Exploring the rise of new players in B-School placements

 Startups in fintech, HRTech, robotics, SaaS based startups have picked up students from management colleges offering niche profiles and competitive compensation. (HT)
Startups in fintech, HRTech, robotics, SaaS based startups have picked up students from management colleges offering niche profiles and competitive compensation. (HT)


  • The startups that have gone to management colleges are competing with more established companies, dangling heftier compensation packages and niche profiles
  • Startups are offering between 15 lakh and 35 lakh, on average, to management trainees.

Navi, a fintech firm set up by Flipkart founder Sachin Bansal, robotics enterprise Addverb, jewellery business BlueStone, and recruitment company Erekrut are among startups that have trooped into management campuses to hire graduates, as B-schools draw the curtain on the 2024 placement season.

Startups in fintech, HR-tech, robotics, and the software-as-a-service sectors have picked up candidates from top managements schools, offering them niche profiles and competitive compensation, despite the sluggishness in private equity and venture capital funding in the sector.

While top-tier management institutes such as the older Indian Institutes of Management have been able to place most of their students with companies, others in the pecking order have had to reach out to a fresh set of startups as they struggled to successfully complete their placement drive amid a challenging macro-economic landscape.

"We're committed to attracting top talent from universities and business schools, and we invest heavily in building relationships with these institutions. This year, we have hired over 100 graduates, which includes 25 interns," said Abhishek Mehrotra, chief human resources officer at fintech startup Yubi (formerly CredAvenue).

According to the final placement reports of the older, marquee IIMs such as the ones at Ahmedabad and Bengaluru, BrowserStack, a SaaS unicorn, recruited from both the campuses. 

Jewellery startup BlueStone, fintech startup Navi, merchant platform unicorn Pine Labs, online payments firm Simpl are some of the other startups, besides more established ones such as Flipkart and Myntra, that have snapped up graduates from these two campuses.

The startups that have gone to management colleges are competing with the more established companies with heftier compensation packages. They offer between 15 and 35 lakh on average to management trainees. In some cases, their niche profiles have become their biggest calling card.

To be sure, the number of startups visiting B-schools has gone down this year, after the post-pandemic hiring frenzy, prompting many colleges to reach out to them as they struggled with placements. "We reached out to the new firms (startups), looked at placement reports of the last few years published by tier 2 and 3 colleges to check if any company we have missed out," said a placement team member of Goa Institute of Management.

Whiles most students were keen on joining established companies, the younger IIMs such as those in Tiruchirapalli and Rohtak knew they could not afford to ignore the startups given the prevailing stress in the job markets.

"The profiles and designations are good. While students preferred the more established companies, this was a challenging year and we called large and small startups," said a placement team member of IIM Tiruchirappalli. The college, set up in 2011 in Tamil Nadu, has just concluded its placements.

Ajay Goyal, co-founder and chief executive officer, Erekrut, said they will hire candidates this year from management colleges like Faculty of Management Studies (University of Delhi), and Indian School of Business (ISB) for B2B Corporates, B2B Institutes and Growth Marketing profiles.

"We have been approached via emails from business schools like IIMs of Indore, Rohtak, Kozikhode and Sirmaur and also from ISB for interviews. Also, we have been interviewing candidates from across these business schools for various profiles," said Goyal.

Several non-IIM B-schools are struggling with the tail-end of their batches. The sluggish macroeconomic conditions, coupled with a pause in hiring after two years of frenetic recruitment, have led to the current slowdown. Fintech and edtech companies had boosted their headcount at a galloping pace during the pandemic, only to retrench thousands in 2022 and 2023, making many candidates at B-schools wary of joining them.

According to data from market intelligence platform Tracxn, cited in an earlier report by Mint, Indian tech startups raised $2 billion in January-March of 2024, down from $2.3 billion in the previous quarter. At the same time, the number of funding rounds dropped to a three-year low.

"Addverb hired talent from the top business schools in India for its robotics team, building a niche talent versus any other aggregator company. It is the first company in the robotics domain in India to create a robust campus recruitment program from premier engineering colleges of the country," said Kanupriya Verma, chief manager - HR, Addverb.

Campus placements at B-schools typically get over by February, but this year many of the non-IIMs have just concluded the placements or are still struggling with the last few of the batch of 2024.

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