How B-schools reacted on recent placement crisis
With a number of e-commerce start-up players including Flipkart deferring placements at many IIMs and other top B-schools, the status quo between the recruiters and placement committees at the management institutions seems to be on a stir. A few B-schools including IIMs and that of IITs have already decided to bar the ‘defaulters’ for the coming placement season. The situation emerged after Top B-school like IIM Ahmedabad engaged in a bitter war of words with Flipkart by heavily criticizing its move to defer job offers. The incident has shaken growing influence of start-ups in B-School campus placements.
Careers360 has reported how Flipkart is not the lone recruiter deferring placements this year. Many B-schools are bearing the brunt of cautious approach that technology-driven start-ups have taken owing to increasing cost-cutting pressures. No wonder, the overall placement scenario at B-Schools is reflecting their woes. But, many B-schools think otherwise and suggest that this crisis has brought an opportunity for top B-schools to showcase their true potential. Also, a few B-schools opine that the crisis should be taken as an opportunity to explore support mechanism for students in the best possible ways. Careers360 explores how placement crisis is changing dynamics of the recruitment process and how different B-schools react to this.
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While the e-commerce start-ups cited restructuring processes as the reason for deferring joining dates, some B-schools dismissed such excuses and initiated strict actions against such recruiters in the placement policy from the next season. As a response to the deferred placements by start-ups, many IITs and IIMs have restricted them from their premium placement slots. Not only that, the recruiters also came for heavy criticism by B-schools who believe that they have not kept their words. B-schools like IIM-A held this as a breach of trust that they reposed in prestigious recruiters like Flipkart.
In the mail addressed to Flipkart, IIM A wrote, “Future engagement of Flipkart with B-School campuses is bound to get affected as a relationship based on mistrust and lack of transparency can never be mutually beneficial.”
Further, IIT placement panels have also discussed strategies to put onerous conditions on start-ups that may wish to hire from their campuses. Students are also being cautioned while entering their preference for start-up recruiters. Kaustubha Mohanty, convener of the IIT placement panel said that students are being educated about the risk of joining start-ups. “And still if they want to, they can go ahead. But definitely, we will not be giving our day-one slots to these companies,” he was quoted saying to a daily newspaper.
The day-one slot, a premium slot for recruiters in the placements, across IITs and IIMs is generally reserved for most reputed companies. The list usually includes top companies like Google, Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, McKinsey & Company among others. The e-commerce giant Flipkart so far has been accommodated in the day one slot across top B-schools for last 4-5 years. Of late, B-schools had started accommodating many e-commerce start-ups in their premium slots as they vowed to offer promising opportunities and roles to passing out graduates.
Litmus test for brand IIM
While a few IIMs and IITs have already decided to bar a few start-ups from their premium slots, some PGDM institutes feel that the crisis that emerged at top B-schools including IIMs is a litmus test for their processes and quality. They say that it is also testing time for B-schools like IIMs which are hugely funded with public money and government-supported infrastructure. “IIMs are heavily funded with public money. It is the time now that they prove their worth in an open market,” says Dr. Atish Chatopadhyay, Director IMT Ghaziabad. He adds that “IIM Ahmedabad and its students should take the situation as a litmus test to check their ability and worth in the market. They need to assess their true value in the market by trying to get a job offer without the help of their alma mater.”
According to Dr. Chattopadhyay, if one is competent enough to get into a top B-School, his capability only stands to increase and a little bump in the placements must not be a concern for such bright graduates. “They must not be insecure to prove their market value,” he says.
He also feels that IIMA is regarded as a top brand in Indian management system and they should have behaved in more mature manner on the placement hiccup that it is faced with now. “IIMA is a top institution. They should speak with humility and respect recruiters who have been consistently participating in their placements and supporting their graduates with job offers and opportunities.”
The aggressive reaction from IIMs and IITs towards start-up recruiters, who might have deferred offers due to genuine business problems faced by them, is not justified. “What value IIMs are imparting in their students and what value they are adding to the overall industry-academia collaborations?” he asks.
Many PGDM institutes opine that the IIM reaction to the crisis is only weakening their image. They say that unlike IIMs who get huge government support and yet find it difficult to sync with changing industry dynamics, many top private PGDM institutions with almost no support from the government do not only manage their academic exercise well but also instill enough confidence among their graduates to cope with evolving market scenario.
Deferred placements not new; focus on constructive measures
While IIMs and IITs have initiated strong measures against defaulter companies,on the contrary, some B-schools seem to be at ease as they say that delay in joining has not only happened this year but earlier also. Many B-schools opine that rather than overreacting in such situation, B-schools must be talking to recruiters and find out best possible solution which is the interest of both students and recruiters. In such crisis, students should utilize their time by engaging themselves in some constructive activities and exploring their potential in open market and B-schools should be internally supporting students in their endeavor.
Dr. R Gopal, D Y Patil University School of Management, Navi Mumbai says that this is not the first time that a company has deferred joining of the B-School students. “It has been happening in the B-schools for past 3-4 years. As this has been a general trend in IIMs and B-schools, the institutes, under such events offer other jobs or internship options to the affected students,” he says.
Ganesh N Prabhu, Professor, IIM Bangalore, said that under such situations the institute should be facilitating affected students. For example, IIMB is supporting their affected graduates with short-term internship opportunities. “IIMB is facilitating the job search to the affected students. Those not interested in other job options are looking at good experience from short term internship opportunities during their long waiting period,” he says. R.C Natarajan, Director, TAPMI Manipal shares that his institute extends immediate supports to the affected students and help them get jobs in other organizations.
Dr. Uday Salunkhe, Group Director, WeSchool Mumbai suggests that in such cases, the recruiters must assign some projects to the affected students for the time being so as the rapport between the B-school and company remains unaffected. He says, “It would be the best if the company could also assign some useful projects to such affected students and pay a stipend. What is most important is that the relationship between the two institutions should be preserved.”
Altogether, around 18 graduates of IIM-Ahmedabad, few from XLRI Jamshedpur (Xavier School of Management) and IIM Udaipur, IIM Bangalore, and some from FMS Delhi and MDI Gurgaon reported about the said companies deferring the joining dates of their placed students.
As per the market speculations and inputs provided by B-schools, the reasons for such step by start-ups are believed to be devaluation, miscalculated predictions of business requirements in terms of human resources, and difficulty in raising funds.
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