At InsideIIM, we advocate a transparent placement policy across top business schools in India. A piece was written recently by this author on why business schools in India should look at professional career development centers. (You can see it here).
Currently, the amount of information disclosed by B schools is too little and extremely misleading, across the board. One just has to read placement reports closely to figure out how little the reports actually reveal.
In an environment where rankings are not credible, placement information is very little and an aggressive bombardment of advertising from educational institutions is the norm, it is very easy for MBA aspirants to get completely confused. At least for people who look at placement as the sole indicator while choosing a business school in India, the odds of making an ill-informed decision are very high. Institutes can improve their credibility, students and recruiters can make more informed decisions if B schools adopt a set of reporting standards for placements.
5 Placement Reporting standards IIMs and top B schools should adopt
This is what I suggest top business schools must adopt as basic standards of information with regard to placements. They are 5 basic parameters which should make things very clear for all stakeholders.
1) List of all companies that visited the campus and the list that recruited from the campus
This information is needed as it clearly shows whether a campus has evolved and what its bargaining power is within the industry. It is also important to know if a company actually recruited from the campus even after having visited. A lot of institutions declare names of companies in their placement reports which just conduct a test but never visit the campus. A lot of institutions send their students to company locations and include those company names in the placement report, painting a flattering, but a slightly dishonest picture of reality.
2) Number of students picked up by each company with a department wise split
E.g. 1: Assume, a placement report may say that P&G visited the campus and picked up 13 people.
E.g. 2: Assume, another placement report says Goldman Sachs recruited 7 people in the Investment banking division
In the first example, a potential aspirant needs to know which department the recruitment took place. If all 13 are in Procuring & Supply Chain, it should be mentioned clearly. If I want to pursue Marketing or Sales with P&G, I would know this institute is not for me.
In example 2 it turns out that the roles though technically in Investment banking division, they are support roles to front end which basically make them KPO jobs. Now, people working in front office investment banking make 100% more money than their middle office counterparts. This is a classic example of how campuses use big brands to mislead the world.
However, these things are never clearly mentioned, completely misleading an aspirant. One assumes there are opportunities in that field, only to get a rude shock later.
3) Salary break-up
|Overall Average Domestic Fixed Salary||No bonus component or expected variable|
|Overall Median Domestic Fixed Salary||No bonus component or expected variable|
|Domain Average Fixed Salary||Finance, Marketing, General Management|
|Domain Median Fixed Salary||Finance, Marketing, General Management|
|Highest International fixed salary|
|Lowest International fixed Salary|
|Highest Domestic fixed Salary|
|Lowest Domestic fixed Salary|
I don’t see any reason why campuses should withhold this information. Ideally, it should also be audited by a credible agency or an audit firm. A lot of these figures are fudged even by some institutions considered to be the best.
4) Order in which companies visited
This is the clearest indicator of how much a campus has evolved. In a lot of the best colleges, this order is not revealed even too students participating in the process until the last moment! Students are told to be on campus at all times and they are supposed to be ready for an interview at any time. This is regressive and extremely unprofessional.
Also this will help companies know whether they are having access to the best talent on campus. If companies are not ready to recruit students after 200 students are already placed, there is no reason why they should be misled into believing that they are recruiting the first 50. There are campuses that prohibit the students from telling even their close family about their being placed till 4-5 days after an offer is made to them in order to prevent information from leaking. This helps no one.
5) Format of placements being followed : Rolling/ Day-wise / Cohort and the date when placements start
I know campuses like IIM ABC are very forthright in declaring these things and maybe this point does not apply to such campuses. However, expecting something like this still seems unimaginable in India….. HSG Banking Days (You could even see names of companies in 15 days time) or even this at Kelly School of Business
Institutions should disclose the format in which placements are conducted. In a lot of institutions it takes 4 months to place everyone. Fair enough. If you are following a day system of placements and cannot place students in 4 months, a lot is clear about the state of affairs. There are cases where summer placements start in August when a couple of companies start trickling in. It is absurd to have a student admitted in your institution in July and get that person placed in August. What value have you added? How is it different from being a glorified placement agency? In any case, even IIMs start their placements by 1st week of October so that argument still holds true.
Most importantly, companies should also know about this. A lot of companies are misled by institutes. It is in the best interest of all the stakeholders, students, companies and the institute if the process is well-defined and transparent.
A conference was held in the month of June at IIM Ahmedabad. IIM A released a detailed paper on Placement reporting standards. Most of the top institutions did not even attend it. It is a great initiative in my opinion and should help students and companies a great deal.
If other institutes bloat up their figures, so should we. If other institutes hide the truth behind the placements, so should we. The perception is that it helps these institutes to attract better students and companies. There is a case of game theory dynamics that kicks into play here. Unless the top institutions take the lead and show the way in adopting a transparent placement information system, the incentive to mislead will be high.
- Ankit Doshi
(The author is an alumnus of IIM Indore – Class of 2011 and Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics,Mumbai – Class of 2007. He currently works with Bank of America Merrill Lynch and has worked with TATA Capital and WhatsonIndia.com in the past. He still believes that ‘Umang’ NM College’s festival was the best thing to have happened to him where he led a team of 500 students)