usually involves filling up a form wherein anyone from the pre-final year of B.Tech, B.Tech Dual Degree, M.Tech, M.A., MBA can apply. In the application process, which has begun already, nearly 102 students have applied. A session following it was thereby conducted on the 8th of January, which consisted of tests and personality questionnaires. This is done to filter out the deserving candidates at the first level.The selected applicants after this round are referred to as the PC interns and the whole period of the tasks and interviews is called the internship period.
The second round consists of around 6 stages in itself wherein several tasks are given in a stipulated time of about 2-3 days. While the exact nature of the tasks remains undisclosed, an example could be, giving out a topic and asking the PC interns to present about it. The tasks also help the committee in getting certain data collected, like the placement policies of different institutes and how it is different from our institute, which could be used for the next session. Other important tasks include collecting the question database and conducting examinations, mock interviews, placement talks ( which are talks given by students who are already placed, sharing their experiences, what to prepare, how to prepare etc.) and mock discussions such that the third year students, who would be eligible for the placement process next year would be benefitted. The examinations would mainly be online aptitude tests conducted branch wise, to get the students acquainted with it, as several of the analytics and consulting companies test the aptitude of students. Also, since the ratio of the number of students qualifying the aptitude rounds during actual placements to those who don't, has been seen to be about 5:36, the Committee has decided to make it compulsory for each and every student of the pre-final year, from this year onwards. Apart from these, students from branches like chemical and mechanical, would write technical tests as well, which would be beneficiary for the students applying for the core sector. There would be coding rounds for people who are coders. These would be conducted by the PC interns and then they would be judged on the basis of their managing capabilities.
After the tasks some people would stay in the probation list while some people would be called for interviews with the present Placement Committee, which essentially comprises the third round. They will be asked questions to verify whether the data given in the tasks is correct, to know the source of the data that they had been asked to collect, how they would claim it and the like. There will also be situation based questions. Even though each branch usually consists of two selected interviewees, the number is flexible.
Depending on the interviews, some shortlisted students would have to sit for an interview with Prof. S. K. Jena, who is the Placement Head. His decision after the interview would be considered as final and binding.
Inductions for the Placement Coordinators take place for nearly four months, January, February, March and April. By the first week of April, the results are out and the PCs for the next session are decided. However, by March the placement interns are involved in the placement tasks irrespective of whether they get chosen as coordinators, so that they know and learn how to talk to the HRs. Leaves are sanctioned from the institute most of the times to let them work for the same. This also acts as one of the stepping-stones for selection.
- Students having backlog papers are not eligible to apply for the placement committee since such students are not allowed to sit for some of the companies.
- Apart from that, the applicant should have a minimum CGPA of 7.
- The history of the student or his involvement in institute activities is not a criterion and it rather entirely depends on how well the students fare in the tasks given to them. The CV matters only about 20-30%. If someone doesn't finish the tasks despite having good communication skills and an active CV, he/she is not usually considered. However, in cases where the applicant completes his tasks properly, an active CV might act as a bonus point.
From among the selected PCs, depending upon their capability, or how they speak, how they cope up with the situations, the Secretary posts are given away. There are around four-five secretaries, and possibly a technical coordinator who would be responsible for the maintenance of the website. The rest of them become branch PCs. The number of people selected depends because if an applicant for B. Tech doesn't perform well in the allotted tasks he/she may not get selected at all. In such cases, the M.Tech applicant has to manage both B. Tech and M. Tech placements. For EC and EI, there is usually one is PC combined and a separate one for Dual Degree. There are around 25 members in general, including the secretaries. A member may be eliminated even after getting selected if he/she fails to comply with the demands of the work.
An ideal Placement Coordinator should be judgemental, should possess good communication skills, good situation control and convincing tactics. A lot of companies do not visit NIT Rourkela because of transportation issues and so the institute pools in with other institutes like NIT Durgapur and NIT Jamshedpur. The PCs therefore need to be convincing enough for that kind of a job.
The Placement Season
Contacting the companies begins during the month of May. By the beginning of July half of the companies usually get confirmed. The schedule for August and half of September is decided by the month of July.
Intern representatives had been selected last year by the Placement committee at the beginning of the academic year to give a push to companies offering internships to students. However, the scenario failed to show an improvement. Few reasons that our sources feel are:
- Only a few software companies give away internships.
- The requirement of the internships is quite less.
- Unlike software companies where one can get projects, for the core sector, the only thing one can learn in a two-month time period is the overview of a plant. For something like that, the companies are not willing to pay.
- Another important factor is that, most companies require interns for a period of six months which is not permissible according to our institute policy.
However, if six-month internships are allowed, the coordinators hope that it would be a very big boost not only for internships, but also for placements.
On being asked whether this suggestion has ever been put up to the front, it was said that it has been suggested several times but has not been implemented yet. A lot also depends on the guide if he/she could allow for six month internships. But, as a rule such as in BITS Pilani, it has not been implemented.
However, this time the job of the intern representatives is being planned to be merged with the placement coordinators who would take care of both internships and placements.
The Brighter Side
NITR has hosted about 76 companies up until now. For this semester, the institute is supposed to be hosting around 10-15 companies during January itself. Calculations and expectations predict that the number of companies might go up to 120-130 during the entire semester. The placement policy in current implementation is different from the one last year and has been seen to be working very well. The present PCs hope that the policy and trend will continue and changes if any, will be a collective decision of the present and the selected future coordinators and will benefit the students and the institute in the best way possible.