Wednesday, June 14, 2006

IIT at any cost... Part II

Yes, a person at age 17 may have 'no idea' what he or she really wants.But isn't he or she partly to blame for that?

As a 15 year old 11th class student at St Xavier's college I took an aptitude test. It was remarkably correct.

In essence, the test concluded that I had a gift for language and would do very well in anything related to that, without having to put in much effort. Aptitude for maths and science was there, however I would have to really work hard because I had no great natural flair for it.

In my heart, I knew this already, but it was really useful.. coz I was studying science then. And expected to go the IIT-medicine way, being the school topper and all.

Still, it took a long time for my parents - especially my dad - to accept. And, only recently did he really and truly agree that I made the right decision. Although, to be fair, I took a pretty circuitous route (Science to Economics to MBA) to reach where I knew I wanted to be in the first place.

But things are different today. Clearly, many more professions have 'scope'. Yet, we make decisions based on old and faulty information.

Secondly, the point about 'IIT vs Other Excellent Institutes', 'branch vs college brand' is that granted, you don't really know that Computer Science is "the" branch for you. But you think you will like it more than 'core' engineering branches.

And what you think is the basis for your mental acceptance or rejection of anything in life. An academic subject, a girl, a brand of car...

The liking for CS is based on certain assumptions/ experiences. For example:
- Core branches = shopfloor work while
Computers = desk job
- You have a layman exposure to what a computer is, as opposed to mining, mechanical or chemical engineering
- You can see yourself working on something related to computers in the future, but not the other fields

In an ideal world, everyone who made it through to a college would have a common course for the first year and then choose a specialisation - after being exposed to the different subjects.

In an ideal world, liking for a subject would be the basis for choosing it - and not the pay packets or jobs that are likely to accrue.

But this is not an ideal world. You have just one lottery ticket - a JEE rank - and that determines which branch you get.

So what happens if you do join IIT - jo bhi branch miley.

I think this is perfectly OK, but every engineer who does this must at least make a sincere effort to immerse himself in their subject. Instead of feeling 'I deserved better' and plotting an escape.

In that sense I feel the MBA/ software job boom is very detrimental... The moment a person enters engineering, he knows that the option of 'switching streams' exists.

Again, this is like agreeing to get married to someone because your parents have picked him / her and then saying:"We'll be together for four years.. I'll make no attempt to like you. And I can leave you at the end of that time without paying any penalty".

Naturally, the average student makes little effort to get drawn into the subject and fall in love with it.

I am not, for a moment, saying individuals should not have the chance to switch streams - people can and do make mistakes. Or change their minds.

But no one (outside of saas-bahu soaps!) enters a marriage plotting a divorce. And the same thinking should apply to engineering or geography, or whatever it is you choose for the sake of attending the 'right' college.

Lastly, granted that IITs are superb institutions but we can't raise them to such a high pedestal that other great institutions are unable to bloom in their shadow.

A combination of media, coaching classes and word of mouth has turned the idea of entering an IIT into a national obsession. In this context, recent changes in the JEE rules are more than welcome.

For example, the famous Bansal Classesat Kota which boasted of sending over 700 students to IIT every year... The truth is that just 200 of the 700 odd were 'first timers'. The rest woud get in on the second, third or even fourth attempt! Some, in the hope of 'improving their rank' took JEE again and again.

Now, you are allowed to take the JEE only twice.

Finally, if I were BITS Pilani, IT BHU or IIIT, I would put efforts into PR. You have to keep your institute in the limelight. Not once or twice a year, but constantly.

Most importantly, you have to establish a positioning in the public mind different from the IITs.

One institution to emulate in this regard is ISB Hyderabad. Every rickshawallah may not have heard of it yet but in the minds of the consumer of education, ISB has a clear identity. "The MBA for those who have more work experience".

Additionally, the MBA which aims to be a 'global' B school and hence is not competing with IIMs (not true.. but that's the subject of another story!)

I'm not sure what BITS Pilani stands for besides 'being around as long as IIT, and as good'. There may be many more USPs to the institute but that is the public perception. IIIT Hyderabad - suna hai CS ke liye bahut accha hai. But it needs to market itself and its achievements more aggressively.

Granted, even then, IIT may remain a first preference but surely IIIT should be able to convince a few students every year that CS at their institute is a better bet than at a 'baby IIT' like IIT Guwahati. And if that's happening already, it needs to communicate the fact to potential students.

See, it's not about who is actually better or worse but PERCEPTIONS.

Unfortunately, the very name triple-I-T first brings to mind IIT. Never mind if one is "International Institute of" and one is "Indian Institute of.."

Ah, but to do all this and more we have to start seeing our educational institutes as 'brands', with due respect to the fact that learning is not to be 'sold' like soap or detergent.

The IIT brand was created by a mix of accident and destiny. The rest cannot rely on accidents! They must create and fulfil their own destiny. Just like the 17 year old students they attract.


