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Trend Change: Stop with B.E, Don't go for M.E


Engineering institutes across the spectrum are finding it difficult to place students with masters degrees with companies preferring ‘less qualified’ graduates who come cheaper and are “easier to mould.”
The difficulty in placing senior students extends to tier-II institutions, and not just the premier Indian Institutes of Technology. “Companies wonder what additional value they bring to the table other than a little more maturity. It is unfortunate but today, those with more experience matter; not those with qualifications,” says P Thiruvengadam, senior director, Deloitte India.
The consulting firm has roped in a few hundred BTech engineers but none with a masters degree. “The problem to an extent lies with how Indian companies are structured. They simply don’t need too many people with masters degrees . That’s what is reflected during placements ,” says Amitabh Jhingan, partner, Transaction Advisory Services and National Sector Leader – Education, Ernst & Young India.
MTechs prefer roles in research, product development and the like, of which companies don’t have too many, he explains. “BTechs and BEs are preferred not just because they are engineers , but because they bring strong analytical skills to the table,” says Jhingan. Among the 300-odd engineers that KEC International, an RPG Group company, hires every year, there is one MTech/ME for every 10 BTechs.
“Our hiring is essentially needbased . So while we hire BTechs in various roles including project planning, coordination , supply chain and the like, we typically hire MTechs or MEs for specialised roles in design R&D,” says Yugesh Gautam, executive director – HR, KEC International.
Institutes, on their part, say companies prefer BTechs and dual-degree graduates (fiveyear graduate and post-graduate programme) for these reasons: Lower demand for research and development in core companies, perceived notions that Engineering graduates will be cheaper than their over-qualified counterparts, and the younger lot is easier to mould.
The placement team of Bangalore-based RV College of Engineering says like last year, this year too, nearly 40% of masters degree students will have to look for out-of-campus placements .


And while almost 80% of 720 BTech students of NIT Warangal have been placed, just 150 of the 500 from the masters programme have made it.
“It is more of a struggle to place students from streams such as space engineering and quality engineering and management ,” says Saitab Sinha, deputy training and placement officer, BIT Mesra. “With fewer students pursuing these programmes, many recruiters choose not to come to campus for the sake of 8-10 students,” he says.
Manipal Institute of Technology faces a similar problem. PG students of computer science or electronics get good opportunities but there is a dearth of demand for those in civil engineering, environmental engineering and the like. “In some branches, placements are as low as 40% while for others, it’s 90%-plus ,” says Kumara Shama, associate director – Industrial Liaison, Placement & Practice School, Manipal Institute of Technology.
The possibility of campus placements for dual-degree students is higher than those who have done a pure masters course, says S Sadagopan , director at International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) Bangalore. IIIT has started a dual-degree programme like the IITs where students earn graduate and post-graduate degrees after five years.

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