Edited by Neha Anand
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Note: T5E’s Exit Survey 2021 was conducted in the month of June to study graduating student’s perspectives of life at IIT Madras. The survey had a total of 374 responses across the entire graduating class of 2020 (UG + PG). Nearly 65% of the survey respondents were UG students (B.Tech + DD+ MA) and the rest were PG students (Msc + MTech + MBA + PhD + MS).
The survey explored various aspects of a student’s life, such as Lifestyle, Personal, Career, Academics, Extra-curricular and Opinion.
This article focuses specifically on the Career aspects, opportunities and goals that a typical student in IITM has:
Out of 374 respondents, 70% of the UGs and over 67% of the PGs had appeared for the placements. PGs had a slight drop over UGs as they perhaps envisioned their career path in further research and academia.
2. Career path:
Over 65% of the students have chosen to pursue a job and 17.4% of the students have opted for further studies.
The number of students choosing higher education dropped down by 5% for the 2020 graduating batch, which might have several causal factors. The most prominent obstacle being the pandemic.
3. Core and Non-core:
Core domains are dominated majorly by PG students with nearly 50% of respondent fields aligning with core as more UGs are opting for non-core compared to core.
There is a steep decline in the fraction of students opting for core from CS to NA in the UGs. While the more popular non-core profiles are Analytics, IT, and Coding, there are a considerable number of respondents opting for Consulting, Finance, Product Management and other profiles.
Majority of the respondents aspire to pursue an MBA or a PhD.
4. Breaks in the path:
While the pandemic has skewed the perspective of all in many ways, it has posed some serious challenges for PGs.
While 28% of the postgraduates felt unaffected by the pandemic in career planning, 22% of the PGs admitted to making a harsh call of disrupting their career and shifting to other domains. 54% of UGs, however, retained their original career decisions during the pandemic.
5. Resume Amplifiers:
PoRs in insti are one of the most coveted and gossiped about resume points. They pose a highly controversial debate on their usefulness in career paths. About 40% of respondents from the core and 33% from non-core found PoRs to have not contributed much to their career.
On the other hand, 45% of the respondents did feel that they gained the right skills through PoR exposure.
The average rating for PoRs in terms of helping in achieving a job in the core and non-core domains are 2.5 and 2.8 respectively (out of 5).
A sensible inference here is that non-core sector aspirants found PoRs more helpful than the core pursuants.
Most of the undergraduate students have completed at least two internships, which can be considered as a benchmark for a typical UG guy, whereas internships are highly uncommon among PG students.
Respondents pursued more core internships than non-core and research internships.
Internships served as a great learning curve that contributed tremendously to making a decision about their career; the average rating for the value-add of an internship was rated about 3.5 out of 5.
5.3 PoRs vs Internships:
When we analyse the two highly attractive ‘bucket list’ items for a typical student, here are a few similarities and contrasts.
Over 48 percent of the respondents felt that they owe their placement offers primarily to their internship experiences, whereas only 12% from non-core and 5% from core felt that their PoRs were relatively the standout performers in their placements.
There are few other career-building boosters that are sometimes underrated but vital to both decision making and perhaps, securing a shortlist. One of those factors is CGPA.
The average CGPA of a core-aspirant is over 8.6 while a typical non-core aspirant and a student pursuing higher studies had a CGPA of 8.15 and 8.23 respectively.
This speaks for the relatively higher academic rigour required of core fields.
5.5 Projects, Hackathons and Industrial training:
Online projects and hackathons are some of the factors that assisted nearly 20% of the respondents in their placements. Around 52% of the respondents who had pursued online projects or competed in hackathons were non-core aspirants. Only a few respondents felt that industrial training can improve their skills in their respective domains.
6. Decision making:
6.1 Choices and clarity:
Insti opens up a plethora of opportunities for students and ever so often, the exuberant variety leads to more confusion than structure.