  1. A point that i guess you missed:

    The kind of peer group that you get at IIT is something you might not get elsewhere. The average intelligence level may be the same in IIT as in any other institute, but the number of committed, hardworking and brainy people outscore the number of such people in other institutes. They would invariably do well in life, and would be your closest friends in the years to come.

  2. the one thing tht sets IIT apart from the rest is the brand name.. IIT hai to best hai, kinda thin... no one cares abt ur branch... The simple dreams of a 15 yearold for 2( probably more than tht) is to c himself in a IIT... and once he fails he doesen't seem 2 get out of it... so the repeaters...

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  4. Well put.The fact is IITs/IIMs have become a media obsession now and the IIT alumni have done a brilliant job of putting forward Brand "IIT". So any accomplishment by any one of the 3000 odd IITians is added to one common pool. No other undergraduate institute can match the sheer number of IITians that graduate every year. BITS Pilani is making a good start by spreading across the globe, and we have the various IIITs of course but the fact is they need to unify as a single stand out brand if they are to match the power of the "IIT" brand. Even the IIMs pale in comparision simply because IIMA,IIMC, IIMB are brands not "IIM".
    That said I know of too many IITians slogging it off in the IT services sector (read Infy,Wipro..) after their Textile engineering, Naval architecture or even Civil/Chemical in the IITs. With all due respect to these firms these are not places where you expect the creme-de-la-creme to be sweating it out along with a million others from small, much less known colleges. The fact is a BE degree is what you choose to make of it. Too many people enter the IITs thinking "They are done" while the fact is, this is where it actually begins! The placement records of some of the top IITs bear testimony to this fact that there is a significant majority who are underemployed if not worse.
    Also while I agree with Sumit Sharan in your previous post "If you study Comp Science from BITS Pilani, IT-BHU or an NIT like Trichy or Suratkal and you really excel there (say be among the top 2-3% of the batch) then you have a good chance of catching up with the top ranked IITians in the companies where they work for or even in getting admissions to universities abroad
    I disagree with the use of "catching up". Simply because be it IITKGP, IITM or BITS Pilani the guys who get placed in a Google R&D or Yahoo are the toppers of their colleges anyway. BITS Pilani as a single college places more in Yahoo and Google combined than any single IIT!! As regards higher education again, a topper is a topper. It doesnt matter if you have topped IITB or BITS, If you have the other credentials you will crack a top US admit. Also as regards peer groups, any national level institute would offer you the diversity and intellectual stimulation that a top IIT offers you, but it is what you choose to make out of it that matters. Five point someones do exist everywhere don't they?? :D
    My advice to future aspirants wud be to try and get into a relevant course (textile engineering or even Chemical engineering is not what most people see themselves doing in their life. Preferably a CSC or Electronics or Mech unless you really have the aptitude for something else. Go to a good college and work hard. The rest will follow.Don't lose out in the long term just because you wanted to be a "brand" when you were young. 5 years out of college, it matters little if you went to an IIT or a IIIT. I am yet to find a person who made it big merely because he chose a brand over a course when he was young!!

  5. just as u got to know ur flavor for language ,many realise their aptitude quite late in life..and its very late..act the prob is many run after just money..for ex one of my frnd cleard engg frm a good institute in IT branch,he then went on for MBA and got his MBA in finance hes a banker so wht has been the use of engineering for him, just the degree..thts whr the passion lacks...

  6. You could make the right choice as you had access to things like aptitude test.

    I agree with everything you say.
    Just to add a thing i enjoyed Physics very much so i prepared for JEE, but never found much use of that in engineering.

    May be there should be some papers or interviews before counselling which are related to the specific branch so that students can understand what they want to study in future.

    If i tell computer science engg. a 12th class student may think about making ROBOTS and computer engg. job may require him to write some C programs.

    i am still not very sure what each branch of study means even though i have learnt a lot about them.

    Why test students on subject which would be little use to them during engineering years. Chemistry has no use in many branches of engineering.

    And one more thing i dont think IIT brand has got such big name because IITians get very good jobs.
    It is only because of the alumni who became great entrepreneurs in US. Research is also not a criteria, only some IITians who have started their own companies in US have made IIT such a big name world wide. And offcourse JEE as a exam is very famous.

  7. Well, one of my prof made a profound statement that
    Life is a series of experiences"

    And that's what one gets at IIT/IIM. What'er one learns (I supposedly learnt civil engg. at Roorkee and marketing at iim b - but,I am currently into Product Managemet!;)), is definitely important..but what's more significant is the grilling that one goes thru'/peer-pressure etc..
    So, I completely disgree with your statements on branch etc.. :-|

    A hindi adage goes as
    "loha aag se hi gujar ke sona banta hai" [something like that..]!
    And IITs/IIMs etc makes one go through all that grill/aaag...!!


