Recalibrating the MBA for better alignment with the recruiter

Is the time right to pursue MBA? How is the job market?

Virtual classes, online recruitment and many other challenges are faced by B Schools and students, today. What exactly are B Schools doing this year to make their students adapt?

With business and industries hit worldwide, layoffs happening at all levels, what does it mean to be an MBA student during this crisis period? Are the business schools ready to deliver and prepare the future business leaders to cope up with the disrupted market and VUCA world – in a real sense?  

With business and industries hit worldwide by the pandemic and layoffs happening at all levels, what does it mean to be an MBA student during this crisis period? Are the business schools ready to deliver and prepare future business leaders to cope with the disrupted business environment and VUCA world – in the real sense?  Internship and placements data published by campusutra suggests, recruiters are coming up with ‘super-speciality demands’ and job offers are getting increasingly ‘industry oriented’.

According to Dr. Sanghamitra Buddhapriya, Dean (Academics) at FORE School of Management, New Delhi, “In the pandemic situation, MBA schools have had to adopt new models of delivery — online or hybrid. Those, which are proactive, quickly adapt to new technology, build an effective delivery mechanism, redesign their courses, come up with new patterns of evaluation, and prepare the students to cope with the dynamic business scenario. By doing so, they build confidence in the recruiters to offer internships and placements to the students, who are industry-ready.”

Incidentally, the class of 2020 at FORE School received decent offers last year despite the lockdown. Average compensation for batch 2018-20, has been Rupees 10.6 lakh per annum and the highest salary clocked Rupees 30 lakh per annum. Deloitte, KPMG, PWC, CTS, HCL, Wipro among others, participated in the campus placement as usual, but in online mode.

BFSI, IT/ITeS, Healthcare, Business Analytics & Consulting, FMCG, E-Commerce, Fintech & IT / ITeS,  FMCG & Manufacturing  sectors have been the top recruiters. This being evidence to the fact that recruitment is happening, skilled talent is in demand and certain management institutions continue to attract recruiters even in the middle of an ongoing crisis. 

Almost every student enrolls for an MBA programme with an objective of having a decent offer letter at the end of 2 years. Handful of them with an entrepreneurial mindset, may have a slightly different approach. But is there more to management degree than just campus placements? 

“No job today provides the assurance of lifelong employment. So graduates must chart their career path by re-inventing themselves through a succession of mini-careers in different roles. B-schools should help prepare students to deal with uncertainty because recruiters value graduates for their current knowledge as well as their ability to learn new skills with time”, avers Dr Shobha Das, Dean of IFMR GSB, Krea University.

Dr Joseph Marianus Kujur, Director at XISS Ranchi, believes, “Placement is just one aspect, the key factor has been keeping students intellectually engaged and motivated. The COVID-19 pandemic definitely impacted all sectors of the economy – primary, secondary and tertiary. The Unorganised sector compared to the organized has been worst hit. However, we have to realise that even before the pandemic happened, the Indian economy was in shatters with the highest unemployment rate ever in the last 45 years or so. Since the economy was not in great shape, many B Schools were already facing the heat as far as placements are concerned, which was not pandemic-induced. This scenario was explained to our students and they were prepared well to face the dynamic shift in business and qualities a recruiter would like to see in them in the current situation. The challenge was how to quickly shift to the new teaching and learning environment, keep the students engaged and their morale high. Our faculty members managed to do that through virtual classrooms leveraging technologies, their familiarities with industry operations and delivering in the digital format. This reflected in the job offers bagged by the students”.  

Dr. Shobha Das shares similar sentiments, “The pandemic, like every great challenge, has brought forth its own share of opportunities. By limiting the scope of face-to-face interactions, it has required faculty and students to improvise and develop other modes of learning, networking, and community building. IFMR GSB at Krea University prepares managers for an unpredictable world. Being part of Krea University, IFMR GSB students master the art of interwoven learning that is embedded in the curriculum offered by the diverse faculty with rich industry and academic experience. Our students are ready to take on uncertainty, and not just survive, but thrive in demanding and dynamic environments”.

Despite a slowing economy, the ongoing placement process at IFMR GSB has seen a 10% increase in the average salary as of now where 80% of the 2021 graduating batch have received job offers already, with an average CTC of Rs. 10.4 lakhs per annum, which is 10% higher than last year. Cohorts of 2020 from IFMR GSB received job offers from Bank of America, Barclays, CitiCorp, Credit Suisse, Deloitte, EY, HCL, Infosys, JPMC, and Societe Generale.

While at XISS Ranchi, the highest salary offer of Rs. 26.4 lac was a 100% jump from the previous year 2019. Offers were rolled out to the outgoing batch of students at XISS by Axis Bank, HDFC Bank Ltd, ING Vysya Bank, CISCO, Colgate Palmolive,  Asian Paints, ITC, Blue Star, Cummins, Cognizant, Aditya Birla Retail, Havells among others. The average compensation clocked close to Rs. 8 lakhs per annum for HR and overall 6 lakh per annum.  

Placement data and type of offers rolled out during the placement season, specially at a tough time, is a critical indicator of the B School’s performance towards the stakeholders – students and recruiters. The ‘relevance of MBA’ in these difficult times where openings and recruitment are getting increasingly ‘industry oriented’ which essentially means, recruitment is happening where skill sets match the demands of the recruiter and are better aligned to the job roles.

“We are trying our best to give the students the experience of a B-School even if they are not coming to the campus. Apart from regular classes, many webinars are also being conducted regularly. Students-driven activities such as GENESIS- the Annual Management Fest was also conducted through online mode. We are encouraging students to participate in various competitions in the online-mode. The current batch at FORE is on a winning streak with 86 awards from competitions across the country including IIMs, IITs, XLRI, adds Dr. Sanghamitra.  

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