Dec 23, 2006

Professionalism - from the eyes of an IIT Madras student !!!

I recently read a blog of an IIT-ian who had accused companies of being unprofessional for various reasons, one being that they did not disclose salaries in the ppt, another that they did not answer properly when an applicant for the job asked them what a ‘business analyst’ means.

Now, before I begin to make my point, lemme state at the outset that:
Ø I personally do not think IIT-ians are arrogant, as many speculate. I have seen quite a few from those glorious institutions to form such an uninformed opinion.
Ø I really think that they deserve the wonderful salaries that the media reports that they get, since they did clear the IIT-JEE (among the toughest exams in the world, without doubt), and did survive 4 years in an extremely competitive environment when they were barely out of their teens.
Ø I do not think the IIT-ians owe anything to the nation or the general public, just because the Government grants some funds to IITs. They are perfectly within their rights to seek a good job in or out of India.

But, this post was a bit too much for me. You go to an interview, applying for a job that apparently is going to pay you $ 110000 a year. The company has short-listed you because they think that you are among the most elite batch that they are going to get their hands on. You are 21 years old, and have not seen the inside of a corporate office, unlike some MBAs who come with atleast work experience (in other words, in industry parlance, you are still ‘wet-behind-your-ears’, though you are a master when it comes to numerical abilities). You are applying for a job of ‘business analyst’, one they did not prepare you for at an IIT, a position that many others reach after slogging for some years.

You go into the interview and ask them, “What does a business analyst mean?” Now, THAT to me is unprofessional. You are perfectly right to think that you are just being genuinely curious, but any interviewer worth his salt would think that you are being cocky. You are going into an interview, you should atleast have done your homework on what position you are interviewing for.

I mean, it is not like they picked you out of some remote village and out you there. You have access to the Internet, some of the best scientific and business magazines from all over the world, and enough alumni in top positions in virtually every business to help you out if you have a doubt. Now, given all that, you go out and ask your interviewer what a ‘business analyst’ means. And, expect them to explain it to you, and get offended when they don’t. Worse still, you accuse them of being unprofessional.

Sometimes, I wonder whether the salary that they are paying you is worth it, because for all the intellectual capability that you bring to the table, you obviously lack some basic business sense and inter-personal skills.


  1. Anonymous1:27 AM

    Guy, I totally agree with you. It is dumb to go to the interview for a post that you know nothing about. It would obviously irritate the interviewer when you ask him/her what the post you're applying for is all about.
    Now, I don't surf the blogworld much and it's almost accidental that I landed at your blog. I am writing this comment only because the concerned candidate in your post is me. I did go to the interview and ask them what exactly a 'business analyst' does, and I didn't do even five minutes of homework you see, cause I was not at all interested in the job. (Don't ask me "Why did you apply if you weren't interested?". It's a pointless question with a simple answer) The only reason I went to the interview was to tell them I don't want the job because the placement procedure requires you to attend the interview "without fail" if shortlisted. Before telling them this, I just decided to ask them the job details, witbout any agenda. Perhaps the question was an unprofessional one, but I didn't care and still don't.
    The IITian whose blog you have given a link to does't think that the company was unprofessional just because they failed to answer my simple question. The company was unprofessional for a million other reasons, which he failed to mention. If I tell you what exactly happened in the interview, you would know how arrogant and rude the interviewers were. But I don't have the patience to go through the details again, having done so to so many ears. And I wasn't the only one who found them rude and insulting, by the way.
    I am commenting here only because of the big hype that the simple question has created.

  2. @ anonymous:

    well, if you were not interested in that job, and had to go because the Placement office insisted, then it is ok... but, still, the question was a bit immature... if you don't care for ur Insti's relation with the corporates, then it is ok with me.

    As regards the 'million other reasons' for which u brand them unprofessional, well, I was not privy to them, and could comment only on those that he put forth

    and finally, thanks for setting the record straight, and I did not mean any offence

  3. there was a misunderstanding ... i oppossed to their arrogance in the way they answered him .... not the fact that they did not answer him .. it might not be that clear in my post. i wrote the whole engineering background blah blah just to justify that the question he asked shouldn't surprize them to an extent that they resort to the unfriendly reply ... hope things are clear now

    ps. i dont know why he wanted to be anonymous ... he said it was ok if i revealed his identity in my post (which i did).