Tuesday, September 28, 2010

IIM-A attempts to bring order in salaries, placements

Day zero could soon become history and the hype around eye-popping salary figures contained, if stakeholders in the country’s management education — B-schools and recruiters — agree to standardise the placement process. The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), that introduced a cohort-based placement system for both summers as well as final placements, is now looking for a consensus among top B-schools in the country that will help introduce some standards in the placements process. A consensus is expected to benefit both the students and the recruiters, and would put an end to the race for supremacy among B-schools on the basis of top salary figures.

In order to bring all the concerned stakeholders under one roof and bring about a consensus, IIM-A will organise a 'Recruiters’ Conclave' in Mumbai on October 1 wherein recruiters and representatives of all IIMs and top private B-schools will discuss issues surrounding the placement process. This is perhaps the first attempt made by a B-school to initiate talks on the sensitive issue of placements. Till now, there has been no forum, even among the IIMs, to discuss issues plaguing recruiters, students and the fraternity.

For the conclave, IIM-A has invited recruiters who have been regular at the institute's campus as well as the placement chairpersons of all the operational IIMs and those of private B-schools like SP Jain, MDI, IMT, ISB and XLRI. Student representatives from these B-schools are expected to attend the conference. Currently, each B-School has its own way of announcing the success of the placement process. While some IIMs give out average salaries offered to their grads, a few B-schools capitalise on the highest salaries. Students say, salary figures are debatable as there is a varying proportion of variable pay.

IIM-A is scheduled to make a brief presentation on the strengths of the cohort system which it has adopted in place of the traditional Day-based system. In the cohort-based system, recruiters, classified as per their sectors, get much more time per candidate, thus ensuring that the final choice for both (students and recruiters) comes after taking into account factors such as role and challenge. The new process typically happens over weekends, thus not disrupting the academics.

"We are not trying to propagate or push the cohort system. We are not in any way dictating policies. Each institute implements a placements process that fits them. Though we ourselves have done away with the day system, we still continue to have rolling placements for the course for executives and lateral placements for the post-graduate students. So, through this open forum, we will only be sharing our learnings and in turn, listen to the concerns of recruiters and students. Problems can be solved only through discussions. If there is no forum (as the conclave) no solution will come up," says Prof. Saral Mukherjee, Chairperson - Placements, at IIM-A.

Recuriters at IIM-A who have largely welcomed the new cohort-based system are also expected to share their views during the conclave. "It is a much more matured and rationale system that IIM-A has evolved. There is less pressure on both, students as well as recruiters. It is progressive move. However, I won’t prescribe the system to other institutes. We as recruiters are not looking at standardisation among B-schools. Individual institutes should follow placement systems that suit them and we are willing to adapt," says Mr. Shaleen Madan, Vice President, Human Resource, Lodha Developers, a Mumbai-based real-estate firm which earlier this year had recruited six graduates from both IIM-A and other IIM campuses.

IIM-A had implemented the new placement system during the final placements in March 2010 and later took to the summer placement that willl happen in November. It has so far, remained the sole institute to follow this system. "We had discussed the system informally with the recruiters for about a year and then later went ahead and implemented it. Now, we are going to discuss it officially. We believe that it is our duty to share our learnings with other B-schools," Mr. Mukherjee added.

Reacting to IIM-A's attempt to bring together the country's top B-schools, Prof. Amit Dhiman, Chairperson - Placements, IIM-C. says, "It is a good forum to talk with the industry. The cohort-system is an experimental initiative taken by IIM-A. This could evolve as an alternative to the existing day-system. However, it is upon the individual B-schools to adopt a system that suits their way of functioning. While changing any system, we need to look at the response from all the stakeholders, including those from the industry and students. Issues of logistics (for the recruiters) also need to be explored."

Source: The Economic Times, September 28, 2010
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