Niche is a marketing concept as well as one of IIMA's best run clubs but that is not the topic of this post. Summer Placements 2011 are over in IIMB/C and are well in progress here. During the break, I had time to introspect over a book by Garrison Wynn-Real Truth about success(http://www.flipkart.com/real-truth-success-wynn-book-0070702276) and then the truth hit me.
We try hard to conform with the rest whether it be presentation techniques, academic curriculum etc. If an engineer is weak in FRA or a CA is weak at PS over here, they typically work more towards overcoming their weakness than on reinforcing their strengths. From what I noticed of my classmates preparing for summer placements, they were focussing on the weakness based approach(get good on their weak areas) rather than be an expert on their strong ones. That is why in the HR type questions "What makes you different/Why should we recruit you" etc they badly faltered. If they had focussed on their unique strengths better, things may have been different.
I am not advocating that one should not work on weaknesses. But in this competitive world, there is no need to play by other's rules by using a certain type of skillsets only. In a batch of 95% engineers, it is safe to assume that there is little to distinguish them in the core areas of quantitative ability, under-graduation grades etc. Both in placements and later on in work, what would bring top performance and excellence is not what is common with others but what is unique.
That is why instead of competing with others on their homeground, is is better to pick your battlefield and then win.