It's time for the famous B-school fests. But the zing is somewhat missing this time.
The economic slowdown is playing a spoilsport at the festivals which are scheduled to begin this month. The business institutes are finding it difficult to arrange for sponsorships from corporate houses who are cutting down on campus spending.
The Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, which has its annual business fest 'Vista' slated this October 1012, has been able to manage a fund collection of around Rs 85 lakh (8.5 million). Last year, the institute was able to raise around Rs 1 crore (10 million).
"Companies have either frozen campus spending or cut down on the sponsorship money. The organisations have become conscious and want to know what would be the return on investment for them if they sponsor our events," said a professor from the IIM-B.
At the IIM Kozhikode, the annual business fest - 'Backwaters' is scheduled for January 2009. Companies that sponsored events to the tune of Rs 15 lakh (Rs 1.5 million) last year have backed out this year. The institute says it would be happy to even meet last year's budget where it generated Rs 45 lakh (Rs 4.5 million). The institute has a target budget of Rs 60 lakh (Rs 6 million) this year against Rs 50 lakh (Rs 5 million) last year.
"Though we are three months away from the event, most of the big sponsors have not yet confirmed their presence on the campus. We are looking at sectors like marketing and media and entertainment which are growing despite the global financial meltdown and would not mind sponsoring the b-school fests," said Revant Bhate, second year student at IIM-K.
At the IIM Ahmedabad, the annual business fest, 'Confluence' is slated for November.
The institute says though it is aware of that the markets are not in good health and the funds would be difficult to come by, it is hopeful and is pursuing talks with companies.
With a lesser budget, some institutes are looking at scaling down the price money for some of the events as well. For the past two years, Reliance Industries has been one of the biggest sponsors at the IIM-K's White Night event (part of the business fest), where it awards price money of Rs 200,000 to the student. The company has not yet confirmed its participation this year.
Companies, which sponsor events at B-schools, include bigwigs like the Tatas, Reliance Industries, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Capgemini India, GE Commercial Finance, Deloitte Consulting, State Bank of India, etc.
There are around 10-15 management events at the business fests with each event being sponsored by one company. More than half of the budget generated, goes towards meeting the travel expenses of the finalists. The rest is scattered in arranging for logistics, merchandise, website creation and other expenses.