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How reliable are B-School placement reports?

How reliable are B-School placement reports?

Chirag Shukla, MBA Aspirant asked 10 months ago

I have heard that colleges, especially NMIMS and some IIMs show inflated salary data in their reports.
Can one trust these reports 100% or are these just minor variations from the actual figures, which can be neglected?

2 Answers

Placement reports are a complex set of documents. While some B-Schools have audited reports, other simply exhibit their ability to blow things out of proportion. 

Here’s how you should read Placement Reports:

A personal cabin with the laptop throwing light on to the face, discussing the key company figures with the team and making critical decisions to drive the company towards glory!!
Just hold on your imagination.
If you are an MBA aspirant looking into this picture every time you score the 89thpercentile in CAT, XAT, SNAP or your current appraisal, then you should aim to get better percentile in the next appraisal cycle from your manager. Because investment decisions that MBA teaches would make you wiser if you had learned it before getting into the top B-Schools (as they are called).
“Eye to detail” is a standard resume punchline used by many of us and the least utilized skill when it comes to making decisions in our personal life.
 
Let us start with this line extracted from the most recent placement report of a leading B-School.
Overall 128 offers were made to eligible students during the entire placement process by 59 companies.”
What is your inference from the above statement? Given 120 students appeared for the placements, choose the most suitable option.
a. It means everyone had an offer and some had more than one
b. Each company has made more than 2 offers
c. Candidates who were not eligible made it to top B-School
d. Data Inadequate
Obviously, the answer is yours to understand but the detailing done using the words might well be ignored by most of us when we read such reports.
If you are not a Law student or if your Verbal score is 100 %tile, please carefully look for words that might flabbergast you when you will end up reading your placement reports two years later.
Every MBA aspirant learns statistics, which they, unfortunately, apply only in the entrance exams they attempt. A strong analysis on the Mean, Median and (not the Mode! Caz they will be in trouble) Range of the CTCs the Institutions claim can add to your insight on the consistency of the data provided.
Let`s consider this data which is quite astonishing statistically.  (Again the hint is, total students were 120)
Average CTC – 10 LPA
Median CTC – 8.50 LPA 
Maximum CTC – 15.00 LPA 
Minimum CTC – 6.50 LPA
This data has a distribution which is positively skewed with X-axis as CTC and Y Axis as frequency. So, it is clear that the frequency is higher at Mode which is left to Median suggesting the highest number of offers were given at less than Median CTC.
That was one out many inferences and for a fact, with lesser eligible candidates they should have had a negative skew if the salary distribution was better on the other side of the median and the mean should be lesser than the median.
Never mind the jargons and math. There is an easier way to know the facts. Just connect with some alumni of the institution who are not part of the Public/ Media relationship club. (Or just remember the first example about “words” when you enquire with such clubs).
Finally, one last missing piece that never fits into most of our lives! The remuneration that is net of the CTC quoted. The fact to be understood is that CTC or the Compensation offered might carry One-time/joining bonuses, variable pay/performance-based pay, annual bonus, ESOPs (with lock-in period) and contingent bonuses. In reality, companies paying the division of CTC by 12 as the net remuneration every month, are as rare as spotting the difference in the amount of black money before and after demonetization.
Now that you have become a bit wiser, continue with your imagination in a closed cubicle with ‘Two eyes always looking for every detail’!

This article was originally written by Sikkandar Gary A
Read here: https://insideiim.com/read-b-school-placement-reports/?src=pratikranjan
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Dear Chirag,
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to your query. Each B-school conducts its placement process in a unique fashion and therefore, the veracity of data in placement reports is highly variable. I have even heard of cases where a media outlet has possibly misquoted a data point sent in by the school, thus leading to inconsistent data you might find online.
I would not bias you by pitting public versus private schools in terms of reliability. What I would rather ask you to do is do a bit of comparative analysis. A very helpful tool would be the InsideIIM placement reports for various top B-schools. Go through some 5-6 campuses of your desired category and see which recruiters pop up in those lists. This will give you an idea of the kind of industries and companies that hire in what volume from that category of campuses. 
While placement reports give you some ballpark figures (real or fictitious!), it is upto you to dig into the real picture. The above mentioned step of digging into companies and sectors could then be followed by some LinkedIn searching. The more you utilise LinkedIn effectively, tapping into recent pass outs of XYZ campus and where they got placed right after college, you will get a comprehensive idea of the real roles and sectors most candidates get placed in. You don’t even need to stalk an entire batch! Just reaching out to a small but diverse set of alums will give you authentic first-hand information about placements. I keep saying this in many articles and Q&As, asking for help is always the best idea when considering B-schools. So don’t hesitate to reach out to alums, voice your queries, and in the process, build your networks! I have even written to the official mail address of some B-schools when I wanted authentic information on some data points and on every single occasion, I have received a response. 
So yes, the long and short of it is that a placement report might contain certain click baits, especially in cases of colleges that aren’t top brass. But a little bit of personal research is what you owe to yourself before zeroing in on a B-school based on their placement record. As the saying goes, ‘Jaago graham jaago!’ 😀  

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Member, InsideIIM Student Team 4.0 | 2nd year student of HRM & LR at TISS, Mumbai

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