Campus Placements Should be Removed!

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‘Price discovery’ refers to the way in which the market arrives at a price for a commodity driven by supply and demand. The government is gradually moving towards a regime of 100% price discovery. That is, interests rates will be marked to market. I think it is high time we promote price discovery of our college graduates and get rid of campus placements.

What is the purpose of education? In my opinion, ‘prepare youngsters to face life independently’.

‘Is our educational trying to do this?’ is eminently debatable. I would like to focus on one aspect of the system and argue (you are welcome to disagree) that campus placements do more harm than good.

Table of Contents

Campus Placements Promote Irreverence

The purpose of education is not to get a job! That is a one-way ticket to unhappiness. Campus placements encourage kids to apply for jobs which have nothing whatsoever to do with the training that they have received. Nothing wrong with that, but I think they should be seeking that out on their own dime/time.

The placement process is a nice way for a corporate giant looking for a cheap workforce with a namesake degree. Not only does it represent spoonfeeding, it also promotes a sense of disrespect for the educational stream chosen and the overall process itself.

‘Let us not bother trying to do well. XYZ is the requirements for placement. So as long as that target is met, let us coast along’. This is the gyan that seniors pass on to juniors. Placements take away the carrot to excel.

My point is that campus placement is at the forefront of choosing colleges and education streams! Then there are firms who hire electrical engineers and civil engineers not for their training as engineers but for their software skills. I find it bizarre that the very institute which imparted such training encourages students to chuck it within their very walls!!

Campus Placements promote hand holding

It is the duty of an educational institute to encourage independence. They should be urging to students to do their own research, knock on doors and seek for employment.  It is amusing that institutions do very little to help students ‘placed’ in places of higher education, but are happy to get them a job! In fact, institutions sell themselves by their ability to get students placed!

I routinely see undergraduates (science or engineering) and even postgraduates who are diffident and not quite sure if they have what it takes.

It is the crying baby that gets the milk. We should encourage to recognise hunger and crying, instead of providing room service!

The skipped economy

A few years back I heard a fantastic talk by a former dean of IITM. He detailed how it is natural for countries to progress from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy and to a service economy.  He lamented that we skipped the industrial economy altogether and jumped from being an agricultural economy to a service economy.

When the economy opened up in the early 90s (because we were forced to), we missed a chance to become an industrial power. Had we done that, we would have had actual engineers instead of those with just an engineering degree. Industrialist would have been forced to spend money on research which would have employed scientists and given the engineers new ways to apply stuff. Our children who go abroad for an MS would be employable here. Instead, we all know what happened. We started servicing other people’s problems. They cough and we catch a fever.

Let us stop and think how much of these placements are for the service industry. We have gone and found ourselves a cushy spot, much to the delight of employers and abetted by institutions.

Yes, we have a freedom to work where we want, but that freedom should be earned by independent effort and by price discovery in the open market.

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About the Author M Pattabiraman author of freefincal.comM. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the author and owner of  He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras since Aug 2006. Pattu” as he is popularly known, has co-authored two print-books, You can be rich too with goal based investing (CNBC TV18) and Gamechanger and seven other free e-books on various topics of money management.  He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India” an organisation to promote unbiased, commission-free investment advice. Pattu publishes unbiased, promotion-free research, analysis and holistic money management advice. Freefincal serves more than one million readers a year (2.5 million page views) with numbers based analysis on topical issues and has more than a 100 free calculators on different aspects of insurance and investment analysis. He conducts free money management sessions for corporates  and associations(see details below). Previous engagements include World Bank, RBI, BHEL, Asian Paints, TamilNadu Investors Association etc. Contact information: freefincal {at} Gmail {dot} com (sponsored posts or paid collaborations will not be entertained)
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  1. With due respect, educational institutes are more of placement firms now especially IIT/IIM. If they do not help in getting jobs, I am damn sure they will not get good students and no one will enroll there. This is reality

  2. Very true. I will agree because I already got a job.

    You ask this to a student who is looking to get into a college or in a final year. Or, even ask a parent. A great majority will say CAMPUS is what required, forget what job or what company.

    It is very similar to how people get money for vote for the instant gratification and voted for DMK/ADMK.

