If placement season is drawing big-ticket recruiters to B-school campuses, the undergraduate colleges in Calcutta are not far behind.
With companies showing growing interest in fresh graduates, colleges like St Xavier’s and Asutosh have even set up full-fledged placement cells.
“More and more companies are coming in to recruit our students and students are also showing a keen interest in placements,” said Aniruddha Sinha, placement cell co-ordinator at Xavier’s.
The placement season is still on, but around 250 students at the Park Street college have bagged boardroom passports. Asutosh College has already placed 105 students.
The list of recruiters, comprising the likes of Google, IBM, Wipro, Cognizant Technology Solutions, ICICI Prudential and Maruti Udyog, is impressive. So is the package that the students in their early 20s are getting (see box).
So instead of pursuing higher studies, students are preferring jobs and the change is visible even in Presidency College, where placements were not a serious affair till a few years ago. “More students on campus flocked for placements this year. The feeling is that higher education does not necessarily guarantee a better job,” said Meghna, a postgraduate student.
Some foreign banks, companies like Hindustan Unilever Limited and the Tatas have always scooped up fresh graduates from premier college campuses, but that earlier meant only a handful.
Today, jobs are raining down and students from various streams — be it computer science or communicative English — are getting selected. Take the experiment by the Forum for Arts Students, a students’ body in the Jadavpur University. The forum set up its own placement cell in June 2006 and got 170 students into companies like Google, Wipro and IBM.
“We think placements need to be given more importance as they provide more alternatives to the students,” said Mainak Gupta, professor-in-charge of placements, Asutosh College.
According to career counsellor Pervin Malhotra, catching them young is a recent phenomenon, restricted to colleges where the students have good soft and technical skills.
“Companies want to pick up the students from colleges and train them… It is a good strategy as they get the boys and girls at lower salaries,” said Malhotra.
A comparison of average salary figures paid to a premier B-school graduate (in excess of Rs 6 lakh per annum) and a fresher from an undergraduate college (around Rs 2 lakh per annum) clearly explains the cost advantage.
But it is a win-win situation for students, who can work, save money and then do an MBA course.