Reflections from IIT Session

I was at IIT Delhi today for my duties at FITT (runs the IIT Delhi incubator). Few months back, IIT Delhi decided to support a deferred placement program for students wanting to skip placement in interest of pursuing entrepreneurship. Today’s meeting was a review and approval meeting for four of the cases. Some things that struck me.

  • All the students seeking deferred placement outlined “comfort of parents” as the first reason to seek deferred placement. “Even if my startup doesn’t work, I can tell my father that IIT will still allow me to sit for placements”. Many of the applicants were clear that they are not going to actually seek placement with big companies, even if they failed – as one guy mentioned “I can’t imagine myself sitting in a cubicle working for a large company.” Now some of this might be the most convenient answer (and I suspect that, given how uniformly this reason was given,) but it was amazing to see the conviction of the applicants towards startups, as also the social bias against startups that young entrepreneurs still have to work with.
  • Interestingly, none of the four startups which applied for deferred placement applied for incubation at IIT Delhi incubation center. I have been noticing this for a bit – younger entrepreneurs are moving at a faster pace than mentors/ incubators are used to moving. It is a serious issue for long-standing incubators – will they manage/continue to attract the best deals?
  • Most of the ideas being presented were another one in pack of 50 companies already out there doing the same thing. The founders often didn’t know about competition, nor about previous failed attempts. This was worrying – the level of awareness towards one’s immediate context has to improve. Perhaps something to think about for many of us who are looking forward to supporting young entrepreneurs.

I did ask the question on who their role model is. Though its not a large sample, Rahul Yadav got mentioned. I was only half surprised – guts is glory in today’s times. Am back at the institute for Speranza this weekend – looking forward to meeting more entrepreneurs.

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