Professional networking platform LinkedIn is flooded with soon-to-be graduates seeking internships and job opportunities. While this is common around the month of April, just before students and graduates finish a school year, this year, nearly all these posts have one common theme – an initial internship or job offer that has now been rescinded.

“I was initially offered a role at a leading company, which has been rescinded due to the COVID-19 pandemic. let me know if your company has suitable openings or if could connect me with a potential recruiter,” most messages roughly read.

Rescinded jobs and internships in hand, several students, including those from reputed institutes such as IITs and IIMs are now staring at an uncertain future as the global pandemic casts a dark cloud over the economy, not just in India, but globally.

An MBA graduate from IIM, who received a pre-placement offer from research and advisory firm Gartner, is now desperately looking for a job as the company withdrew all its placement offers across colleges. Some of these students were offered the job as early as August and were supposed to start work once they graduated.

“Most companies fulfil their requirements from campus placements itself. No decent company is even considering us and most have stopped hiring. Even those who are, are not hiring fresh MBA graduates. Gartner comes on the very first day of placements in one of the earliest slots and has taken students with good academic records and past experience and performance,” the student told #KhabarLive.

Gartner had recruited 12 IIM graduates, including three from IIM Ahmedabad, six from IIM Calcutta.

A student from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune too, had an offer from a large MNC rescinded and is currently in search of other opportunities.

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Another aeronautical engineer from Chennai is anxious about the job he was offered on campus. Companies only offer a letter of intent before the final exams and the final job offer is subject to the student passing his exams with the required marks. With exams not taking place yet, there has been no further word from the company. The student says that he is very afraid they may not keep the offer because of COVID-19.

While professors in some placement cells of IITs and IIMs told #KhabarLive that only one company has rescinded its placement offers so far, many posts of students on LinkedIn talk of rescinded offers from ‘leading manufacturing company’ in India, an ‘industry-leading’ company in India, a UAE-based Finance Service company, among others.

Global oilfield services company Schlumberger too, rescinded its job offers. “… as I am sure you are aware, many industries, including ours, have been impacted by the unfavourable economic climate, and as a service company, we must adapt to the sudden reduction in our customer spend.

In this context, it is not always possible to provide students with valuable work experience or job opportunities. Consequently, we have taken the difficult decision to adjust our job offers in line with business activity. This means that we will have to reduce and withdraw some internship and graduate job opportunities due to the challenging condition in which we find ourselves,” the company wrote to colleges. #KhabarLive has seen a copy of the letter.

Meanwhile, placement cells of colleges are working in full steam to ensure recruiters honour their job offers.

Professor CS Shankar Ram, part of placement cell at IIT Madras and the convener of the All IIT’s Placement Committee (AIPC) has written to companies requesting them not to rescind any offer made for students graduating in 2020.

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“I have requested them not to cancel any offers and stay with the current joining date and if there is any request from the student’s end to change the joining date due to the current uncertainties, I have requested them to consider those. Some companies have reached out and said that their offers still stand and that they would be willing to accommodate any requests to change the joining date,” Shankar told #KhabarLive.

Once the institute reopens, IIT-M will undertake efforts to enable students whose offers were rescinded get other opportunities.

“I am optimistic that everyone will honour job offers and release offer letters to students (some companies yet to do so). But we will have a better picture in mid-April once the lockdown is lifted as to how the institute can help. We would also work to expedite finishing the academic requirement of graduating students,” Shankar added.

Amit Karna, who chairs the placement cell at IIM Ahmedabad, is also of the opinion that recruiters will honour offers.

“April is usually when companies decide on the joining date, which is usually in May or June. Right now, we haven’t heard of too many cancellations. We will know better in May,” he says.

Amit says that the college is constantly in touch with recruiters to understand their plans. “The major ones have assured us they are going ahead with offers. The only thing they’re asking for is some time,” Amit adds.

The larger issue for the placement cell and recruiters right now, Amit says, is summer internships, since they are time-sensitive.

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“They have to finish internships and come back to college and April and May is the only window they have. We are focusing on figuring that out right now,” Amit adds.

For most students pursuing their MBA, or even graduation courses, they are required to do a summer internship (usually for 8 weeks) as part of their curriculum.

A student of FLAME University in Pune says that while they haven’t yet heard of companies rescinding offers, those who didn’t yet get an internship are worried given the situation, especially because it is a requirement.

“For our course, doing an internship with a reputed company really matters, even later in our career. We have been hearing of many internship offers, but there are hardly any from large reputed companies. So, a lot of students who haven’t already secured an internship are worried,” she adds.

The bright side is that on LinkedIn too, several companies and startups are coming forward to offer internships to these students.

But students are anxious. Shankar and Amit also say that they have been receiving worried calls from students. However, colleges are going out of their way to assure students that they will support them in whatever way they can.

“Students with the Gartner offers have been told that we will do something for you once May-June comes. I have written to students to please be patient and expect a delay in communication and on the joining date. Most recruiters have not told us anything unwarranted. We have told recruiters also that it would be nice if they are directly in touch with students and assure them and they are doing that,” Amit adds. #KhabarLive