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Slowdown has tier II, III B-schools on tenterhooks

While most companies are keeping a tighter rein on recruitment, many who are still in the market are preferring to hire from top, branded B-schools.

Updated: Nov 02, 2019, 12.55 PM IST
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Agencies
Agencies
“A few companies said they won’t come. Consulting firms haven’t started hiring,” said the placement coordinator.
KOLKATA/NEW DELHI: Students at India’s second and third-rung business schools are bracing themselves for a tougher-than-usual placement season, even as the top-tier institutes remain largely insulated from the ongoing slowdown.

The challenges are daunting, as fewer companies have visited the campuses so far and some recruiters from the previous years have dropped out. Most of these institutions have placed fewer students compared with this time last year.

While most companies are keeping a tighter rein on recruitments, many who are still in the market are preferring to hire from top, branded B-schools, said experts. This has compounded the situation for the lesser-known institutes, some of which struggle to place their entire batches even in good years.

At Faculty of Management Studies, Institute of Rural Management (FMS-IRM), several banks and financial intermediaries have stayed away from placements this year. Last year, Bandhan Bank, AU Small Finance Bank and Ujjivan Bank had come, but not this year, said second-year student Phalguni Malpani. Some 20-25 students have so far been placed out of 122 in the business management course, compared with 30-35 students by early November last year.

“Last time, the highest package was Rs 10 lakh. This year, we haven’t gone beyond Rs 8 lakh so far,” added Malpani.

At International School of Informatics and Management, Jaipur, placements started in July, and about 12-13 people have been placed so far. Last year, at this time, 15-18 had an offer on hand. “There are lesser number of companies that have come this year,” said a second-year student involved with placements.

A placement coordinator from a Chandigarh-based B-school said fewer companies had visited the campus this season. “A few companies said they won’t come. Consulting firms haven’t started hiring,” said the placement coordinator.

Given how business schools have mushroomed across the country, placement percentages at lower-rung institutes are often not good.

“However, this year, things will be much worse,” said S Venkatesh, the president of group HR at RPG Enterprises. The conglomerate hires exclusively from Tier-1 B-schools for its group management resource programme, but for individual group companies or laterals, it also takes students from the next level of institutes.

“Big groups/companies want to go to the top institutes come what may. That’s why Tier-1 still has intense competition,” he said.

The banking, financial services and insurance sector has scaled down on offers. “There are fewer companies from the sector, particularly NBFCs,” said Puja Singh Ghosh, the placement officer at Kolkata-based Army Institute of Management. It’s early days yet but the institute has reached out to a larger base of companies to compensate for anyone dropping out this year, she said.

Colleges like Army Institute of Management and Delhi’s FORE School of Management have a good track record of placements because of their locational advantage. But even they have planned for a more challenging placement season this time.

“There’s been a drop in companies from the automotive and manufacturing sectors. Maruti and Hero MotoCorp are yet to confirm,” said Qazi Asif Zameer, the dean for corporate relations at FORE. To counter this, the school has contacted 30% more recruiters, said Zameer, adding that it had seen a pickup in interest from ecommerce and IT.

The India Skills Report 2019, a joint initiative of Wheebox, PeopleStrong and CII, and backed by the United Nations Development Programme, All India Council for Technical Education and the Association of Indian Universities, had found that employability of MBA graduates had fallen by 3% year-on-year. This, said Devashish Sharma, the chief business officer at Taggd (PeopleStrong’s recruitment solutions business), was primarily because of mushrooming of B-schools in small towns, which often lack proper curriculum, faculty and infrastructure and where students could end up as insurance agents or even as feet on the street.

“The second and third-rung institutes in metros will do better because they work in close tandem with corporates. But in a difficult year, they too will face the brunt,” Sharma said.

V Krishnan, the executive director-HR at Dabur India, said for the consumer products maker, there was no let-up in demand for talent. “The slowdown that the industry is facing today is a passing phase and we are hopeful that with the government announcing fresh stimulus, the overall sentiments would improve,” he said.

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