Firms recruiting summer interns from the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) plan to hire larger numbers from the premier business schools this year on the back of improved business sentiment.

Sunny days: The Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. According to the IIMs that are in the process of placing students as summer interns next year, the situation has changed for the better. Hemant Mishra / Mint

“We are targeting to hire 24 IIM students this year," said Edward Naylor, spokesman in Asia for Goldman Sachs. “They will join Goldman Sachs in our London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangalore and Mumbai offices."

This means a doubling of summer intern hires that the investment bank made in 2008. “It is clearly a very different environment," Naylor said, explaining the higher intake.

“Our intention is to hire more people," said Abhishek Malhotra, partner in Booz and Co., an international consulting firm that offered three internships at IIM Ahmedabad on Monday and intends to also hire at IIM Bangalore, where candidates start meeting potential employers from Friday.

TAS, which recruits managers for the Tata group of companies, is also hiring aggressively. “Yesterday, 10 interns were recruited from IIM-A, which was the highest number of offers made by any company on that day," Rahul Krishna, who heads TAS, said in an emailed response on Wednesday.

Krishna said he will also recruit summer interns at IIM Calcutta and IIM Bangalore, besides three other business schools which he did not name. IIM-C said in a statement on Thursday that TAS made 10 internship offers.

TAS recruited a total of 27 summer interns last year from the six business schools it visited.

India’s business schools were hit by the global financial crisis and the absence of Wall Street recruiters in the final placement season of 2009, when graduating students find full-time jobs, despite a good summer placement season in 2008.

The situation has changed for the better, according to the IIMs that are in the process of placing students scheduled to graduate in 2011 as summer interns next year.

Summer placements are important for management students because many of them are eventually offered full-time jobs by the companies with which they intern at the end of the two-year course.

The first day of summer placements on Wednesday at IIM-C saw Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. (RBS) selecting 11 students for internship. Three leading investment banks also made offers, the institute said in a statement, but declined to name the recruiters.

Consulting firms McKinsey and Co., Boston Consulting Group and Bain and Co. will have three-five students joining them as summer interns from IIM-A in April next year. Investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Barclays Plc would also accept five summer interns each, the institute said on Monday. RBS hired at least 10 summer interns for its Hong Kong, Singapore, New Delhi and London offices from the Ahmedabad business school.

The competition to hire the best students has also intensified.

“No, one can’t assume to have a free hand to select the best students," Naylor said. “There are many strong financial institutions on campus, all with unique stories to tell."

IIM Kozhikode said in a statement on Thursday that it has wound up its summer placement season for its 309-strong class. It said the highest stipend offered was more than Rs1 lakh for two months. A spokesperson said this was slightly better than last year, but declined to provide data on average stipends.

Banks and financial services firms hired 21% of the class, IIM Kozhikode said. Sales and marketing companies accounted for 23% job offers. New recruiters on campus were from the areas of media, sports management, hospitality and non-government organizations, the institute said.

A good summer placement season could be a precursor to a robust job market for graduates in February next year.

Malhotra said his company will hire more for full-time jobs as well. He declined to specify numbers but said, “We have experienced growth in our business."

He said the summer hires are most likely to join the company full-time in 2011, when the business environment is expected to have improved further.