Archive for the ‘Engineering Study’ Category

employability_personality-development_01Professional degree awarding colleges/universities take pride on speaking about their students in terms of ‘Placement record percentage’, ‘Highest salary offer for Job’, and ‘Partner companies from industry’; but rarely speak about ‘employability’ and ‘personality development’ of students. ‘Placement cell’ in most engineering colleges acts more like a recruitment consultancy company providing ‘job search’ services to students. So, (1) how different is the term ‘Placement’ from ‘Employability’, (2) which one of the two above terms should the management board of engineering colleges give more focus, (3) what parameters distinguish professional degree courses from basic general degree courses, and (4) what add-on skills apart from scoring high in academic semester papers ought to be learned by engineering students before graduation?

News media often talks about poor quality of graduates coming out of engineering colleges in India. Industry also cites that majority of graduating students do not possess clarity on engineering concepts and are not up to the basic level of employability skills. Both the technical education accreditation body ‘AICTE’ and respective management board of engineering colleges seem to focus more on academic contents plus infrastructure provision provided and at times on academic staff profiles, than personality development aspect needed for students to be an ‘Engineer’. ‘Placement service’ is about supporting students to get recruited by visiting companies at the college/university campus, and thus, focus for ‘placement cell’ in engineering college is rather on quick-fix approach to satisfy basic entry requirements mandated by recruiting companies on the attending engineering students to their placement process such as percentage score in semester exams, previous scores in school and higher secondary school levels, aptitude test conducted by the company, technical and HR interviews of the company, test on specific technical areas (e.g. programming language, technology domain). Hence, placement preparation activities by engineering students are portrayed as if an entirely different unrelated activity during the engineering study program from the ethos of learning semester papers.

‘Employability’ refers to enabling the student employable i.e. qualified and ready to work. Thus, it hints to grooming the student on three key aspects – (1) mindset/behavior attached to that specific engineering profession, (2) background knowledge and skills need to execute tasks in that specific profession, (3) awareness of industry culture and career growth patterns in that specific profession. Format and academic content of engineering degree programs in various colleges/universities are accredited by AICTE for maintaining quality. Some practical oriented skill training modules are inserted to the course program structure by respective engineering colleges (and universities where they are affiliated to) in order to accommodate practical reasoning skills onto theoretical concepts. Still, most engineering degrees are rather focused on ‘academic reasoning’ and ‘basic technical skills’, thereby lacking a sense to impart common sense skills/knowledge of actual industry requirements on engineering graduates. Employability services (if provided) ought to aim the much needed outcome of ‘what’s exactly expected of an engineering graduate by the current industry’ not just by focusing on ‘placement activities’ aspect.

It isn’t the mandate of any university (or college) to guarantee a job to students, though universities/colleges may advertise their student placement record to attract prospective students. Employability services are valued-added facilities provided to students that aim to connect the two mindsets of academic world and real industry world. Many engineering students (and few professionals even after working in industry for years) often get doubts ‘what that engineering job is about?’ and ‘is that profession really meant for him/her?’. Unlike basic general degree courses, professional degree courses ought to intend to create a professional out of a student at the end of that course program. Studying basic general degree courses is about curiosity to explore the knowledge aspect on a specific domain, whereas studying a professional degree is about applying the knowledge of understanding a specific domain onto some applied activities/outputs. Thus, imparting professional spirit much needed by the actual industry in addition to providing the academic knowledge and reasoning skills is very crucial for professional degree programs.

Engineering colleges/universities should provide equal focus to ‘employability agenda’ on par with ‘academic excellence agenda’. The Management of those institutions currently focus heavily on planning the successful conducting of ‘admission process for newly joining engineering students’, ‘semester classes by leading academic staffs’, ‘periodic examination for students’, ‘timely declaration of exam results and conformance to academic calendar for various curricular activities’, ‘living supports during the course of study and accommodation services at hostels’, etc. Moreover, in India, these engineering colleges/universities emphasize more on bachelor degree education and feed degree graduates to various companies at entry level engineering jobs, thereby sidelining priority on post-graduation (Master and PhD) levels esp. R&D activities and technological innovation. Some cash-rich engineering colleges/universities (including eminent management groups) do provide non-academic services such as ‘placement cell’, ‘social/local impact clubs’, ‘sports/entertainment facilities’ and ‘alumni engagement cell’.