Over 63% felt that insti has provided ample amount of time and opportunities, but around 35% of the respondents felt that they hadn’t used it effectively, and 11% of the respondents did not agree with the statement.
While 15% of the respondents got complete clarity over the options and paths available for them in their freshman year itself, 60% of the respondents got the clarity in their second to penultimate years. Around 33% of the respondents hadn’t decided their career paths until their final year.
6.2 Source of career fundaes:
Career is not something that is decided overnight. Sometimes one needs a mentor to guide them with knowledge and expertise in order to make good choices. Let’s look into some of the mentors who helped in shaping the students’ career.
As anticipated, seniors guided most of the respondents; over 70% of the non-core and 60% of the core domain respondents got their career fundaes from their seniors. Friends, family, batchmates, and the Internet follow in the ranking order.
Core aspirants also choose to seek faculty advice. Non-core respondents sourced insights from Alumni and Insti events as well.
6.3 Future directions and post placement ‘feels’:
“In this life, we have to make many choices. Some are important choices. Some are not. The choices we make determine to a large extent our happiness because we have to live with the consequences of our choices.”
– James E. Faust
With this quote in our line of sight, we now analyse the outcome of choices, as reflected upon by the respondents –
Over 48% of the non-core respondents opted for non-core just for the sake of higher pay and 59% chose it as they weren’t interested in core.
26% of core and 32.5% of the non-core placed respondents weren’t satisfied with their placement offers.
44% of the respondents hope to stick to their domain for at least 5 years into the future. Over 45% of the respondents aren’t sure enough to comment, out of which, 40% were from the core and 47% were from the non-core sector. Around 11% of the respondents were sure enough that they won’t be sticking to their direction and will shift their domain (such as opting for higher studies and such).
7. Quirky Insights:
1. Around 70% of the respondents who had been in a relationship with someone from insti are from non-core domain!
2. 30% of the core respondents regularly studied and revised before exams whereas the number dropped down to 11 for non-core respondents!
The final report of T5E’s exit survey produced some interesting insights on the career maps, goals and ambitions of the graduating batch of 2020. Here’s a quick summary of the data the team collected and analysed-
- Around 70% of the respondents had appeared for the placements.
- Pursuing a job is the most popular career path among the respondents which was followed by higher studies in the preference order.
- Major fields chosen by non-core aspirants are Analytics/ML/Data science, IT/Coding and Consulting.
- Many of the respondents had opted for pursuing an MBA or a PhD sometime in the future.
- More than half of the PG respondents were affected by the pandemic that led to significant changes in their career plans.
- Many of the UG respondents had completed 1-2 internships during their time at insti.
- Internships were the highest rated contributing factor for their placement offers followed by CGPA and PoRs.
- Majority of the respondents took their career fundaes from seniors, friends/ batchmates and from the Internet.
- Faculty’s advice was considered more important by a core aspirant than a non-core aspirant.
- Majority of respondents obtained clarity on the career they want to pursue post IITM in their penultimate year.
- 26% of the core, 32.5% of the non-core placed respondents weren’t satisfied with the job they’ve got in the placements.
Concluding our analysis, it is imperative to keep in mind that not everyone obtains clarity in making important future plans in their freshman undergraduate year itself. Clarity emerges from the experiences, the exposure, the advice, the hard work and the motivation to persist- hard work that we need to deliver and the motivation we need to revive every time we face an obstacle.
There was a considerable rise in the number of students opting for innovative and socio-motive fields like entrepreneurship, civil services and government sector over the years that might fetch some sparkling boost in our developing nation. Advancements in the IT and Analytics field showcases the surge in the number of aspirants choosing their career in it and enhances the growth of the technology in upcoming years. There has been a slight drop in the number of students opting for higher studies due to pandemic, but the ones who’ve chosen it will gain specialized knowledge to advance in their field.
This is it from the career aspect. We wish the best for the graduating students in their career ahead!
Take a look at other articles in the Exit Survey 2021: https://www.t5eiitm.org/exit-survey-2021-academics/