SOPAL – Self Organized Peer Assessment and Learning for Recruitment


This post demonstrates a new process of recruitment for a multi-national manufacturing company. Every year this company recruits interns from very elite and prestigious engineering and management institute in India as Summer Interns to work on new designs and ‘wicked’ problems.


1) Come up with patented products to improve their market share and to penetrate niche markets.

2) To solve some of their ‘wicked problems‘ in different areas.

For this the design and management interns work during their summer vacation for a period of 60 days on a paid basis – the payment for which is quite handsome.

This has been applied for the past 3 years which has produced about 12 patents and solutions to at least 5 difficult management problems. The design interns work up to the prototype stage before they leave to join their college sessions. Similarly, the management interns submit and present a written document of their findings along with their solutions.

Institutes from where selections are made:

1. Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur

2. Vinod Gupta School of Management, Kharagpur

Highlights of the selection Process

1. A Self Organized Peer Assessment & Learning Method was used.

2. This consisted of two portions — a) written peer assessment b) interactions over Twitter (introduced from this year).

3. The written assessment was for a day for both streams

4. The interactions over Twitter continued over a two day period for each stream.

5. This year, while 40 MBA students challenged the assessment 85  Engineering students (from Mechanical, Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering) challenged the assessment

6. While 4 MBA interns were selected to work on management problems, 14 Design interns were selected for design related work

What are being assessed? 

Participants were assessed for the following: –

2.Ability to think on one’s feet
3.Problem Solving Skills
4.Quality of Interactions with peers
5.Lateral Thinking
8.Quick Learning ability
9.Ability to retain, organize and apply information in a complex environment
10.Clarity of thinking
11.Ability to abstract complex thought into 140 characters or fewer
Part 1: Each participant in the MBA course was asked to frame a question that can’t be directly ‘googled’ for an answer. This was to check their ability to ask original questions. Similarly participants from Engineering were asked to work on a problem that can’t be found on Google. This was to check their originality of observing and identifying a problem that is yet to be addressed in the manner the participant proposes to do. The basis is ‘Internet has answers but no questions’.
Part 2: Participants assess each others work and grade them. However their grading is checked by facilitators for accuracy (absence of any logical errors), degree of fairness and their openness to accept ideas of others.
Part 3: The participants tweet — their questions and their understanding of the issue (for MBA students) or tweet about the problem they identified from an user’s perspective along with the constraints, the way they modeled the problem and came up with minimally invasive solutions that were good enough to overcome the constraints (for Engineering students).
Part 4: Participants from both MBA and Engineering Streams then interact on Twitter with facilitators and other ‘tweeps’ across the world for 2 days (Twitter Tennis) to demonstrate high level of cognitive abilities.
Why Twitter? 
“To  really engage with Twitter (through interactions) requires lateral thinking and attention. It’s an ever-changing, information sharing platform and does require a greater degree of attention, concentration and the ability to retain, organize and apply information And to drill down a complex thought into 140 characters or fewer requires problem solving skills and clarity of thought,” she said. Plus those who can effectively use Twitter had the “highest cognitive abilities” .

(Source: )

The #tags

1. For MBA students see #ddintern on Twitter

2. For Engineering students see #ddinternit on Twitter

More Details

You would find some more details in the following slideshow:

SOPAL – Self Organized Peer Assessment & Learning for Recruitment


Would love to have your comments on this SOPAL process.


I gratefully acknowledge the help provided by Mr. Michael Josefowicz (@toughloveforx) Mr. D C Padhi (@humanatom) Ms P Thornton (@rotkapchen) Mr. Shouvik Sil (@shouviks) Mr. Kaushal Kishore (@Kaushal239) Mr Abinash Singh in this assessment process.

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