  8. Very well put!

    What I want to add has already been pointed out by "Amit". Its not only about the brand name, but also about the overall experience and learning.

    My choice of institute would not depend only on faculty, infrastructure, brand name and placements, but also the peer group and environment of the institute.
    The actual education and learning is much more than what u get from books or faculty.

    Though I agree other top institutes like BITS, etc will also provide that. But each institute has its own environment and culture, and your personality development is affected by that.

  9. This post and the last one really appealed to me since I'm from IIITH and I've been placed in Adobe. You are right, in India, we care more for 'khaandaan'/brand than what is really offered. I wish I'd read this when I was 17 and lots of people were criticizing my decision to choose IIITH over IIT (my rank was 2801 and I had secured admission to B.Tech, Mining in IIT KGP); it would have saved me a lot of self-doubt. Thankfully, everything's worked out great in the end. Btw, after a lot of torturous thinking, I've decided to leave Adobe for IIMA - I suppose I've the typical Indian obsession for big brands after all :D

  10. This post addresses a thought-provoking question "What motivates you in Life?” Are you going to be a part of the crowd with a predetermined mindset when making a personal decision in life? Good Environment & Learning basic skills are essential but then why doesn’t IIT start a program called Bachelor of Basic Skills? It could make choices far easier instead of wasting 3 years going through Chemical, metallurgical or mining courses most would never use in their lives.

    An analogy to marriage is very appropriate for this topic. Love Marriages were a taboo in the past. Most were celibates going into Marriage. This is not the same anymore. People are in a phase where they are questioning a Preset mindset.

  11. Good post, though I strongly disagree with a couple of points in the post / comments made.

    1. Using an assessment test at high school to learn your strengths / interests so as to make a career choice? I think that’s nuts. The choices one has wrt careers is vast, most careers require excellence in multiple skills (at least as one progresses) and most students at that age hardly have exposure to the different industry sectors / job profiles / skill requirements. Making half baked ‘choices’ at that point are more likely to be infatuations (twisting the marriage analogy).

    2. Rashmi – on one hand you warn against making decisions on ‘old and faulty info’ but later use lop-sided impressions like CS = desk job etc. Common now – you need to advocate going deeper than just ‘feelings’.

  12. n how about to mention of those iitian and bitsians or for that matter any engineer who plans of an mba whilst he is in his 3rd year with the thought that he has had enough of engineering stuff n he would rather make BIG money..
    Current stats still say that huge numbers still opt for such an option n meanwhile, many of these kinda end up compromising on their grad studies n finally if somehow they dont make it to an mba institute - all they do is "gain work-ex" at companies like infy, tcs etc n then, retry n get into the management sector..
    talking on a different front - who does this benefit finally and whoz mistake was it at the first hand by forcing all these people into the science stream.. to some extent, all students nowadays face pressure right from standard 8th. a few of my relatives back in hyd have enrolled their kin into courses which are foundation institutes for the pre-jee coaching centres named "ramaiah" n "krishnamoorthy" [very famous in hyderabad] right in 8th standard-imagine those students' mindset - am sure they blank out sooner than later in future.

  13. Are you an economist? Do you work in that field also, apart from journalism? Are you more on the business side(marketing, strategy etc.) of the running the magazine or are you a journalist?
    My questions are because I dont understand why you are opposed to Engineers and/or IIT'ians in particular changing careers? Like any other difficult discipline, it gives you training and to an employer indicates diligence and ability-aplicable to many occupations.
    It's apalling that you should think IIT's were a result of a stroke of luck-the IIT's are as close as it gets to a counterpart of teh US universities in terms of an 'innovation engine'. Not saying other unis are not capable of being the same, but the reason for them not being the same is not because they are under some sort of a shadow of the IIT's or because of bad 'marketing'. Education speaks for itself in the long run. IIT has its flaws as a system of education too- agreed. BUt so far, it stands alone, in what it delivers to the world- and that is not disputable.
    Your post is interesting, I feel it is very representative of the sentiment in India- would like to quote you in my blog. Not picking on you as a person-I am picking on the understanding in general which represents many in India.
    For the record, I am an non IIT elec. engineering major looking to a career in banking.

  14. I really don't like the connotation of your posts IIT at any cost Part 1 and 2...

    Really you are the one who is misleading the candidates (if at all anyone of them is reading your post)

    You have got a point when you say that follow your heart and blah blah blah, but when you say that discard IIT for a better branch you are so wrong! Absolutely wrong.

    FYI, the perception of market would say ComSci and Elect are the best branches and nothing stands close to them. So going by your logic, a person getting 600 rank in JEE, who is interested in Comp Sci (ofcourse by the induction of market's perception) should go ahead, chuck all IITs and happily take Comp Sci in BHUs and Dhanbads?

