Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Graduates from top B-schools, IITs make a beeline for e-tailing companies

Raj Kuruhuri, 24, has been working for e-commerce start-up BuyThePrice.com for over a month now. Kuruhuri, who graduated from Indian Institute of Management (IIM)-Indore this year, opted to join the online deals site that started only in late 2010, rejecting offers from major technology players. The meteoric rise of the e-commerce segment in the last one year is driving sharp minds from the country’s premier B-schools and engineering colleges to be a part of the sunrise industry.

This year, Snapdeal made over 20 offers across IIMs and 75 at IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology), e-tailer of books and electronics Flipkart hired 120 graduates from IITs and 23 from IIMs and other top B-schools. Online fashion store Myntra hired seven IIT graduates, five from Indian School of Business (ISB), and two from the IIMs this year. Naaptol, which was among the first-timers at the IIM campuses this year, made 15 offers across leading management schools, including Narsee Moonjee and ISB, all of which were accepted.

Industry experts point out that it is the prospect of bigger responsibilities and faster growth that are driving the graduates to look for opportunities in the e-commerce space. “I was looking at various sunrise sectors, but I was particularly interested in e-commerce because of the pace at which it is growing. What worried me about joining an established firm, is that I feared getting lost amongst 150,000 other employees, without ever knowing what my work was actually amounting to,” says Kuruhuri. In his one-month stint with BuyThePrice, Kuruhuri has laid his hands across departments, including sales, operations, promotions and category development. “This in a big firm would be unimaginable. Also, the people you work with drive a lot of passion into you, because their lives are built around their organisations,” he says.

This year, of the total 423 offers at IIM-Bangalore, 4% were from the e-commerce firms. The first-timers among the e-commerce companies this year at IIM campuses include RedBus, Valyoo Technologies, Via, and Naaptol. “We went to the IIMs for the first time this year. A total of 15 offers were made across the top-tier B-schools, all of which were accepted. Average salaries for IIM grads was R12 lakh, others were R6-9 lakh. We hired 10 IIT graduates with a package of about Rs. 600,000-900,000 as well,” says Naaptol.com e-commerce head Sachin Singhal. The company has a staff strength of 1,500 and is adding 70 people every month.

According to an IIM-B report, the e-commerce sector this year was represented by Flipkart, InfoEdge, Snapdeal and Amazon. Flipkart recruited six students offering senior manager profile in sales and marketing, and supply chain. Companies feel that there aren’t many experienced people in the e-commerce space yet, and supply and demand are not proportionate. “The obvious place to look for is these colleges, where they may not be experienced in the field, but are definitely bright enough to work in it,” adds Sachin.

Recruiters point out that the age profile of the candidates from top B-schools are between 25-30 years and they look for jobs that offer areas to explore. They have a huge appetite for learning and start-ups give them that opportunity. Notwithstanding the global recessionary trends, 2011 witnessed a resurgence of the e-commerce sector. The largest investments in the space till date came last year when Snapdeal.com raised $40 million from Bessemer Venture Partners and Fashionandyou.com raised $40 million from a group of investors led by Norwest Venture Partners and Intel Capital. In all, in 2011, this space saw 32 investments.

“In the last one year, the sector was successful in attracting a lot of funding from major VC/PE players that equipped the e-commerce players to pay heavy cheques to get talents from top management and engineering institutes. Money, and at the same time chance to do something new and exciting attracts these candidates,” said Sangeeta Lala, Senior Vice-President (Sourcing), of staffing company TeamLease Services.

Average salary offered by an e-commerce company to an IIM graduate varies between Rs. 1.2-1.5 million. While at IITs it is between Rs.700,000-1 million. “Salaries for tech and management freshers have been in the range of Rs. 1.2-1.5 million annually plus ESOPs and other benefits. For laterals, compensation was adjusted accordingly. At ISB it was in the range of Rs. 2-2.5 million because of lateral hires,” says Myntra.

“This year, we have made about 20 offers across IIMs and 75 in IITs. We have hired from top-tier schools for functions across marketing, sales, operations, product management, and vendor management. This year for the first time we visited IIM campuses,” said head of marketing at Snapdeal.com Sandeep Komaravelley. Snapdeal, which currently has 1,200 people, started its operations in February 2010.

However, some are of the opinion that it is not always that start-ups can match the offers of other big players but try to match them with benefits like ESOPs. “Start-ups can’t always match salaries quoted by the biggies, but we do tend to make up with perks like ESOPs. This has more to do than providing a monetary value. It instills a sense of entitlement, and ownership, and in many ways makes people want to do better,” says Buytheprice.com founder and CEO Ranjith Boyanapalli. The firm made two offers in IIM, Indore and Ahmedabad this year and both were accepted. Operational for two years now, the company currently has about 70 employees.
Source: The Financial Express, April 24, 2012

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