I was stunned perhaps more morose the other day. I heard a group of successful students of IIT, Delhi on a TV channel programme that was meant for those who had succeeded rather topped the recent CAT examination for getting into IIMs. I heard one of them confessing that the entrance test for IITs happened to be more difficult. Why is this fad among IITians? If they didn’t have the aptitude for technologies, they would have taken any graduate course in perhaps Delhi or some other university and could have got entrance in IIMs through the immensely popular coaching route.

At our time, hardly few would even go to USA. Most of us joined the industry. Soon thereafter, I found the IITians and even graduate engineers from other schools of engineering and technology, heading for USA for MS in branches of their own, but not for management degrees. After MS, they used to get good opportunities in the American companies with salary that were many times more in rupee-term than what they could think of in India.

But things have totally changed today. Most of the IITians rather all graduate engineers in India are trying to pursue management courses just after passing out. Hardly any from the top rankers pursue MS and PhD courses here. The number of those doing that in USA is also reduced, because of poor chances of getting good employment in American companies. Is it not because of some systematic perception changes of those who matter in decision making in the industry? Can’t a graduate engineer do equally good for the company that it joins, if he moves through the hierarchy of expanding responsibility along with refresher or specialized courses organized by the company at regular intervals by the company?

Does not a company require more number of real good engineers more than management graduates? Is the country short of good designers and research and development engineers and technocrats or managers? Can the persons after getting once a management diploma sustain the basic requirement of the industry as he goes up in hierarchy better than a graduate engineer?

IITs must take those who have an aptitude in engineering skills. IITs and some of the other reputed ones such as BITS or NITs must be imparting the best knowledge of technologies to the students, who can be the leading innovators in technologies.

Industry must not help in building the hype about the management education and stop offering the discriminatory differentials in salary and that too for those with almost no experience of the industry? I wish IIMs also followed the ISM making at least a five experience in industry necessary for admissions.

Those who wish to pursue management education must not block the seats in engineering colleges, particularly IITs and similar top institutes, rather they must get into any graduate course that is the minimum requirement of getting into IIMs. I am sure the entrance in IITs is still difficult than that in IIMs.

And I am sure it is not only the salary offered that is enchanting the students of IITs to IIMs. At a time when corporate slowdown is hitting headlines, IITians have the reasons to be happy. The weakening dollar has not affected them rather the salaries offered have gone up 10-20 per cent. As reported, Schlumberger, the global oilfield and information services company has offered salary of about $90,000 per annum at IIT-Madras and IIT-Roorkee. And there are many such companies queuing for IIT graduates. And the going for all the passing out engineers even from little known colleges are pretty good, unless the individual student is really a duffer.

Moreover, even in BPO graduate for engineering services are in huge demand. Currently, engineering services constitute about $2 billion of IT’s exports every year, but globally the total expenditure in engineering services is estimated at $750 billion now that is expected to rise to $1.1 trillion by 2020, according a report by JM Financial. Under these situations why should the IITians move to IIMs for adding the management knowledge that makes them unlearn all that they pick up in IITs? I am made to assume that they never had any aptitude and interest for the technologies and entered IITs because of the pressure from the parents.

But again there are some- both from IITs and IIMs who even today prefer to get into IAS cadre and sit for the public service examination sometimes taking more than one chances. Why should they do that? Is it the respectability of the cadre in the Indian social value system? Why are they to be an IITian to appear for the examination, when they will hardly get an opportunity to use their engineering knowledge in the whole of their career as babu? Can the government use these engineers for the assignments where their engineering knowledge is rightly used? Why can’t the government take in a larger number of brilliant engineers and managers for the positions that are reserved for IAS officers? Will the direct appointees be any way deficient?

All these certainly require a fresh review by every one who prefers IIT or IIM or IAS as the route to a great career.

And now
As reported in TOI Feb 18, 2008, “More and more young medical graduates bid functional adieu to the ”noble” profession and pursue MBA degrees instead -often incurring the wrath of family members in the process. The logic that these young doctors -all of whom have been above average performers in their academic achievements- proffer is simple, if we have slogged, we have the right to reap the benefits too and fast.

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