    No never, it was never about the branch, I don't know if you are an engineer. But I'm sure that 95% of engineers learn 5% of real engineering. Rest 95% is the experience which comes from the "peers" the "culture" of college and that is undoubtedly best served in IITs, no question about that.

    Now coming to Civil/Metallurgy as compared to other "better" branches. What I believe is that its not the fault of them branches, per se, Its the curriculum which needs to be changed and tuned as per the requirements in today's world!

    Anyway, for those who are in 2000ish rank, they SHOULD join IITs going by my logic, which says, if you wish to work for Google and you believe you'll get deep into the subject in next 4 years and you'll be the topper of your low rung institute and you'll be the master of all geeks...then why not get into an IIT and try for a "Branch Change" which is granted to those who perform exceptionally in their first year...believe me Google is interested in those who can compete with the top rankers of JEE and not someone who topped not because of his skillset but the set of guys he was studying with.

    So if you don't succeed in changing your branch you anyway weren't fit for Google so why not take the brand with you spend 4 best years of your life and do much better than you would have done otherwise?

    Point to be thought about!

  15. I simply do not understand how anyone can make sweeping statements to the effect that "IITs offer a unique proposition to their students" or "The peers and culture is best in the IITs" (Refer comments above). Every college has its own culture and it is difficult if not impossible to have someone from college X understand college Y's culture. Even within IITs it would be ridiculuous to compare an IITM with an IITD in terms of culture or peer group.

    The JEE is a tough exam, IITs are great institutes no doubt but their aura is almost exclusively built on an "input control" model. Choose the top 3000 in an exam written by over 2 lac people and you automatically have a bunch of people with good IQs.! The IIT system has its own flaws which remain unaddressed due to this fact.
    What makes college A better than college B is a topic of great interest but beyond this scope of this discussion. "IIT" is a better brand than any other in this country but is IITX better than a good national level college?? Also to assume that the brightest brains are ONLY in the IITs would be a collosal flaw for obvious reasons. To assume that a topper from a non IIT is a topper only because of lack of competition would make for a great ego trip but lacks any sound reasoning.
    The IITs have clearly had a head start but it will not be long before others catch up. Afterall Indian Airlines isn't the only option anymore :D

  16. Perhaps you misunderstand the essence of Akshat's reference to 'peers' and 'culture'. He is not talking about the social culture, college fests etc. Obviously, eash institution is unique on that count. Peers/Culture in this respect is a mixture of other things that are invaluable learning points - attitudes people have (go getter, ambition, competitiveness), behaviour people display (deligence, focus) and skill sets they possess. A strong culture and experience (as per definition above) is the greatest asset that any institute provides its students.
    The 'input control' theory (above post)sounds good, but isnt the student body the most important component of an academic institution? Cut the students out and you could very well be comparing college buildings (well you get the point).

  17. Mustang,

    If strong culture, "Peer Attitude ,behaviour & competitiveness" are the driving factors deciding the strengths of an Institute, why offer courses only in Engineering? Why not offer more choices to the students?

    I guess that unlike IIM's, IIT's take you into 3 years of specialized courses which limits students choices.

    The problem is courses in engineering are not designed solely to improve a persons analytical ability or to expose a person to a competitive environment, they are designed for a specific purpose; to apply the concepts when you graduate, either in research or in a "Technical" Job in your discipline. If 90% of people who graduate from a particular discipline never use it in their lives wouldnt it be better if they rather learnt something else. Why endure 3 years of Mining, metallurgical or chemical courses ?? Maybe IIT's need to do some historical research to see how many students are still applying engineering concepts. If they find that only CS/ Electronic students are applying the skills learnt, maybe they should expand the no of openings in those disciplines!

  18. completely agree. Now students have better guidance and reach for info..thus make better choices than what we did in the earlier days..

  19. Interesting post. Its obviously a big decision at 17 somethings. Everyone cannot be as clear as you were while deciding what you're good and what you're bad at. In fact many don't learn that till the end of their lives. So at this 17 somethings guidance is something which is very important and its something which the close friends/parents can dispense.

    Coming to what I think is good.

    Firstly: I feel its good to go for the brand value because of the peer competition. I feel its better to attend an institute which attracts the best minds than going to a lesser one where you're getting stuck to some branch because of its imagined future. I understand if you're passionate about a particular branch you should take the plunge and that's what I did during my time where I went in for computers in a C grade college inspite of getting better colleges with branches that put me off. No regrets but surely made me learn of the value of peer value.

    Secondly: Never go in for a branch based on its percieved value in job market. 4 years is a long time. I learnt it the hard way. I never opted for Computers coz I expected it to be hot when I passed out. I did it coz I loved it. But when I was passing out the worst recession was on. It was like college students were distributing CVs like pamphlets (with the security guard cum HR interface stacking them for tissue). After that I have been dispensing the same advice to people. Think what you like to do and go for it. In case you don't get money for doing it atleast you would have satisfaction doing it free.

