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Even MBAs Find It Tough To Get Jobs

By Ishita Ayan Dutt, Shine Jacob, Sanket Koul
July 01, 2024 14:14 IST
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'Corporations that were recruiting 15 or 20 [students] have reduced the number to two or three.'

IMAGE: Kindly note the image has been posted only for representational purposes. Photograph: Kind courtesy Keshav Naidu/

The Indian business job market is under stress, and this is especially impacting entry-level positions and the placement experiences of B-school graduates.

Both prestigious institutions and smaller management schools are feeling the effects as they adapt to the changing landscape of hiring and placements.

The Deloitte Campus Workforce Trends 2024 survey found that for the first time in five years, 2024 projected salaries for management students (MBAs) 'are experiencing a drop of 5 per cent to 10 per cent across tiers'.

Consequently, 'the expectation of salary by campus students is also experiencing a similar decline,' the Deloitte survey noted.

The Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, which concluded its final placements for the flagship MBA programme in February 2024, told Business Standard that due to challenging market conditions, a lot more firms had to be reached out.

It eventually recorded 100 per cent placements for its 464 students, who secured 529 offers from 194 companies.

On the current market situation, the institute said, 'The last cycle was tough amid the challenging market condition. It would be too early to comment anything right now about the upcoming cycles.'

Meanwhile, the Deloitte survey also found that the gap between entry-level salaries of MBA and BTech graduates, which was 102 per cent in favour of business graduates in 2021, has shrunk strikingly to 57 per cent in 2024.

Management institutes in Chennai, too, expressed concerns about the job prospects for their students in the 2024-25 batch, with the impact of the slowdown already evident in the 2024 placements.

M Balaji, group director of Corporate and Career Services at the Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, acknowledged the stress but remained cautiously optimistic.

"There is definitely a market slowdown. It will pick up, and it is very early to comment for 2024-2025 because the academic year is just starting," he said, while adding, "It appears it may take some time to bounce back."

In the last cycle, Great Lakes managed to maintain a 100 per cent placement rate, with participation from recruiters such as HP, EY, Deloitte, HSBC and Adobe.

Technology, banking, financial services and insurance sectors were the major hirers, Balaji said.

The offer of the highest domestic CTC (Rs 37 lakh per annum) came from a multinational fintech company (the average CTC was Rs 15.1 lakh).

"As far as IT is concerned, the number [of recruiters] is down, but we have gone for a lot of new companies," he added.

"Though there is a slowdown, I don't think there will be a shortage of demand."

The Bharathidasan Institute of Management in Trichy also went for a higher number of companies for the 2024 placement season -- around 45 instead of 20-odd in the past, said Asit K Barma, the director.

Recruiters, he added, are more choosy now. "Corporations that were recruiting 15 or 20 [students] have reduced the number to two or three," he said.

"They look at the market projections, and [then] take a call on the hiring pattern," he said. He described this as a positive trend, which could benefit students in the long run.

"A lot of companies used to hire and fire in the past," he explained. "Employees were at their mercy. Since recruiters are getting more prudent, it is helping students to get into the right company."

That said, while the average CTC offered remained Rs 12.5 lakh, the top CTC dropped from Rs 26 lakh in 2023 to Rs 20 lakh in 2024, reflecting the challenging environment.

At Chennai's Loyola Institute of Business Administration, all 180 students were placed in the 2023-2024 academic year, with the institute seeing participation from 60-70 companies, including 26 new ones.

"Many companies are looking for people skills and candidates who can gel well with the work environment," said LIBA Director C Joe Arun.

He pointed out that for 2025, companies are looking for candidates familiar with artificial intelligence.

"Those adapting to this change will be hired. There is no slowdown in hiring. Instead, it is a restructured placement scenario," he added.

The Deloitte report highlighted that '93 per cent of the surveyed campuses emphasise the significance of technical interview performance as a pivotal criterion for placement'.

Skills, it said, are taking centre stage, with AI and machine learning in engineering, social selling in management and computational biology in pharma being the most in-demand skill segments.

Outside the traditional campus placements, platforms like PickMyWork, which distribute financial products through a gig worker network, have observed a significant increase in work seekers.

"From last year to this, we have seen a 20-30 per cent jump in interested profiles. By June-July, the number is expected to surge to 50-60 per cent," said Vidyarthi Badireddy, co-founder and CEO, PickMyWork.

This surge indicates a lack of full-time job opportunities, with some banks and financial institutions even pushing the joining dates for full-time offers to February and March of 2025, he added.

"The market has seen a complete downturn and it's very difficult to find jobs at this point in time," Badireddy said.

The New Delhi-based gig economy platform attracts more individuals from lower-tier institutes compared to top business schools.

SP Jain Institute of Management & Research, which is preparing for its autumn internship (September to October), is, however, optimistic about the opportunities ahead.

Bhishm Chugani, director of Career Services and Alumni Relations, said last year's autumn internship programme had a 50 per cent PPO conversion rate, and that the students had the industry knowledge and expertise that top recruiting firms seek.

Some IIMs, however, failed to maintain their 100 per cent placement record in a historic first, said Jaideep Kewalramani, head of Employability Business and chief operating officer at TeamLease EdTech, a Mumbai-headquartered firm that works on improving employability.

And while the range of packages remained by and large the same as last year, the median was lower by 15 to 25 per cent, he said.

This, he added, was prompting B-schools to aggressively adapt their curriculum to align with changing industry demands.

IIM Raipur, he said, is an example: it is designing programmes around creating "business, and profit and loss management leaders".

Additionally, many IIMs, he said, are focusing on digital, AI, and emerging sunrise sectors, incorporating more live projects, work-integrated programmes, and industry collaborations to ensure job readiness.

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/

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Ishita Ayan Dutt, Shine Jacob, Sanket Koul
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