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High-frequency and quantitative trading firms snapped up top talent from the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) on Thursday, offering salaries as high as 4 crore, as the placements season kicked off at the country’s premier engineering schools.

“Jane Street has offered one of our students about 4 crore," said a placement team student member at IIT-Kanpur. Mails to both IIT-Kanpur and Jane Street remained unanswered.

Despite the new record offer from proprietary trading firm Jane Street Capital, many bluechip companies have stayed away, scalded by the ongoing economic slowdown.

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High-frequency trading (HFT) and quant companies hire candidates who can analyze markets using mathematical and statistical models. Despite the global recession, this segment has managed to recruit students from IITs at salaries of crores and higher.

“HFT firms posted good revenue last year, and although the growth in 2023 may not be as high as 2022, the going is still good. We are recruiting for India, Singapore, Chicago and Amsterdam offices," said Prashant Singh, founder and managing director of Quantbox Research.

HFT companies offered 1.3-1.4 crore for domestic postings and 1.6-2.4 crore for global placements, Singh said. “The salaries include a bonus of 80 lakh, but over the last couple of years, the new recruits have received more than 100% bonus," he said, adding his company will recruit 10-15 students this year at salaries similar to last year’s.

“There is a need for analytical skills and logical thinking in these HFT profiles, and the firms come to IIT for placements," said Sathyan Subbiah, adviser (placement) at IIT-Madras, one of India’s older IITs. It received 25 offers with pay packages in excess of 1 crore per annum, including pre-placement offers at the end of the first day of placements.

According to placement teams, Squarepoint, Tibra, Quadeye, Graviton Research Capital, JPMC Quant, Maverick Derivatives and Da Vinci are some of the companies that have visited IIT campuses.

“Maverick Derivatives and Da Vinci have offered a package of €150,000," said a placement team member at IIT-Kanpur. Both firms didn’t respond to Mint’s queries. At IIT-Madras, security firms Cohesity, Rubrik and trading firm Optiver have also offered international roles, and some of the profiles are likely above 1 crore.

Some recruiters at IIT-Madras in terms of offers were Texas Instruments (14), Bajaj Auto Ltd and Chetak Technology Ltd (10 each), Qualcomm (8), and JP Morgan Chase and Co. (9), IIT- Madras said.

However, according to placement teams in multiple IITs, the number of global offers has taken a beating as many firms are on a hiring freeze. Last year, ride and food delivery firm Uber was the top recruiter, offering a salary as high as 2.16 crore annually.

This year, pre-placement offers have turned out to be the favoured route for companies who have rolled out offers to students at the end of their internships. The slowdown’s immediate impact was seen in companies like Microsoft, which are not offering global roles. It has offered about 50 lakh offer for domestic roles. Google, too, rolled out offers in a similar range as Microsoft. However, Accenture offered 85 lakh for roles based out of Japan.

Among startups and e-commerce firms, Flipkart is offering data science and product manager roles for 26-33 lakh.

“ We engage with various colleges for campus hiring for roles including SCM, Analytics and Product and Business Development and visit business schools and engineering campuses across the country including IIT Bombay, Delhi, Madras, Kanpur, BHU (Varanasi), Roorkee, Hyderabad and Guwahati," said a Flipkart spokesperson in response to Mint’s mail.

Most IITs began their placement season at midnight. Oracle rolled out 11 offers to students from IIT-Guwahati. One of its students received a pay package of 2.4 crore for a global role, while another drew a domestic role for 1.1 crore.

IIT-Roorkee said a student received 1.06 cr. salary for an international posting and 1.30 crore for a domestic posting. AppDynamics, Bajaj Auto, BCG, Cairn Oil and Gas, Da Vinci Derivatives, Flipkart, Graviton, Intel Technologies were some the recruiters.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Devina Sengupta

Devina Sengupta reports on the shifts in India Inc’s workplaces, HR policies and writes about the developments at India’s biggest conglomerates. Her stories over the last decade have been picked up and followed by Indian and international news outlets. She joined Mint in 2022 and previously worked with The Economic Times and DNA-Money.
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