With the media announcing multi-digit salaries and statistics of 100 per cent placement in B-schools, the placement season is definitely upon us. Every premier B-school is looking to advertise its better-placed students across different geographies and boasting about their sure placement guarantee. Well, all this sounds so good and does not really offer any cause of concern, does it?
Then what, you might ask, is the cause of this post? In a very recent study done by a premier B-school in the country, its director of placements examined the alumni job data on LinkedIn for nearly two decades and followed it up with a survey of the more recent batches of students, to understand their career path after graduation. And that survey data threw up a worrisome statistic: most campus-placed students had a very low tenure record. Among these recent batches, nearly 70 per cent of students exited their organizations between nine months to a year after joining.
So what do you think is the cause of this particular problem? When a B-school starts its placement season, placement cells normally focus on getting the best companies for their students with strict instructions on taking the first job they land rather than looking for a best fit. This ensures that all or most students get placed. The crucial element of counselling for interests rather than just aptitude is missed in most colleges. In this case, herd mentality takes over and students flock to companies they think have the most prestigious jobs or are the biggest brands in the market. With students being fairly bright, they do land up with these jobs even before they are able to think about their interests. And with most students being debt-laden with their education loans, high packages act as a lucrative place to start off.
So what happens in the first few months on the job? The illusion of money wears off and interests and aspirations start feeling trapped. With most of these students having no prior work experience, their first job becomes an eye opener to what jobs have in store for them. This prompts detachment and freshers start exploring companies which are a better fit rather than just better paymasters.
So how do the common public or prospective students not hear about this problem when opting for a particular B-school or a job afterwards? This is direct fallout of the infantile system of B-school rankings. Most such rankings conducted by various media organizations don't ask for data on the fit, or even tenure. If they did, the current system of ranking would perhaps turn upside down.
So how do we go about finding a solution? Well, I think it is time to be different and allow the new generation to follow their hearts. A good step towards this would be measuring the right metric. College placement committees can focus on competency matching and the right counseling for their students. On their part, even recruiters should focus on competency-based interviews, rather than just getting the crème de la crème from every institute. It is on the industry to collectively focus on solving this issue as it is no longer just college rankings, it is now about the future of the students. The stalwarts of the industry need to debate and establish a ranking that is all inclusive and helps students make informed decisions. Money can only be a motivation up until a certain time. A job that is the right fit can help extend an individual’s potential and change his life and those around him in unprecedented ways.