- by Vinamra Srivastava *
It's been long since I have
written. But life has been on a super highway this term. And thankfully, it's
not really the studies that have consumed most of our time so far.
Summer Placements and Confluence
were the two BIG things that have happened and I will share my thoughts on both
in two separate posts.
The run up to the summer
placements had started long back. The companies had been coming on campus in
hordes to give presentations and most of our time was spent in either attending
the pots or filling up the company forms. The seniors had been emphasizing the
importance of summers since the time we joined WIMWI and I could see now why.
It's perceived to be a BIG thing on campus and it's very tough not to get caught
in its aura. I firmly believe that in the long run it's ultimately the kind of
work you are doing that matters but summers provide you a good platform and
that's the reason their importance increases.
The mid terms got over, and
within the next three days, the placements were going to start! It looked so
weird. The entire campus was back to books even when the exams were over, the
tension was palpable. The shortlists kept on coming and the only topic of
discussion when people met each other were the number of shortlists they had
received. The Investment-Banks and the Consults are the BIG companies for whom
the first day of placements, Day Zero, is reserved, and everyone was eager to
get as many Day Zero shortlists as possible.
Just a night before the D-Day,
the dorm tuchchas called us dorm fachchas together. It was a
morale boosting session and they tried their best to soothe our nerves. But
everyone knew the stakes were high and we all knew how tiring the next few days
could get, running around from one interview panel to the other.
The placement committee
(comprising of only tuchchas) had given us presentations about how the
entire placement process is going to run. This was going to be operationally a
HUGE task. More than 250 students... more than 60-70 companies... all different
interviews going on simultaneously... I had realized this would be tough to
manage but had no idea it would be so so phenomenal till we all landed at the
assigned destination on the D-Day, 7.00 am in the morning, all decked up in
The sight that greeted me was
enough to make the fachchas go weak in the knees. There was a real huge
banner (many stories tall) that read, "PLACEMENTS 2007, IIM-A," which greeted
everyone. We all entered into something known as the fachcha pool. This
is nothing but a common room where all the fachcahs would be accommodated
for the entire day and every person would go for his interview from there and
come back there itself after the interview.
The fachcha pool was a
sight in itself. There was a big control desk with phones ringing everywhere.
There were walkie-talkies all around. Computers tracking every individual. The
placecom members and some tuchchas volunteers roamed all around with
their walkies, speaking agitatedly and appraising one another of the current
status of the situation.
Each company was given few rooms
to conduct the interviews and was assigned a PR. The PRs, the placecom, the
volunteers, the control desk... everybody worked in sync using the walkies to
ensure that the show runs smoothly. The placecom had worked mighty hard for the
past few days. In fact, they had put up beddings in the placecom control room
itself and would sleep there only. Since each student had multiple interviews,
it was very essential to keep track of every person at any time to direct
him/her to various interviews. With so many companies conducting interviews at
the same time, it was operationally a COLOSSAL requirement but the placecom were
upto the challenge and were eager to make this thing a success.
After gaining our breath back, we
all made ourselves comfortable in the fachcha pool. Apart from the
control desk, all the notice boards in the room were stacked with the profiles
of all the companies that were conducting interviews that day, for a ready last
minute reference by the candidates going for the interviews. There was a food
stall whose coupons were available in abundance. There was everything you could
ask for to be comfortable and prepared for an interview.
And then, it finally started!!!
The walkie crackled... the first company had asked four candidates to precede to
the interview room. And lo and behold!!! I was one of them. Right upfront, 7.00
am in the morning, very first interviews of the placement process... Within no
time I was sitting in a comfy room, waiting for my interviewer. I am not going
into the details of my interview here but all I can say is that I was selected
by the company and that's where I am heading for my summers.
The day started on a great note
for the batch as offers kept on pouring right in since the morning. There were
smiling faces as people came back to the fachcha pool from their
interviews, and as the day progressed, we knew that our batch is indeed going to
have a rocking placement.
And as the day progressed, we
also got to see the great placement process machinery live in action. The
walkies were always in action, cracking with instructions, names of candidates
and an odd joke in midst of everything to keep calm things down. The efficiency
with which the tuchchas worked amazed me and I could not help being
awe-stuck by the effective implementation of such a complicated process. These
are the things that make this place the best and I could get a first-hand
experience of the same. Every small detail, every small requirement of companies
were well thought of and things flowed smoothly.
The day ended with the OOPSing
out ceremony. OOPS stands for Opting Out of Placement System. Every candidate is
called to the placement control room and is told all the offers he has had. He
chooses one of them and then OOPSes out of the placements. He, thus, is
officially placed, and is not allowed to attend any further interviews.
He signs the form and is not supposed to go back to the fachcha pool...
heads straight to the dorm!
All those who had been placed
automatically become volunteers and help out in executing this elaborate process
for the next few days till the entire batch gets placed. This was the time when
we fachchas got a first-hand experience of handling the affairs. I was on
the control desk on one day and was the PR of a compnay another day. And I can
vouch for the fact that the entire experience was awesome. To be the nerve
centre of so many activates, it was multi-tasking at its peak. The entire
placement process of Day Zero was replicated in the next few days till everyone
got placed. At the end of each day, the night was spent in getting the system
ready again for the next day's work. Volunteers and placecom worked days and
nights together to ensure that the entire event is as smooth as possible. And
they sure did an awesome job of it!!!
The placement week was one of the
most hectic after perhaps the T-Nites. But it was an equally huge learning
experience for everyone. Be it running from room to room attending myriad
interviews or slogging the entire night getting the logistics ready or handling
the ire of companies when they do not get enough candidates to interview during
certain times... It was all something that will stay with me for long!
The placecom rocked, so did the
volunteers and so did the entire batch for producing one of the greatest summer
placements this institute has ever witnessed.
And I just sit back and go down
the memory lane... those were the times when my group struggled to find a
company that would give us a summer project during engineering days... our
resumes were presented in perhaps every IT company in Pune... and finally after
two months, we managed to get one project...
And here I am... witnessing
companies fighting over to get students... and that too companies which are the
world leaders in their fields... Students making choices of whether to go to
London or Hong Kong!
Times change... but everything
comes at a price... So to all those reading in the papers about the awesome
placements these WIMWI graduates are getting and thinking how easy it is to get
into the best companies once you are in IIM-A, they do not realize the
tremendous stress, effort, hard work that goes into surviving at this place.
I guess in the long run, summers
or no summers, if you do not enjoy what you are doing, no amount of salary will
make you happy. And if you love your work, money not only ceases to be the sole
motivator, it also becomes an automatic outcome of whatever you do.
The pressure of getting placed on
Day Zero is immense here. It becomes an ego issue at times and I wish I could
tell everyone who falls into this trap the words of Mother Teresa that read like
"In the final analysis, it is
between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway."