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Shunning fat paychecks and dreams that many IITians have of working for a global giant, Nikesh Ingle had last year decided to design and develop a “one stop rural web portal”. The aim was to provide information about various avenues for rural development like existing schemes of the government, corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities and NGO work, with special emphasis on enabling “adoption of livelihood tech-transfer”. Similarly, Vaibhav Antil decided to co-found a start-up, BC Jukebox, in 2014, which enables customers to select their music in restaurants, bars and business right from their smartphone. The idea was to bridge the gap between the music customers want and what music businesses play.
The two graduated from IIT Bombay last year and belong to an increasing breed of students, who are choosing to work in the social sector or start their own ventures by opting for deferred placements offered by IIT Bombay. This year, eight students at IIT Bombay were selected for the institute’s deferred placement policy.
According to the policy, introduced in 2012, students who want to start their own firm or work in the social sector, by moving away from the safety net of a regular campus placement, have a cushion to fall back upon. The students, who have been awarded deferrals this year, can come back after two years and be part of the campus placements.
“This year, three are creating their own startups, while the others are opting for social deferral. The feeling of starting something of their own and bringing about a change in the society are reasons that prompt students to opt for deferred placements. A lot of start-ups were cofounded by IIT Bombay alumni and hence that is also playing a role. Many budding entrepreneurs did not even register for placements and directly went ahead with establishing their own company,” said Ayush Lakhotia, placement manager, IIT Bombay placement team.
In 2014, around 11 had opted for deferred placements. The policy has seen a considerable rise from one in 2013 and none in the first year of introduction.
“I come from a small village and know the hardships people in small and remote places have to face. I wanted to use my degree to give back to the people, to connect with those on the ground and be in touch with villages. Hence, I decided to make use of the deferred placement policy and work for the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD). The idea behind the portal is that it will be very beneficial for various stakeholders for effective implementation of schemes in the target zones for rural population. I could realise my dreams owing to this policy and in future too, I want to work with something with a social touch,” said Ingle.
According to Antil, exploring the field of entrepreneurship has its own challenges and it helps to have a security net. “When you decide to take that plunge, you have to convince your family as well as decide for your own self. We are currently operating in 250 venues across five cities. Powai has a lot of start-ups, and even failures are valued there. So, even if a venture fails, one makes enough connections and networks while trying to build a start-up and that helps in the long run,” he said.