Several academicians have pointed out how students graduating from Indian universities are not immediately employable, if not completely unemployable. Not surprisingly only one institution from the country — the Indian Institute of Science — made it to the top 150 universities in the Global Employability Survey 2012.
The IISc., a 103-year old institution known for its scientific and technological research, has made a quantum leap this year by moving nearly hundred places from its position last year. Its shift from the 134th position in 2011 to the 35th position in 2012 suggests that it has a high employer value proposition.
The survey, conducted between May and June this year, had over 2,500 respondents from 20 countries including recruiters. It also factored in data gathered from a large number of companies. The survey examined the ideal qualities of a young graduate and the qualities required for long-term employment and analysed the universities which produce the world’s best graduates.
Although the IISc. is a premier institute in the country, professors and students argue that the quantum leap does not portray anything new. They claim that graduates from the institute have always been the most-sought-after candidates by prospective employers for several decades now.
Elaborating on this, U. Ramamurty of the IISc.’s Department of Materials Engineering said the institute has always been one of the top institutions in the world. “Maybe this year we provided all the information and data they needed for compiling the report.”
The IISc.’s improved performance even surprised those who conducted the survey. Sandrine Belloc, Managing Partner of Emerging, a Paris-based human resource consultancy, in an e-mail interview said, “The jump of nearly 100 places by the Indian Institute of Science is one of the surprises of the ranking.” She said that it could possibly be an indication of the fact that more recruiters learnt about the IISc.’s reputation in 2012.
Professors at the IISc. however feel the institution’s outlook has always been “different”. Pointing out that each institution has a flavour of its own, Prof. Ramamurty said they have always been inclined towards research. “Since most of our programmes are post-graduate programmes, our students develop specific skills that are responsible for making them highly employable. We also train our students to develop analytical skills.”
Students mention that the interdisciplinary nature of their institute adds to its appeal. T.V.H. Prathamesh, a Ph.D. scholar of mathematics at the institute, said the student body’s heterogeneous background was also instrumental in creating a large talent pool.
Arun Chandru, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Aerospace, said the students have the opportunity to interact with some of the finest researchers in the world. Apart from that, the professors have a good international network which increases the students’ chances of getting employed, he added.
Students also state that the conferences, seminars and discussions conducted at the IISc. open several opportunities for them.
One of the factors that has contributed to the IISc.’s high employability, said Prof. Ramamurty, is its location. “As the institute is located in Bangalore, we are able to maintain a close connect with the industry. There are several software companies, manufacturing industries, auto parts industries, microelectronic industries and metallurgical industries in the city,” he pointed out.
Ms. Sandrine said the word “Bangalore” is immediately connected with “hi-tech innovation and well-trained brains,” enhancing the institute’s reputation.
Despite being the only Indian institute on the Global Employability survey list, students and faculty members said that they have plans chalked out to surpass their own standards.
According to B.N. Raghunandan, Dean, Engineering faculty, the institute aims to offer opportunities that will enable more number of students to study in it.
As far as students like Ketaki Kamble, doing his Ph.D. in biological sciences, are concerned, they are striving to increase the country’s contribution to research literature, since India contributes only three per cent of the world research literature at the moment.