Alumni Affairs NewsLetter

JULY-AUGUST 2020 | Vol 28

Foreword

Welcome to the twenty eighth edition of the Alumni Affairs Newsletter of IITD. I am proud to inform you that the year-long diamond jubilee celebrations of IITD were inaugurated by the Hon’ble Vice-President of India on August 17. On this occasion, he released the diamond jubilee logo and a document outlining a strategy and vision for the next decade.

You would also be happy to learn that IITD has instituted the GOLD (Graduates of Last Decade) awards for its young alums to recognize early achievers. We hope to be able to award the first of these in the convocation this year.

The AAIP student team has put together a nice article on the anxiety and concerns of the 2020 graduating class. They interviewed a number of our alums from the class of 2008/09 who similarly entered a tough job market at the height of the financial crisis to see what lessons they could teach the class of 2020. I invite you to read this feature and the other news in this letter put together by our students and provide them some feedback on their effort.

And finally, we have a new website. Do take it for a test drive and let us know how it feels.

Weathering the Storm

“Having God in your boat does not mean that you will not face any storm. Instead, it means that no storm can sink your boat.”


Since mid-February, the world is fighting an unforeseen danger – a pandemic which clutched every country under its deadly arms. COVID-19, more commonly known as coronavirus disease, forced masses to cease their daily activities and stay locked up indoors. Due to the closure of almost all economic activities, many parts of the world have faced a financial emergency. Not only has it affected the economic sector, but the education sector as well. Schools and colleges have been shut down due to the risk of community transmission. Lecture halls have turned into Zoom Meetings.

When the college was impromptu shut down, half of the semester was still left. Once in a lifetime House Days and farewells for graduating students were remaining. People returned to their homes and adjusted to a life of isolation. The graduating batch of 2020 at IIT Delhi was left sailing in a boat facing high tides of insecurity and waves of uncertainty. Their concerns were not only regarding the completion of their degree but also the threat of losing their jobs or a decrease in the initial package offered by companies. IIT Delhi tried its best to minimize the dire effects of this pandemic on the graduating students. Students’ concerns on how they would graduate mounted, and in June the institute devised a new scheme- Alternate Graduation Plan (AGP). About 95% of the graduating students opted for this plan which enabled them to complete their graduation requirements on time.

Director Dinner Batch of 2009

EE Batch 2009

 

As far as the damage is concerned, the corona wave left a few 2020 batch graduates with their job offers revoked. It also substantially affected those planning for higher studies abroad. Many have been stuck due to their Visa not being approved, and the cease of international travel. On the other side, many startups have taken birth and bloomed well during this phase as health tech related sectors exhibited a sharp growth. In all these ups and downs, a direct message by our honorable Director, Prof. Ramgopal Rao to all the recruiters had helped in preventing the recruiters from revoking the offers. The move attracted a large appreciation from the student community. In totality, students are going through an uncertain phase. As per our survey, for almost 80% students, the date of joining has been postponed to October or even January with a marginal number of offers revoked. In this entire process, the IITD as a whole stood together and fought back. Such difficult times instilled in us the audacity to cut past any trials and tribulations that life throws at us.

With the economy shut down and no reasonable way to know when the public health crisis would relent and the business world would go back to full speed, this can become the worst hiring season for new college graduates since the 2007–2008 financial crisis. In addition, the pandemic has thrown any plans for higher studies abroad into great uncertainty.

Archita Agarwal, a graduating senior at IIT Delhi studying chemical engineering, was confident about getting accepted to a university after graduation and pursuing higher studies abroad. However, the ongoing pandemic made it impossible for her to pursue her studies online, which forced her to defer admission until Fall 2021 and look for a job in India for the meantime. “Companies are reluctant to intake new recruits due to loss of business and slim chances in the future,” she said.

“These scenarios need a lot of mental strength to get through. Even if the offer from a company is not rescinded, a student has to go through whatever he/she is feeling regarding graduation, online exams etc., alone rather than with friends and peers in campus to share their experiences with.” said Karthikeya Sarma, who has recently completed his M.Tech from IIT Delhi.

For many Indians, the stomach-churning market drops and growing recession talk of the past few months – triggered by the global spread of the coronavirus – has revived memories of the 2008 financial crisis and Great Recession.

During the times of 2008 financial crisis, the 2009 graduate batch suffered the most. We talked to Ms. Taru Kapoor, who graduated in 2009 and was the TnP Coordinator that year. She said, “December 2008 was arguably a horrid time for running placements and graduating, as the final recession was still in free fall and no companies in any position to really plan 6-8 months in advance. There was widespread uncertainty in the macro-environment and companies. Finance, Oil & Gas and multinationals were heavily hurt. I remember clearly that on Day 1, Dec 1 2008, 19 people from our graduating batch got a job. This compared to 75+ the previous years. Many really smart students didn’t have a job. I was one of the 19. Not a single person celebrated that night.” Companies like the BCG, Mckinsey hired very few people that year. The number of companies coming for campus placements reduced significantly. Institute toppers were unplaced even after several days of the start of placements. More people went for higher studies as compared to previous years. 

Take a breath. While the toll, the infection ultimately would take on the nation wasn’t clear, the economic upheaval caused by the outbreak was not as damaging or long-lasting as the historic downturn of 2007-09. For one thing, the 2008 financial crisis and recession resulted from years of deeply rooted weak spots in the economy. That’s not the case now.

“At that time, it seemed like the end of the world. But now I don’t have the slightest hint of what happened in 2009”, says a 2009 batch graduate. Most 2009 batch graduates believe that the crisis did delay their career plans a bit, but didn’t affect them much in the long run.

