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Pursue passion not penny, IIT Kharagpur students tell JEE applicants

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Vaibhav Jha | Hindustan Times, Jaipur |   May 20, 2016 |

Students of IIT-Kharagpur have reached out to the applicants of the JEE Advanced saying a high-salary package should not be the driving force to clear the exam and they should be willing to follow their passion while pursuing a course in the premier institutes.  Joint Engineering Examination Mains and Advanced are considered one of the toughest entrance examinations in the country and thousands of students take the exam in order to get into the Indian Institute of Technologies. A total of 1,50,000 applicants will be appearing for the Advanced exam on May 22.  In a letter addressed to the applicants days before the exam, IIT-Kharagpur students said they believe that it was their “moral responsibility” to make them aware of what happens inside the ‘famous’ institutes and what to expect once one gets into one.

Applicants have been advised to not to pursue a course in the IITs with the intent of minting money and urged them to focus on their areas of interest. The issue of ‘pressure’ faced by the IIT students to land up with a high-paying job has been also addressed.  Simran Garg, media and brand coordinator at IIT Kharagpur, said IITians believe that portraying salary package as the parameter of success is an unhealthy trend and students should avoid this ‘rat race’ as salary alone cannot define a successful career.  “When the news about two students of IIT being offered Rs 2 crore packages by IT giant Google came up in media, the mood at IITs was not jubilant. Final year students started to worry about enquiry calls made by parents and peers regarding their pay package.” “When parents make a call to a student asking about the highest salaries received by a fellow batch mate, the students assume that parents are only interested in high salaries.This puts the student under a lot of stress.” Students at IIT Kharagpur believe that the ‘fall out’ of such mental stress is disinterest in core engineering areas and inclination for IT, consulting and finance where high salary packages are offered.  “Due to this rat race, a student who may have joined his/her engineering college with a passion in engineering ends up as a coder, with the sole motive of earning a higher salary. This is one of the reasons why supply of quality graduates in IT industry is on the rise while that in core engineering companies are lagging behind,” the letter said.

Kharagpur students, in an attempt to burst the ‘crore package balloon’, said that one or two instances of high salary offer should not be the driving force behind applicants appearing for JEE Advanced.  “IIT Kharagpur, which places close to 1500 students every year, has faced this issue for several years now where the highest salary goes beyond crores while the average salary hovers around INR 10 lakh,” they said in the letter. Another fall out of the ‘money race’ is a lack of interest shown in the entrepreneurship sector as fewer students are willing to take the risk of launching ‘start-ups’. “Obsession with salaries affects entrepreneurship domain as startup companies need sufficient time to break even and earnings in the initial period might not be as high as in other IT sectors. Students become disinterested in launching start-ups.” However, things have begun to change at IIT Kharagpur as through a students’ initiative, a collective 100 students decided to drop out of IT, finance and consulting sectors this year and apply for companies in core engineering sectors. Rishita Das, the topper from the department of aerospace engineering, said her professors motivated her “beyond measure” to pursue a career in the aerospace industry.  “Despite the lure of high package job offers from a number of non-core companies, I never thought of preparing or applying for one. I understand that I may have had a wonderful career in one of those fields but I chose to continue in my core out of my interest and passion for aerospace engineering,” Das, who got an offer from plane-maker Airbus, said.  The institute also prepares final year students for the placements season and makes them aware of alternative opportunities such as entrepreneurship, the letter said.  “Alumni from the institute, who have launched their start-ups or have opted for higher studies, are also engaged in providing counselling to the students for alternative career choices.” – Courtesy

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