Friday, February 14, 2014

Infosys plans to hire 200 MBAs from top business schools abroad

Infosys is setting out on a major talent hunt in global B-schools, hoping to recruit at least 200 MBAs in the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific by June this year. The move will help beef up its business consulting practice and also intensify its client engagement.

Infosys hasn't hired a single MBA from a global B-school in four years, but will step on the gas this year visiting Harvard, Wharton, Kellog, New York University Stern School of Business, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and University of California Los Angeles, among others.

"Besides (B-school hiring in) US, we are focusing on Europe, given our revenue mix, followed by Australia, and APAC," Srikantan Moorthy, Senior Vice-President and Group Head of Human Resource, Infosys said.

Infosys' plan is among the largest ever global MBA hiring by an Indian company. TCS hires 'a few graduates from global B-schools' every year. It will do the same this year, too, Ajoyendra Mukherjee, Executive Vice-President and Head, Global Human Resources at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), said.

"About 200 global MBAs is a very good number," a HR manager at another top IT services company said. He spoke on the condition of anonymity. Analysts say Infosys is really trying to get into the domain of business consulting and trying to become more of a change management consultant as well. "Infosys realises it has a lot of great technical skills, but not business skills," said Pascal Matzke, Vice President, Forrester Research. "This (hiring global MBAs) is to beef up business capabilities and skills so that they really can compete with the likes of Accenture."

Adds Ankita Somani, analyst, IT and telecom for Angel Broking: "Infosys wants to do more of upstream (high-end consulting) which brings in more revenues and, therefore, the hiring spree." About 19% of Infosys' revenues in FY06 came from consulting and package implementation while it was 33.5% in the third quarter of FY14, added Somani. Clients have also moved from a cost-optimisation mode and opened up their discretionary spends after a gap of two years. Such spends are used for business transformation and come in from the clients' coffers, he added.

In the UK and EU, Infosys is making offers in London Business School, Said Business School at Oxford, INSEAD, Rotterdam School of Management, International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland, and ESADE, Spain. In Asia-Pacific, recruitment drives are on in the Asian Institute of Management, Manila, Melbourne Business School, and Australian Graduate School of Management in Sydney, National University of Singapore, and China Europe International Business School in Shanghai.

"It makes sense," said Matzke, referring to Infosys' push for more global MBAs. "But whether 200 is really enough and whether these rather inexperienced young professionals can really help elevate the whole relationship (with customers), I don't think so. I think it needs further hiring also of some more senior people."

Infosys is also making significant alterations to its hiring strategy in Indian B-schools. It re-started hiring at IIMs after a one-year gap offering salaries of $120,000-$123,000 (Rs. 7.4- 7.7 million) for global roles, one student, who got such an offer in January, said. Infosys has stepped-up hiring at IIMs - it made 18 offers compared to zero last year - but it intends to cut down local MBA hires from 550 to only 176 (excluding IIMs).

"We have extended 18 offers at the IIMs this year. The compensation is in the range of Rs. 2.7 to 3 million per annum," a company spokesperson said. For FY15, Infosys plans to make 25,000 engineering campus offers, of which it has already made 16,000 in 230 colleges.

This comes after several quarters of slowdown in hiring. In the third quarter of FY14, Infosys saw its total headcount declining by 1,823 employees. Wipro too, saw headcount go down by 814 people, while TCS added 5,463 people.

Infosys has also been struggling with the highest attrition rate amongst top-tier firms at 18%, which it expects to bring down over the next few quarters. "We have been making several changes in employee engagement, and we know it is going to take time. We expect these to yield results in the next four-eight quarters. We will be happy with anywhere between 10-15%," Moorthy said.

Source: The Economic Times, February 14, 2014

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