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B-Schools Struggle With Placements

Last updated on: February 08, 2024 08:19 IST

'There is a behavioural shift and conservativeness with companies cutting down on manpower and rationalising the number of people.'

IMAGE: Kindly note the image has been posted only for representational purposes. Photograph: Kind courtesy IIM Lucknow/Facebook

There are signs that the distress in the job market has spread to India's top B-schools.

A post on X about a WhatsApp message, purportedly sent by the Indian Institute of Management Lucknow to an alumni group seeking assistance in placing 72 students from the graduating batch, went viral on social media.

The user, Ravi Handa, wrote: 'IIM Lucknow is reaching out to alumni to help them with placements. It is 'crucial to maintain the legacy of IIM Lucknow's 100 per cent placement record'.'

'It isn't about 5-10 people but 72 candidates at IIM-L do not have a job. Imagine the status at other B-schools.'

Queries sent to the director of IIM-L remained unanswered. However, an official at its placement committee said that the placements were ongoing and were likely to conclude in another fortnight or so.

"If at all there is a downturn in hiring, we will be able to give details only in our placement report," said the official.

Handa, a former edtech professional who is based in Jaipur, told Business Standard that the message was forwarded to him by a friend who is an IIM-L alumni.

Ankur Aggarwal, an alumnus of IIM-L and the director of a fruit winery in Kotdwar, Uttarakhand, told Business Standard that he, too, received the WhatsApp message from the institute two weeks ago.

According to Aggarwal, IIM-L reaches out its network of alumni twice in a year -- once for the summer internships and secondly, for placements. He added that the current batch of IIM-L had 576 students.

"The placement procedure is very simple. On day 1, there are companies from finance, followed by consultancies on day 2 and marketing firms on day 3," he said.

"Then the institute sends out a message to companies for hiring general management students," he said, adding that the WhatsApp message followed the start of the placements on campus.

While premier institutes remain confident of hiring prospects for their students, there is an acknowledgement of a downturn as apparent from multiple instances of job cuts, especially in the tech sector.

According to sources, at IIM-Kozhikode, 75-80 students are yet to land jobs.

The placement programme, which began over a month earlier, is in contrast with previous years when the sessions were completed within a week.

Sources added that there were students who had not been placed during the internships.

Debashis Chatterjee, director, IIM-Kozhikode, said that they recognise a downturn in the market, but there is no panic in the institute because there was a steady absorption of its students.

"IIMs are not placement agencies but primarily responsible for making students capable. We prepare our students and train them to face job interviews, but eventually it's the market that decides," he said, adding that IIM-Kozhikode does not reach out to its alumni for jobs.

"There is active advocacy and counselling by alumni, but they have loyalties to their companies as well. So it's not a norm to approach alumni for assistance in hiring, although individual IIMs may do it."

Chatterjee said that IIM-Kozhikode's students generally get placed even if there might be some occasional struggle.

"The market decides to throw up different jobs, and they may not be the kind students want," he said.

"Many of our students are going on their own, creating startups and not worried about jobs. And the economy in India is not so bad that we despair and panic."

"There is a behavioural shift and conservativeness with companies cutting down on manpower and rationalising the number of people," he said. "But we are not unduly worried. Courses are not yet over, and the convocation is in April."

Manojit Saha contributed to this report.

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