By Aiman Zehra:
Meet Zaynub, a final year student at the Aligarh Muslim University. She is well-read, creative and outspoken, and actively balances her academics and extracurricular interests. She looks forward to landing a job that is a good match for her competencies and interests. Her dream: to be an active and valuable participant in a world that is fast progressing, and to earn her way into self-reliance and financial independence. Zaynub, today, represents a dominant section of the students – both male and female, at AMU, much like on any other campus, who are itching to make their mark, professionally and personally. Come next placement season, she will be seen presenting her candidature to her potential employers, and making her choice of most suitable employer and employment among many competing options. There’s a chance she’ll land her dream job, and if lucky, her desired remuneration. Zaynubs of today at AMU in stark contrast to the Zaynubs of yesterday, now have improved opportunities of skill enhancement, personality development, and corporate interface as their peer enjoy elsewhere in the country.
But things haven’t been the same all along. Before March 2012, when the first consolidated Training and Placement Office (general) of AMU was established, corporate interface and student placement was the onus of individual departments for their respective students. While students of professional courses were able to achieve campus placements to some degree, the student of a non-professional course, was destined to limited opportunities with dismal packages.
AMU, one of the oldest universities in India, has seen a glorious past, and has produced a wide network of well-placed and highly successful alumni. And yet it had somewhere faltered, in keeping pace with the demands of modern times. Though AMU kept producing batches of productive, innovative, ambitious and highly qualified students, this human potential met with a dead end somewhere owing to a lack of suitable campus placement opportunities, and a lack of formal training and technical expertise. It cannot be said enough that even the modern curriculum has many failings. A fresh recruit is required to unlearn classroom knowledge to make space for competing, ‘on ground’ knowledge in tune with modern times. While this deficiency is common to all academic curricula followed in the country, some universities and institutions have been able to mitigate damages and plug gaps by introducing supplementary education, fostering modern knowledge and skill enhancement, and by arranging for a strong corporate interface.
Campus placement is important for a fresh graduate, as it makes a student groom oneself. To improve one’s resume the student takes up internships, participates in academic and extracurricular activities, acquires technical skills, goes for industrial visits, takes up live projects, writes academic papers and theses, and learns in classrooms, not just for the sake of learning, but for imbibing and translating the knowledge into the job. In this way, the prospect of campus placement can help channelize immense energy of the youth by dangling a hard-to-attain but not elusive juicy golden carrot of a promising career in front of them. Also, campus placement helps a student analyze the reasons for failure by comparing oneself with one’s peers and nurtures healthy competition. On the remuneration front, students are able to get better remuneration packages than they would get on their own.
At AMU, the Training and Placement Office (general) looks after on and off campus placements for all non-engineering courses of the University, and coordinates with the respective departmental TPOs regarding student placement and related activities. From its very inception, the collaborated efforts and hard work of the TPO (general), departmental TPOs, and students have proved to be a worthwhile contribution to the increasing number of placements every year. TPO (general) actively organizes placement training and technical training workshops, job and career fairs, lectures on soft skills and HR meets throughout an academic session.
“When I came to AMU and joined as the Training and Placement Officer on March 2, 2012, placements for non-engineering courses were almost non-existent. Things were difficult to handle. The first thing I did was that I tried to build a sense of competence among the students and scheduled workshops on ‘how to face an interview’ and ‘personality development’. The other very important task was to bridge the gap between AMU and the corporate world,” says Saad Hameed. “Placement is a byproduct of corporate interface. The biggest asset of all premium institutes is their strong corporate interface. AMU is working on the same,” adds Hameed.
The companies participating in the various campus drives at AMU are from a whole spectrum of industries including Software, Media, Banking, Telecom, Legal, Marketing/Sales, Service, NGO, Consultancy, Sports/Physical Education, Hospitality, Healthcare, Education, ITES, Construction, and Manufacturing. In the academic session 2012-2013, a total of 47 companies participated in the recruitment process, recruiting 523 students. In the following academic session 2013-2014, 50 companies visited AMU and recruited 515 students. This figure jumped by leaps and bounds in the last academic session 2014-2015, where 126 companies visited and recruited 813 students in the campus drive.
TPO (general) is also working on the inculcation of entrepreneurial skills in students. Lately, it organized a workshop on ‘How to be an entrepreneur?’ in association with the National Small Industries Corporation, Aligarh. The first large-scale HR meet will be held at AMU later this year.
“A wave of change, slowly and gradually, can be seen spreading in the campus. I believe slow, but continuous changes are the strongest,” claims Hameed.
The Zaynubs graduating henceforth can therefore, hope for a better first stepping stone guiding them in the direction of their life goals, careers and dreams.
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