The second part of the survey is about getting really serious with your career - it has all the inside dope on a host of issues concerning B school students, professionals and employers. Our earlier classification of respondents into three buckets remains in place, - MBA aspirants plus first year joinees, second year students, and post-MBA professionals. However, in this stage of the survey, the questions pertain to career choices - along the dimensions of domain, salary expectations, job satisfaction etc. Therefore, to ensure very high-quality data, we have allowed only second year students and post-MBA salaried professionals to respond to these questions. Use the knowledge about career decisions made by others, to make a better decision in your career. These are decisions that will stay with you for life. You don't have to follow the herd.
We cover the following five areas
1. Minimum Salary Expectations
2. Best Pre-placement talks
3. Most important factors for applying to a company
4. Preferred domains, Summer internships and propensity to switch
5. Job satisfaction
Minimum Salary Expectations - Class of 2014
So what is the minimum salary you will have to offer to an MBA grad from the class of 2014, assuming that you want to hire him to join your organization - large or small? And on the other side of the interviewing table - as a candidate - what is the maximum salary level you can bargain for without jeopardizing your chances of getting hired?
The largest group of respondents (nearly 44%) have put their in-hand take home salary expectations in the range of Rs. 80,000 to Rs, 100,000. This is remarkably similar to last year (see last year's report). Last year, around 43% of respondents had put their take-home salary in the range of Rs. 80,000- Rs. 100,000. However, take another look at the 2012 survey graph (show below for convenience) and you can observe a clear difference.
The difference: Last year, roughly two-thirds of the responses were clustered around the Rs. 80,000 to Rs. 120,000 bucket. This year, roughly two thirds of the responses are clustered around the Rs. 60,000 to Rs. 80,000 bucket. The finding is significant. It shows that there has been a substantial moderation of salary expectations among B school grads. The difficult placement season of 2013 may have gone some way in tempering the expectations of the batch of 2014.
From last year's survey, we had concluded that MBA grads of the batch of 2013 would have been visibly shaken if they were forced to accept a job whose take-home pay were below Rs. 80,000. This year, we can say that the batch of 2014 would, by and large, be willing to accept a job whose take-home pay would be slightly below Rs. 80,000.
Best Pre-placement Talks
Which companies delivered the best pre-placement talks across campuses in the 2012-2013 season?
The winners for the best pre-placement talk are HUL, TAS and Mahindra. At a cursory glance, the most prominent companies in this word-cloud are from the FMCG and general management domain. Among marketing companies, HUL has put quite a distance between itself and its nearest competitors - Godrej and Reckit Benckiser. In finance, Citi is the only company in the top ten, beating JP Morgan and the rest quite handsomely. General management finds TAS and Mahindra neck and neck with each other. Deloitte leads in consulting. Do bear in mind that the scores reflect voting across all campuses, whereas some of these companies would have visited only a select few campuses. Such companies, even if the make great pre-placement talks, will not come out on top of this list.
Most preferred career domains - Class of 2014
Sales and Marketing wins out as the most preferred career domain for the class of 2014 - with nearly 26% of the respondents. This is actually lower than last year - when more than 30% had marked themselves out for a career in sales and marketing. Has S&M's loss been consulting or finance's gain? Not really. Consulting has neither strengthened nor slipped over the last year, while finance has actually fallen further behind in the list of preferences - from 21% last year to 17.9% this year. Finance's loss is not really surprising. After the global financial crisis which began in 2007-2008, the promised recovery did not really materialize. At least not in finance, a sector that was bloated way beyond its sustaining capacity to begin with.
The other big trend is the growing preference for general management. This category found favour with 16.0% of respondents - up from merely 12.0% last year. The other field that saw growth was Ops and Supply Chain, which grew five percentage points to 7.1%.
Our take is that students have become more realistic in their assessment, and this is leading them to try and match their aspirations with their existing skills sets. The preference for the so-called high-flying finance and strategy consulting jobs is not very strong, because these jobs are few in number, and more and more people are realizing that there are other ways to have a meaningful career, by making use of one's already existing skill sets.
Most preferred career domains - Class of 2015
It is quite clear that the for typical fachha, and to most of the outside world, the typical MBA grad is a strategy guru or a hotshot investment banker. What else can explain the pride of place enjoyed by consulting and finance on this list? What can account for the lowly position of sales and marketing in this list. Most people looking into the B school world from outside (i.e. MBA aspirants) and newly joined MBAs still continue to associate the degree with millionaire investment bankers and strategy consultants. Sales and marketing is for lowly door-to-door sales agents peddling inferior products who are paid for putting up with verbal abuse from irate customers.