  20. well viv, the only institutes supposedly comparable with the iits are a handful of nits acros the country.And one look at their admission procedure(thru aieee)vis-a-vis IIT-JEE indicates a huge disparity in the respective entrance exams in terms of challenge,level of difficulty and competition.This skimming of the creme-de-la-creme right at the grassroot level ensures that man to man iitians are more superior than their nit counterparts,a few standalone exceptions norwithstanding.
    And while we are ranting about the job
    ops at these instis do not forget the weightage of brand iit when it comes to pursuing higher education.The kind of unmatched research work that only an iitian can be part expedites his admission to foreign universities .IITians make their presence felt in huge numbers at the IIMs as well,definitely more than any other engg college in the country.
    While I agree tht the brand IIT is not the be-all of in somebody's academic pursuit,it does provide an incomparable platform for an entry into new vistas.
    Yes the system is not flawless,but you have to be a part of it to understand its nuances.Its inequitable for an outsider to comment upon it.

  21. Some of the comments here are ridiculous. I gave JEE at a time when the seats were far fewer, i got 1100 rank and took comp sc. in IT BHU. Comp Sc opened in IT BHU below 1000. IT BHU closed at 2000 odd, we are talking Civil here. Nowadays people seem to getting into IIT with ranks in the 2000s+ (we called them double kilo ranks). How can you compare a 2000+ rank IITian of these days with a IT BHU graduate who ranked in low 1000s 10-15 years ago.

    Also, i completely agree you dont know what you want to do at that age. I went into finance and now sometimes wish i had done a CA instead of engineering. IT BHU was good in that it gave me a lot of options to choose from. In those days it was clearly the 6th IIT, but judging from some of the comments here it seems to have sunk since then if instis like the NITs (we knew them as RECs) are being compared with it.

  22. Hi,
    Excellent posts on the IIT vs. other good colleges with suitable branch ! I am planning to forward this to my friends. Not only the posts but also the comments are very enlightening as one gets to see the matter from the perspective of former IIT-ians as well as non-IITians.

    Personally, I agree with Viv that given two good, A-grade national institutions that attract good students from all over the country, say an IIT and a BITS Pilani, it is very difficult, if not impossible, for an outsider to judge which one is better in terms of faculty, labs, peer culture, etc., if you set aside the brand name.
    When I was 17, even though I only had a vague idea of what I aspired to do, I did know what I did not want to do. I knew I was better (I agreed with my parents' view) and more inclined towards jobs that dealt with analytical desk work, be it designing or coding rather than heavy machinery work. I also knew that despite my talent for numerical calculations, I did not see myself sitting in a bank, or monitoring stocks or managing investment portfolios. Liking a subject is one thing and liking a job related to that subject quite another at times. One good thing I did when I was out of Std. X was ask some of my seniors, those already in engineering colleges and also some of my teachers, about what is actually taught in Electronics/Comp Sci. As Rashmi has rightly pointed out, many of us have some exposure to computers and even programming at the school/junior college level. Given the wide media coverage of these fields and also the sheer numbers of people working in the software/telecom sector, it is possible to at least get a bird's eye view of what one is likely to be doing after one graduates. So if a student was really good at programming in school and likes computers a lot, it makes sense to go in for computers at a good, reputed college even if it is not an IIT. If you hate buildings/construction/large structures, it does not make sense to take up Civil Engg. even if it is the best college in the world. You may be good at Mechanics/Drawing and even like the subjects that are core to Civil/Metallurgical, but you cannot escape the fact that Civil Engg. involves buildings, structures such as dams, etc. Of course, there are higher specialisations in Civil such as Environmental Engg., but even for that, you have to be able to sustain your interest in the field.
    Now, we cannot possibly experience each and every profession- Civil/Mechanical/Computers/medicine/architecture/horticulture/commerce, etc. to make a 100% informed choice; I am sure even 30 year-olds cannot afford to have done that, forget about 17-year-olds but yes, if one asks graduates and professionals and attends career seminars,you at least get a rough idea of what to expect. As Rashmi says, what you think and perceive about a particular profession at that point definitely is a big decider in liking/disliking it.
    As for branch change, even here, it is highly competitive. There is no absolute guarantee that one will certainly get a branch change in the Second year so it is a huge risk.

    Brand names do help, especially in the initial years, because of better campus placements at top-rated institutes, maybe even in securing admissions to other brand-name institutes, such as MIT/Harvard/Berkeley/Stanford. However, as another commentator said, what matters in the long run is your own attitude, passion and determination to make it.
    Even a Google, I am sure, will definitely consider someone with superb analytical skills and the right attitude and passion, even if he/she is from a lesser-known college.
    (In the US, they claim to have people from diverse backgrounds.)
    IITs are long-established institutes that have the benefit of government funds, excellent facilities, a tough entrance test that selects the most hardworking, above-average students and a reputation that has been built over decades. This, in turn, attracts better faculty and instills a sense of pride in every student and teacher. All this contribute to better placements and the alumni that have shone abroad, in turn, build up the name of IITs abroad, opening up new vistas for future students.
    Brand names, especially in education, are built up over a period of time. If the students and teachers and administrators of other institutes really strive in their own individual ways to make their alma mater a centre of excellence, it will not be long before Indian students will have many more quality institutes to turn to. Ultimately, it is the individuals that make brands.

