Bangalore: Even as their internships are over, business school students are still waiting for what may be summer’s biggest lesson of all: Will the Indian economy slow down? Or will employers, as they have in years past, still extend early offers, making placements an unnecessary chore for some?
So far, there isn’t too much cause for concern.
Job hunt: Pranay Shetty (left) and Sharmili Phulgirkar (second from left) with their IIM-B batchmates.
“Going by last year, companies typically wait till August-September before they make pre-placement offers. So far we haven’t got any pre-placement offers for our batch,” said Sharmili Phulgirkar, in her second year at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIM-B); she is also the media cell representative and interned with Barclays Capital in Mumbai.
It’s a similar story at Pune-based Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM). Says Gaurav Ramdev, who is part of SIBM’s placement advisory team: “We have received one pre-placement interview, but we expect the offers to come in only by August-September.” The one offer was for a student at JPMorgan India Pvt. Ltd. in Mumbai.
After a summer stint with Tata Capital Ltd, a non-banking finance company, Prashant Dadu, a second-year student of SIBM, says he now knows which career to choose. “I did primary research, got ideas on strategy and, of course, plenty of domain knowledge.” Dadu is now looking at a career in the sales and marketing division of a retail finance company. Prior to B-school, he had worked for three years with US-based IT consulting and services firm, Caritor Inc. (now known as Keane Inc.), but had wanted to move away from a career in software.
Management students are hoping that some of these internships will convert into placements by the time they graduate. For instance, half of Intel Corp.’s MBA interns in India go on to become full-time employees. Says Camille Miranda Gonsalves, the head of public relations for Intel, South Asia: “One of the best platforms to become an Intel employee would be through the quality of internship work and academic excellence.”
Says a Citibank spokesman in India, “The bank in India has been growing both in terms of profits and headcount.” Citibank, which has suffered massive losses on the global front, plans to visit the top 25-30 B-schools for recruitments in the coming year.
But Sampath Shetty, vice-president (permanent staffing) at TeamLease Services (Pvt.) Ltd, a staffing firm with operations across Indian cities, has a bleak take. “This year companies are not looking at increasing headcounts, leave alone internships,” he says. According to him, excluding those from IIMs, almost 98% of the remaining MBA students will face difficulty in finding jobs in the current circumstances.
Notwithstanding the mood in corporate circles, students are happy with their summer stints. “It was a true learning experience as I got to apply all the concepts in my textbooks,” says Subir Sarkar, a second-year MBA student at Ghaziabad-based Institute of Management Technology. He’s back from a two-month internship with medical technology firm Becton Dickinson India Pvt. Ltd, where he did a market research project for the first time. “I can relate to my professor’s classes better and the subject is much more vivid.”
So what else do students take away from internships, besides a clearer picture of which industry sector they want to work in?
Plenty of soft skills, it seems. Pranay Shetty, a second year student at IIM-B snagged an internship with investment banking major Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. at its London office. For Shetty, there were many firsts — his first trip abroad and first work experience. On the first day, he found himself sharing a desk with a Greek, a Kenyan and a Swede. Shetty, however, feels getting to know people is better done outside the workplace, say at a pub or at small office parties.
Even with the internships over, the debutantes remain eager to keep in touch with their ex-colleagues and former managers, realizing the importance of networking. Shetty uses email and Facebook for touching base with his analyst teammates.
Dadu has it easier. “They will be in touch with me as the project I had worked on is being implemented. I have also built a personal rapport with my sales manager on a mentoral level.”
Dealing with busy managers, Shetty has also picked up the art of the elevator pitch — being able to present an idea in the two-minute span of riding the lift. He feels he can now quickly impress a manager enough to get 15 minutes later.
It does get a little awkward sending courtesy mails to the senior management. But the personal touch can make a difference — especially if the job market tightens. Phulgirkar called up her manager to wish him a happy birthday, for example. “He also advises me on what courses to take in my second year,” she says. “It helps that he is an IIM alumni.”