Ahmedabad: Well-built and courteous, 30-year-old Major Suman Majumdar of 3 Para (special forces), was previously an Aide-de-Camp to the former chief of army staff. He is now gearing up to take over as area operations manager at Spencer’s Retail Ltd, the retail chain of RPG Enterprises, in Delhi.
Majumdar is one of 66 defence personnel, including brigadiers, majors, wing commanders and captains, who have decided to take off their battle gear and get equipped at the country’s premier business school – the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad – for corporate warfare.
They will be completing the six-month Armed Forces programme at IIM-A next month and are already being placed in top Indian companies. More than 50 corporate houses have queued up at the institute to lap them up, including the Aditya Birla group, Tata group of companies, ABG Shipyard Limited, the RPG group, ICICI Bank Limited, Suzlon Energy Limited and the Adani group.
“They have the tenacity and experience of managing people and situations beyond the imagination of many of us. They surely have it in them to leave mark on corporate India,” P.P. Dasgupta, vice president (human resources), Raymond Limited, said.
Dasgupta, a regular at recruiting graduates from the IIM-Lucknow and IIM-Kolkata, says he is satisfied with the quality of the recruits and is looking for a woman defence officer to join as the brand ambassador of the company. This is his first time at the IIM-A to recruit personnel from the third batch of the Armed Forces programme.
Dasgupta says he is keen on hiring defence personnel, as they are less likely to change jobs as frequently as other young management hires. Raymond plans to hire defence personnel for administration, human resources and marketing, and has made 12 offers to senior officers from the batch.
Officers with more than 20 years in the forces have received the best offers. The average age of the batch is around 41 years, with eldest being a 57-year-old brigadier and the youngest a 29-year-old major.
The companies have made 40 offers since the beginning of the placement programme on 15 February, 24 of which have been accepted. The highest posting this year is that of the chief executive of Chennai-based IFMR Trust, a micro finance institution headed by former ICICI official Nachiket More.
“They are all ending up as general managers and vice presidents of the companies,” Colonel Sanjay Shrivastava, placement coordinator, Armed Forces Programme, said.
“Many of these personnel are seeking stability as our children’s education suffers. Moreover, our take home (salary) in the defence is around Rs25,000 a month, while what we get in corporate sector goes up to 10 times,” Shrivastava said.
As for the salaries on offer, the officers prefer to keep the figures close to their chest. However, a senior faculty member at the IIM-A said the salaries have gone up by 1.5 to 2 times this year. “Last year the highest salary offered was Rs26 lakh while this year the highest offer so far has been Rs39 lakh,” he said.