Kolkata/Bangalore: Banks and financial services firms emerged as the top hirers of summer interns at the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), 14 months after the collapse of Wall Street investment bank Lehman Brothers triggered a global crisis that slowed hiring.

Looking up: A file photo of IIM Calcutta students. At IIM-C, 44% of 407 students got internships in finance. Indranil Bhoumik / Mint

Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS), Barclays Capital and Nomura Holdings Inc., which acquired Lehman’s Asian and European operations, were among the top financial firms that recruited interns from among students scheduled to graduate in 2011.At IIM Calcutta (IIM-C), 44% of the 407 students who sat for summer placements landed internships in the finance sector.

“The investment banks returned with great gusto to campus. Royal Bank of Scotland made the largest number of offers by any investment bank, by taking 11 students," IIM-C said in a statement.

India’s B-schools were hit by the global financial crisis and the absence of Wall Street recruiters in the final placement season of 2009 when job and salary offers declined, with average pay at IIM Ahmedabad (IIM-A), considered the country’s best B-school, dropping 32%.

Summer placements are important for management students because many of them are eventually offered full-time jobs by firms with which they intern.

At IIM-A, finance remained the top pick, with 44% of 312 students opting for roles in finance—investment banking, private equity, corporate banking and treasury—when the placements ended on 6 November.

“We observed a drastic turnaround in hiring by the investment banks over the last summer placement season," IIM-A said. Last year, for the 2008-10 batch, the number of offers made on the first day of placements and accepted by students was 35; this year, it jumped to 77.

As at IIM-C, RBS received the highest number of acceptances from IIM-A, with 12 students opting for summer internships in April-May 2010.

UK bank Standard Chartered Plc took 15 summer interns from IIMs, on par with last year, and plans to recruit 30 in next year’s job placements.

Although internships are considered to be an indicator of final placements, StanChart’s human resources head for India and South Asia, Madhavi Lall, said it’s too early to say how the hiring will go. “Companies are still working on their (hiring) plans," she said.

Indian Oil Corp. Ltd (IOC), which hired 25 IIM students in March, said it is yet to decide whether to hire more in 2010. “Our requirements are comparatively low this year because of fewer resignations," said V.C. Agrawal, director of HR at IOC.