  3. Wonderful Article Sir. As one of the privileged student who got placed via Campus…I have also pondered a number of times about the harm Campus Placements do…but try convincing a 20 year old me about not picking up the first chance of earning real money and it would be quite difficult. Guess it again boils down to Long term and short term gain..and of course good career counselling.

  4. Well said Pattu Sir- we can understand the true feelings -coming out of a IIT faculty.
    With the Nation spending so much money on IIT’s and NIIT’s , it is time Parliament passes a bill to make it compulsory for all the Engineers coming out of Govt. aided Institutions/colleges to compulsorily work in Industrial jobs for at least 1 or 2 years before they choose any damn career -alternatively the IT and other non-industrial companies offering jobs for freshers should be asked to pay a fee to the Institution to a Govt owned educational fund- for every engineer they are taking away.

    1. Things have changed considerably. Not many go out these days. Reason: they get good pay packages from Ola, Flipkart etc.

  5. Blame it on the mentality of Indian parents. A kid fresh of school most probably has no idea what he wants to do in life or what his capabilities are. He needs to be guided somewhat towards his ambitions by parents. But how many Indian parents encourage their kids to become entrepreneurs? Nobody wants to take risk. Ok, let’s forget about entrepreneurs for a moment. How many parents even want their kids to do MS and enter the research field? They know researchers don’t earn much and hence it’s automatically a bad profession.

    The colleges are only giving in to what the market demands, I can hardly blame them. Having said all this, I am with you on this one. You have no idea how many people are unable to realize their true potential because these service companies are recruiting people directly from campus and not providing anyone a window to try for better job opportunities or even entrepreneurship. How will people know what they are capable of if they have never even entered the market?

    This is a very broad topic. I hope the government takes some steps for the better. Sometimes I feel we are complete slaves to foreign countries. We provide services to them but import stuff they are making. We could have been a manufacturing hub that China is today but that seems somewhat distant right now.

  6. 1. To me even the graduates gets placements through campus go-through various aptitude test, competency based interview etc before getting the offer letter which will be same if he goes out and search for job, companies don’t recruit if some one is not fit for their job regardless of they are taking via campus or off-campus.
    2. People studying of-course to get a job, get a salary, lead a life after all its their parents spending for their kids education and they want their kids to find a job and start earning asap.
    3. In India per year about 6Lakh engineers coming out of college, do we have 6lakhs jobs created in India every week in the field of Engineering? About 20yrs there used to be 1 engineer in a street or even in a village, but every house has minimum 1 engineers, where do they find a job if we dont have enough demand.
    4. I don’t find anything wrong here as long as a person enjoy working what he is doing? In the UK I know companies taking graduates for IT job but he has physiology degree.

    Not sure what the issue in people getting job in different field then their degree…..

    1. Different field (I dont have a problem with that) or same field, my point is ‘get rid of placements’. Let them figure it out on their own

  7. I mean to say “”In India per year about 6Lakh engineers coming out of college, do we have 6lakhs jobs created in India every year in the field of Engineering”

  8. every year may-june i am fed up hearing this statement along with +2 byhearters i.e centum holders giving interviews they want to become astronauts and find cure for cancer

    truth is myself, you for your son, all people commenting here all will join their children in PRE-KG, LKG that guarantee their onsite posting 20-25 years later. they may proclaim like political leaders many things though. but truth everybody knows.

    nobody will join their child in veda patasala or ramakrishna mission.
    even veda patasala schools nowadays teach english and maths and give equivalent sslc certificates.

    i will openly admit asked my son to take science group in +1 +2 and joined him in BE in a college that had good placement and came cheap at the same time. whenever any parent or child comes to me for advice i always tell take any branch in a college that give placements.
    otherwise that child will roam the streets like a dog after getting his degree

    from lkg to +2 and college syllabus are only things that will get you a job not education. you dont teach a 2 year old child story of ramayana but you teach it abcd and 123

    i am 100% sure people clearing jee will not be standing in queue in front of physics department

    1. ha ha! I am afraid you are 100% wrong. We have two programs for students who clear JEE The Engg Physics and Dual Deg in Physics. Take 50 kids a year. The Engg Physics is second in hotness only to the EE prg.

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