DEEPA KURUP

All IIM-B students got placements this year but companies dictated terms

The placement process for the postgraduate programme in management, the flagship course offered by the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore, has consistently created ripples over the past few years. This year too, all eyes were on it, perhaps, for different reasons.

The placement season is being viewed as a market indicator of sorts, especially in management circles. Given that the economic slowdown is eating heavily into the job market, tier-II colleges as well as B-school aspirants would like to see how this profile fares in these uncertain times.

The three to four-day-long, short and simple process this year lasted for 10 days, with the last day being devoted to public sector organisations, a new trend at the institute. That all 250 students were able to find jobs came as a relief to placement officials.

“When our seniors sat for placements, there was no doubt if they will be placed or not. The question was how many offers, how soon and how high will the salary figures go” says an IIM-B student. He landed an offer from a prestigious consulting firm, and admits he might have gone for a foreign offer if it were not for the market.

Placement Chairperson Sourav Mukherji points out that this time around, the companies were in a position to dictate terms, which was partly why the season took so long. “It implies that other B-schools are going to find it very difficult to place their students this time,” he says.

Another statistic, reflective of the downturn, is that 97 companies participated in placements, as against around 66 last year. “We followed up with about 200 companies this year since we could not afford to fall short,” Mr. Mukherji explained.

Lesser salaries

Though salary figures were not divulged, which is a policy of the institute, sources said that average salary levels had dropped significantly. “Considering that investment banks offered salaries as high as 25 per cent more than other profiles, the average salary is bound to reduce. Consulting firms pay well, so it has not been that bad…However, given the economic scenario, no one is complaining,” Prof. Mukherji explains.

The foreign management profile appears to have lost its sheen this year. Following the collapse of major financial institutions in the U.S., students are apprehensive about flying abroad. Placement officials said that “several students rejected foreign jobs, some major investment banking profiles, for private equity and consulting firms in India.”

Out of 50 pre-placement offers made by companies, which are made at the end of the summer internships, 41 students chose to accept them. Overall, 25 per cent of the batch accepted a position in consulting firms. The other sectors that have seen significant number of positions being offered include finance (29 per cent), marketing (16 per cent), and general management (16 per cent).

Private equity firms such as ChrysCapital and Baring Private Equity also recruited from IIM-B. Some of the major banks that recruited this year were Standard Chartered, American Express, Citigroup and HSBC. About 25 per cent of the batch took home consulting job profiles, the highest across IIMs, the institute claims. Boston Consulting Group was the single largest recruiter among the consulting firms, inducting 10 IIM-B students into its fold.