A lot more needs to be done on ‘Employability’ agenda by engineering colleges/universities, if the intention of these institutions is to create a professional out of an engineering student and not just an engineering graduate with a degree similar to a basic general science degree. The term ‘engineering’ itself means ‘practical application of science to commerce or industry’. Employability is also about inspiring ‘enterprise’ agenda among engineering graduates so as to aim to setup startup technology companies. Academic excellence can be easily guaranteed by respective engineering college/university since that is the core purpose for setting up those institutions. The discussion needed now is how to impart the ‘value-added services’ under ‘Employability agenda’ to engineering graduates. This employability topic is even more important to those engineering colleges/universities located in Indian states wherein there is less ongoing economic development activities and minimum/nil industry presence. Colleges/universities providing general degree programs may produce ‘graduates who can think and come up with new conceptual ideas’, but professional colleges providing professional degree programs must produce ‘graduates who can apply thoughts to reality as products/services’. Thus, providing ‘placement services’ isn’t sufficient enough for students in those engineering colleges/universities located at less industrial activity regions; rather these students need to be imparted with skills of technology entrepreneurship and how to survive in startup jobs without opting to get placed as engineers in some companies.

Key add-on skills/activities that engineering graduates should aim to acquire or get involved during the 4-years degree program (with/without the support of management of respective institutions) are:

(1) Co-curricular activities – to identify relevance of academic contents being studied to the real technological world; e.g. attending professionals’ technical conferences, project workshops, research journal paper presentations, hands-on skills training on technical areas

(2) Extra-curricular activities – to build social behavioral personality needed in the industry/society; e.g. joining debating clubs/competition, sports and fitness clubs/competitions, cultural programs/events, managing groups/clubs of interest, organizing team/group activities

(3) Job/career oriented skills – to build professional personality needed in the industry; e.g. Speaking (on stage, during interviews, among team/group), Dressing (during casual or business/official meetings), Presentation (as PowerPoint slides, without any technical tools to present, style/tone of expression in front of peers/seniors/externals/juniors), Writing (in blogs, journal articles, newspaper columns, as official letter, emailing format), Team-work (during group discussion/meeting, problem solving in tight project schedules, tasks delegation among a group), Corporate skills (speaking other foreign/regional languages, programming/technical skills, industry news update, connection to working professionals in relevant industry sector)

Finally, engineering institutions ought to start thinking on how to provide the above add-on skills to their engineering graduates during the course of 4 years degree program, on top of, just acting as the recruitment agency for companies through their placement cell.

About the Author:

Shanjoy Mairembam (BEng, MBA) is a Business Strategy Consultant based at London (UK). He supports mentoring of young entrepreneurs in ‘conceptualization of ideas into business case’, and offers role of a ‘Business Doctor’ to local NGOs/SMEs in Manipur.

For further info, visit http://www.shanmaiconsulting.com; E-mail: shanjoym (at) gmail (dot) com


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In simple words, Information Technology (IT) can refer to ‘anything that we use in modern daily-life to communicate with each other using technology globally’. Technical experts who work in various aspects of developing and supporting the IT products/services can be broadly called as IT Professionals; while business firms who work to serve people’s need using IT products/services can be collectively named as IT companies. Yet, have we really understood ‘what IT growth may mean for us in Manipur?’

Setting up of proper infrastructure in the entire country (i.e. back-bone network connectivity such as laying fiber-optic cables, installing core routers and switches) is the duty of the government for socio-economic development (by tendering projects to private firms). Interested private companies (such as Internet Service Providers) may then bid for govt licenses to do business of providing IT network services (e.g. 2G/3G spectrum allocation). In Manipur, Department of IT and Department of Science and Technology (Govt of Manipur) are entrusted with infrastructure building responsibilities. Creation of a Software Technology Park of India (STPI) at Imphal and ongoing development of an IT park at Imphal are some activities that govt of Manipur has been taking up to provide localized IT infrastructure for having offices of IT companies. In the past, BSNL has undertaken such laying fiber optic cable activities in various parts of Manipur. Also, IT infrastructure development activities are often carried out within large corporate firms whose business may or may not be within IT domains.  Network engineers and server administrators work in such IT sectors with skills of telecom/networking (e.g. Cisco certified courses, Sun certified courses). Since Manipur and other North East Indian states are yet to have proper IT infrastructures in place, IT graduates can focus to be Network engineers and server administrators while Tech-Entrepreneurs can focus on such IT industry sectors for supply/sales of network/server devices to govt offices and startup companies in Manipur. Cabling of wires/fibers and installation of network/desktop devices for setup of new offices also require support of experience IT network engineers.

