Wednesday, October 06, 2010

IIM-Ahmedabad out to reform placement system

In 2010, IIM-Calcutta (IIM-C) reported Rs. 16 million as the highest international annual salary offered to one of its students. At IIM-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), the average domestic salary this year was Rs. 1.5 million as against Rs. 1.2 million in 2009, but well below the 2008 levels of Rs. 1.7 million. The average salary at IIM-Kozhikode (IIM-K) stood at Ra. 1.4 million.

The astronomical salaries paid to management passouts is a much-discussed topic and B-schools too, in their rush to establish supremacy, sometimes tweak salary components to arrive at higher figures. Hence a need was being felt to bring in more uniformity and transparency in placement standards. Towards this end, the IIMA has put forth a new system, Indian Placement Reporting Standards, which aims at achieving goals similar to those envisaged in the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

IIMs, private B-schools and blue-chip recruiters debated the concept at a recent recruiters conclave in Mumbai. The proposed system would calculate salary figures as per a common formula and placement results would be announced in a pre-decided format.

The pan-India standards presented in the conclave also aimed at a fair comparison between B-schools on parameters like salary figures and number of grads picked up by top recruiters. The norms aim to bring in more clarity on say, what actually constitutes a croreplus salary package. According to IIM-A Director Samir Barua, the norms will include salary structure, amount of CTC (cost to company), bonuses, relocation expenses, other cash expenses and even the non-cash part of the salary offered to the students.

The conference was attended by over 50 recruiters, including GE, McKinsey & Co., HUL, P&G, Wipro, Standard Chartered, Bank of India, and Monitor Group. While IIM-Bangalore was conspicuous by its absence, other IIMs, including IIM-Calcutta, Indore, Lucknow and Shillong participated along with private B-schools like ISB, S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research and Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad.

In fact, IIM-A has introduced its new cohort-based system for both summers as well as final placements from this year itself. The new system, which has replaced the traditional Day Zero process, aims to accommodate the increased number of students and facilitate smooth placement for them. IIM-A's student strength has gone up from 220 in 2003 to 431 in 2010.

According to it, recruiters are grouped together as per sectors, and not as per salaries offered. The process typically goes on during weekends without disrupting classes and allows recruiters more time with a student during interviews. IIM-A placement chairperson Saral Mukherjee, who designed the cohort-based system, said "there were inaccuracies in the way salary packages were reported. We hit upon an idea to tackle this problem. Through these standards we are looking at figures that are more robust and reliable," Mukherjee said, referring to the blatant misuse of students salary figures by some B-schools in promoting their brand.

The format has found favour among most recruiters, and the premier B-School hopes to tell its success story to other institutes through recruiters experiences. "We prefer the cohort system at IIM-A. It was clear that we needed time to discuss with the candidate and evaluate the strengths before hiring any graduate. The Day system did not give enough time and students ended up hurriedly selecting jobs," said Vasudev Murthy S., General Manager-Consulting Operations, Wipro.

"There was a need for a new system that can give much more time to students and recruiters. We believe that all the top IIMs like Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta and Lucknow should discuss and find out a common placement system which is similar to the cohort. Apart from reporting standardisation, there is a need for process standardisation," said a top official of a leading global investment bank on condition of anonymity.

Source: The Economic Times, Ocotber 6, 2010
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