Elucidating The TnP notice
On the 2nd of February, 2018, a circular was issued by the Training and Placement Cell of NIT Rourkela. The circular stated that a series of Preliminary Assessment Tests (PATs) would be conducted for the students who would appear for campus placement during the academic year 2018-2019. Students from all disciplines who are in the pre-final year (i.e. B.Tech, Dual Degree, M.Tech, M.Sc, Int. M.Sc, MBA and MA) are required to appear in four Preliminary Assessment Tests (PATs) during the months of March and April. Each PAT will have four sections, namely Logical Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude/ Business Analysis, Data Interpretation and Verbal Ability. In order to qualify, candidates must secure either 50% of the average mark or 30% of the total marks (whichever lower will be applicable). Aggregate marks will be used to check whether a student has qualified. In case a student fails to cross the cut-off mark over the series of these four tests, he/she will get an opportunity to appear for the 5th PAT which will be held in the month of July.
A student who qualifies the series of PATs will be eligible to appear for companies across all categories. If a student fails to qualify or does not appear for all the four tests, he/she will not be eligible to appear for Category 2 and Category 3 companies during the months of July to September. But such students will be allowed to appear for all the Category 1 companies.
The notice triggered mixed reactions from students of the pre-final year, and they wanted further details about the new system. To bring more clarity to the matter, Team MM approached the TnP cell on the evening of the 3rd of February. The following clarifications regarding the notice were obtained:
MM: What inspired the TnP cell to take such a step? And why is such a procedure mandatory for everyone?
TnP: We want to improve the campus placement scenario and decrease the number of zero recruit companies. The performance of students will not improve if the number of companies visiting the campus increases. The Placement Committee worked very hard this year to bring in new companies but many MNCs (like Novartis, Honeywell, Samsung R&D) did not recruit any student. In fact, we have 21 companies that left with zero recruits this year. We’ve got a feedback from many companies that the students are not able to present themselves effectively during the placement session.
In order to counter this, we have taken up many initiatives for students to improve their soft skills. Five to six workshops were held by professionals on behalf of the TnP but they have gone in vain. Most of these workshops witnessed a very low attendance, with as less as 30-40 students turning up for the same. This has been highly demotivating for us.
As this approach is not working, we are hoping to provide an indirect push to increase seriousness among students. Even now, we are not completely debarring students from placements. They can sit for all companies after September and there is no bar on Category 1 companies. Students should begin to understand that just because they are in an NIT, their placement is not assured.
Also, in our institute, the number of students clearing the online tests is far less than other institutes of the same level. For example, when Deloitte visited our campus, only 30-40 students were able to clear the first round. On the other hand, in NIT Raipur around 70-80 students were shortlisted. So essentially, when the number of students clearing these tests is less, the final results are eventually affected. This shows that we need to improve our performance in the Online Tests. To achieve this objective, we have introduced the series of PATs, where we will test the students in those sections, which are usually asked during the first round screening process of most of the companies.
MM: Students are not tested for core departmental subjects. Why is it so?
TnP: This is the first time such a rule has been introduced and we don’t want to include everything in one go. It is a step by step process. The present system of PATs is solely based on what every company looks forward to in an applicant. The series would include core subjects, mock interviews, and other helpful measures in subsequent years.
MM: Did you look up to any college that had a similar rule for getting statistics? What is the expected number of students that would fail to clear the PATs?
TnP: Yes, we did. We compared with NIT Trichy, where they have a similar rule. They have an intake of around 700 students and the number of students unable to clear the test is around 30. Keeping those figures in mind and considering the kind of system we have implemented in our institute, we can expect that a maximum of 40 students (out of 1200 odd students that register for placements) will not clear the process at the end of 5th PAT.
Students who are at NIT Rourkela have obtained admission after competing at a national level, and the cutoff that we have decided seems quite achieveable. We want to inform the students that our motive is not to debar anyone but it is to make them prepared for the placement session.
MM: What about those who fail to clear all the five PATs?
TnP: They won’t be allowed to appear for placements during July to September for Category 2 and Category 3 companies. After September, everyone is allowed to apply for all companies.
MM: There has been a notion among the students that the institute would not take such measures and when the time comes, the debarred students would be allowed to sit for placements eventually. Can you please clarify?
TnP: This rule is going to be binding and it has been implemented after a lot of discussions. We will not be altering the rule. We want the students to realize that if the TnP is serious, then they should also put some extra efforts.
MM: What would be done against the students who miss one or more tests for some genuine reasons, like participation in competitions or sports tournaments?
TnP: In case a student has a genuine reason for missing a test, he/she will be able to compensate the test. We will decide some alternate days where the students can make up for the missed test. This can be done at a time comfortable for both the students and the TnP. These tests will be conducted before the summer vacation.
MM: Any useful tips for students that would help students to prepare for the tests?
TnP: There are numerous resources available in the library that have been purchased by the TnP for the betterment of students. They can even download materials from the NITR’s local file sharing repository. The placement manual on Monday Morning is a great source to guide students about how to prepare. So, there are a lot of resources and students just need to put a bit of extra efforts to perform well during the PATs.
The TnP cell of the institute has been putting consistent efforts to improve the placement statistics of the institute, but it’s impossible to see a significant change unless the students start preparing themselves to meet the industry requirements. Team MM hopes that the students would take the PATs seriously and a majority of them would succeed in clearing them, which would further help in improving the placement statistics of the institute.