Campus Check: Startups make a beeline but are students blazing an alternate path to success?


Key Highlights

  • 2020 has been an unusual year. On the cusp of the pandemic, the future of campus placements appear bleak.
  • Several job opportunities were cut but colleges were quick to adapt to the virtual placement drives – the institutions left no stone unturned to ensure that their students have a job.
  • Recent trends indicate that the IITs and IIMs have shrugged off post-COVID blues, with the Rs 1 crore offers back on campuses.

From Sachin Bansal of Flipkart to Deepinder Goyal of Zomato, Sanjeev Bikhchandani of to Deep Kalra of MakeMyTrip to name a few, most of India’s unicorn & soonicorn founders come from IITs & IIMs. They wear a game-changer tag on their sleeve, blazing an alternate path to success.

IITs and IIMs are also often synonymous with entrepreneurial success, more so when it comes to creating a tech model of business. Many students are also seen joining university-based incubators to obtain funding. For example, IIM-Ahmedabad incubator arm called CIIE.Co aids individuals to pursue their entrepreneurial journey through the early risky stages, providing support when there’s hardly any available.

Professor Amit Karna, chairperson of placements at IIM Ahmedabad explains that students carefully keep all their bets on the table before deciding whether to sit for placements or take the entrepreneurship route.

“Students take up jobs to repay their loans but quit after 2-3 years to build their own businesses. This year, the number of individuals is expected to be high on account of COVID-19 leading them to reflect where they strive to be in the next 5-10 years,” he says.

However, fintech companies have upped their ante at IITs, providing the selected candidate with a good learning ground to join them as a product manager or business development manager. Selected ones grab these opportunities and usually follow it up with entrepreneurship schools.

At IIT Delhi, a similar kind of program is in place where students are given a 2-year time frame to experiment with their big-dollar ideas.

“Students opt for deferred placements each year so they can toy around their own ideas. If we talk about the Sachin Bansals of the world, those ideas came to fruition at a much later stage,” adds Anishya Oberai Madan, Head of Office of Career Services at IIT Delhi.

Madan also goes on to describe that there is nothing spectacularly different in the student quantity opting for startup route this year compared with the previous years.

“We expected a significant decrease in the number of students taking up entrepreneurship this year owing to the pandemic, but it’s almost like COVID-19 didn’t deter their plans even a small bit,” she says.


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