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Big bucks after B-school

Big bucks after B-school

Top Indian management schools once seemed like pipelines to transnational companies, with salaries of recent graduates in the double-digit lakh figures annually.

But this year, it seems, things will be very different.

As Mint reported on Friday, the average domestic salaries for the graduating batch of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) took a staggering 32% cut from last year, and recruiting is undoubtedly slower than recent years. Business Standard reported on Sunday that Infosys is delaying its campus recruiting this year and has a freeze on new recruits.

While formal recruitment at IIM-A is slowing, it’s fair to assume that other prestigious management schools, and those much further down the rung, will face an even harder time.

To be sure, top Indian B-schools often function more as signallers for major firms. But in this recessionary climate, many of these students will be forced to be much more resourceful and entrepreneurial.

There is much to suggest that top business graduates are beginning start-ups or pursuing what would normally be considered off-beat employment. Gone are the days of fast track pipelines to cushy investment bank postings abroad or management consulting gigs in Gurgaon.

Stanford economist Paul Romer has said that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste, and for many top management graduates, such a maxim may resonate particularly strongly.

During this period of crisis, there’s an opportunity to pursue bold risks in new industries or locations, or to pursue far-flung interests. Some may opt to simply ride out the storm with humbler aspirations for now, planning to enter their true ambitions later.

But it’s unlikely that traditionally the most lucrative industries—investment banking in particular—will emerge from the crisis as still the highest paying. Those graduates willing to take a risk may be rewarded for it. And for those just out of school, the familial and social obligations that come with older age are likely less burdensome now.

Indeed, in the uncertainty of these times, taking risks might be the most judicious move. A crisis, indeed, is a terrible thing to waste.

How should B-school grads cope with the slowdown? Tell us at views@livemint.com

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