DTU Times interviewed Bijesh Amin, Co-founder, Indus Valley Partners on the changing job environment and placements from the employer’s perspective.
The job landscape has been evolving significantly and remains ever-changing. What are the skills that engineering students should emphasize upon during interviews amidst such a dynamic scenario?
Typically when it comes to engineering students, the emphasis should be on the ways to experiment with the new technologies and how they work towards enhancing their own personal productivity. From an employer perspective we will be more interested to hear what they do for themselves, how much they are willing to experiment, their knowledge about new technologies, and their opinion about where these technologies are headed.
The engineering graduates are the guys that everybody wants to hire and these are the guys who have all the creative ideas. The employers are not hiring engineers because of their skill sets, they are hiring them for their aptitude, intellect, ability to work hard, ability to speak business English etc.
That’s what India is, it is a global employer and is a career market for intellect. But that’s a problem for the world. The cost arbitrage of the typical employer is disappearing now. You don’t look at volume, you look at value.
Even after one and half decades of building our business in India, we still see that the mind-set in the engineering graduates has not yet shifted, as most of them think they should still do an MBA.
With an Increasing number of engineering graduates opting for non-engineering job, do you think engineering not as an academic course but as a profession is losing its sheen?
We look too specifically as engineers don’t have this distinction between tech and business. All the people we want to create are not business people or the technologist, ultimately what we want to create a problem solvers and should not matter if the problem is functional or a business problem or technical or an engineering problem the person should be able to solve it.
And by breaking down those distinction between business and tech, between design and interface, what we want to create are guys who are creative, problem solvers and who can think on their feet. People who don’t have to wait to be told what to do!
The graduate that has a discipline to focus on what they are really interested in is probably going to have more of a long term economic value to an employer than the guy who is one of several hundred that join generic consulting firm doing intellectually boring work.
But it takes a lot of self-discipline to focus and to do something that you are really interested in. I think 80% of the people go for the short term compensation and try to build career in a generic consulting firm.
In a college like DTU, where cultural and technical activities are equally encouraged, how important is the all-round exposure when it comes to securing a job?
We have been hiring students from both engineering and business colleges in India since a really long time. What we have seen is that, there are no characters. Everybody looks the same, everybody talks the same and everybody puts the same thing on their resume. Anyone who ends up doing something different or looking or putting something different on their resume, that person ends up being a real magnet.
A person should have a genuine opinion about something that they interested in. Don’t have a made up opinion about something you think the employer wants you to be interested in.
I would say students should rather focus on having their personality come through, when they are doing a group discussion.
We give you a topic, discuss it in a group, 80% percent of the cases it’s almost like a formula. Everyone wants to talk first, during the talk there will be one person who won’t be saying anything, and then one person will ask that person would you like to say something because you haven’t said anything yet. It’s all like a dance recital.
They should rather express themselves if they have an opinion, be particular about it, they should back it up with evidence and try to be polished. Don’t try to do things that everyone expects you to do, because then everyone ends up becoming the same. The personal passion is what will really take you ahead that is the real thing that you need to tap.
The job landscape is severely hit by automation, how is IVP making a difference when it comes to internally training their workforce and how should students prepare for this?
We don’t see it as a threat, we see it as evolution. One thing we proactively ask our people to do is to think a little outside the box with the software that they are writing or the technology that they are designing.
The academia in India are producing generic engineers, there are not producing specialists, the course curriculum is outdated.
My only advice that I would like to give to smart talented engineers is that they need to get niche and not become a generalist. The more niche, the more specific you are, the more will be the number of opportunities for you. The more specialism you have, the more focused on the leaning-edge tech, the more domain knowledge you can apply specifically to what they know, the better it is.
You need to have cross disciplinary mind-set when it comes to engineering.
About Indus Valley Partners
Founded in 2000, Indus Valley Partners includes 20 of the top 50 global hedge funds among its client base and $850 billion, representing over 25% of global hedge fund AUM, is managed using IVP technology.
Bijesh Amin, Co-founder, Indus Valley Partners
Bijesh embarked on a more entrepreneurial venture co-founding IVP with Gurvinder Singh in 2000, having previously worked with Oliver Wyman and JP Morgan in senior strategic consulting and internal re-engineering roles. Bijesh holds a BSc (Hons) in Business Administration from the University of Bath, a Diploma in International Finance and Management from École des Hautes Études Commerciales, Lille and graduated from the Building New Ventures program at Harvard Business School.