Monday, March 21, 2005

Moral Policing - III - The Trilogy Ends

I don't think I am the first guy to point out something called the "Free Market" theory. But I think this theory definetly needs to be rammed into the heads of Administrators of many institutions.

A long long time ago, nearing the end of my under graduate degree, a small bunch of students ( a miniscule bunch) decided to pursue graduate studies in the US. My motivation to pursue this option was because of the following;

(a) Complete lack of respect for the visiting recruiting recompanies. The jobs weren't that great then ( the situation is much better now) to justify an engineering degree and usually they put fresh recruits in the crappiest of all jobs ( still true today). There was an article on "campus recruitment" I sent to "The Hindu" some long time back. I'll try and post it here tomorrow.
(b) There was a huge gap between what was taught in undergrad colleges in India and the what I thought was "good" work. I thought only a graduate degree in the US would make an entry into the "good work" category possible ( partially true today).
(c) There was this huge gap between what I thought was good graduate education and what was offered in India ( barring IISc ). This is true even today.
(d) Well..For a long long time at college... After the GRE-like written test that the recruiting companies conducted, no company ( not even a single one except the Indian Army) called me for a second round of interview.

To support that reasons (a) - (c) were more true then the "grapes are sour" (d) -- I'll say that we had written the GRE exam, applied to U.S Schools and some even got admits a good 2-3 months before Campus recruitment schedule began. Infact by the time I was attending my second campus interview, I had 1 admit with financial aid in hand.

This is when the rebel thing started. A group of students in my class began to raise some objections. They did not want people who had written GRE exams, appearing for campus interviews. The department management leaned towards the "communist" part of the common sense approach and began to seriously consider the objection. A group ( a miniscule..small number of 3 - 4 people) severely fought against stopping students who had written GRE exams from appearing in Campus Interviews. Democracy won in the end and we were allowed to appear in all campus interviews.

As a result of our protests -- Of the 12 ( out of a class strength of 74) students who actually got jobs in campus, 6 of them had writen GRE. 3 of them chose to take up the campus-offered-job and the other three rejected the job offer and pursued higher studies. 2 of the 3 who chose to take up the job, went ahead and pursued graduate studies, the following year ( a decision that turned out to be good for them in the long run).

In case you are thinking "whats this fellow yapping on and on about" -- I do have a point here. This long introduction was to make that point more credible. In today's world democracy is dead. Nowadays, colleges require of students to make a clear choice at the beginning of the final year. In my days applying to US was prevalant but not profuse. Today its so common that there is a systematic and organized policy in place, within the college, to handle the applicant crowd. This policy is highly local and systematically works at undermining the right of the country's student community. The policy is -- If they opt to pursue higher studies they will not be allowed to attend campus interviews. If they opt to attend campus interviews, the college teachers are instructed to not provide the students with recommendation letters, which are required to send a complete application to gaduate studies. They do so because they feel companies tend to visit the college less frequently if the yield on job offers made is less than 80%. Moreover the college wants to publish statistics like 60% of students -- job offers made and 40% of the students -- opted higher studies. This is again police work done by people ( administrators) who have no right or business to impose such guidelines. I'll give you the logical reason(s) as to why.

1) Higher studies is a stochastic process. A job interview at campus - you will know by the end of the day whether you have a job or not. For higher studies, it takes 4-5 months for the college to get back to you with a result. Even then you have to wait until June to really know your fate at the Consular Visa interview.

2) Preventing students from having a backup option ( which could be either graduate studies or a local job) is a crime against democracy. Because one set of people can end up with nothing at the end of graduation because they weren't allowed to make their own choice.

3) The people who were interested only in local campus interviews, watching the proceedings with glee, got their delayed justice (punishment) when many job offers were retracted during bust time. This probably reminded those students the value of having a backup option ( if not American studies, something like IIM or some other GATE thing).

4) If I am a visiting company looking to recruit campus freshers, I need to have a fair shot at all the students who want to compete for the job. If the college administration is preventing a section ( possibly the brighter, more intelligent section) of students from competing for such jobs then I will be dissapointed. Because I want a fair shot at convincing that bright student that a job in my company is better than graduate studies. If a student who was made an offer refuses the offer in the end then... its just too bad! But atleast I did the best for my company.

5) As a recruiter, I will definetly not go back to a school, which sent me an idiot. Especially if at the time of recruitment, I thought this was the best talent in school and then later found out he was a incompetent ass, I will never go back to that school. On the other hand, I will go to the school which had the credit hsotory of some intelligent students refusing job offers in order to pursue graduate studies. I may go with a better package this time to better convince students in a similar situation. I will go back because I have had the satisfaction of seeing the entire competition pool. I selected the ones I wanted and even if they did not come. Fair enough.

6) Losers who feel extra competition may spoil their chances do not deserve to compete. If the only way they feel they can get a job is by preventing good students from competing then the recruiting company definetly should be allowed to even look at them. People who are interested only in local jobs through campus recruitment and feel they are as intelligent as the next guy, shouldn't really bother who is competing and who is not.

7) Last but the most important thing: This is a free country. At the end of the engineering, I as a student and a citizen of the country have the bloody right to apply for grad school, an industry job, a circus clown position, a bomber in the army, and an animal porn movie audition. All at the same time. It is my perogative. I do not need an idiot to tell me where I should and where I should not apply.

The time has come where the appropriate authorities should really look at de-linking and removing affiliation for schools which follow this practice. This is in violation of democracy and the Indan Legal system. And believe me!! most colleges around the country have this practice in place, just to excersice control over students.


Anonymous said...

From reading your moral policing trilogy, I can only conclude that your college was run by neandarthals. Even when I was in college (Thiagarajar engg. in MDU) in the 80's, being friends with girls was quite common. There were even a couple of marriages. As for campus interviews and graduate studies, there were no restrictions at all. The only thing they did was not let the same students corner all interview spots, which was only fair. We were all given a choice of applying to two (or three) companies and that's all. Of course, the top students get to choose first.

It is surprising that things seem to have become worse. When are people going to realize that morality can't be legislated? Sorry state indeed.


சுதர்சன் said...

//It is surprising that things seem to have become worse.//

Thats a sad truth.