A Word Of Caution | Placement Agencies Vs Learning School

To all the MBA folks, let us all concentrate on learning industry nuances, techniques which will separate us from normal graduates (common sense is common, you have paid to learn more). The 18-months that you spend in the institute amongst professors (some you may like, some you may dislike, some you may idealise), peers; try learning as much from them, and when the learning is mutual you will automatically be networking with that person. Let “networking” part be the “effect” part with learning being the “cause” side of the story!

I was surprised to see one of the articles recently published which was far from the motives one comes to a b-school

Caution: This isn’t a post to malign any “committee | b-school | any person specific”. This response is to the scenario presented in the below article. Its best left for the reader to judge if such practices are going on in their campus and they are harmed or part of it as stakeholders.

I was going through this article on InsideIIM : A Letter From A Placecomer, With Love

Please find my response attached below :

Hey Placecommer,

Good to hear one side of the story, now give me the opportunity to present the second side of the story. While your claim of becoming the ‘selected few’ is something that can be related to non-jack, I have my reservations against calling yourself ‘meritorious’. These ‘selected few’ are from same batch mates with similar credentials (1 month since all have crossed selection process), and the criteria for selecting these elite persons vary from highly qualified in excel to dominating looks and arrogance to someone who can slog to someone who does know how to ask fewer questions. While these may be some quintessential features to create an ‘elite pack’ of placecommers, I highly doubt that these features in silos are required in the industry and help you understand business, which anyways ‘selected few’ wanted to learn in a b-school.

Don’t get me wrong but once the “selected few” start their cold calling process, I agree they work their ass off but so do the IB’s and Consultants of the world (do they also work for free), but is it philanthropy for the batchmates? I doubt!
Now here comes the dirty part. Every B-School student knows this and probably the incentive for “selected ones’ are the placements and the “push” they get while in placements. The names appearing suddenly in shortlist, jumping rounds in b-school interview, selected students (I mean ‘non-selected ones’) getting replaced by them, certain anonymous (read: selected) companies coming only for the cream (not sure in terms of merit or designation). While all this happens, they get to give the best shots at companies (which can be manipulated) while the rest of college who did what they were supposed to do i.e. study business, stand in line to wait for the pipeline of “Selected ones” to finish or get placed.

Are grades that good a decision maker? Am I not getting biased by saying that placecommers don’t deserve coveted job profiles (just or unjust means)? I think the articles answer this, since the placecommers are so busy for more than 15 months out of the 21-22 months of MBA, their effective business learning is zero (definitely they learn persuasion and cold calling conversion, pardon me for not counting that as tangible learning), And if that is the case then why waiting for them to be placed in the last, push them for job as soon as they enter the campus. It pains me to see the meritous students getting forcefully removed from the process just because they aren’t the “selected ones” – A b-school created a reservation, where you disguise your ambitions to land up a coveted job in a wrapper of philanthropy and goodwill for the batch. It is a vicious loop where you get the blanket to justify all the misdeeds under the name of placing the batch. But are these selected people to be blamed? I sometimes feel why our Indian MBA are downranked is essential due to such practices where the order of getting a good job is as per the following hierarchy. CAT Score > MBA > Placecom. And when these guys end up in companies the difference is minimal between these ‘selected few’ and a normal NON MBA grad, except for the cold calling abilities.

The moment Indian MBA becomes a “PULL” product because of learning and quality of students graduating, you guys are one of a kind “breed” which will become extinct. And please understand as an industry person and an MBA, I can tell you we from industry know all your tactics and gimmicks (Kids, the age you are is equal to our work experience),but the point is such is the quality of all b school in India that we don’t mind choosing any of the offered candidates, because we anyway know we have to bring them up to mark with coaching them on job. So please don’t be proud of your “PUSH” ability, it’s an expensive art to learn after paying 20 lakhs!


Ashesh Mitra

An Alumnus of a prominent B-School Feel free to disagree!