IITians refuse placements for startups, civil service exams

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Mumbai : Nikhil Pai, a chemical engineer at IIT Madras, won’t sit for placement with the rest of his batch and will instead work at a startup that has just been incubated.

“I want to work in a startup that has 10-15 people, that is into social innovation and I am talking to a few such companies,” said the 23-year-old, batch of 2023.

“They are still too young to come to campus and their salary is nowhere near what I would have got from placements but if I want to do my own startup in future I have to take this step,” he added.

Pai is among a growing number of graduates from Indian Institutes of Technologies (IITs) who have opted out of the placement process to sit civil services exams or take up their own startups.

Placement teams are surprised as it comes amid fears of a global recession.

“My family was worried at first, but I did not take this step in haste. I decided at the end of my second year that I wanted to be part of business development and learn revenue from scratch,” Pai said.

Some of his classmates have also opted out of the recruitment process to pursue higher studies or start their own startups.

“Ten students have opted for the institute’s deferred placement facility. The deferred placement facility is available to students who want to set up a startup after graduation,” IIT Delhi said.

“Students opting for the deferred placement option can avail placement services once within 2 years of availing this option, i.e. till 2024-25 for the current set,” the college said in its placement report till December 15.

As the placement season at IITs began on December 1, many companies, especially high-frequency trading (HFT) firms, offered higher salaries. 1 crore per year.

Some new IITs have seen an increase in students opting for deferred placement compared to the 2022 batch.

“A student can opt for deferred placement mainly for higher studies, UPSC exams and entrepreneurship. The number of students who opted for deferred seats last year was 11 and the same for this year is 20,” said Lalit Pandey, Head, Center for Career Development, IIT Guwahati.

Two students at IIT Mandi have opted for deferred placement compared to the previous one.

Placement offices said they cross-check before accepting a deferred placement offer.

“Students send in their proposals and we test the viability of the idea. Usually, it’s a startup that they want to incubate and then we give them the option to do that within the campus. During recessions, students are made aware of the risk their ideas may fall into,” says a senior placement officer at one of the older IITs.

Interestingly, the clouds of recession haven’t stopped startups and e-commerce companies from making a beeline for IIT campuses, which offer salaries so far. 15 lakhs- 35 lakhs.

In the race to recruit for their expanding teams, they competed against domestic consultancies and high frequency trading firms.

Placement at IITs will run from April-May.

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