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B-schools prod students to float ventures in weak job market

Kalpana Pathak & Vinay Umarji in Mumbai/Ahmedabad | February 09, 2009 11:57 IST

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As the prospects for campus recruitment turn bleak, leading business schools are promoting entrepreneurship among students.

Mumbai-based SP Jain Institute of Management and Research has announced that it will provide initial financial assistance to the tune of Rs 20 lakhs (Rs 2 million)to any of its students who wishes to don the entrepreneurial hat.

"With the current problems in the job market, we are looking at promoting entrepreneurship among our students. We will provide them with initial capital and become their partners in the venture. In case the venture succeeds, we will ask for the amount back," said SPJIMR dean ML Shrikant.

The business school has set up an entrepreneurship cell in association with National Entrepreneurship Network.

Last year, around five SPJIMR students decided to opt out of placements to float their own venture. This year, the institute expects around 20 students to go the entrepreneurial way. For the next academic year, SPJIMR plans to recruit 10 students specifically to train them in entrepreneurship on its campus.

The unprecedented slowdown has affected lateral and final placements at business schools across the country, including the premier institutes. Investment banks, top recruiters till last year, have decided to go slow on campus hiring this year.

Companies that have turned up for fresh graduates at business schools are stuck at last year's salaries. Students too have toned down their salary expectations during the final placement season this year.

Most students expect similar salaries to last year, instead of the 30 per cent annual increase that has been the norm.

A recent Nielsen Campus Track B-School survey had indicated that the average salary expectations of students have been scaled down to Rs 14 lakhs (Rs 1.4 million) this year.

To get out of the bind, business schools are encouraging students to float their own venture.

The Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, is banking on its deferred placement policy where it encourages students to float their own venture and in case it fails, they can come back to the campus for placements after two years of passing out.

"With the job scene being dim and a lot of entrepreneurial ventures turning out to be a success, we have been encouraging students who are willing to venture into entrepreneurial arena. The students can rest assured that the placement window is open for at least two years," said IIM-B chairperson (placements) Sourav Mukherji.

IIM-B has hardly seen couple of students coming back for deferred placements ever since the option was offered two years back. This shows that the students have turned into successful entrepreneurs.

Gurgaon-based Management Development Institute also expects more students to take up entrepreneurship this year. The institute has received funding for its entrepreneurship cell and expects that around 10 students will opt for the same, against two students last year.

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