Ahmedabad: The celebrations only began after every student from Dorm 16 was spoken for.
Pradipto Das is headed to Hong Kong, Ankan Saha to London, Amey Kinnerkar to Kuwait, Siddharth Murlidharan to much nearer Delhi.
But on 12 March, the students at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad just headed to a five-star hotel nearby to revel in their new jobs and reminisce over what it took to get there.
As it has been for the last few years, India’s top business school concluded its highly- competitive job placements a day early, a reflection of the hunger for talent in a growing and global economy. In many ways, Dorm 16 represents the plans of the entire 2007 batch: some going overseas, some going into finance, some going into business for themselves.
As the group of 18 gathered at the Pride Hotel gobbled chicken masala, Rahul Raushan and Kartik Laxman discussed their own business venture, a cricket stock exchange of 15,000 registered users, which became blocked last night amid the World Cup frenzy. Raushan and Laxman, about to finish their first year in the two-year MBA programme, will sit for placements next year.
The luncheon was held specifically to honour Kinnerkar, better known as “Soda” in the dorm, and his upcoming move to Kuwait. Upon receiving an offer, he mulled over the decision and called up his father, a chartered accountant in Pune, for advice.
“Basically, Soda needs to grow up,” said Saha, followed by even more ribbing by the whole table for the hapless target, who also holds an engineering degree, on his high salary.
Students did not divulge job descriptions or salary numbers as IIM-A will officially release details of the 2007 placement season on 13 March. This year, institutes have been especially secretive on average salaries, saying the high numbers often scare off recruiters and can even result in extortion claims on students’ families.
IIM-Indore and IIM-Kozhikode each reported average salaries of about Rs12 lakh, according to Cool Avenues, a web site that rounds up MBA data. IIM-Bangalore, meanwhile, said about 40% of its batch of 233 students received offers from investment banking, consulting and private equity firms.
IIM-Bangalore reported placing 60 students in cities such as New York, Singapore, Hong Kong and in Trinidad, the latter a hire for an Arcelor-Mittal plant. Jobs in consulting and finance drew 32% of the graduates, replacing last year’s investment banking as the most coveted job. This year, 14% went into banking, 8% into information-technology, and 5% chose other careers.
Sixty IIM-Bangalore students will head to cities such as New York, Singapore, Hong Kong and Trinidad, the latter a hire for the Arcelor-Mittal Group’s plant. Bangalore did not report salary data.
“What I am most uncomfortable with is coverting a dollar salary to a rupee salary,” said Gautam Puri, MD of Career Launcher, a test-preparation firm for aspiring management students. “A crore salary does not take into consideration purchasing power parity.”
Observers also caution that the IIMs represent just a fraction of the 65,000 MBA graduates India produces every year, although many institutes report record salaries and a high number of foreign recruiters from banking, finance and private equity this year.
“It has not yet sunk in,” said Kinnerkar about his move to Kuwait. He added that he is relieved that it was all over.
Others around the table agreed. But Murlidharan, who is moving to Delhi, became cynical when discussing a placement process where recruiters try to sell themselves hard with beefed-up job profiles and high salaries: “I could not care less,” he said.
Two of the graduates said they are penning books on their experiences at IIM-A. “I want to give the inside story,” said Laxman, joint owner of the cricket stock exchange, where shares in cricketers are bought and sold depending on performance.
Funding for the stock exchange, which operates in virtual cash, is being secured, the entrepreneurs said.
But despite their celebration, the students of Dorm 16 still share a common stress: breaking the news to their families. Das has already made a dash back home to Kolkata to reassure his folks about his decision to take a job in Hong Kong.
Saha, whose parents live in Jaipur, has had similar conversations. “They are worried about how we will adjust,” says Saha, who has accepted an offer to work in London.
They pushed aside the worries, though, and said the party will continue. “We will celebrate with Rasna and tea,” said a grinning Murlidharan. IIM-A, is located in dry Gujarat.
A few like Kinnerkar are headed to Goa to meet extended family and batch-mates. Their start dates will be decided later.