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KOLKATA: Niti Aayog, the Indian government’s think-tank, has joined the ranks of headhunters who come calling to the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, and has been able to convince five students into taking up summer placement offers. This is its first foray into a premier B-school.
All five — Vishva Prakash, Ankit Upadhyaya, Himanshu Vaishnav, Nikhil Tajane and Krishnendu Giri — say they are looking at the two-month programme at the end of the first year as a “learning experience” and are willing to “slog it out in Delhi” so that they get their final placement offers, at the end of their two-year MBA, at the government think-tank. They attribute their decision largely to their belief in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of India.
“All of us have a keen interest in public policy. We came to know that Niti Aayog would be coming for recruitment and felt that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” one of the five first-year students, Prakash, told TOI on Tuesday.
“It is more like a venture capitalist’s job,” Upadhyaya added. “Our experience with the government’s most important think-tank will help us learn how to evaluate businesses and give us a closer look at how the Atal Tinkering Labs work. The skills that we will be honing in the two months at Niti Aayog will be necessary in being successful in any MNC as well,” he added.
All five have been told to report to the Atal Innovation Mission. “Niti Aayog goes to schools and colleges, sometimes armed with even 3D printers, and helps students take a crack at innovation. They try to change students’ mindset and encourage them to go beyond the curriculum. All this prompted us to pick this agency above other private-sector firms,” Vaishnav explained.
Atal Innovation Mission director R Ramanan himself gave a pre-placement talk, which helped the five make up their minds. “It is not your run-of-the-mill job profile. It will be a very different environment from a corporate set-up and yet it will give us exposure to and in-depth knowledge of start-ups,” Prakash said.
“Our profiles will be decided once we start and we will get a clearer direction in Delhi. But one thing the Niti Aayog interviewers were sure about when they came for recruitment was they didn’t want us to opt for this out of philanthropic reasons,” Tajane said.
Giri feels Niti Aayog’s working for society in a structured way helped him make up his mind. “Right training and job generation are essential since, by 2030, India will have the highest 20-30 age-group population,” he said.
An IIM-C placement cell representative said the B-school would be following the five students’ journey with “a lot of interest”. “Students will get a feel of corporate environment while working for a government think-tank,” he said, adding that the B-school would now like to invite more PSUs for campus recruitment sessions.