Published: 18th October 2019
The big test: Inside IIM Udaipur's interview-focused preparation zone
Payal Pitliya, Manager of Learning and Development at IIMU, talks about what goes into preparing students for an interview and why having a defined personality is the key to getting picked
In this competitive world, where companies look for extraordinary skills before they hire students, Indian Institute of Management Udaipur (IIMU) is inculcating the ‘X factor’ in their students. The Learning and Development Centre at IIMU has a dedicated faculty and has various programmes in place which focus on communication skills, building a résumé, offers tips to tackle group discussion rounds and much more. Payal Pitliya, Manager, Learning and Development has had over 17 years of experience in the corporate sector, specifically in the Human Resources department, and she systematically addresses the needs of recruiters as well as management graduates.
She says, "I came to IIMU as a visiting faculty to teach communication skills to the students. This work excited me as there were many challenges that I faced. IIMU was being established at that point and we all faced challenges with regards to the campus we were operating from and the kind of students we were enrolling. Our milestones include recruiting the right faculty, the infrastructure capacity and building the capability of the students. We could not compromise on these factors. If students have to be on the list of toppers during recruitment, then they have to be good with their communication skills. Though IIMU is one of the youngest among IIMs, we have professionals who train students, especially for interviews."
Payal, who is more of a good friend than a manager to the students at IIMU, explains, "When the Learning and Development Centre was started at IIMU, the emphasis was more on how we can help students improve their communication skills. We did not want to take up the classroom model to teach English to our students. With our extensive research on this, we decided to collaborate with BodhiSutra, an institute that offers English-speaking course. There is one-on-one communication which happens over the phone between students and the trainers from BodhiSutra. This 20-minute conversation in English has worked out well for our students. They became confident enough to face interviews. In the first year, we conducted a pilot among a few students and it really worked. We received positive feedback. Hence, we introduced it to the first and second-year students pursuing Post Graduate Programme (PGP) in Management."
Master mind: Payal Pitliya and her team see to it that their students get placement in a company (Pic: IIMU)
Not just the communication, the L&D centre also helps students build their résumé as well because companies shortlist candidates based on a good résumé. "Since most of these students are freshers, we need to guide everyone. This doesn't happen all at once. There are several rounds, during which, we help them build their résumé. For example, if there are around 500 students, then we help all of them understand what should be written in their résumé and about understanding the recruiters' needs. Apart from these basic things, we also prepare them for group discussions, which is a critical element of the recruitment process. They are taught to present their views during the group discussion and justify them. There are industry experts who visit from different departments to share their point of view with our students. This helps students understand the gaps and look for improvements in the long run."
Champions at IIMU
This year, IIMU has started a new programme called Champions. The programme focusses mainly on summer placements for students which happens in September. She explains, "Under this programme, we shortlist some of the eligible PGP second-year students who have been placed in different companies so that they can train PGP first-year students. They inform the juniors about the kind of questions that they could be asked during interviews and offer them tips to prepare for them. I feel it's a good partnership among the students in terms of peer-learning. Champions programme has been happening for six months now and we have received a good response from the first-year students."