As a student of graduating MA Social Work (Criminology and Justice) class at TISS, the 24-year-old was looking forward to becoming an employed professional just three months ago. He was part of the cohort who paid TISS’ central placement committee and the School of Social Work to register for the year’s placement opportunities. But COVID-19 intervened.
The TISS student is not alone. Across the country, the lockdown has forced several educational institutes to put their placement processes on hold. Even students who have received offers from companies are not sure if their appointment letters will be honoured. “For a course like mine, I’m less hopeful of finding any opportunity right away. Other than formal placements, we have a WhatsApp group for job offers but many companies are now asking for prior experience of two to five years. Most of us are freshers,” the TISS student said.
As for the central placements for which he had registered along with around 400 others, less than 60 have been placed. A student representative of the cell said fewer than 20 companies came to the campus this year.
Another round of placement once TISS reopens is unlikely. Some schools have asked companies if they could conduct the process online. For the School of Social Work, absence of government-run companies in this year was disappointing, said another representative.
The campus placement system, through which many graduating students found jobs well ahead of their final semester, has been an early casualty of COVID-19. Placements for most colleges begin after August. With the economy already sluggish, the private sector too have indicated that this would be a bad year for recruitment.
A student from IIT-Bombay’s Shailesh J Mehta School of Management, placed in a Bangalore-based consulting firm, was to join office on April 1. “Luckily, the firm has sent a mail saying they will share a joining date shortly. But there have been cases where students have not been given offer letters after being selected,” he said.
“There is a word on our campus (IIT-B) that companies are backing out. I last received a mail from the company that had recruited me saying said that the joining date has been pushed to August,” said a student of metallurgical engineering, who has been placed by the Indian counterpart of an American MNC.
Training and placement officer of IIT-B, B V Ravi Shankar, said: “We have moved to online evaluation of candidates for companies who are willing.” The second phase for placements had commenced on January 20. “Companies have established contact with most of the selected candidates. Rolling out offer letters generally extends till May.”
Of the 121 students of Masters in Management Studies at Mumbai University’s Alkesh Dinesh Mody Institute for Management and Financial studies, 89 had been placed, said Director Smita Shukla. Of 35 companies that had come for hiring, 10 backed out. “We asked companies if they can offer jobs that offered student the option of working remotely and some did. Since many marketing jobs involve going to the field, some offers were withdrawn,”said Shukla.
Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies said all its students were placed in summer internships and final-year placements, conducted from October to January and December to January, respectively. However, the students claimed otherwise. “While many internships got cancelled, some companies have started online learning platforms, which we are not interested in,” said a MBA student.
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