New Delhi: After Mohit Mahajan gave the 2007 Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), his score of 750 ensured he won a seat in INSEAD, a prestigious business school in Paris. But by the time Mahajan approached banks for a Rs40 lakh loan to fund the course, the subprime crises had surfaced and banks had become wary of lending.

On track: The launch class of IIM-B’s executive MBA programme. Around 20% of this batch have a job offer.

So Mahajan had to let the offer go.

“In retrospection (it) was a good decision," said Mahajan, 29, who applied last year on the basis of his GMAT score for admission to the launch class of the one-year executive MBA programme at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIM-B).

Now, four months away from graduation, Mahajan said the number of companies which have visited campus for recruitment surprises him. “Six to seven months ago, was I expecting these kind of offers, these kind of designations? The answer is: No," said Mahajan, who has eight years of work experience and quit a job in Oracle Corp. to join the programme.

As recruiters return to business schools to hire, it is not just the core two-year MBA programmes that are gaining. Executive MBA programmes, shorter but more expensive, which struggled to place students amid the global economic downturn, are also looking up.

Students of the 80-seat executive MBA programme at IIM Ahmedabad (IIM-A) said that companies are hiring again.

“(The) interest we are getting (is) from people who we approached last year", said Manoj Khare, a student of the executive MBA programme at IIM-A responsible for job placements. The school has seen a doubling from last year in the number of pre-placement talks (PPTs) where companies pitch or explain their businesses to candidates, said another student.

“Yes, the response has been very good," said Sapna Agarwal, a graduate of IIM-B’s Class of 1993 who returned to her alma mater a few months ago to manage careers for students in the core MBA programme as well as the new executive MBA course.

Agarwal said 20% of the 75-strong class in IIM-B’s executive MBA programme has a job offer in hand.

Recruiters turned up in force during the recently concluded summer placement season at IIMs, where students from the core two-year MBA programme meet employers to get internships for the next summer. Goldman Sachs doubled its hires from IIMs; the Royal Bank of Scotland made 12 offers at IIM-A alone.

Those who manage executive MBA programmes say finding a fit for their experienced graduates, who tend to be picky, and know exactly what they are looking for in terms of jobs, can be difficult.

“Questions of fit and career progression become larger," said IIM-A’s Khare.

Khare, 43, quit an 18-year career progression, which included seven years in the Indian Railways, and ended with a job in an oil and gas advisory company. He said his decision to leave his job and join the programme with a fee tag of Rs18.5 lakh was made easier by the support of a wife who continues with her job in Pune. Khare also took an education loan of Rs11 lakh.

Most candidates look for shifts in career through an executive MBA programme. Hemant Tirthani, 30, who is enrolled in IIM-A’s executive MBA programme, for instance, has worked for five years in sales and marketing, and brand management. He wants to move to a position that is “more than marketing", and has “profit and loss responsibility in terms of how the company performs".