Experiences from excursions

Updated: Oct 28, 2014, 16:59 PM IST

Is a visit to an industry just a fun outing with classmates or it adds on to a student's knowledge and growth? Gauri Rane looks for clues

Every year, scores of students, especially those in the first year of a degree course, eagerly await the call out for their annual Industrial Visit (IV).

For most it is the first time they step out of the city, away from the watchful eyes of family members. An IV can be theoretically defined as a training module, a part of a curriculum which is often seen in an engineering or media course where students visit companies and get an insight regarding working environment, company functions and also gain from practical aspects of what they learn in the class room.

However, more often than not this definition remains hidden in the books and the benefits of an IV if any, are lost in the fun and frolic that students look forward to in that one week of 'freedom.' So what is the purpose of an industrial visit? MBA student, Abhijit Jose voices the opinion of his peers.

“Industrial visit is a matured synonym for picnics that we had in school,” he says. Another student, Forum Gandhi, who studied mass media, agrees. “In my first year, we were on an IV to Goa, but we didn't really visit anything and so the purpose of the visit was completely lost.” Sahiba Dhandhani, co founder, Purple Squirrel Eduventures agrees, “That happens when colleges do not ensure learning being incorporated during the course of an IV.

Aditya Gandhi, founder, Purple Squirrel Eduventures believes that educational institutes mainly focus on theoretical learning which restricts students from acquiring essential practical skills. “Prospective employers are not always satisfied with the quality of fresh graduates as they lack practical training. An industrial visit bridges this gap as it ensures on-ground exposure to students on up to date industry practices,” he explains.

Theoretical knowledge learnt during the course of a curriculum tends to be vague and lacks the element of practical application. “When students visit a plant, a news room, a manufacturing unit; places that are relevant to their course they can immediately apply what they have learned and understand better. This reinforces what they have already learnt,” says a media course coordinator. “Students interact with professionals to get a perspective of the work culture, career trajectory, etc, thus making the visit fruitful,” says Gandhi adding that an IV is an eye opener for students and provides them with a glimpse of opportunities in their chosen sector.

“Industrial visits are a brilliant way for companies too as they get a first mover advantage into the existing talent pool,” observes Dhandhani. Recruitment managers get valuable inputs while interacting with the students and can prepare better for targeting the right candidates for the right job.”

Despite the fact that many students look at IVs as “fun with friends” week, there are some who make the most of it academically. Shivani Arte, who is pursuing MA in Developmental Studies at Azim Premji Univeristy, says industrial visits act as a reality check of what happens in the sector and how market interactions take place. “In my chosen stream, it is very important to understand market place transaction, what are the factors that contribute to the sale of a product etc.

Industrial visits have helped me understand the functioning and importance of various departments. I have picked up knowledge on creating an identity of a product in the market and the importance of supply and demand, and also their effect on any type of industry.”

Arte feels industrial visits are important as they help in analysing industry situations practically rather than theoretically. “It exposes us to ground realities,” she says. Students get an opportunity to differentiate between what they read and what they experience.

Many students undertake travel to find their true calling. “Travel is a brilliant teacher,” says Dhandhani. While travelling on an industrial visit, in the middle of all the group fun, students get their very first, practical perspective of a company. “It makes students more confident and independent,” she adds. Visiting a company entails exposure to the corporate culture and work environment. A question and answer session with senior managers also gives them insights into the kind of profiles awaiting them. “Many a times companies too have stayed in touch with students after the industrial visits and offered internships which sometimes result in job offers,” signs off Gandhi.