There are some dissapointments and some surprises…
I had been to GE-JFWTC in Bangalore, spoke with some scientists there and in some corner of my mind, I had hoped to work for them (or someone like them) in the future.
Cut accross to IIT, I was actually excited about GE-JFWTC, though some of my placement committee team members, do not think of it highly. I was pretty sure, I would make it also. However, todays PPT proved to be a damp affair. They do not want to recruit for that labs that I want to work for.
Later in the evening, it was the turn for GoldmanSachs to present their PPT. Unlike the BTech/DD junta, who survive 4 years in IIT, dreaming to get absorbed in Banks/Finance profiles, I am very skeptical about them. But today, GoldmanSachs blew my mind away. Their job profile on quantitative modeling, was the same profile I was hoping for in GE-JWFTC (but on a different technology platform), and they blew the mind away of anyone atteding the PPT when they announced their package (and trying to prove to us at the same time that the package was low). But nature has its own ironies. I am pretty sure, my ‘intellectual’ abilities in terms of past performances do not match up to their expectations. Will give it a serious shot though!
All this gets me back to the what I intend to write about. After the PPT, I spent the evening wiht Parijat, a team member from the placement team and the HR lady from GoldmanSachs, Smitha. Chatting about everything other than placements, I was extremely happy when Smitha kept on telling, again and again, how good a college RVCE was, though, she had just recruited for the IT services profile there.
Walking back to the campus, Parijat and I got stuck up in an engaging conversation about talent in the IITs and in general.
I dont know how we came about talking about this, but somehow, the talk drifted to the ‘one building colleges’ all around the country, especially in Bangalore, Chennai and Andhra-Pradesh.
I have always maintained that talent is not restricted to the 3000 odd students that clear JEE (long posts in the recent pasts!!), but what IITs are able to do excellently is nurture that talent. Probably, this is because they have been around a long time, and the environment for excellence, the drive to outperform the senior batch, keeps making the whole system better and better (MoodI 2006 has to be better than MoodI 2005).
The whole system in IIT (at least here at IIT-Bombay) is just awesome. You can’t be here and do nothing. It is just impossible that you are not involved in any extra-curricular activities. For the really real ‘geeks’, there are immense research opportunities in the institute, and also an IIT-entry card to the best of the best in the world for internships. And, for the others, there are a plethora of opportunities. Almost every freshie works for MoodIndigo and Techfest. These fests, the scale at which they operate, develop personalities. If there are totally around 60-70 top level positions in these two events, huge opportunities are there elesewhere, the E-cell, the hostel level administrative groups, the hostel fests, the department administrative groups. Any student here, would have had an experience in leading people and working with people, and trying out something that he likes, to add to the excellent education the faculty provides. This is what I mean by nurturing talent. The whole year is so jam packed with events, that a wholesome development of the personality is the latent winner for all the students
An average PG in IIT, discounting the rare case, sits in his room and plays computer games. There are complains that the PGs are not encouraged in all these activities, which is; I would call a semi truth. Respect, Encouragement etc is a give and take policy. If you do not approach the UG heads of these events, they do not have any business, begging you to participate in them ( I have a PG friend, who was given the Co-ordinator job in MI, although freshies are only given Organizer (volunteer) jobs. And technically, he was eligible to be the member of the core team this year). The PGs hardly ever participate in anything in the campus, and this reflects in their personalities.
Any organization in the world, don’t just want geeks, they want well rounded geeks.
My analysis (IMO), is that, by the time these students come to IIT, the period in life where they can be ‘moulded’ is over; and in my opinion; this period is your engineering days.
Joining up ends, I know now, why RVCE is a good (great!) instituion. It ‘nurtures’ talent.
The faculty at RVCE is sad, deplorable, and atleast IMO, for a college that considers itself to be among the top 15-20 in the country, the faculty is horrible. But, the good thing is that they do not stifle the geek. And he finds a way out, summer projects at IISc or some other big research set ups in Bangalore, or for that matter, highly ambitious BTech Projects, which even the faculty does not understand, and the student pulls it off on his own.
And the extra currics scene, is not as well organized or well oiled as in IIT, but is awesome. Every enterprising student, gets an opportunity to lead, work in groups and showcase his talent. And, as I was telling Parijat, if RVCE combined all it 12-13 fests into one huge fest, MoodI can take a beating (at least the sponsorship earned will be equal/more). This wholesome ‘nurturing’ of talent is also reflected in the students that pass out from RVCE.
If campus recruitments is a metric to judge quality, RVCE is up there with the best. All most all top end technology comapnies in the IT/software field have in their rolls RV graduates; campus presence for other major enterants into India is increasing aswell in RVCE (and thanks to Infosys and CTS, we can boast of 1.1 jobs/student in RVCE!!!!)
Where IIT and RV differ is, the system in place for such activities. RV is totally randomized, and that is probably the reason, RV is unable to attract other major companies to its campus. But, I am sure, given some time, and some really enterprising student (alumni?) to give structure to the host of activities in RVCE, and better brand imaging of the college, can get us right up to the best.
Another loose thread in this post, is the absolute inactivity of the average PG at IIT. Connect this to my hypothesis that these students are not moulded during their engineering days. My personal interaction with many PGs and first hand reports of college practises in Andhra corrborate this hypothesis.
In most of the ‘one-building’ colleges, the management, inorder to improve the image of the college, stresses on just the results (or as in most Andhra colleges, compel the students to clear GATE and do MTech in IITs). Given that the faculty is not inspiring, everything boils down to ‘repititive’-‘hard work’. Clearly, no scope is there for personality improvement. Given that most of these colleges are in semi-urban/ rural areas; there is also no effort to improve the personal/soft skills of such students (who are not exposed to such things in school, unlike the city groomed students). Finally, what we have is students who know their curriculum inside out, but otherwise bland- one dimensional output, unlike IIT (and to a large extent) RVCE, which produces multi-dimensional graduates.
This thing shows up clearly in IIT, where I have met PG students with negative confidence ( Highly confident that they will NOT be able to do this), PG students who were toppers in the rote system they were presented in college, failing to grasp simple basics and numerical/problem solving approach taught here in IIT, and mostly PG students, who lack a well rounded personality; who can actually leave a mark in the society.
My arguments above, tend to place all the responsibility on the college (‘system’), but on some scale it boils down to the individual also. You learn the most when you dream, and execute your dream. I base this judgement personal experiences as the RVCE Chemical fest co-ordinator, or placement team member at RVCE and to some extent, my job here as M.Tech Placement Nominee. Moreso, atleast you will do good to take up opportunities that are provided to you (case in point: PGs sitting in their room wasting time, where they could have easily worked for MoodI or Techfest)
My batch in RVCE, wanted to change the face of our fest; and we did it; leaving it in a better condition and raising the bar; and we faced problems from the authorities for this, but persisted. This is my interpretation of an individual taking on the responsibility of improving himself, through dedication to some short term goal he has in mind.
As my dear friend Bhatta pointed out, right now, PG education in India is GIGO (Garbage in Garbage out), most of the students who stick around for Masters in India, do not do it out of choice, and given that still, they do not seem to think that their Masters degree is going to be of any particular use to them except probably getting them ‘SOME’ job.
But, for ANYTHING to CHANGE, CHANGE also has to come from WITHIN
This has been a long drawn out post, but it reflects some of the things that I am really passionate about; and given an opportunity, would like to change ( or perhaps create the opportunity to changee things!)
So long then!