Friday, 6 July 2007

Need for Job Fairs in Bihar
by Manish Kumar

July 19, 2006

http://www.patnadaily.com/readerswrite/2006/jul/manish_kumar.html

One can often read in Rediff.com, BusinessLine, The Hindu, Indian Express, Economic Times etc that TCS is going to hire 6000, Satyam to hire 2000 professionals, Wipro plans to hire 3000 for Kolkata hub, Cognizant Technology Solution (CTS) will hire a large number of programmers, Infosys to hire 25000 more in Chennai, and the major reasons they state for hiring is to expand operations, to cope with exceeding business demands etc. But still one can find that the IT job opportunities for Bihari students are almost absent. Very few companies come for campus selection in management school, technical institutes and universities of Bihar. But if one looks at the placement scenario of colleges in south India especially in Tamil Nadu, he will be surprised. Majority of the colleges, deemed universities etc have more than 70% campus recruitment. Some good institutes like NIT Trichy, Thiagrajar Engg College, PSG Tech, CIT, Anna Univ (College of Engg), Madras Institute of Technology, VIT have 100% placement. Almost all software companies do have their development centre, office, etc in Chennai, Bangalore, and Coimbatore (better call it metro effect). The other reasons for the good placement are the regular organization and conduction of Job fairs in cities like Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Trichy etc.

In Bihar, we can’t find centers of TCS, WIPRO etc, but yeah we can surely bring these software companies in our own state through the job fairs. The companies need potential candidates for their work. Every one knows that Biharis are known for their merits. Take any national level exams like IIT JEE, CAT, UPSC, State PSC, Engg Services, LIC, CBI, Railways, Banking PO, Income Tax exams, Pre Medical test; you can find Biharis securing top position in written, interview etc. The whole India knows the story of the SUPER 30. We have some big, popular and old institutes like Science College (Patna), L. S College (Muzaffarpur), TNB (Bhagalpur) etc. We have good engg colleges at Muzaffarpur, Patna, Bhagalpur. So why can't we organize a job fair for the students of engg, MBA, MA, M.Sc, B.Sc etc? The software companies are looking for graduate in statistics, maths, physics, chemistry, engg, management, biotechnology, economics etc. Our state has surplus number of bright candidates in these areas.

If our state conducts a job fair, it would be win-win situation for both the companies as well as for the students. The fair will hopefully provide opportunities for companies to meet a wider segment of qualified candidates. Of the multiple channels of recruitment which company follow such as advertisements, employee references and campus recruitment, job fairs are one of the most important as they get a chance to assess those with specific skills. At the same time it will be an opportunity for students to know what companies look for. Potential candidates can aim to get placed in sectors such as information technology and IT enabled services, tourism, ticketing, pharmaceuticals, insurance, sales and marketing, banking, printing agencies, chemicals and cosmetics, herbal industries and management agencies. The students from the rural areas can also get benefit through these kinds of fairs. There would be something for everybody in job fairs— freshers, the experienced, those looking for a job change and even a couple of VRS retirees.

In city like Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore etc The Hindu, Indian Express, Anna Univ, Madras Univ do conduct job fairs time to time. If our state conducts a similar job fairs, not only the students' community but a wide range of people can also be benefited.

I strongly appeal to the media (www.patnadaily.com, Hindustan times, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhaskar, Hindustan etc), Director and Principal of various institutes, Vice Chancellor of Universities and the officials of State government to kindly look into the matter and formulate a strategy to conduct a job fairs in our state. Top notch firms like Cognizant, Infosys, e-Serve International Ltd, Accenture, Verizon Data Services, HCL Technologies, ICICI Prudential, Wipro Technologies, Satyam, NIIT, Larsen and Toubro Infotech, Hewlett Packard and IBM India do need large number of candidates in near futures. If we can jointly take an initiative to conduct a similar kind of job fairs, it would be of immense help in creating job opportunities for many in our state.

The author is a research scholar at IIT Madras and can be contacted atthis email address. this email address.



Comments:
This issue needs immediate attention. However, the way it would have to be tackled would be slightly different if it has to have an impact.

- Each college must necessarily have a training and placement office and savvy teachers should be made in charge of these. These are a must for the colleges having engineering or MCA/BCA type of education.

- TPOs should look at the placement brochures of successful institutions like Manipal colleges and prepare similar brochures and presentations that they must disseminate to the prospective employers

- TPOs should make a round of organizations all over the country which are going to recruit. There is no substitute to personal contact. College administration should be encouraged to have special budget for this activity so that TPO in charge makes this round. They should also show willingness to change their syllabi to accommodate the suggestions of the prospective employers if the situation so warrants. Also TPO in charge must be members of the syllabus committee of the colleges.

The scene can change dramatically in a couple of years. There are so many successful professionals from Bihar who would be willing to help in this endeavour. Particularly useful would be the HR professionals from XLRI, XISS and LSW PU. - Thakur Vikas Sinha, Powai, Mumbai - July 20, 2006
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You are absolutely right about the present scenario that non of big techies hires from Bihar. Actually, these companies do not hire from any of the BITs. Even ISM guys have the same complaint. I guess only BIT Mesra has the brand name that attracts top notch IT companies.

