Dec 27, 2008

India - Alumni help B-schools take pride of place

Jessica Mehroin Irani

MUMBAI: With the slowdown adversely impacting recruitment, the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are taking no chances. The placement season
for 2009 is just a few weeks away, and the IIMs are banking heavily on the strength of its alumni to make sure there are not many hiccups along the way.

IIM Bangalore (IIM-B) has been proactive in contacting its alumni and asking them to support the institute and its students through the placement season which will commence shortly. IIM-B’s placement committee recently made a presentation to its 1998 batch at a recent alumni reunion. The presentation outlined the recruitment process from the past and highlighted how the alumni could take part in the ensuing season. The objective is to invite past students to visit the campus during the 2009 placement season and recruit in large numbers. “Our alumni, who are with various companies, helped us with our summer internships this year. We have a large alumni network and we shall continue to look at it for support,” said a member of the committee.

Like IIM-B, IIM Ahmedabad (IIM-A) is banking on its past students. The institute, which will complete 50 years of its existence in December 2011, has sent an e-mail to its alumni — a copy of which is with ET — which summed up the mood among the students. “There is some apprehension among the current students in the institute that the forthcoming placement (March 2009) may be difficult. I would request you to individually and collectively to put in a special effort to ensure that the organisations you are with do visit the institute for permanent placement and give an opportunity to students to present their credentials for recruitment,” the mail stated.

It also touched upon the recent attacks in Mumbai and asked the alumni to contribute to the endowment fund set up by the institute. IIM-A did not respond to a query from ET.

In the midst of all this, some former students have been optimistic about how the placement season will play out. The Alumni Council head for IIM-A, V Vaidyanathan, an alumnus of the class of 1985, said that the institute would not face too many problems during the placement season. “If the bride is attractive, the suitors will come,” is how he put it. The big sectors — Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) — have over the past few years recruited around 40% of a batch’s students. That may not be the case this time around. Likewise, information technology (IT) may go a little slow this time around. “However, sectors like infrastructure, consulting, manufacturing and consumer marketing will continue to recruit,” said Mr Vaidyanathan. It is expected that there may not be a case of students holding too many job offers compared to the scenario in the past. “Earlier, each student had 5-6 offers. This year it might be 2-3,” he added.

So far, other IIMs have not reacted to the slowdown. When ET contacted past students from IIM Calcutta (IIM-C), they said they were not in receipt of any mail from the institute. “Even if companies do go, they will make fewer offers. They would want to maintain good relations with the institute and may make a goodwill gesture by hiring a few students,” says an IIM-C graduate from the 1987 batch.

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