Friday, June 11, 2010

B-schools outsource placements to HR firms

A large number of management schools in the country have begun outsourcing the process of student placements to human resource (HR) consultants. Traditionally, B-schools have an in-house placement team, headed by a faculty member. Several B-schools, on condition of anonymity, confirmed they had hired HR consultancies to find jobs for their students. Many of them also plan to have the agencies help out with placing their students as interns with companies.

Take the case of Bangalore-based B-school, Enrich Management Academy (EMA), which will offer a two-year post graduate progamme in management from this academic year. The institute is simultaneously launching operations in Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai. The institute is mentored by N.S. Ramaswamy, founder-director of Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIM-B). EMA plans to have an intake of 60 students in each location. EMA has tied up with TROI Management Consultants — a company engaged in recruitment, training and staffing services. Officials from EMA said, the management consultant company would work with students from the day they get enrolled into the institute. "We will work with the students to understand their background and the sectors they are interested to work in", said J Ramesh Kumar, general manager-operations, TROI. Accordingly, the company will help facilitate internships and final recruitments for the students by identifying the right employers. "We know the needs and expectations of companies when it comes to hiring and we will also know the student profiles. Hence, we can match them perfectly", added Kumar.

Delhi-based International Management Institute (IMI), too, said it was in discussion with an HR consultancy for campus placements last year but managed placements on its own. HR consultants take up the job at two levels — helping the students design their resumes along with grooming them and providing them with jobs. These firms charge between Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 60,000 per student according to the head of one of the top 10 recruiting firms in the country. "The B-schools account for the HR consultants fee in the fee they charge from the students. So they don’t find it difficult to pay the company per student", added the head.

Hyderabad-based TMI Network, a recruitment advertising agency said 200-300 B-schools approached them to place their students last year. "Serving a B-school while serving our clients translates into conflict of interest. You cannot take money from the company and from the college as well for the same job. It amounts to fraud. The only way consultants can help B-schools is by telling them how to manage placements or what the companies expect from the students", said T. Muralidharan, founder TMI Network.

The reasons for outsourcing placements are many. Till 2007, for instance, placements were a smooth affair for B-schools. However, after the economic crisis and the industry putting a freeze on hiring, institutes had a tough time finding jobs for all their students in 2008 and 2009. "The way a consultant approaches the industry is different from the way we approach it. A faculty member or a student group can only do limited amount of networking. A consultancy can help better in connecting us with the recruiting companies", reasoned a placement chairperson of a Pune-based B-school, which did not wish to be identified.

Meanwhile, to tackle recession, the prominent B-schools including the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have altered their placements strategy. Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A), for instance, introduced the ‘cohort process’ (calling a group of companies from a specific sector rather than just a few major companies from across sectors who take their pick on the first day itself) while some others are looking at extending the number of days allotted for placement. IIM Bangalore hired a full-time professional to head its placement process, now called career development services.

Source: Business Standard, June 10, 2010

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