Organizing job fair is not the solution and it won't work. Because, first, our education system of Bihar is very corrupt. You simply can't have faith in one's achievements. Mark sheets are forged, cheating is rampant in examinations, schools and colleges are just not functional. Mind it, I am targeting the education system not the students.

Second, the education system suits for succeeding in governmental jobs - IAS, IES, IFS, you name it. These jobs requires excellence in paper based competition which we Biharis have mastered over time. The hiring criteria for IT companies are different. These companies are looking for people who do well in one-on-one interview. They don't put much emphasis on paper based examination. To succeed, students of Bihar have to be interview savvy.

Third, IT companies prefer hiring experienced people which Bihar cannot provide because there is no IT company in Bihar.

My suggestion is Bihar government should hire consultants from McKinsey, IIMs. Their expertise would be the best solution. Of course, this will cost money because There Is No Free Lunch! - Vinod Kumar - July 20, 2006


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The author has made very good observations. Holding job fares will definitely help the locals in getting access to the job market across the country. - Som Vishwakarma, USA - July 20, 2006


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Kindly allow me to say thanks to Mr. Manish Kumar of IIT Madras, for his remarkable ideas/observations/opinion on the article title "Need for Job Fairs in Bihar". What he has written is the need of time. A job or career fair is a place or an event that invites prospective candidates to meet with and link up with possible employers. In essence, this is an accurate view held by the majority of concerned people, parents, teachers and candidates. Inspite of the fact that Biharis are talented as Mr Kumar has rightly said, the tragedy is white colored jobs are not coming in Bihar. One may quote100 of reasons for it. Majority of colleges don’t have TPO and there is need for TPO (as suggested by Thakur Vikas Sinha), our education system is paralysed (as quoted by Vinod Kumar). But the problem is we can’t play blame game here. We have to look into the solution which can start giving immediate results. Making a TPO, better education system blah blah blah may be a part of long term objective or medium term objective. Manipal kind college, do charge fees in lakhs per year. Apart from this there is boarding and lodging charges also. A middle class or a lower middle class family can’t afford to send their ward in college like Manipal (don’t talk of Bank loans and all at present). Now coming to the comment on education system in Bihar. Gone are the days of cheating in exams and forging mark sheets. The probability of occurrence of such incidents is minimal these days. At least the condition has dramatically improved in Bihar, and we hope it will get a new direction. Regarding the government job, do Mr. Vinod Kumar thinks that the interview process for IAS, IES, IFS, banking PO is much easier than the IT related jobs. My dear Vinod Kumar, clearing the interview for these exams (especially it helps in getting good ranks) are 1000 times tougher than clearing the IT related jobs. Ask any guy who is preparing for UPSC, IES, PO etc, or who has cleared these exams. Every engg graduate knows how guys are clearing the interview of TCS, Infosys, CTS, Patni, Mahindra Bristish Telecom etc. The whole sets of questions year wise with solutions is available to the students of many institutes. You can get those papers from the hostels of these institutes. For some reasons, I am not taking the name of all those institutes. There are some standards questions related to HR (may be 10-15) which is asked to every students and some technical questions too. These questions also one can get from the hostels of these institutes. If any one needs clarifications or wants to check the truthfulness of these facts he or she may contact some of his friends who are studying or passed out from some good institutes and enquire. One can get questions and some sample interview questions of different companies from the Internet also, just do a google search. In my eyes its easy to clear IT related Job. One should be good in logical and analytical skills, in which majority of the Biharis are fairer. Who said IT companies prefers only to hire experienced people only? If this is the case then the fresher will die immediately after graduating. A large number of fresher are getting absorbed by different companies through campus selection, advertisement, and as rightly said by Mr. Manish Kumar through Job Fairs. If you will look at the article of Manish Kumar, he has said that “The other reasons for the good placement are the regular organization and conduction of Job fairs in cities like Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Trichy etc”. It’s a pure fact.

To conclude with, I strongly advocate for the organization of Job fairs, which is the need of time. The young people do need jobs and the state, media, institutes and Univ can help them by conducting job fairs. It’s not only advisable from the cost point of view, but also it has a wider impact. Making a TPO, improving educational system can be kept on the objectives, as it will improve the status and will help in the coming years. Thanks again Mr. Kumar for your article and I hope that it will be taken seriously. - Ashok Pandey - July 20, 2006


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Awesome suggestion by Mr. Manish Kumar. I too think that Job fairs will do a lot to change the present scenario of unemployment for the students of professional/technical colleges of Bihar.

But, before that we have to consider the image and weight (quality) of education in Bihar. It's true that the students of Bihar origin are earning laurels in each and every field only if they are studying out of the state. (I mean, in institutions of national importance).

