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Pandemic Reality: Digital, Consultancy Roles Most Sought After At B-School Placements With Rise In Pay Packages


The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically changed the world of placements. Most B-schools were pushed into holding online placements since 2020 and the digital placements have continued for the batch of 2021 as well. Several B-schools have reported a rise in packages and an increase in the number of firms accessing their campuses despite the pandemic, thanks to the digital world. Yet, B-schools continue to prefer physical mode for placements. The blended form will be adopted by most B-schools, including online facilities for those who are not able to reach campuses, in the coming future.

The number of recruiters in a season is dependent on several factors, said Prof Abhishek Goel, Chairperson IIM-Calcutta placements. IIM-C has reported a rise in the number of recruiters by 20 per cent between 2019 and 2021. The average salary offered at the institute too has gone up from Rs 25.4 lakh in 2019 to Rs 29 lakh in 2021, however, the institute still would prefer offline placements.

“Placement weeks are also excellent meeting opportunities to exchange thoughts with recruiters. There is tremendous collaboration value that gets unlocked when the firms travel to campuses. IIM-Calcutta is capable of and willing to hold the placement week in any format including a hybrid mode that students and recruiters are mutually comfortable with. Of course, a single format makes it much easier for everyone in the process,” said Goel.

At IIM-Nagpur, the number of recruiters had gone up from 85 in 2019 to 120 in 2020 and 170 in 2021. The average package offered too has gone up from Rs 12.40 lakh per annum in 2019 to Rs 13.13 lakh in 2020 and Rs 13.21 lakh.

Souvik Roy, in-charge of Career Development Services at the IIM-Nagpur, called the virtual placements “challenging” and “exciting”. “The digital medium of recruitment has given the flexibility to both the companies and the students, with time and travel no longer constraining the recruitment window. The companies have employed a host of tools and have increased the number of simulations and rounds to gauge and evaluate the students more thoroughly.

“At IIM Nagpur, the move to the virtual placement season has undoubtedly been a new learning experience for the students, who were able to quickly adapt to the medium and excel at the same. We anticipate that the coming campus placement season will witness a surge of the hybrid model of hiring, with the preliminary screening rounds done online to aid a faster recruitment process,” Roy added.

At younger IIMs too such as IIM-Udaipur, the number of companies has gone up to 20 per cent while the highest packages shot up by Rs 3 lakh per annum since 2020. Yet, director Janat Shah said that the institute prefers physical placements. “We leave it to the visiting company to decide upon the medium of the placement process. The institute has ramped up its infrastructure to support the shift in the way processes are conducted and is ready to meet the demands of recruiters head-on. But our preference will always be to host the recruiter on campus so that they get the first-hand experience of the culture and values that are imbibed in our students,” said Shah.

XLRI-Xavier School of Management, Jamshedpur, the number of firms has gone up from 104 in 2019 to 108 in 2020 and 2021, each while packages have gone from Rs 22.3 lakh in 2019 to Rs 24.2 lakh and Rs 25.08 lakh in 2020, and 2021.

“Companies and institutions alike scrambled to get their online recruitment act together in 2020-21 but at the end of the day, several advantages of the digital process have also emerged. What happens going forward would be a call jointly taken by institutions and their respective recruitment partners, but we do feel that it is likely to be a blended process, with some companies preferring offline and others online. Also, some companies may adopt a hybrid process. Digital has levelled the playing field for geographically disadvantaged campuses like Jamshedpur, Shillong, etc,” said an XLRI spokesperson.

Most In-Demand Skills, Job roles

B-schools claim the digital job roles and consultancy roles have remained most sought after during the pandemic. “We have seen more demand from our regular recruiter pool consisting of top tier firms across sectors. Consulting firms have hired in large numbers. There has also been more demand for our graduates from the internet and technology firms, presumably due to the strong demand for their services in the market,” told IIM-Ahmedabad.

IIM-Calcutta placements claim to have seen an increased demand in business consulting, IT, and product management-related roles with nearly 60 per cent of the outgoing students opting for them. XLRI too reported high recruitment from consumer digital firms including fintech and e-commerce. Product Management, said the institute, was emerging as an important specialization vis a vis recruitment.

At IIM-Nagpur, there has been a surge in hiring from the ed-tech, consulting, IT & FMCG/FMCD sectors. Recruiters preferred tech-savvy students who were good at critical thinking and student’s fitment for the team and their creativity, the institute informed.

IIM-U too said that the e-commerce sector has seen the highest growth trajectory as the pandemic has forced people to go digital. The most demanded skillset pertains to sales and marketing, said Shah.



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