Engineering student’s dilemma

Abhimanyu in Chkravyuh – 5 Gaps

The business environment in India is changing. The changed environment requires varied skills & attitudes from new entrants to industry. Every engineering student’s dilemma is like Abhimanu in Chakravuh.

Every industry craves for prospective job seekers to have (in addition to the subject knowledge) a fair idea of the challenges faced by an industry and the way modern manufacturing practices like Lean, TQM etc address these challenges.

Young engineers coming out of academics & aspiring to join the industry are at a disadvantage with respect to knowledge of modern work practices. This is every engineering student’s dilemma.

Engineering student's dilemma

As an unborn child in his mother’s womb, Abhimanyu learned the knowledge of entering the deadly and virtually impenetrable Chakravyuh from Lord Krishna.

The epic explains that he overheard Lord Krishna talking about this with Subhadra from the womb. Lord Krishna explains to Subhadra in detail, the technique of attacking and escaping from various vyuhs (an array of army formation) such as Makaravyuh, Kurmavyuh, Sarpavyuh etc. After explaining all the vyuhs, he explains about the technique of cracking Chakravyuh. Krishna tells how to enter the Chakryavyuh.

When he was about to explain how to exit from the Chakravyuh, he realises that Subhadra is asleep and stops explaining about the Chakravyuh further. In return, the baby Abhimanyu in the womb did not get a chance to learn how to come out of it.

Engineering student’s dilemma

The challenges faced by an entrant while shifting from academic to industrial environment are multifaceted.

Technology gap

The canvass of the technology has become so vast that it is not feasible for a college to cover all aspects of technology. Also the pace of technological changes are not reflected in the curriculum at the same speed. Thus, by the time an aspirant graduates lot of water would have flown by, making the young entrant face the challenge of technological gap.

Practical gap

This requires the young entrant to relate academic learning to industrial setting. The vocational learning for young engineers is normally given a back seat by the academic world as well as the industrial world . This is evident from the way the engineering students look at summer training. (One of the main criteria that the students look at their summer training is proximity to their home town.)

The industries are not meant to be training grounds & as such summer training for engineering students is not taken seriously by many industries. The induction programmes are seldom designed to address the gaps.

Volume gap

Sudden increase in the number of engineering pass-outs is not matched by the industries’ capacity to provide the industrial experience. Since it is a mandatory requirement, the students quickly learn the Indian way of getting past the requirements (somehow get the training certificate).

Infrastructure gap

Very few industries have structured processes to impart training to engineering students & new entrants. The infrastructure in terms of structured training programmes, training facilities, faculty etc. is not available in the required manner in most cases. In any case (as already pointed out), industries are not meant to be training institutions.

Knowledge gap

The importance given to modern manufacturing practices in academic world can be gauged from the lack of curriculum focus on such an important aspect.

Also, the quality of faculty & experience of faculty in implementation of modern practices in industrial setting is vow fully inadequate.

Many of the engineering students interviewed at random in India did not have a clue to Lean management, Total Quality Management & related subjects.

A typical interview for an engineers position in an manufacturing industry does include questions about modern manufacturing practices & systems.

Engineering student's dilemma

Some examples overheard were:

  • Q. Are you aware about 5S?
    • Ans. Yes sir, this is a method of housekeeping.
  • Q. What advantages will you get out of 5S?
    • Ans. The shop floor looks neat.
  • Q. What are the typical wastes found in an industry?
    • Ans. ?
  • Q. When you visit the shop floor to learn a new process, what elements would you look at?
    • Ans. ?

The current environment makes the young engineers at a serious disadvantage with regard to expectations from industry. Even the best of talent becomes a disappointing failure for no fault of theirs. This is every engineering student’s dilemma.

While India wants to grow at a fast pace, the engineering education needs to incorporate the right focus on modern manufacturing practices. It will:

  • enable the young entrant to adapt to the new environment faster.
  • help the industry to get a ready to use talent for it’s growth plans.
  • make the Abhimanyu to learn & face the Chakravyuh CONFIDENTLY.

What is the solution?

Make your students industry ready

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