Date: 17 March, 2013
Placements at the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) are feeling the impact of the downturn gripping the Indian economy. The pressure is being felt by both old and new IIMs, which have 5-15% of their batches left to place.
Officials in charge of placements say a combination of factors, most notably the feeble state of the economy but also a increase in the number of students, has made the current placement season the most challenging in years despite IIMs reaching out to more companies. In all, 13 IIMs have to place 2,800 students with potential recruiters.
According to placements chairperson at IIM-Calcutta Krishanu Rakshit, all IIMs have had trouble with placements this time. IIM-C kicked off final placements on March 3, but has over 5% of its 462-strong batch left to place. Last year, it had placed all of its 350 students from the class of 2012 in just four days.
"Had we had the same batch size as last year, all our students would have been placed by the third or fourth day. It's the final 100-odd with whom we are facing difficulty," says a person associated with the placement process at IIM-C. According to Rakshit, banks are hiring, but investment banks are cutting back sharply.
At IIM-Lucknow, the batch size is 430, compared with 380 last year. "We have always managed to finish our final placements in a week, but this year they are still going on. About 10% of the batch is yet to be placed," says a member of the placement committee. In IIM-Lucknow, the final round began in the last week of February.
"Our next batch comprises 460 students and we cannot increase anymore. Infrastructure is not the problem, but placements are," he adds.
IIM-Bangalore has just five students left out of a batch of 381, but officials admit this year has been a struggle. "It is luck that we are left with so few numbers to place," says an IIM-B placement member.
IIM-Ahmedabad maintained its position at the top of the pile, with student placement committee coordinator S Balasubramanian saying all students have been placed. However, this institute too faced difficulty as well.
All this is in striking contrast to the go-go years since 2004 (with the exception of 2008-09), when students at the premier business schools would be lapped up by companies. The increase in the number of students is because the number of IIMs are increased. Seven new IIMs have been set up since 2007.
The numbers have also increased after the introduction of a 27% quota for students belonging to other backward classes (OBC) in 2008 in addition to the traditional quotas for students belonging to the SC/ST category. The IIMs have implemented the quotas while keeping the number of general category students constant.
"The overall numbers are to blame," says Dwarika Prasad Uniyal, chairperson, placement committee, IIM-Kashipur. "Unlike a few years ago, we now have 13 IIMs, all with increasing batch sizes."
IIM-Kozhikode also has students who are yet to be placed out of a batch of 325. Though the institute did not come up an official figure, sources involved in the placement process peg the number at 40-plus. "Initially, at all IIMs, the placement season started as a boom. But it has slowed down a bit," says a placement team member.
IIM-K has decided to tap markets aggressively and reach out to companies who had not been contacted earlier. In contrast to the situation this year, last year the recruitments got over by February-end even though the number of students, at 317, is almost the same.
At IIM-Indore, more than 10% of the 450-strong batch is yet to be placed. "The number of participating companies has gone up. But the offers per company have come down for the finance sector, though it's better in case of some FMCG and pharma companies," says Siddharth Mathur, a placement committee member. He adds that placements, which started in January, should be completed soon.
IIM-Rohtak has fared better than most. The institute has seen a near-three-fold increase in the number of students, from 37 to 122. "We started placements in end-December and now have a handful of students to go," says Gauraav Thakar, a member of the IIM-Rohtak placement committee. The institute made the most of its locational advantage near the NCR, with its chairman, director, faculty members and students meeting and inviting companies.
(Source: Economic Times)