It’s time to proceed to the more ‘sombre’ part of the survey which intends to profess a gritty take on a host of issues that hold paramount importance with regard to MBA students, employers as well as employees. Given that the questions in this segment pertain to the intricacies of career choices, only the current crop of second year MBA students and the post-MBA professionals have been allowed to answer them in order to conserve data quality. Those who have been excluded from the sample set should leverage upon this report to derive valuable insights from those who have seen it up close and personal. We hope that, by virtue of the analysis presented herewith, we can abet individuals in making tough career calls and hopefully help a considerable chunk escape from the woes of a ‘herd mentality’.
The areas that we have covered here are:
1. Minimum salary expectations
2. Best pre-placement talks
3. Critical drivers for applying to a firm
4. Preferred domains, summer internship sectors & the propensity to switch
5. Job satisfaction issues
Minimum salary expectations - Class of 2016
What should be the quantum of money entailed in an offer which no prospective employee can dare refuse? How much salary should one ideally set his/her expectations at realistically so that they don’t risk getting refused by a firm? Although, in resonance with the previous editions, the lion’s share (~41%) still expects an in-hand salary of Rs. 80,000 to Rs. 1,00,000 per month upon graduation, more than 30% of the respondents expect to earn Rs. 1,00,000 to Rs. 1,20,000 per month. Last year, around 70% of the respondents were clustered around the Rs. 80,000 to Rs. 1,20,000 bracket. In this context, one can safely state that the expectations of the Class of 2016 has significantly increased from that of their predecessors’ as more than 85% of the sample has its hopes pegged upon an in-hand salary range of Rs. 80,000 to Rs. 1,50,000 per month. One could infer that the recent economic upsurge in India has clearly contributed towards raising expectations regarding the most hyped metric prima facie across all B-schools. The increase in the tuition fees at various schools is another contributing factor. Do keep in mind that the 80k-150k figure appears because majority of our respondents are from the best business schools in India.
Best pre-placement talks
Like the previous editions of the Recruitment Survey, HUL once again succeeds in striking gold by being rated once again as the firm that delivers the best pre-placement talk. The other regulars to feature in the top 5 are Mahindra and McKinsey & Co. However, the interesting feature about this year’s results is the ascendance of P&G and Deloitte to the second and fourth positions respectively, despite not featuring in last year’s list. Marico’s entry into the list further corroborates the fact that marketing companies have found favour with the B-school students, at least with regard to pre-placement talks. The complete absence of the BFSI and technology/E-commerce sectors from the list bears testimony to the fact the preferences of this year’s graduating batch is somewhat skewed unlike last year. However, we do feel it prudent to mention that not all the companies surveyed visit all the campuses who participated, due to which a company may potentially miss out on a high rating despite having delivered the goods in their pre-placement talk.
Most Preferred Career Domains – Class of 2016
Most preferred career domains – MBA aspirants & first year students
It has been a resurgence of sorts for consulting and BFSI as both of the domains have succeeded in repealing the downward trend they have faced in the recent past. They have only been beaten (albeit by a miniscule margin) by General Management, which has enjoyed a sustained upward trend in the recent editions of the survey. The big news however is that Sales & Marketing has slid to the fifth position in order of preference despite having emerged as the clear winner in the past two editions of the survey. The diminishing respondent affinity towards human resource has seen a new low this year with slightly more than 1% of the sample set envisaging a career in that domain.
Although one might argue that a responder bias might have been responsible for this result, we cannot ignore that the Indian economy has enjoyed new highs over the past one year. This might have jolly well been the reason for the surge in the demand for consulting and BFSI roles. However, one must take into cognition that there is a clear hierarchy in BFSI roles – front office, middle office & back office. Consulting too exhibits a clear gradation with regard to job descriptions and firm quality. Thus, one cannot directly correlate the increased demand for the two sectors with a rise in the number of ‘premier’ jobs professed by the same, as those profiles still remain the habitué of only a select set of students & campuses.