“I think there are similarities, but I believe that the rebound will be faster today than 2009. As far as I know, it took around two years for me and my friends to get back to what we wanted to do.” said Vireshwar Kumar.

 

The graduates from 2008-09 emphasized that they learnt to be vigilant, disciplined, patient, confident, and have self control while combating the recession and advised the same to our young graduates. They also recommended to not be blindsided by the greed of money and opt for a job that facilitates learning and provides stability in addition to money. They advise students to not sit idle and work towards upskilling themselves. They shared with us the master strategies that helped them to row the boat smoothly. And all those still hold true. They even told us how well they kept themselves prepared by studying the market and understanding its trends. The most important piece of advice to our young graduates is to not set their expectations very high amidst a pandemic and take the opportunities that come along the way.

Today, when they reminisce of their graduating days, they recall the same grudges for the situations that they were put into. But each one of them came out of it so beautifully and presently stand as tall pillars for us to take inspiration from.

If we were to compare the two scenarios parallelly, we would realize that all the panic and anxiety is not worth it.

COVID 19 is not a ‘black swan’ – a singular, unexpected event. These are events which we know are coming but as a society we have been in denial. However there is a silver lining to all this that has happened with the onset of this pandemic. Very aptly put by the world’s greatest thinkers.
“You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid” (Zeleny and Calmes, 2008). Keeping this quote in perspective, we conclude by articulating a few guiding principles, which will be crucial in making us come out of this as better and stronger individuals. We need to embrace changes by adapting rapidly to the technological upgradations and upskill ourselves continuously and consistently for the upcoming future. Reimagine and Reinvent, the pandemic has given us the opportunity to reimagine the boundaries and reinvent ourselves. We can aspire to transform our world. We have a once-in-a-century shot at building forward: a world that is fairer, inclusive and more equitable; greener and more sustainable; healthier and smarter and, above all, more adaptable and resilient. All this will someday make real sense. But we must never forget what Darwin said “It’s always the fittest that survives.” So adapt yourself and show life that you’re way tougher than the problems.

Snapshots from the Pre-CoVid era !

Alumni News

Global Gene Corp wins 2020 Rodenberry prize in Science

Global Gene Corp (Sumit Jamuar, Chairman and CEO, IITD Alum) a genomics biotech company is among four worldwide projects awarded the million-dollar 2020 Roddenberry Prize, designed to advance the vision of ‘Star Trek’ creator Gene Roddenberry to better humanity. The Roddenberry Foundation supports organizations working on scientific advancements in health

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Inflection Point Ventures makes investment into Eden Smart Homes

Eden Smart Homes is an IoT startup that develops indigenous and cost-effective smart home automation systems. It was founded in by two IITD alumni in 2018, Pranjal Kacholia (B.Tech in Chemical Engineering, Batch of 2020) and Divyansh Mathur (B.Tech in Chemical Engineering, Batch of 2020). This year, Angel investment platform

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IITD Diamond Jubilee Celebrations inaugurated

The IIT Delhi Diamond Jubilee celebrations were inaugurated by Shri. M. Venkaiah Naidu, Hon’ble Vice President of India on Aug 17, 2020. At this momentous occasion, the Hon’ble Vice President released the Diamond Jubilee logo and a Strategy and Vision document of IIT Delhi and I attach these with this

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SPIC MACAY’s curtain raiser for Diamond Jubilee celebrations

SPIC MACAY presented 3 wonderful events on the 14th, 15th, and 16th of August as curtain-raisers to the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations inauguration on the 17th. Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times” was screened on the 14th and was followed by a discussion with Prof Sanil, Humanities and Social Sciences. The Director, Prof.

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Graduates of Last Decade (GOLD) Alumni Awards

IIT Delhi recognizes the achievement and contribution of its Alumni to various fields by conferring Distinguished Alumni Awards (DAA) and Distinguished Alumni Service Awards (DASA) every year. While these awards celebrate outstanding achievements in a given field they tend to preclude such young Alumni from being recognized by the Institute

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10 year Reunion of Batch 2010

A 10th yr reunion was held by the Class of 2010 over zoom on August 8, 2020. This was the first virtual reunion of IITD alumni and we thank Abhishek Garg for taking the lead to organize this and get over 150 of his classmates to participate. The event provided

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Online used car platform Spinny buys out rival Truebil

Spinny is a tech-powered new age used car buying platform, founded by Niraj Singh (IIT Delhi alumnus), enabling trustworthy and hassle-free transactions in used cars. In a move that signals consolidation in the pre-owned car market space, Gurugram-based online used car platform Spinny has bought out rival Truebil for an

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Agri startup uses franchise route to smart fields

Farmers in India face numerous problems in today’s world. One of the major issues is low farm yield and productivity which results in losses and poverty. A bunch of engineering grads led by IITD alumni, Shashank Kumar (B.Tech. in Textile Technology, Batch of 2008) decided to tackle this problem head-on.

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Batch of ’79 Chair

The Batch of 79 has collected over a crore rupees and endowed a Chair at IIT Delhi. The “Batch of 79 Chair” will promote excellence and leadership in teaching, research, and development in the field of Science, Engineering, Management, Humanities and Social Sciences.

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PiggyRide raises INR 14 Cr in Pre-Series A funding

PiggyRide is a Bengaluru-based one-stop app for parents. It is founded by Rohan Kaushal, an IIT Delhi alumni with over nine years of experience of working closely with startups like Ola, Koovs, and many more, along with serial entrepreneur Manish Tewari, an IIT BHU alumni who previously co-founded Koovs and

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