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Lessons From Placement Sessions

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A majority of MBA aspirants see B-schools as the platform to jumpstart their career. And your performance during the placement is the ultimate test that will determine your fate. And that's the reason the preparation for final placements start more than a month in advance.

First up comes the tedious CV making process. Some would wonder: what is it but a one-page document? Well it takes at least a week of a typical management graduate's life to draw a resumé, some choosing to make as many 80 iterations to it. After all, to a potential recruiter, a CV is the summary of what you are. Your chance to attending an interview with your dream recruiter depends on how well you have been able to portray your achievements and how well your profile fits the company's expectations.

Soon after begins the rush of CV uploads for the companies that visit campus, attending pre-placement talks by the companies and the dreaded preparation. Given the fact that everyone one of us has fought his way through some of the toughest tests to be here, the intellectual ability of everyone is beyond doubt. So what sets you apart from the rest is how well you are prepared and how well you are able to articulate your responses during the interview.

It is probably the only time on campus when you see everyone going through thick bound books, newspapers, company websites, etc. with such dedication. Students run huge mobile bills calling up seniors to enquire about the kind of prospects which various sectors offer and how to make sure that they convert their interview calls. It is in these times that you realise why this assorted group of students managed to bell the CAT and end up at IIM Calcutta. Seldom do you otherwise get to see such single-minded dedication to any purpose in the rest of the two years of B-school life.

Now that the CV is made, prep done, it is time for the big day. While the seniors are busy with placements, the juniors are busy making sure nothing goes wrong on the D-Day. So, at 5:00 in the morning, you get a loud knock on the door from one of them. And then, without wasting any time, you get ready, wear your lucky shirt and the brand new tie, don you favourite suit and off you go to face the day.

While you run from one interview call to another, news trickles in that the institute ranker has landed one of the first jobs on campus. Probably a well-justified reward for two years of effort he had put in. As they say, hard work pays rich dividends. Slowly other companies start making offers too. It is a matter of time now, you think, before you get yours.

Placements 2009 has seen the effects of recession across campuses, IIM Calcutta is no different. We saw a dip in the number of offers per company and a slew of new companies visiting campus to fill in the void. I think it makes the IIM-C community stronger with alumni now working in a diverse set of sectors which probably did not find a presence earlier.

However, contrary to perception, 40 per cent of the students at IIM-C received finance offers that too in times when the sector as a whole is not in the pink of health. It speaks volumes about the superiority of IIM-C as the best "Fin Campus" in India. But being at IIM-C doesn't mean a natural inclination towards finance. Lots of students chose to join marketing firms, while still some (like me) decided to join consulting. The complete process took 10 days in total, at the end of which all 265 students had a job.

Post placement is usually a time to rejoice, with parties and trips to nooks and corners of India with friends. So, while I packed my bags for a trip to Darjeeling, some went off to Bhutan and certain others went off to enjoy the backwaters of Kerala, promising to be back for the Convocation in April.

I remember one of my friends had a GTalk status message: "Some places teach u a lot..." I cannot agree with it more. IIM Calcutta has been a place which taught me how to fight and succeed. Placements are much more than a hunt for job; it is a test of your mettle, your fighting spirit and your will to be the best of the lot and emerge on top.

Debtosh Mishra is an alumnus from Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta.