Indian Institute of Management Calcutta

Placement Trends at IIMs

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Economic Times

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The career-changing placement season for Indian B-schools will be kicked off by Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) next week amid apprehensions that the top-paying finance sector may have a weaker presence on the campuses this year.

Placements at IIM-A begin from Monday for 375 students from the Post-Graduate Programme for Management or PGP course. IIM-Bangalore, IIM-Calcutta and IIM-Lucknow too will see their placement season starting later this month.

Investment banks gave a miss to campus hiring in 2009 in the wake of global financial meltdown that impacted B-school hirings and a discouraging economic scenario may see repeat of sorts this time, it is feared.

Placement officials say, companies from consulting and sales & marketing will compensate for lower hiring by the investment banks owing to global recessionary conditions. e-commerce, human resources and emerging sectors too are expected to flex their muscles this year.

"Consulting has emerged as a big job provider in the recent years. It looks bullish this year too," says IIM-A placement committee chairman Saral Mukherjee. The picture is not as gloomy as is painted by people outside the campus. In fact, the number of pre-placement offers (made after summer internships) are higher than last year at IIM-A, he adds, admitting that finance offers may see a dip this year.

Like IIM-A, other institutes are not too optimistic about offers from the finance sector in general and i-banks in particular.

"We cannot expect large number of offers from finance sector companies, many of whom have laid off employees and will not hire immediately," says Amit Dhiman, placement committee chairman of IIM-Calcutta.

i-banks usually offer only PPOs and do not come for final placements on campus. Some of the i-banks that came last year, will not participate this year, Dhiman said, without naming the banks. Investment banks like

Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Nomura , Standard Chartered, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are regulars recruiters awarding among the highest salaries.

IIM-C has continued to follow the traditional day-based placement process and will host recruiters for final placements during February 20-25. "Looking at the overall economic scenario, number of offers may go down from many companies. We hope that consulting sector will offer more jobs this year compared to last year. We are also depending on new recruiters from diverse sectors," Dhiman added.

IIM-L looks forward to place 380 students and according to placements chairman Rajesh Aithal, the average salary will not go down because companies will make competitive offers.

The IIMs have been planning to change the placement process. IIM-A adopted a sector-specific approach, moving away from giving priority to top-paying companies. This time it will further tweak the cohort-system with shorter gaps between two cohorts. IIM-Bangalore has scheduled its placements only on week-ends to avoid minimum disruption of the academic curriculum.

"Day-based process had become too stressful and we decided to relax it. We will start placements from February 18-19 and host various companies only on week-ends. Thus, there will not be any pressure to complete placements within five days or six days," said Sapna Agarwal, head of Career Development Services at IIM-Bangalore.

This year, the PSUs are expected to hire grads in larger numbers, the way they did during 2009 when top talent could not be scooped up in the opening days of campus recruitments.

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) is planning to visit IIMs this year after a gap of two years. "This year, some sectors are not doing good and we see an opportunity for us. We do not hire in big numbers but our total offers across IIMs may be in double digit," said Lourdes D'Silva, senior manager (recruitment) at BPCL.

HR consultants feel that the batch size has gone up and core sectors like finance will not offer a large number of jobs, which will result into a decrease in average salary at some IIMs.

"Top IIMs will not see such a situation, but others may see lower average salary. It will be interesting to see how consulting sector perform when i-banks are struggling. FMCG and retail banks can get better talent this year," said T Muralidharan, IIM-A alumnus and chairman of Hyderabad based TMI Group.

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