Monday, June 30, 2008
CTS makes record campus offers for Anna University
On 23-Jun-2008 Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTS) gave offer letters to 1,100 students of College of Engineering, Guindy. link
According to the official website of the college of engineering(CEG), Guindy, their intake of students into undergraduate courses each year is around 800 . Though I cannot find exact figures for the intake of post graduates and research students, I am guessing it would be around 400. Thus, assuming all the students graduate, every year around 1200 students pass out of the college.
Which implies that CTS has given offer letters to practically all the students coming out of CEG next year!
From the point of view of CTS, this is an excellent move, both strategically as well as tactically. Students of CEG are generally very good, both because of the stringent admission criteria (which ensures that only students with excellent academic records gain admission) as well as the quality of their facilities and faculty. So CTS can expect that at least 50% of the students will join and do very well at work. The time and effort to get over 500 good employees in this manner would have been really low.
From a tactical stand point, CTS has ensured that none of the other players (TCS, Infosys, Satyam, etc.) can get anyone from CEG! (Most campus recruitment rules stipulate that if a student has got an offer from one Tier 1 company, he/she cannot appear for any other interview).
As for the college, all their students have gotten placed and that augers well for the future reputation of CEG.
Only when I think of this with the student's interest in mind and that of the country as a whole, do I start to worry.
1. To start with, what CTS has done is to hoard potential employees. In one fell swoop they have reserved all the candidates for themselves and ensured that the students cannot get themselves jobs in any other company through the campus recruitment process. With this kind of control, now the company can delay the sending of appointment letter for as long as it wants without too much risk.
And this happens quite a lot already. I have heard of many a case where the student received the appointment letter (from a very large company) only 8 months after she completed her degree. Even after that, for over 6 months she was not involved in any project. So effectively, for nearly a year and a half, she did not do any work. Of course, from the outside we can all ask why she did not go and find herself a job elsewhere. But, in reality, most students (and their parents) are very reluctant to rock the boat once they have received an offer letter from a large company with a "good" reputation.
While I am not suggesting that CTS will follow this path, given how the market is yo-yo'ing these days, this could very well happen.
2. Of the 1,100 students, only about 10 - 15 % of them have computer science degrees. All the other are from such varied disciplines as Civil, Electrical and Electronics, Communication engineering, mechanical engineering, Industrial engineering, manufacturing engineering, printing technology, mining engineering, material sciences and engineering and agriculture and irrigation engineering. Not only are these students ill-equipped to work in a software engineering environment, by joining a software company, they are also ensuring that all the work they have put in (apart from the efforts put in by the faculty) to learn their discipline goes completely to waste. Where are we going to find the next generation of competent civil engineers? Who is going to help improve the Indian agricultural sector? Who is going to lead us in our competition with China in the manufacturing sector?
Again, I am not suggesting that this problem has only arisen now because of CTS. We have been facing this problem ever since the start of the software revolution in India. It is just that, instead of addressing this problem, the Indian industry seems to be doing things to exacerbate it.
3. Will the 3rd year students who have got the offers continue to study with interest now that they have got a job offer in hand? What incentive is there for students of other disciplines to study when they already have a job offer and the subjects they need to study have no relevance to the work they are going to do! Why cannot these campus interview be conducted at the end of the 4th year (for 4 year degrees) thereby giving the students an additional one year of opportunity to learn and gain interest in their area of expertise.
The power to allow campus interviews only for students in their final academic year is completely in the hands of the colleges. If the guardians of education do not care, who will?
4. Do the students studying disciplines other than computer science have any future in their field of study/interest? Is there any overlap at all between their area of study and their field of interest? If such a overlap exists are we doing anything to sustain and encourage that?
5. What happens to computer science students from other colleges, especially tier 2 colleges which are not able to attract companies to come and conduct campus recruitment? Despite having studied computer science, do they have job openings in their area of expertise?
Has individual, corporate and collective greed become so all-encompassing that we cannot even see the kind of lop-sided growth we are fostering? We are no longer behaving like a country that wants to progress in all fronts including science, technology (other than software), equal education and employment opportunities for all,self sufficiency, alleviation of poverty, good and affordable health care for all and self preservation. We have merely become a provider of semi-skilled labour (whatever is the flavour of the day or decade) for the world.
Today, India has become just a temp staffing outfit!