The annual Placement Season 2023 at Shoolini University stood out for its magnitude and emphasis on diversity. Even before the final examinations, there was outstanding engagement with top-tier companies such as L’Oréal Paris, Aditya Birla Group, Deloitte, ICICI Group, FPL Technologies, TATA AIA and Learning Roots.
Avnee Khosla, the Director of Placements & Admissions at Shoolini University, recently had a conversation with Shoolini IMPACT, providing a glimpse into student placements in 2024. Let’s explore what the university has planned to enhance career opportunities for its students.
1. What is the university’s vision for placements in 2024?
The placement cycle 2024 is underway, which means hiring is currently on! Every year, around 1,500 students graduate from Shoolini University, with about 900 to 1000 of them seeking placements with us. This includes students from courses where people typically believe they are not seeking placements, such as Liberal Arts programs, pure Sciences programs, and programs like Yoga. Our stance is that if you’re a student, whether at an undergraduate, postgraduate, or doctoral level and seeking a job, our vision is to provide that job opportunity to you. So, we aim for inclusivity in our placements — not just focusing on standard subjects where people usually expect placements. That’s the first thing. The second is, in terms of our strategy, we are also looking at launching more startups for students. The youth believe that startups are an exciting way to jumpstart their careers. While the salary packages might sometimes be modest, students can get exciting Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and join a company that is not yet in autopilot mode. This way, they can build fantastic careers. Focusing on startups and securing placements for students in these ventures is another key objective for this year. So, the vision is inclusivity and startups.
Additionally, our ‘Mission 130’ is aimed at achieving 100% employability with 30% great jobs, and this year we’re trying to push that 30 envelope to 50. This means 100% placements, 50% jobs in top-tier companies.
2. Any upcoming industry partnerships or collaborations for Shoolini University?
Shoolini has recently launched the Himachal chapter of the National Human Resources Development Network (NHRDN) on campus. This gives us access to 6,000-plus Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs) across the country. Many of these are employed in established companies and quite a few in startups. We have signed an MoU with them. In February, we are hosting the first NHRDN conference on the Shoolini campus. So, imagine the power of a university when it has access to 6000-plus CHROs pan India and the kind of collaborations and opportunities we can open for our students.
Moreover, we have tied up with the ICT Academy which specialises in providing training for Cloud Computing and deep tech Data Science. Once these students undergo this certification for anywhere between 20 and 40 hours (about 1 and a half days), ICT Academy will open job roles for them in the industry. The academy has already opened roles at Tech Mahindra, Infosys, and TCS. So that’s one collaboration on the Tech side. On the Journalism side, we’ve been able to get our entire batch from last year placed into full-time jobs. Journalism works very differently. People don’t get a job right after graduation. They typically get jobs as interns. But all 2023 graduates are now sitting in full-time jobs in Journalism. We’ve tied up with news channels and content creators/influencers. The Pharma placement season will begin in the first week of March 2024, and like the last three years, we’re expecting 100% placements there in top Pharma brands.
3. How is the university planning to strengthen ties with industries for better placement opportunities?
Academic strengthening is one of the key ways to consolidate collaborations with the industry. We have introduced programs where the industry has a deep partnership with us. For example, when it comes to our MBA program, we have recently signed an agreement with KPMG for the subjects of Accounting and HR. We are doing a tie-up with Algo 8, an AI startup, for our data science courses. We are in discussions with the London Institute of Banking and Finance (LIBF) for a collaboration for our MBA Finance and BBA Finance programs. Apart from this, we are also working with industry giants such as Henkel and Biocon for our bioengineering programs and research.
4. How is Shoolini University equipping students to meet the changing job market demands in 2024?
Our Board of Studies is very active and keeps analysing market trends. Our Learning team effectively looks at new skills employers seek, whether hard skills or soft skills. These are taken care of by our SPRINT program, our advanced training program for MBA students. We also regularly update the curriculum to reflect the demands of hard skills in the market — This means all technical skills. For example, just before our students head back to the university for the new semester in Feb, we have revamped the curriculum. During this extensive exercise, a lot of obsolete things have been taken off the curriculum, and new skills added.
5. Could you highlight any updates or changes in the 2024 admission criteria?
Shoolini has always had an entrance test for its undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral processes, and we just want to say that the bar went up higher this year. The entrance exam is tougher. We will be testing students for their aptitude and language skills. Also, for the MBA exam, we have made the eligibility quite difficult, especially if you lack certain skills. Then we’re also doing a pre-batch six-week intervention for these students on campus so that before they merge into the larger batch, they are a lot more confident.
6. What are Shoolini University’s anticipated challenges in 2024 placement season, and how do you plan to address them?
There’s been a hiring slowdown in the tech sector. So, I urge students to use their free time to add skills to their CVs. Pick up online courses, network with your friends, and get your first job. Careers are nonlinear, so you can move in any direction eventually. However, getting a campus placement is critical. So, whatever companies visit the campus for recruitment drives, please take them seriously. Once you’re out of the campus, your market value becomes 50%. So, if you’re getting a Rs 10 Lakh job today with on-campus placement, chances are you won’t even get a Rs 4 Lakh job outside in the market as a job seeker. Whatever opportunities the Placement Cell on the campus offers, take them seriously. Sit for those interviews… put your best foot forward… you can always switch to a better profile… a better company… a better CTC as the market opens.
7. What role do students play in the placement process, and are there any student-focused initiatives for 2024?
This year we tried to create student placement committees across all departments. The MBA and computer science teams are active, as is the biotechnology team. Additionally, all support from the faculty and the placement department is there. But it’s an amazing opportunity for them to reach out to employers through their LinkedIn network, build that first impression, and get a great offer.
Shoolini University’s strategic approach towards placement and admissions in 2024 reflects its commitment to evolving with the dynamic job market. With a focus on inclusivity, innovative collaborations, and industry tie-ups, the university is set to enhance career prospects across diverse disciplines. Its initiatives, from ‘Mission 150’ to revamping curricula and fostering student-led placement committees, are tailored to maximise employability and job quality for its students. By nurturing essential skills and encouraging proactive student participation, Shoolini University is not just responding to current challenges but is also paving the way for a future where its graduates are well-prepared and highly sought-after in the job market.