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BW Businessworld

Summers Get Hotter For B-Schoolers

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Celebrations have already begun as the summer placements process across the country's top B-Schools concludes. The numbers have swelled – stipend or job offers, so are the roles bagged by students in their respective dream companies. Although the summer profiles happen to be of a shorter duration (8-6 weeks), they are instrumental in the overall performance of final placements. It is the time when companies and B-Schools both try to understand each other and warm-up for the final placement session.

The stipends for internships increased considerably this year in comparison with last year. For instance, the average overall stipend for Delhi University's Faculty of Management Studies rose by 42 per cent from last year's Rs 60,000 (approx) to Rs 85,000. The highest domestic stipend offered by an investment bank (for domestic location) at FMS stood at Rs 2.5 lakh, a hike of 150 per cent as compared to last year's Rs 1 lakh. The average monthly stipend, on the other hand, for IIM Indore was Rs 40,000 - a hike of 60 per cent as compared to last year's Rs. 25,000. (See table 1)

The number of companies flocking to B-Schools to hire interns has also jumped. Around 180 companies had registered to visit IIM Bangalore this year and the entire batch was placed in 127 companies. Around 120 companies had confirmed their participation for summer placements in 2009. Similarly, 163 companies made 456 offers for 414 students at IIM Lucknow in 2010 as compared to 127 companies in 2009 which offered 401 internships for a batch of 315 students. 

Times Are Changing
One of the important indicators of a successful summer placements are the PPOs or pre-placement-offers which had sharply declined last year. The number of PPOs at IIM Calcutta during the final placements in 2009 stood at 56 offers which were reduced to 41 offers in 2010. The trend seems to have reversed this year, according to a source, the number of PPOs at IIM-C for the coming placements have already crossed year-2009's figures i.e. more than 56 offers so far. Similarly, the number of PPOs at FMS has increased sharply this year with 41 PPOs confirmed and at-least 10--15 confirmations expected during the PPIs (Pre-placement-interviews) for 143 students. In 2009, the number of PPOs at FMS was limited to just 15 for 109 students. The last year's decline in PPOs occurred in the wake of economic downturn when companies had become too cautious while picking new talent and had even frozen hiring.

Sectorial Break-Up
The number of students opting for different sectors depicts the sectorial break-up of placements. Although the overall sectorial distribution for finance has marginally lowered across the B-Schools, it still remained the most preferred sector for B-Schoollers. Famous for the finance-inclination, IIM-Calcutta's 37 per cent of the students opted for opportunities in the ibanks and BFSI sector. The number is however, lesser than last year when 44 per cent students had opted for finance.

IIM Ahmedabad's 39 per cent students also chose finance profiles, 41 per cent students had opted for the sector last year. The similar trend was noticed across the top B-Schools (See table 2).

Marketing was the second most preferred sector in most of the top B-Schools. Around 47 per cent of the students opted for marketing profiles at IIM Indore this year - highest across all the sectors. Third most popular sector was consulting. Other popular sectors among the students include pharmaceuticals, IT, operations, manufacturing, and media & entertainment.

Major finance firms such as Royal Bank of Scotland, Standard Chartered, Nomura, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche GMC, JP Morgan, Citibank, UBS, Barclays Capital, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and BoA Merrill Lynch recruited students from the top tier B-Schools for domestic and international locations.

The top consulting giants including the Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey and AT Kearney made 70 per cent more offers than last year at IIM Bangalore. Other premiere consulting firms that hired interns in bulk across the B-Schools include Arthur D. Little, Accenture Business Consulting, Deloitte Consulting, and Ernst & Young.

Other top-recruiters for various marketing and general management profiles include HUL, P&G, Colgate Palmolive, ITC, Reckitt Benckiser, Dabur, GSK Consumer & Healthcare, Tata administrative Services, Cadbury Kraft, Diageo, Mahindra & Mahindra, Nokia, Coke, Marico and Pepsi (See table 3).

It's Different
Apart from the surge in offers and stipend, the summer placements were marked by a series of 'new trends'. The biggest shift came from IIM Ahmedabad that has adopted the cohort system of placements for the summer placement process this year. IIM Ahmedabad had incorporated major changes in its final placement process last year when it switched from the decades-old slot system to cohort system – a rolling system of placements. The new system allowed companies to interact with the students for a longer period of time where group processes and interviews were decoupled and held on different days during the process.

A higher number of students chose to opt out of the internships to pursue the lesser explored avenues at IIM-A this year. Four students chose to work under Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam on the PURA project (envisaged by him). Another student with an interest in governance and public policy formulation would be interning under Shri Prem Das Rai, Member of Parliament from Sikkim.

Several students (IIM-A) keen to pursue a challenging and entrepreneurial experience have chosen to intern with the National Innovation Foundation (NIF), an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. NIF works towards discovering grassroots innovations and helping those innovations to become self-supporting business activities.

Another premiere B-School - IIM Calcutta became the only B-School in the country to host a $6 bn hedge fund that offered internship to 2 students. It was the second time that a hedge fund visited an Indian B-school after 5 years (first time as well, it was IIM Calcutta).

Summer placements are not just an opportunity for students to get their hands on the real-time projects, but also is an opportunity to explore their area of interest and nail the chances of a full-time job in the same organisation. For recruiters it is a fair chance to spend more time with their prospective employees and make an informed decision while handpicking fresh B-School minds.

With a sudden surge in the summer placement opportunities and corporate and finance biggies once again showing keen interest in the summer sessions after a period of two long years, the coming final placements are in for a better than ever session.