On non-infrastructure oriented IT sectors, there are many IT software/hardware companies which develop products/services meant for end-user customers at home or office. Nature of products/services in a region does depend on the available IT infrastructure and social usage habit of tech-gadgets in that locality/state. There are already many distributers/Tech-Entrepreneurs in Manipur doing business for selling IT products (such as laptops, desktops, mobile phones, tablets, printers, scanners, high-end smart phones) for general consumers (end-users). In bigger business scale, Tech-Entrepreneurs can even think of sourcing components from global manufacturers (in Taiwan, Thailand, China, Malaysia, etc) and assemble in Manipur for sales distribution across NE India and neighboring countries. This is the similar business model adopted by Dell (and Indian companies such as HCL, Wipro, etc) for their company branded PC/printers/office-accessories products. IT graduates can also aim to be technicians who can fix issues on such IT products (software/hardware). Yet, it may be hard for local IT graduates from Manipur to get recruited into product development companies located in big Indian cities (such as Nokia, Samsung, Cisco) to design such tech-gadgets, since such companies used to have the recruitment norm of having only high quality Bachelor degrees in Electronics/Communications/IT from top-reputed engineering colleges in India. Interestingly, there are very few Indian companies focusing on hardware design and manufacturing of IT products due to not wishing and inability to compete (in terms of marketing and sales) with IT products of global multinational product companies; though some Indian IT companies may have the skills and experts to develop hardware products.

The IT knowledge areas wherein startup IT companies in Manipur may focus are development of end-consumer-based applications software such as mobile apps (for iPhone, iPad and other smart phones), enterprise management software (for resource utilization and check), video games/animations (for fun) and serious games (for simulation and modeling), website/intranet/ecommerce portal, etc. It’s worth to remember that ‘Responsibility for programmers/engineers is to deliver the technical aspects of the client’s requirement, whereas the owners of a startup IT company is to deliver the overall IT solution catering to business need of the client’.

On business aspects, the key hurdle in setting up startup IT companies around consumer application-based software domains will be finding clients who will offer the IT projects. Also, most Indian companies (including big ones) procure such IT projects from western countries and other developed nations (wherein society has more usage of modern gadgets and technologies/infrastructures are in place). Also, more the organizational maturity of the IT company more is the confidence to advise clients on IT solutions that serves the business problems of clients. On technical aspects, skills required for undertaking such IT projects may be experience on some programming languages, database management, web-development scripts, graphic designing, etc. Learning materials (and demo programs) are extensively available on internet for free in various websites and books can be bought by want to-be techies to develop apps and software programs by self. Most of the software programmer/developer or IT geeks in the world are often self-created masters through self experiencing rather than out of university teachings. Though having studied courses such as Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) or Master of Computer Application (MCA) are always useful during handling IT projects, any IT graduates and techies can still be able to master the programming skills though self hands-on learning enabling them to take up such end-consumer-based applications development.

IT companies are in fact just firms providing technology solutions (products/services) enabling efficient operations for businesses in other industry companies. So, only having engineers and project managers with technical skills within the company isn’t sufficient. Running a successful IT company requires having experienced business managers to identify which industry sector and which business issues of targeted client segments – their company is going to provide solutions through their IT products/services. Ability to source IT projects and manage effective potential client engagement is also critical to survival of an IT company (just similar to other companies in other industries). Building list of project portfolio undertaken in the past and embedding organizational maturity/processes so that potential clients can rely on are also essential for sustainability of an IT company’s existence.

In addition to software development businesses, IT-Enabled Services (ITES) such as BPO (Business Process Outsourcing), KPO (Knowledge Process Outsourcing) are feasible for setup in Manipur, if provided there is uninterrupted broadband service and power supply. Such ITES projects are often sourced from western countries and other developed nations (though those projects can be from within India as well), and their business model is based on providing low-cost and 24hrs IT enabled support to clients need/business. Such ITES businesses may provide jobs/money to local employees, but they don’t create much meaningful values on local knowledge market since their project activities doesn’t involve any software or hardware development.

