MUMBAI: Giving in to popular demand from graduating students smitten with entrepreneurship, a clutch of IITs across the country has decided to offer ‘deferred placements’ to students who would rather float a new business than sit for a job interview now.
As many as 13 students from the Class of 2015 at IIT-Bombay have applied fordeferred placements this year to pursue entrepreneurial ventures. Of these, eight are planning for-profit ventures and five are going for social ventures. The institute is likely to choose 10 from among the 13. It had toyed with deferred placements last year when only one student applied, but the idea has found takers only this year.
IIT-Madras, also encouraged by student demand, is rolling out deferred placements for the first time this year. IIT-Kanpur has also been considering the same. IIT Guwahati General Secretary (placement cell) Manish Arora expects at least 7-8 students to opt for deferred placements this year compared with 2-4 last year.
Deferred placements, as the name suggests, enables students to defer placements by a year or two to start their own ventures. They can come back and seek campus placement if their ventures fail.
They are quite popular at top IIMs, but are gaining traction in IITs only this year. Such initiatives help spur the appetite for entrepreneurship and risk-taking among young graduates at the country’s premier engineering institutes.
Students are excited about entrepreneurship even though the job market is picking up once again. This year, companies such as Goldman Sachs, Amazon and eBay are offering salaries that are 20% to 40% higher than last year.
“The number of students interested in pursuing entrepreneurial activities post graduation has gone up tremendously,” says Mohak Mehta, placement manager at IIT-Bombay. “By opting for deferred placement, a student is assured of a Plan B which acts as a safety net in case he fails to succeed in his venture.”
Malegaon boy Abhijit Patil needed the deferred placement option to convince his parents to let him give entrepreneurship a shot. IITBombay’s Patil and his two friends run a 3D printing and scanning business.
Patil and his partners have been conducting workshops and providing 3D printing services to IIT-B professors and students for the past few months, and have already broken even on their initial investment of about Rs 4 lakh.
“I come from a small town and both my parents are teachers, so entrepreneurship after engineering college isn’t the most common route,” he says. “Knowing that I had the option to come back for placements gave me — and my parents — the courage.” At least 15-20 students at IIT-Madras are interested in startups, says Vishranth Suresh, academic affairs secretary.
“We have had 7-8 students whose ventures didn’t take off as expected. They had approached us to sit for placements later. We didn’t have apolicy in place then, which is why we want one now,” he says. At IIT-Bombay, Mahesh Rathore and Greeshma Unnikrishnan, both second-year MTech students, plan to produce novel biomedical devices. Dual-degree student Vaibhav Antil and six friends are working on a modern approach to the traditional Jukebox.