It takes a year for perceptions to change. To realize that there aren't enough Finance and Consulting jobs for everyone. That there is a hierarchy within finance jobs - front end, middle office and back end. And there is a similar caste system within consulting jobs and firms. And Sales and Marketing is something that everybody has to do, after all. We confidently predict that when the class of 2015 is polled for its preferences next year, their aspirations will change, taking into account the learnings from B school.
Summer internships - Domains and Propensity to change - Class of 2014
Summer Internship domains
The data on summer internships of the batch of 2014 is even more conclusive in favour of marketing. Nearly two of of every five people have done their summer internship in marketing.
Summer internships - propensity to change - Class of 2014
We asked the batch of 2014, how likely are you to switch your domain from the one you did your summer internship in. Here are the responses.
The greatest number of respondents (nearly a third) have stated that they are highly unlikely to change their domain. All though overall figures in favour of changing domain (at 50.2%) are below last year's figures of 58.7%, it still makes summer internship the most important determinant of your final career choice. We believe there is a combination of factors that makes it difficult to change domains. In certain cases, companies may offer PPOs, and students may not be in a position to decline them, given the job market scenario. In others, a candidate, in order to nab that summer internship would have gone all-out and created a very domain-oriented profile (joined the marketing club, worked on a few marketing case studies and so on). Such students would automatically get 'tagged' to that domain and would find it difficult to change. Students who have not had earlier exposure to other domains are by default likely to stick to the domain of their summer internship. Needless to say, if you are from the Class of 2015, you better take your summer internship seriously, because changing domains is not very easy.
Entrepreneurial Inclinations - Class of 2014
Going by the data, very few among the class of 2014 are of an entrepreneurial inclination. Only 6% answered that they would start a company on graduation. The reasons can be debated endlessly. Many will say that an MBA is not required at all for entrepreneurship, and in fact, the MBA is a way of de-risking your career, and is therefore incompatible with entrepreneurship which is all about taking risks. Others would say that the current economic scenario prizes job security - something that starting out on your own cannot offer. Some will say that it is better to work with a top brand name for a while before plunging into entrepreneurship - the connections help, and this path to entrepreneurship is better than starting a company immediately after graduation.
Career Aspirations - batch of 2014
We asked the class of 2014, to rate their priorities among the following factors while applying to a company
(a) Compensation (b) Brand perception of the company (c) Your career plans (d) Quality of pre-placement talk (e) Opinion of Seniors/Alumni
Career plans are more important that anything else - even the brand perception of the company and the compensation. The results are in line with the noises that we keep hearing about the millenial generation's priorities. For the millenials, it is not about the money, it is about career plan and growth. We are more concerned about how the company can fit into our plans, rather than us fitting into the company's scheme of things. This individualistic or self-centred world-view of millenials is also borne out by another data point - the opinion of seniors and alumni does not count for much in the decision making process. The impact of seniors/alumni is far more during summer internship placements than final placements.
The interesting question here that needs to be asked is - Do I know what my career plans are ? We have enough number of current students writing in to us at various times during an academic year who have no clue what they want. Another aspect is whether this market gives one the opportunity to pick a career of their choice. On many campuses there just aren't enough roles offered in the career of one's choice.
Clearly, companies that spend lakhs on pre-placement talks need to rethink if it is enough return on investment.
Brand perception is important say the Class of 2014. One may argue that a pre-placement talk helps in building that brand but there are enough examples of companies who just walk onto a campus without too much fanfare or noise but still end up attracting the best talent on offer.
Job satisfaction - post MBA professionals
Every job offers a mixed bag in terms of quality of work, compensation and work-life balance. To understand the level of job satisfaction among post MBA professionals, we have asked them to rate their satisfaction levels among the following five dimensions:
(a) growth prospects (b) quality of work (c) work environment (d) compensation (e) work-life balance
In all five parameters, the percentage of respondents explicitly satisfied (i.e. rating themselves as satisfied or very satisfied) with their current job is more than 50%. The percentage of respondents manifestly unsatisfied is less than 30% in all the cases. It appears as if post-MBA industry professionals are, on an average, a satisfied lot. Over a period of time, expectations would have become rationalized (read lowered), and the gap between aspiration and achievement would have automatically narrowed. Among the five parameters, work-life balance and work environment seem to be the two areas where job satisfaction is the highest - the percentage satisfied is around 60% in both cases, and the percentage dissatisfied is 20% or below. The real pain area seems to be quality of work. Nearly 30% of post-MBA professionals are unhappy with the quality of work. That is some serious food for thought for the captains of India Inc.
More such interesting slices of information will be revealed every day this week.
Read the first part of the InsideIIM Recruitment 2013 Survey here
Read the results of the InsideIIM Recruitment 2012 Survey here