Consulting, i-banking top choices for IIM students

Consulting, i-banking top choices for IIM students

New Delhi: More than anything else, students who will graduate in 2008 from the six Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) want to become management consultants.

That’s the finding of the Nielsen Campus Track B-school Survey 2007, a survey of 349 students from the IIMs who will graduate in 2008.

A file picture of recruiters from companies at the IIM-A campus

The desire to become an investment banker comes next at the IIMs, followed, in that order, by a preference for jobs in foreign banks and IT consultancies. “If you look at the last three-year recruitment data at IIM-A, more than 50% of our students have taken up jobs in investment banks and management consultancies," says Piyush Kumar Sinha, professor, retailing and chairperson, placement, at IIM-A.

The Boston Consulting Group Inc., McKinsey & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are among the preferred employers at the IIMs; AC Nielsen did not disclose the ranks of these companies.

However, the firm said McKinsey was considered a “dream company" by 40% of the respondents.

Sasikanth Dola, a 23-year-old second year student at IIM-A, is yet to decide where he wants to work but says “it would be a management consultancy or a private equity firm."

“A consultancy job, apart from a good compensation, offers a lot diversity in terms of work and there’s a lot of learning involved along the way," adds Dola.

There’s nothing like a consulting job to develop subject knowledge and leadership skills, says the head of a consulting firm. “Consulting offers an opportunity to work in projects across sectors, understand companies, sector dynamics and complexities better," says Vivek Gupta, managing director, AT Kearney India. “The other advantage is that it helps you develop leadership skills to drive higher performance in companies as an outsider, which is always tougher compared to bringing in change within an organization," he adds.

According to the survey, IIM students believe that retailing is the business that shows the most promise and hence could generate the best jobs in the future (39% of students picked this), ahead of even private equity (26%) and investment banking (24%).

“Retailing in India has been under the spotlight over the last few years with the segment seeing huge foreign direct investment and entry of large Indian corporates and multinationals," says Vatsala Pant, associate director, client solutions, The Nielsen Co., India, in a statement issued by the company.

According to the survey, retailers could soon start figuring among the list of preferred employers at the IIMs. “The growth rate in the retail sector is a big draw. When you see growth, you see more potential," says Govind Shrikhande, chief executive officer, Shoppers’ Stop Ltd.

“When you are delivering ‘physical’ sales to a ‘physical’ end customer, the process itself lends into unique situations requiring quick decision making skills and smart strategies," adds Shrikhande.

The survey also says IIM graduates look at a company’s reputation, its brand image, and the compensation offered (in that order) before deciding on a job. It adds that they expect to earn an average of Rs19 lakh a year, almost a third more than last year’s average salary at the IIMs.

The survey also says 47% of the respondents expect to move out of their first job in less than three years. “It takes a couple of years for a candidate to identify his or her interest area," says Shiv Agrawal, chief executive officer, ABC Consultants Pvt. Ltd. “The other reason for job hopping is a mismatch of expectations between the employee and employer and the search of newer challenges," he adds.