One should also not ignore the role starting salaries play.
General Management leadership programmes have increasingly become popular - the opportunity to work as young leaders at companies like Aditya Birla Group and TAS has become a very attractive proposition. What is interesting is that first year MBA students and even MBA aspirants have started taking note of this which was not always the case earlier.
Summer internships – domains & the propensity to change – Class of 2016
Despite the outgoing batch’s preference for the consulting and BFSI sectors, a whopping 41.29% of them have interned in Sales & Marketing. This is clearly in tandem with the past editions of this survey wherein about 2 out of 5 people (average) have interned in the domain of Sales & Marketing. Although the number of students interning in General Management roles has seen a decline to 5.62%, the number of internships in Operations and BFSI roles has seen a strong upsurge.
When quizzed about how likely they were to shift domains in their final placements with regard to their summer internships, about 48.19% of them conceded that they were unlikely to tread that path. This figure is significant because it represents an arrest of the steady downward that this statistic has borne witness to in the past 4 editions of this survey. Given the current state that the Indian economy is in, one can’t possibly attribute the same to a possible paucity of opportunities. The gradual predominance of a risk-averse nature among B-school students could be a more likely rationale for the same. However, the flipside is that more than half are still willing to experiment with their careers going forward and would be open to new opportunities in other domains during their final placements.
Entrepreneurial inclinations – Class of 2016
In tandem with the previous editions of the survey, this year’s respondent set also is clearly averse to starting up right after completing their business studies. In fact, 94% of the respondents are clear that they want to tread a mainstream corporate trail right after finishing their MBA. However, 6% of the respondents say that they would prefer “doing their own thing” per se rather than working for someone else. It appears people really don’t attend an MBA program to get a holistic viewpoint about business to start-up, and that such answers are merely a preserve of B-school admission interviews.
Career Perceptions – Class of 2016
As observed in all the previous editions of this survey, one’s career plans take precedence in determining whether one would be interested in applying to a firm or not.
The secondary precursors for this decision are ideally constituted by the company’s brand perception and compensation, with the latter edging out the former by a small margin.
Quality of pre-placement talks and opinions of seniors/alumni are less significant in determining career perceptions for the Class of 2016.
It is clear that these millenials are a bunch of driven, individualistic people who really want to make a mark for themselves. Although, they aren’t exactly sure about which path they wish to pursue, factors like brand perception & compensation kick in to help shape their decisions. However, this is a clarion call to companies who spend loads on flashy pre-placement talks to seriously rethink their strategy.
Job satisfaction – post MBA professionals
We all know that each job is an eclectic mix of edgy pros and cons, which one really cannot avoid. In order to gauge what post-MBA professionals really think about their jobs, a brief look at their responses along five broad parameters would be useful:
i) Match between expectations and reality
ii) Environment at work
iv) Work-life balance
v) Growth prospects
vi) Quality of work
From the results presented above, it is alarming that a stark majority of Post MBA Professionals are grossly dissatisfied with most aspects of their jobs, with the negativity gaining prominence with regard to work-life balance wherein a whopping 66.14% claim to be dissatisfied.
Almost everyone thinks they are underpaid, so dissatisfaction with compensation is not very surprising. However, it is the other aspects that should worry recruiters and make the graduating class circumspect - For e.g. More than 50% of the professionals do not think very highly of the kind of work they are expected to do. Over 56% feel environment at work is poor. Work-life balance as mentioned before has gone for a toss. Most importantly 47% feel that what they were promised/what they expected is completely different from reality.
Even if one were to assume that people generally complain when asked, the 'dissatisfaction' figures are too significant for recruiters to ignore. Also, a word of caution for the graduating class - choose your jobs wisely!
For Part I on Preferred Work Cities, Loan Stats and Cost of an MBA go here
(This is the 4th edition of our annual survey. For the previous 3 editions, go here)