  23. Rashmi,

    I kind of agree to you on the brand value.We as students used to do a lot of thinking on building a brand and as alumnus we still do.
    There are two aspects to this , a long term & a short term. Over the long term the brand of an institute is created by the meaning it creates,in the case of institute like IIT or IIIT it is the knowledge value it creates in the field/society.

    On the short term (or atleast from PoV of a 17 year old) the brand value is in terms of where one can get a very good career. This is to get top notch companies who value CS to recruit from IIIT. That was/is the core focus on since when I was the placement secy 3 years ago and it goes on till today. We have companies like Google, Sarnoff, MS & Adobe who place
    high value to a CS degree to come & recruit from IIIT. If you ask any first year student who prefers IIIT he
    would say I came here because google recruits here.

    I agree to your point we need to do more marketing."Perceptions should reality".
    I guess though we still need to preserve the sanctity of an educational institutino and not market it as soaps but having said we need to embrace the fact the education works best in a market and act accordingly in the market dynamics.

    Thus I would say we need to pursue Branding by association(dominating branding strategy of the media 1.0 world) of meaning in the short term & branding by discovery of meaning over the long term[20-30 yrs] (media 2.0 dominating strategy :))


  24. First of all,let me thank te author for both the articles.They have been EXTREMELY helpful to me.I just wrote the JEE examination this year and got a rank of 1633.My BITSAT score was 370 which gives me a good shot at CSE in BITS Pilani.I checked the branch cut offs in IITs for last year and the year before that.What I found that the "best" branch I could get was Mech. at Guwahati.I have done a lot of searching n reading since that.Quoting a teacher of mine: "BITS Pilani will get you a good job while IIT will get you a dream job".Also regarding the branch change,the counselling brochure specifically mentions "Although there is a provision for change of branch within the Institute where the candidate is admitted,the candidates are advised not to count on such possibilities while filling up the Choice Sheet".I am going to leave tommorrow for the Counselling and have decided to go for the so called "baby IIT".I do agree with Akshat and although I don't have any experience to back me up,I am quite confident that I am making the right choice.
    My aim is to work my ass off to get a branch change and if I don't succeed,to be happy with Mech.Also quoting Akshat "....misleading the candidates(if at all anyone of them is reading your post)",trust me,MANY of the candidates are reading it.

  25. hi,
    I read the whole stuff on the blog and could see lots of analysis going into it. I'm from Hyderabad and personally was an "hard core" aspirant of IIT. But, unfortunately could not make it. Before delving so deep into the analysis I just have a funamental question about the famous JEE. How transparent is this exam. Everytime I gave this exam I dint know where and why I lost this? There is an Iron curtain and I do not know why the elite professors at IITs hate to be transparent. I want to ask one question to every one at IIT and alumni. Do you know why you got this rank and not the other?? Please respond anyone. And I'm not asking this because I did not get into but as a rational human who believe in science and evidence is the basis of science.
    I've posted the same comments in the previous blog on the same topic.Anyone interested, respond.

  26. I think no one can actually doubt the fact that IITs whatever they might teach or do are the best. I am from NITW and i'm kind of pissed with everyone talking of NIT surathkal and trichy when it comes to good NITs. same things applies to a lot of colleges. Its ultimately pr and brand building that works. It doesn't matter whether google or microsoft comes to your college. Its no big deal. MS is taking people by the bulk. In my college, getting into ms isn't that big a deal as it was maybe a couple of years ago. Google is more choosy. But these companies are going to take more and more people. BITs is an overhyped institution. Every venture or tie up that BITS take on, finds its way to the newspapers. It has a lot more PR than many other govt instis. I've been to IIIT but it has a lot of brand building to do. Its got good facilities but has about 3 branches( if i'm not mistaken)...Its close to the Hi tech city in hyderabad and has got lotsa advantages. if IIMs deserves every bit of the praise they are gettin so does IITs. And IITG is pretty good though it is a 'baby' iit.

  27. hi,
    well i dnt have much experience behind me but personally I believe that one should prefer brand iit over any other colleges[with all due regards]where one get a much better branch. mine rank in jee this year was 1914 and i have now 2 join IIT even when i know that iwill have 2 take civil i believe that it is not the job in google or yahoo which matters 2 me it is opportunity 2 b among IQ cream of the nation[WITH ALL REGARDS 4various good colleges acroos the country]

  28. I got into IIT in my first attempt. Ditto for IIM.

    This is not a comment stemming from self importance.


