Tribal students get opportunity to interact with top tech professionals

Clockwise from top left: Bharat Ram, Mayoori Kango, Pravinender Rao, Anil Kumar S, Kamal Jain and Arpana Vadala.
Clockwise from top left: Bharat Ram, Mayoori Kango, Pravinender Rao, Anil Kumar S, Kamal Jain and Arpana Vadala.

Proving yet again that Rotarians are indeed ‘people of action’ and refuse to be cowed down by the worst of calamities, and adhering to two presidential themes — “Rotary connects the World” and “Rotary Opens Opportunities”, Rotarians of the Rotary Club of ­Secunderabad West, RID 3150, and Rotaract Club of BITS Pilani, Hyderabad Campus, have launched a unique project.

As the corona pandemic spread its tentacles across the world, a bunch of tribal students from remote rural areas were given a virtual treat — pun intended — through a career guidance programme titled Gurukul to provide skill development training, mentorship and career guidance to tribal college students.

In a power-packed three-hour career conclave on future technologies, knowledge of which is bound to help young graduates get jobs in top tech companies, senior personnel from corporates such as Facebook, Google, IBM, TCS, Pepsico, Tech Mahindra, etc interacted with the students on the immense possibilities that the ongoing developments in the cyber world offer, said RC ­Secunderabad West president
S Divaker Reddy.

He said the idea of the conclave was to give access to students from tribal and rural areas to the top ­leadership from such global majors. Students from Telangana Tribal Welfare Rural Degree College, “who hail from the remotest parts of Telangana state had the first-of-its-kind opportunity to listen to eight leaders from such top tech companies and interact with them in Q&A sessions. Most of the students are first generation school goers hailing from the tribal areas of the state, and all of them have dreams to make it big in life.”


Campus recruitment

In conversation with Archana Vadala, head of recruiting, Asia Pacific, Facebook, past president of the club Kamal Jain quizzed her about the essential qualities that candidates require and recruiters like her look for, while interviewing candidates for organisations such as Facebook.

She said it was important for young graduates to define their priorities right at the outset and decide what they were most passionate about. “The initial part of your career is so important, as also doing what you are passionate about.” All recruiters in the sphere of technology will of course look for the core skills required for the specific job, “but a different set of skills are also important, and communication is a big part of those skills. They will look at how you articulate, your listening skills as also your self-confidence.”

As “we work in a global environment, cross-functional collaboration is also a big part of what employers look for. Companies also look at creativity and innovation, the ideas you bring, and your problem-solving capacity.” As so many new technologies emerge on the horizon, they also bring with them their special set of new problems. “Companies are looking for people who can solve such problems and not complain about them,” Archana added.

Mayoori Kango, head of industry at Google, India, urged the participants to follow their passion in order to succeed in life. She spoke about her earlier years, where she had acted in a few Bollywood films before going to the US to pursue an MBA and then began her career in the corporate world.

Speaking on cyber security, Jaideep Lakhane, deputy director, Digital Experience, Pepsico, asked an interesting question: How many locks do we all deal with in our daily lives… that of our home, our bedroom, cupboard, car, office, etc. “We all deal with locks; 5, 10 or more every day. But do we have a single key for all of them? No.” Similarly, every day we deal with different user IDs for our bank accounts, computer login and other applications, but cannot, and should not, have a single password for them. “Of course, it would be so nice to have just one password; but the moment you do that, you are prone to be attacked and intruded upon, and you might lose your identity to somebody else. That is why the next step of authentication was started.”

Speaking on the future of technology, Bharat Ram, senior director, Architecture, Hitachi Vantara, a data science professional, spoke about the importance of building cutting edge solutions, and how, using this kind of technology, some of the best smart cities of India, including Hyderabad, were built. Also it was important to keep abreast of emerging technologies; 52 per cent of Fortune 500 companies have disappeared because they could not do so and go digital. He gave the example of Blockbuster Video, an US-based ­provider of home movies and video game rental services. Netflix was nowhere on the horizon; but today the former had disappeared and the latter had thrived.

On the questions the students from the tribal institution had for the speakers, past president of the club and district trainer Anil Kumar said, “interestingly, most of them were related to campus placement and recruitment. Among the 350 participants, about 80 were from the tribal college and others were from far-flung areas such as Singapore, Mumbai, Delhi and of course smaller towns and villages of Telangana state. “The latter were anxious to know if these corporates would come to institutions like theirs for campus placement.”

During the conclave, the students were very keen on having such career counselling and mentoring sessions on an ongoing basis. As a result of that the club has decided to create a group of mentors — about 10 of them from the club’s membership of 45 — in different areas such as law, medicine, finance engineering, technology, etc. “We will set up video linkage and connectivity with this college and have a mentoring session with the students every week on different topics and vocations,” said Kumar.

Another positive outcome of this conclave was the demand that the club organise such a virtual meet every month. “And we have decided to do this every month. This one was done in July; in August we had a conclave on robotics and the art of making presentations. In September, it was on the power of social media and in October it will focus on cloud technology and decoding campus placement.

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