According to Economic Times, IIT Bombay has acceeded to the government’s request to open up first day of placement season to core engineering industries. This is despite the fact that these industries offer only “half of the average Rs 30 lakh (~US$ 46K) salary” benchmark set by Day 1 prima-donnas like investment banking, ecommerce, management consulting and technology industries.
Readers of Michael Lewis’s “The Big Short” would know how banks made a fortune before sparking off the Great Financial Crisis. Here’s a short version for others: Investment banks created structured financial products that no one understood, packaged subprime mortgages into derivatives, hoodwinked Moody’s and other leading CRAs into rating MBS, CDO, and other structured products as prime assets, secured the necessary regulatory approvals, and sold them off to all and sundry, including conservative pension funds. In the process, they made boatloads of money and could reward themselves $$ bonuses – heck even one or two $$$M severance packages. In the end, when everything went belly up, they managed to get bailed out with taxpayer money. Amazingly, they managed to do all this amidst dire warnings from the likes of Warren Buffett that derivatives are weapons of mass financial destruction.
Anyone who has been following the ecommerce industry in India would know about this cab aggregator company founded by two IIT Bombay engineering graduates that was recently named as Best Startup of the Year and reached an astounding US$ 5B valuation within just five years of existence – with little revenues and massive losses.
Investment banks and ecommerce startups have challenged established norms and rewritten many rules of the game. In the process, they have earned fame and fortune without breaking any laws. Without going into the ethics and sustainability of their actions, their accomplishments require top notch talent in its own perverse way. Lots of it.
Why it has to be drawn from IITs is up to the individual companies to decide. And decide they have: According to this article, “IITians are stealing a march… over MBAs. Start-ups and large e-commerce companies such as Flipkart, Ola, Oyo Rooms, Jabong, CarDekho.com, Shopclues and Bewakoof. com, plan to hire more engineers this year in corporate and managerial functions.”
Not surprisingly, banking and ecommerce dominate Day 1 placements at the IITs.
Now, coming to “core engineering”, I joined the IT industry soon after I graduated from IIT Bombay in 1985. Therefore, I’m out of touch with the minutiae of the jobs offered by these industries to engineering graduates. However, I do know that cars are still made out of the four stroke combustion engine invented in the early 20th century and soda ash is still manufactured using the Solvay process developed in the 1860s. Therefore, I’m somewhat puzzled at why core engineering is coveting top notch talent from the IITs. The aforementioned article says A-leaguers would give impetus to the government’s “Make In India” initiative. While that’s politically correct, it seems quite lame.
But that’s not the point – if core engineering is coveting top talent from the IITs, it is.
What really matters is, will top notch talent from the IITs reciprocate core engineering’s love for them and accept the jobs offered by steel, electronics and heavy engineering companies on Day 1? That’s the million dollar – er, $46K – question. We’ll know the answer soon, when placements get over by the last week of December.