    My take on this is different, though I subscribe to the author's views and some of the comments as well, I think at the end of the day, it does not matter where you are from.

    What will ensure your success, is a habit of excellence. Excellence in studies, in dating, in eating, in polishing your shoes, or anything else. Just ensure what you do is excellent.

    Point 2:
    Go to IIT even if it is to sweep the floors and nothing better. No I am not taking a scene off Good will hunting. I am not being an arrogant obnoxious bastard. But I advise everyone I care for, that they should go to IIT. My brother went to IIT Guwahati for CS, ignoring some other options, so I can safely presume that at least some people take my advice.

    Point 3:
    Do not study too hard at IIT. The toppers from several branches are not people I can stand in social gatherings. It does not matter how good or bad you do at IIT, just ensure you do not top.

    Point 4:
    When you are at the crossroads in life, where you have not determined that you are logical to be an economist or glib to be a UN secy general or pretty enough to be a model cum film personality, my suggestion is take what rank you get at IIT and join the course.

    Point 5:
    There are only two categories of scientists and engineers in India. Those who are IITians and those who wish they were.

    My reasons for all of the above are quite simple.

    Point 1. If you are good at what you do, you will get noticed. You cannot keep a good man down, even if he works in India.

    Point 2. Being in the presence of brilliant people at IIT, will teach you humility. It will ensure that you strive to match up, even if you feel you cant. That attempt forms your character, and at the toughest moments in your life, will ensure you will still attempt to match up, no matter what the odds.

    Point 3:
    If you focus on topping, and the relative grading ensures that you take notes but not share them, you chat at the mess table, but turn into your room the moment you get off it, you run into the library during the time the cult fest happens, and you slog your butt off to get a reco from a prof. You lose on what you learn from your friends, which is why you went to IIT in the first place. Now come on, no Indian institutes win awards for research (I love the IISC but thats about it). What you learn at IIT is in large measure from your friends.

    Point 4:
    An IIT opens up all the options for you. You can be a chetan bhagat if you have a way with words or a moronic investment banker if all you see if green bills or an NGO activist. IIT gets you the respect which others will need time to earn. It gives you a headstart.

    Point 5:

    As my senior told me in my first year. You have cleared JEE. There is nothing else tough enough. That will ironically give you faith when you need it most.

    Finally, my points and their reasons are mine alone. Read them but do not implement on them. Trust your gut feel when at crossroads.

  29. My God..I guess it can't get any more condescending than this..Wonder what to do in life now..I have'nt had the fortune of sweeping the floors of IIT or working in "Brilliant" companies like Google,Yahoo,Adobe..Am a small time Engineer/MBA working in non-descript companies like ICICI and Infosys..Come to think of it,I was reasonably happy about what I was doing till I realised that my college experiences and work have no meaning because "I am not surrounded by brilliant people who will teach my humility","I cannot become Chetan Bhagat","I am not even in the creamy layer of toppers"...

    If success in life is about becoming only an engineer or an IITian(even if only a cleaner),then I give full points to the modesty shown in the statements mentioned above.There are people who have done so much more meaningful things in life without studying in IIT and working in big corporates..I'm sure that IIT is a great institute for churning out bright engineers,but then the world is not diminished without them...I never attempted JEE(was never confident about it) and neither many others whom I know but I have absolutely no regrets..I do not carry the burden of an "intellectual" representing Indian brains....Branding makes so much difference and that's why we are discussing all this but surely modesty is not they name - IIT..At the age of 17 when we attempt IIT,many go by thinking about dream jobs(never happens),foreign destinations etc,so the branch probably does not matter and not about brilliant engineering shop floors...Takes maturity to know what you want to do and I'm still wandering whether I want to be here continuing this..Take a break;don't have to be an engineer..Plan a few things but leave the rest to HIM..Who knows,once can always start a JAM....

  30. "Finally, if I were BITS Pilani, IT BHU or IIIT, I would put efforts into PR. You have to keep your institute in the limelight. Not once or twice a year, but constantly" Thanks for that quoatble quote. Camelpost was doing for BITS Pilani just what you had prescribed.

  31. Hmm.. I am not a regular reader of the blog. But I think you can't justify the "IIT Guwahati not being better than IIIT hyd in CS" part in the article. Or if you can then please do. Sad misguiding of 17 year olds.

  32. Lets see some facts.....

    IITians at microsoft

    Microsoft's Senior Executives List@

    OUT OF THREE INDIANS(only one from IITd)

  33. Sachin...Sachin...Sachin..............IIT....IIT....IIT..

    Now everyone knows,what sachin was earlier and where he is at present.

    brand is important ,but not more than what u wanto do.