A few suggestions would be:

# As suggested by others, hiring consultants to examine the grim situation of education in the state.

# Establishing institutions of national importance something like recently established Chanakya National Law University. [The average salary of graduates of other National Law University ranges between 2.5- 8.0 lacks per annum.] So the need of the hour is to change according to the job market.

# Compulsory paper on English Language/ Communication Skills/Personality Development etc, for the students of professional colleges.

# Industry linkage (if possible) e.g., in Tamil Nadu, engineering colleges like SSN College of Engineering & Technology (Anna Univ.) is backed by Sri. Shiv Nadar, Chairman, HCL. Many such examples are there.

# Modernising the course curricula of Universities in Bihar.

# Introduction of job-oriented professional courses like -
Agriculture technology, Biotechnology, Integrated science, Computer Application/Technology, Industrial Microbiology, Industrial Fish and Fisheries, Environmental Science, Bachelor of Mass Communication, Communicative English, Bachelor in Business Administration, MBA (IB), B.A. (Hons.) B. Ed., 4-year Integrated Course, Functional English, Advertising Sales Promotion and 'Sales Management, Tourism and Travel Management, Design and Fashion Technology, Watershed Management, Aquaculture, Journalism, Agricultural Waste Management, Cattle Farming, Rural Women Empowerment, Sugar Technology, Sugarcane Technology, Electrical and Electronic Goods Management, Horticulture, Environmental Chemistry, Cultivation of Medicinal Domestic Plant and many more........

# Hiring highly qualified and industry experienced faculties/ visiting faculties.

# Rigorous teaching method, workshop, industrial training, presentations, seminars etc.....

# Semester system and internal evaluation.

The list may be endless but at least the responsible authorities can initiate some of the points mentioned above. - Ashwini Kumar Singh, Director – DREDS (District Rural Education Development Society), Gopalganj, Bihar - July 20, 2006


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Dear Manish jee,

Very good points raised by you..

I am giving you my experience with a few hard facts.

In the months between February 2006 and April 2006 I was in Patna and during this period, I took many seminars, short-term courses including Career Counseling and Guidance Program at Patna Science College campus. Before that, I visited all the prominent engineering/science colleges of Patna.

I called five companies. One company's Human Resources visited the place and took GD. After all the hectic schedule and GD, she found three out of around 100 students good to some extent.

In the end, no students were selected because of poor quality of those students.

I tried very much for at least one student, but till today no confirmation from the company.

Hard fact is that bona fide students go out of state and the rest of the students are not up to the mark, particularly in communication.

I am also trying very hard to start a work environment in the state, did many things before e.g. career counseling program (it was like job fair), Scitechfest, DISHA, recently concluded (it was in the news too), many short term courses from the society called BiharBrains (www.biharbrains.org) but what I found that Bihar needs gradual improvement. There should be many engineering colleges, professional degree colleges with some companies in that bound areas. Then and then only company will visit campuses and participate in the job fair. Last time even Naukri.Com from Delhi also could not come even though I tried.

Though I am in complete agreement with you, but frankly, Bihar in the present scenario, is not ready for the same. This will take some more time. - Bibhuti Bikramaditya, Daejeon, S Korea - July 20, 2006


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The same development formula may or may not be applicable to every state in the country. For a state which has the lowest literacy, poor infrastructure, serious problems of law and order, floods, I would say, the priority today is not a job fair. At the risk of sounding pessimistic, I see such fairs to be a big flop in Bihar. And why for heaven's sake, we are so desperate to bring software companies to our state? Believe me, software will be the last industry to come to Bihar. But that's not a problem at all! Now I must talk something positive to save my own image. I know I won't succeed in convincing you that I am not a pessimist, but still.

There have been so many illustrious articles by Mr. Indra on where our strength and opportunities lie. The agriculture, food processing, farming, flood research, biotechnology are the most talked about. We need institutes which can provide all kinds of professional training. I won't repeat what Mr. Indra has already written in great detail in his articles; I would like you to go through them (Actually I don't remember them all myself, I learned this trick from one of my teachers).

What is the point in becoming a civil/mechanical/electrical engineer to get a job in a software company? Communication (read speaking English) is very (probably most) important criteria to get s/w job and we know where we stand on that. I myself had never spoken English (except the 'May I come in, Sir?') till I came to Tamil Nadu at the age of 22. That does not make one a bad engineer, though. So, let the software prosper in South. We need the 'real' engineers in Bihar. I won't digress further on this issue.

Our priority today should be improving the academic education, ensuring regular classes, appointing staff, building and maintaining new schools/colleges. The syllabus needs to be modernized. Teachers need to be trained well for the updated syllabus. They should be evaluated and given incentives (smells of privatization?). Private tuition (at least till class X) should be banned (after ensuring the above points). Guess papers should be banned (after ensuring that every student gets the required textbooks). Evaluation should be in such a way that most of the students can make it to the college. Universities need drastic change in their culture.

All such initiatives would require reduction in corruption, red-tapism and crime. We have high hopes from this government on such fronts. It seems to be moving in the right direction but is too slow to deserve any appreciation. - Kumod Jha - July 21, 2006

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