Thus, Graduates and Tech-Entrepreneurs in Manipur should first evaluate which industry to serve and what skill-sets are necessary to work in IT industry. Rapid IT growth in Manipur can be achieved by focusing on supporting local application-based software development IT companies that serve businesses in other industries (including e-governance projects of Manipur govt).

About the Author:

Shanjoy Mairembam (BEng, MBA) is a Business Strategy Consultant based at London (UK). He supports mentoring of young entrepreneurs in ‘conceptualization of ideas into business case’, and offers role of a ‘Business Doctor’ to local NGOs/SMEs in Manipur.

For further info, visit http://www.shanmaiconsulting.com

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Many students in the Engineering colleges all over India are curious to know what is really expected of them in the Campus Recruitments. Many used to ask queries like – what is the required knowledge capacity in programming or technical expertise, how to perform in the aptitude test, how to prepare resume, and many more. For the time being, this article aims at explaining some secret tips that the most HRs of the visiting companies look into. This article will explain a little bit briefly – why is a resume very essential… what things to be included inside and why to be inside… how the format of presentation to be … and many more…

Resume is the first interface for a student to the visiting recruitment team of the company. A student may be good in studies or may be he/she is not having a good rank/mark aggregate; but, everyone would like to get a job irrespective of the ranking, while at campus placements. Points to be noted down here is that everyone in the same class or the college will be having the similar curriculum and some short of ranking system to rank the merit of the students. So, only those who prove to be different in approach and style will get only recruited.

The number of students to get placed in the visiting companies is just a few seats. Moreover, the number does not just meant for the same college but for the whole India/world. The visiting company has a planning for how many number of students to recruit in the current year and what are the skill sets to be known by the fresher B.E. students. The number also depends on the higher level planning of the corporate business based on the market survey, the need of experience employees and the choice of recruiting fresher B.E. students, etc. Let’s not go in-depth about the recruitment processes and other related issues. We will just get into the resume structure for campus recruitment only in this article. Another point to be noted is ‘Campus College Resume is different from outside job seeking resumes’.

The point worth remembering as the baseline for getting campus placement is that – the individual who has the capability to market himself/herself with the knowledge and the skills above the fellow college-mates preferably, to the visiting company recruiters wins the opportunity to get placed. So, presenting oneself and getting to know what is expected of an individual in the campus placement to the likes and dislikes of the recruitment team is the best option to get the opportunity.

Opportunity and luck are just only for those who are efficient and good in academic. But, as the competition becomes tough with the number of students more in number and the number of individual to get placed few in number; only those who know secret tips to showcase the talents and skills will get placed irrespective of low aggregate or low rank.

Thinking is going to make the whole difference in such objective to get job while in college; as in terms of academic ranking, mark aggregate, teacher’s feedbacks, access to tech-info, etc compared to other local students in the Engineering colleges, outside state students are poor. Things do vary from person to person in approach. There are many sites and notes available in Internet for enhancing one’s knowledge and skills. It is suggested to at least surf the net at times (along with one’s chatting schedule) about the new technologies coming up, stories of prominent companies, the market scope of technical applications in future, many more… to enhance one’s scope of thinking and boost one’s skills in technical skills along with those of academic courses in colleges.

In the resumes from the same college, everyone will show the similar skill set of programming languages, technical knowledge, etc; then, how does one is going to distinguish among others. One needs not wait for all the toppers in the class and the college to get placed first and wait for their own turn at last. If the thinking is to wait till those toppers get placed first or on luck only, then, there are high chances of getting 100% jobless. Among the full strategy for campus placement, having a resume to predict one’s capability in advance to the visiting recruitment team before actual interaction, is the best strategy to get the interview call out of the hundreds of classmates after the aptitude test.

