It is one thing to be a tech-savvy geek from IIT Bombay but another to convince big corporate guns to recruit you as companies look for a range of skills in a prospective employee. For the first time, as part of campus placements at IIT Bombay, students were tested in parameters like body language, influence of mother tongue and assertiveness. Final placements start at the institute from December 1.
While assessment of communication skills was made mandatory in the last campus placement season, students had to undergo two separate tests this year and gauged on several new parameters. The aim was to ensure that more students are able to grab high-trajectory jobs.
“Recruiters, over the years, have stressed the need for a range of skills. Students come straight out of school to the IITs and are not exposed to the outside world. Further, students come from varied backgrounds and some may not be very articulate. They may not be clear about the aspects they need to stress on or how to get their point across during an interview. Lot of corporates expect a certain persona and skills, which are not limited to technical knowledge. Hence, the tests have helped in identifying the aspects they need to work on,” said Avijit Chatterjee, professor in charge of placements at IIT Bombay.
The first test, introduced this year and conducted by an external agency, assessed aspects like body language, grammar, vocabulary, style and fluency, listening skills, assertiveness and influence of one’s mother tongue. The second test, which was conducted last year too, focused on language structure, fluidity, comprehension, coherence and enunciation.
Individual reports were given to the students, highlighting the proficiency level in each parameter and the type and degree of improvement needed. Accordingly, students are being mentored by peers and faculty members.
Some city institutes have communication skills as part of the curriculum. “Development of soft skills is critical. Hence, right after induction, students are sent on outbound training where they learn team building and leadership skills among others,” said Prof Debashis Sanyal, dean, School of Business Management, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS). Students are also taught communication skills over two terms.
At Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS), too, the focus is on honing students’ soft skills. Besides conducting mock interviews and group discussions, senior students give study material to the juniors on various issues, so that their basic foundation is good. Students have workshops, ranging from communication skills to career profiles that they can choose from. “We also have a compulsory 100-mark paper on communication skills in the first year,” said Neha Rathi, member of ‘Catalyst Forum’, a student development body at JBIMS.
Placements at IIT Bombay: Last three years
2011-12 Despite the uncertain economic scenario, the average gross salary offered at IIT Bombay was Rs 7.5 lakh, a marginal increase over the 2010-11 academic year. The institute also saw an increased access to international companies. For the first time, Microsoft and Google came to IIT Bombay to recruit for their global positions.
2010-11 Around 262 organisations participated and 958 jobs were offered. Over two-thirds of the students opted for science, engineering and technology-oriented jobs. While the number of offers in the finance sector went up from 70 to 91 over last academic year, around 95 offers were made by the consulting sector, up from 70 in 2009-10. Around 135 offers were made in the gross salary of Rs 7 lakh-Rs 8.5 lakh per annum, while 286 offers were made for gross salary of over Rs 8.5 lakh per annum.
2009-10 After almost a year in uncertainty, the finance sector returned to hiring in full swing. Firms like Morgan Stanley, J P Morgan, Credit Suisse and Nomura hired in large numbers. The year also saw eight leading management consultants. Around 336 offers were received in the salary range of over Rs 7.5 lakh per annum, while 169 offers were made in the range of Rs 6 lakh-Rs 7.5 lakh per annum.