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Resource Management - SME Business Digest
CAMPUS INTERVIEWS IN COLLEGES
- Interview with Vijay Naitrav -
-Interviewed by Srini Madhavan
Vijay Naitrav is the Founder and CEO of Naitrav Management Solutions. He has trained thousands of college students on employability and extended his support to restructure T&P Cell system in colleges. His leadership resonated in corporate companies and business consulting for more than three and a half decades. He scripted skill development with crisp guidelines for every aspect of the business.
Article Published: 'Invitation Issue' of SME Business Digest, a Digital Business Magazine - Feb-Mar2021
‘Campus Placement’ is a major feature for admissions in colleges. What do you think?
It’s not a myth that college ‘X’ brings excellent companies and college ‘Y’ doesn’t. Yes, it true.  Getting companies for campus interview is at best a ‘promotion-ideal’ and at worst an ‘imperfect- foothold’. Campus placement is set as the primary advantage in many colleges.
 
Who’s the hero behind the placement? Is it the student, college, or the company?
As my belief goes, people in the ‘Training and Placement Cell (T&P Cell)’ in colleges are the real heroes in getting the students and companies. The success of the whole program starts from them but it dies if they don’t continue to do better. Their job is to create a vision and be accountable for every student. The entire system must revolve around the objective and it shouldn’t be a spraining experience without the process.

Why certain colleges suddenly failed to bring their ‘good old results’?
I really can’t say why that sudden downfall bashed them. But I can presume that the training models and the system must have changed with perspectives and awry decisions. Change is good but it can’t make deceptive plans.

What are the factors found to have affected the results?
 I’ll address this from the other way about. What needs to be done to achieve the results. First is the ‘proper need analysis of the companies’. That means before inviting any company for placements, rather than assuming the job profile, the T&P Cell must know their numbers, expectancies, skill-levels, job training plans, geographical locations, monetary benefits, career growth, certifications, and the type of students they look for.

The second is ‘analytical study on their campus strengths’, which is the diagnostic study of the students’ skill set. There should be a deep dive efforts taken in getting the benchmark reports about students.

Finally, T&P Cell has to offer the best professional training programs arranged exclusively to make the students ‘corporate ready’.

What could be the slippages and impacts ?
The crux is ‘an analytical report’ with true values in a comprehensive way. If you have it, there is a great grip in the placement along with the brand value for the college. If you lose your grip, the companies would surmise the numbers and they may slip through your fingers. Ultimately, the result either encourages or impacts the college management. It is because the reports from T&P Cell to the college management would purport their opinions and naturally the latter might set the expectations on their analytical reports.

One more imperative point is that the quality of the training offered to students cannot be ‘below expectations’. These slippages would certainly affect both the students and the college.
Can you expound on those recommendations?
The first and the foremost point is to strengthen the internal Training & Placement Cell. Train and reskill them fully to have professional practices, business analysis practices, psychology and organizational practices. They must ensure to have these practices before they fine-tune others.
 
My second point in this row is to involve external trainers with the domain expertise from the industry after evaluating their practical practices.

The third point is to prepare a full-fledged analytical report to the management on campus. It has to talk about the quality of companies, their need analysis, number analysis in terms of gender, geographical locations, CTC or salary range, specific skills, core career domains, specialization, and the time-span in recruitment.

Do you say that transitory suggestions and cost-cutting factors have pulled the quality training out?
Certainly yes! Because, the chairperson of the college or the board relies on the final reports from T&P Cell.  Unfortunately, they don’t have any yardstick to count on it; so the college management gets a ‘false promise’ sometimes from the T&P Cell. However, I won’t say all T&P Cells deport in the same manner.

 
Can you elaborate on the change in the training part that you mentioned now?
 Until the last ten years, colleges used to invite industry professionals as trainers to make the students ‘Corporate Ready’. Those obligers met the demands and needs within the deadline. They professionally trained the students to bring out the employability factor. That helped such colleges.
 
Later, low skilled training companies found that market and started the business with their lowest proposals. They continued to offer low-quality training, which the T&P Cell could not analyze the training results within a time. That has set the ‘out-of-favour’ for external trainers, as the colleges formed their internal training teams making some faculty members as the head of the training team.

How are you suggesting to set them right?
My first suggestion is to train every student levelling them to face any type of interviews. Let it be out of campus interview too! The student should be able to clear it.

My second suggestion is to keep ‘skill development’ as a separate program in an effective way with the best training quality. Evaluate the result of every student at the end of the program. Focus mainly on the employability factors. You must be through.

Can we not find similar responsibilities from the students too?
As I said earlier, students are the customers of T&P Cell. As customers, the students need to understand where they are heading to and what are the opportunities ahead of them. That’s their homework. Nevertheless, the T&P Cell should involve right from creating the opportunities till the end of placing the right person in the right place.
 
As you are aware, “Right person in a wrong place and wrong person in a right place would be a pain.”
What is ‘employability’ in a simple way to understand?
Employability is to ‘possess employable skills’. Though these skills differ from industry to industry, eight major skills are common to meet the needs of enterprises. Changes in the business world are dynamic concerning all these skills and unless the training department coaches the students within the standards, the challenges in placing students in campus interviews will continue.

What are all the standard skills' programs that students need to undergo?
 I would include Communication Skills, Problem Solving Skills, Self-Management Skills, Technology Skills, Learning Skills, Strategic Planning Skills, Interpersonal Skills, and Enterprise Initiative Skills. However, ‘behaviour skills’ is a huge subject and they can be included in all the programs.
 
In short, what are the major deviations one may find in campus failures?
Ignorance and innocence of Training & Placement Cell would lead to failures. Secondly, T&P Cell should be strict enough to suggest students’ career domains and not to consider the current situation. For example, a Mechanical Engineer should be suggested to get a job only in his domain and not to push him into IT, just because of the good market at that time. 

Give your recommendations to set up a perfect Training & Placement Cell in a College?
 T&P Cell is a department virtually equivalent to a Resource Management of a big IT Company. It is the place you deal with the students in their beginning of the career progressions, needs, expectations, and opportunities. They are your “internal customers” and they should be respected and treated well. Get them complete confidence and eventually, make them work towards job opportunities. 

Establish a strong team of people in T&P Cell. Appoint professionals on consulting or on contract basis, so that let them make the complete process for the whole program.

Prepare comprehensive reports on each student, especially in the pre-final and final year category. This report should give you not only the performance but should highlight the limitations too for further improvement.
 
Make your branding value that could stand apart in the mid of companies and colleges. Get in touch with the companies with the capability list of the students. Find out their structure and follow it up with them to meet their expectancies.

In a way, you create a mark of importance for the department. Make all these under the comprehensive process with the perfect system in place.

That’s it. You’re good to go!

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