Mostly, visiting companies has one round of Aptitude test (which comprises General arithmetic questions, quantitative aptitude test, GRE style grammar test, Puzzle test, etc), and 2 rounds of interview test (one for technical & HR each). Sometimes, in extra, there can be more rounds of the same, one/two technical aptitude tests and also there can be Group Discussion at times. To get cleared from the aptitude test is mostly on luck though some readings and practices needed to done. One need give only 25% emphasis on this activity as no one is 100% sure to know all aptitude test questions even though one reads from many sources. Here, some intelligent reading and gathering of knowledge is needed. For Quantitative and English test, Some of the books worth reading are –
1) R.S. Agrawal’s (a) Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning, (b) Quantitative Aptitude.
2) Barron’s GRE book.
3) IMS CAT preparation Notes.

For accessing old question papers for technical questions for aptitude tests, one can get to know from seniors of the respective colleges and also access the web-sties like –
And many more can be searched in the Internet…

One should have two resume formats, one for showing to classmates and one for the visiting recruitment teams. One should not share one’s original resume to any, and the individuality of the resume in format and styles including the content should be maintained to attract the attention of the HR team. In the mean time, one should not loose the friendship of the classmates and should not block the flow of information regarding the visiting company from them. So, one must be intelligent enough to tackle the issues.

So the original resume needs to contain the following items.
1) One needs to have an introduction about “who & what” … in brief.
So, it will have (a) Name (b) Department (c) Contact number (d) mail id (e) contact address.
Nothing extra and details should be given at first, as the company is interested to know the name and identity only now. And for the time being, the company is just only in the look for choosing the resumes to be selected for verification. So, too much info will spoil the mood of the HR.

2) Secondly, One needs to show the expertises and IT skills, followed by Theoretical Technological Expertise…
Here, one should show the programming language known in details… subjects of IT that one knows well… and area of interest. While giving language details, one should give in some different style of presentation format like…
(a) Language (Level – ? out of 10)
(b) The one which is more comfortable with bold letter, to attract the attention of the interviewer to ask questions from the same.

While giving the details on the subject/technology of expertise, one should give –
(a) The name of the subject, followed by the sub-areas where one is more strong… to let the interviewer to ask question from only a small portion where one is strong and comfortable). E.G. Computer Network (TCP/TP – Layer 2/3 Congestion Avoidance)
(b) The technology latest in the field of the subject chosen… idea about the topic is a must.

Any paper presentation if done… (Or any certification if got earlier)… should be also given here.
(a) The topic name
(b) Intent of the topic and scope of the paper presentation
(c) The lessons learnt from the presentation.
If feasible, the project details (if any done)… also should be given…
All these steps (1) & (2) should be in the first page… (That is a must) …the reason of ‘why it should be in the first page’ will be explained at the latter stage of the article.

3) If the project details are more, it will go on to the second/third pages…
In describing the project details, it should have the following points –
(a) The project title
(b) Scope of the project (Concept of implementation and the extent where the project covers)
(c) No of people in the project
(d) What is the role taken?
(e) Software’s used and languages
(f) Achievements to the individual out of the project… i.e. any learning.
g) Project duration
The projects if many should be properly ordered along with the above details. This will give a good impression on the interviewer. Some questions are suggested out of these details, and sometimes the whole interview can be just from this portion checking the language knowledge details, and about the expertise in team spirit, etc.

4) One can give the training details (if any undergone)… Here also one should have
(a) The Project title
(b) Scope of the project (including technologies and others used in brief)
(c) Time duration and no of students
(d) The role and what is the learning made…

5) One should have the idea of what final year project one is going to do…
(a) Roughly imagined name of the Final year project
(b) Scope of the project (area and interest)
(c) Software needed and helps that will be required.
(d) Merits and demerits.

===> Till now we are showing what one is technically sound… Nothing else… as the visiting people are interested to know about the technical quality… not the personal story… So, it will be catchy to show the name and a brief intro followed by the skills… Once, they feel the individual qualified, the focus will go to the individual behaviour and thinking styles…====>

6) Now… one is supposed to explain about the Academic career made so far…
(a) first of all, the current academic performance of B.E… (Semester wise)
(b) Previous 10th and 12th marks… and other details.
(c) All academic achievements till today….. i.e. Prizes one got and anything related to study… and other competitions…
(d) Then… extra-curricular performance…
(e) Then… one’s real personal behavioural skills in points separately in a paragraph
(f) Now other details like… Date of birth… Sex, Place… and others… which we use to call as ‘bio-data’… (But at the start of the resume, only … Name, Department name… E-mail id, Phone no, contact address… should be given and nothing else…)

7) Lastly, some others… extra stuffs… to just feel up the resume.