  34. Anonymous3:57 PM

    nice to c views of all over the issue of brand vs branch .
    well myself being in iiit hyderabad in 1st year i would like to tell the actual position of the institute and the field in which iiit outcome from iit and other major colleges in india .
    No doubt iit are brand and are most reputed college in our country which cover the potential of other good colleges.There are iitans in silicon(Dream place) valley but that was a old scenario not they are doing jobs in just simple IT companies as non iitans doing .infact most of them are sweating in worst IT cmpanies i.e tcs ,infosys ,wipro.thay have good repo. because they are the oldest and some of their bricks are cemented by politicians but what to do with it now. They are established for the betterment of the country but they are the root source of brain drain,thus iit are responsible for making the country poorer in IT sector who told they r best .the placement cell in iit are sending the graduate in finance companies just to keep up the image of iit but they are doing the worst thing by wasting the techincal education.
    if 3000 iitans graduated are most capable ans precious brain then why only few are getting good jobs why are they getting into worst IT companies why average package is not as good as their tag and which iitans is proud of getting an starting salary of 2-6 lakhs.

    Here is a good comparison between iit and iiit hyderabad :

    1)Placement :considered to be the most important factor to know potential of college .iiit hyderabad outstands in that aspect .Established in 1998 its 1st proper btach get passed out in 2005 n within three years it average package goes to whooping 7.36 lakhs .google,microsft ,yahoo,amazon give it a impressive figure taking about 25 IIIT'ans morever companies like tcs ,wipro ,inf.. etc are kicked off from the placement cell as they declared all over qualified (if dont believe go to website or ask anyone from these companies).well if u r in iiitan u r sure not to get dumped in these companies.
    remember this is the fourth year of our placement .there is still a lot to prove .iiit hyderabad doesn't allow finance conpanies to get in unlike iit otherwise it average package would surely cross 9.
    iiit is not allowing overseas companies unlike iit which are doing bullshit to country and proud in making it to headlines
    2)Environment and brain level: well iit are considered to be the best in academics and overall environment.have a look at iiit h.
    every 3 students r given one computer in 1st year .laptop is necessary from 2nd has the highest computer students ratio in the country .we have wi-fi facility in campus .the environment is technical ans is very suitable for ones overall development .IIIT hyderabad is already taking toppers from aieee.why should one cracked aieee considered himself less then an iit cracker since both are national level exams .no doubt iit is toughest but rank is irrespective of paper.moreover getting into top 2000 from 6 lacks(8 lacks this year ) students in aieee is tougher then getting into 3000 from 2.5 lacks in iit .In 2007 batch of IIIT_H best iit rank is 1100 ,we have two 1600 and a lot between 2000 n 3000.97% are jee selected and are aieee toppers .IIIT H is lacking in sports Facilities.
    we have outcome iit cs students in various coding competition at global level such as spoj (best three indians students are from iiit h then come iit cs students )which somehow proof the level of iit top 200 rankers and iiit cs geeks.

    3)Research :well the basic aim of iit in 1960 is to raise the standard of living by research but they badly sucked in that .IIIT is going to be the best research inst. in the country in the forthcoming years .it is already doing well in that aspect .Even in our 1st year v get exposed to research and various other thing for which every technical minded person dream of .we have opportunity to do project in good field right from 1st year which is not possible in iit or any other inst.

    to bharat jhurani :
    what to do with brand if u r not getting good sum.r u proud to be proud of iitans getting into
    average companies .IIITans are living better life then civil and other brabh topper from iit

    to bubbled :go to google search and find out the parameter for ranking a university.
    iit r ranked no.3 in the world
    did u know why .go n ask iit prof.
    it is because of no. of iitans working in us having their own companies , because iit are old and prof. qualification is high ,iit has all branches , no. of students studying in Us unv. etc .but the present situation is different which is dgrading iit status.

    For those making issue to do MBA afterward irrespective of branch in iit.Forget about MBA from IIM. we are here concerned with the technical education u can do MBA after getting poor branch in iit but issue here is different .the knowledge that i cs or ec students from any good college get is unmatchable from those getting poor branch .

    it is human tendency to believe what he see and hear. which made iit a big social tag.
    they are excellent but not to that level .

    if you thing anything freaky out there or any suggestion or argument plz mail :

  35. This comment has been removed by the author.

  36. It is not the question of glamor or hype.

    After all that grill & filteration, the students admitted are really dedicated & have a sense of achieving "Something". This in fact is the driving force for the continuance of the craze to be an IITian. In addition, as a fallout, I believe that the student community is definetly putting enormous time & effort in the preparation - if they don't get IIT, they then join REC's / other colleges thereby raising the level of those institutes.

    I strongly belive that this "drive" has to be encouraged for the betterment of the Educational system in the Country.

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  43. hey..nice post...
    but i hav a diff problem...

    cs btech @ iit kgp or elec duals 2 iit b? (air 318)

    please help


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