Well, it is very difficult to suggest the right resume for every individual. The article is just for a general over-view of resume. For more details, and to maintain individuality and to show one’s skills; one should search in the internet and consult other friends and also those who are working. The preparation of the resume should be done well before (may be nearly one year to actual campus interviews and test), i.e. the resume should be first prepared and one should work towards achieving whatever is mentioned in the resume & make up modifications now and then. Via this way, one will be able to show the reality of whatever mentioned in the resume and also maintain a good showcase of knowledge and skills via the resume.

In the resume preparation regarding area of knowledge and area of interest, topics/subjects are to be charted out according to the subjects studied semester-wise in the college; i.e. the planning has to be based on the college syllabus so as to prove the truth & proof of being thorough on the topics. So, new topics can be chosen keeping an eye on the college syllabus. The resume preparation has to be done by looking into all the subjects to be studied in all the semesters from 1st to 8th Semester in the whole 4 year B.E; since, every college has their own syllabus styles. The company will prefer some set of topics to be strong and the same subject may be studied at different semesters in various colleges. So, the planning has to be done w.r.t. the company’s requirements.

Regarding programming language, one is to be preferable to be strong a bit; but not that much necessary to be excellent. If one is strong in concept of the fundamental topics of basic electronics, computer architecture, basic programming in any language, computer network, Data structure, etc; then, one is sure to get placed. But, there the individual has to be good in behavioural skills so that the interviewers (of technical/HR) would be motivated/pulled mentally to ask in those areas where one is strong. For circuit branches (EEE, Electronics, IT, CSE, Telecom), the mostly company looks at the similar level, with a few changes in question styles at times. For non-circuit branches (Chemical, Mechanical, Civil, Instrumentation), it is hard to get through into software industries unless the individual is pretty good in programming and a basic computer & Electronic fundamentals. Other options are there, too, for all the engineering branches. Software industry is not only the option. But, in this article, the emphasis is given only for preparation of resume for campus placements.

Once the person is into interview round; everything is dependant on the personality of the individual to get things done. More than technical skills, more necessity is the behavioural skill. Even for technical questions too, the questions can be forced to ask in the domain where one is well prepared via skilful techniques of answering styles. Well, it is up to the individual to practice a lot, since the individual is the one who is going to face the interview and tests. One just needs to think that he/she is going to get campus placement amidst other qualified students, that also among the first batch. It is more or less all about mental game. Developing one’s personality can’t be done on a single day or month. It is a continuous planning effort for years.

But, basically, one can easily develop one’s personality not just to get placed first among the friends in the college but also maintaining one’s image in the college among friends and staffs, and even juniors; by changing oneself day by day from being in 2nd year in the college. Keeping a good and friendly relation with the local students from the same college and the neighbouring college is a must. One should participate more in college functions organising technical forums and quizzes. One should go for paper presentation to other colleges. One should also participate in other curriculum works. Such activities will boost the morale of the individual to face any person whether a CEO/MD of a company without any fear. Such interaction will help the student in times of interviews and group discussions as one can easily analyse the other person via the facial expression, speech style, physical movements, eye movements, and many more.

Lastly, to get a job while in campus interview is very easy compared to being competing out-campus in the company offices. It is just a matter of 5-10 minutes of interview in which one has to just make the interviewers believe that you are good in technical stuffs & have a good personality. Unlike the college teachers, the interviewers have never met the students before; so the credibility of the student in the studies or interaction is not known to them. So, everyone seems to be similar in mind to the interviewers. So, they will look first on mark and then to the resume style, then to the personality of the individual. Thus, one should keep the aggregate above 75% always with no backlogs in the semester exams.

Then, just using the above tips, one can easily get job. Again, dear students in the college, one needs to be mentally strong. One should remember these words – Anyone having good personality & a good academic aggregate will surely get a job if mentally confident irrespective getting lower ranks in the class or not being brainy like the local students. One just needs to get the medal with the knowledge & the skills one has; and there is no need to worry how much one knows. Just capitalise on what one knows and has i.e. maximum efficiency & productivity out of one’s capability; & skilfully hide what & where one is weak. Wishing every young fresher in colleges a bright future ahead…

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