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Initial offers at IIMs allay fears of hiring freeze

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The students of Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) are being flooded with pre-placement offers (PPOs), quelling all fears of a hiring freeze by companies.

This follows the few early PPOs students of IIMs received in June and July this year, confirming that they are back on employment cycles of top-notch companies.

“While the early PPOs were extended primarily by consulting firms, now investment banks and private equity firms, too, are offering PPOs,” said IIM-A placement committee media co-ordinator Vivek Jain. “Many of the offers are for international roles in places like Europe, the US, Singapore and Hong Kong. We expect many more PPOs in the coming days.”

These job offers have not only brought cheers at IIM campuses, but also seem to suggest that the coming placement season would turn out to be a better one than last year, when B-schools struggled to get job offers of all their students.

Even as B-schools are reluctant to share numbers, ET scoured the campus and quizzed students, teaching staff and sources across campuses to get a drift of the PPO atmosphere.

As compared to July earlier this year, when close to 7-10% of batches across IIMs of Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Calcutta had received PPOs, the figure has gone up by anywhere between 15-20% in these institutes. Other IIMs like Lucknow and Kozhikode, too, are witnessing a much better flow of job offers as compared to the past year.

IIM-A, for instance, has already received some 60-70 PPOs so far, students at the campus told ET. Though the institute`s placement committee did not disclose any official figures, students inside the campus confirmed that after a lull phase in August, job offers have again started coming in during the past six weeks.

Some of the companies that have extended job offers to students at IIM-A include Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, HUL, P&G, UBS and Citigroup. In mid-September last year, only 20% of the batch of 250 had received PPOs. This year, the batch size at IIM-A is close to 300 students.

Likewise, IIM-B too did not disclose any official PPO numbers, but a student aware of the development said that the institute has already received around 50 such offers. The placement representative at the institute was not available for comment.

On the other hand, placement circles at IIM-C said although the PPOs are lesser as compared to the same time the past year, the expected rise will come only in the next couple of months. “Apart from firms from sectors like finance, consulting, marketing and general management, IIM-C has also got PPOs from a few IT companies and Wall Street Banks,” said IIM-C external relations secretary Paul Savio. “Markets are definitely picking up and we are expecting a better Placement 2010.”

Meanwhile, IIM-K has seen a 30-40% increase in the number of PPOs compared to the past year. As for others, the institute kept the exact numbers under wraps. However, the placement committee member, Rohan Jaikishen, said the number of verbal confirmations from companies was also in double digits. “The concrete offers have started coming in from the beginning of September and the companies that have made offers include ITC, American Express Bank and Futures First,” he added.

Last year, IIM-K had received only 20 PPOs. The batch size at IIM-K is 308. Mr Jaikishen confirmed that PPOs at IIM-K have primarily come in the financial sector so far, with marketing companies coming in a close second.

Similarly, IIM-L placement chairman Prof RL Raina said at least 10% of the current batch at IIM-L has received PPOs from companies. The current batch size at IIM-L is 320. “This number is quite significant since IIM Lucknow has the largest batch size across all IIMs,” he said. He, too, expects the number to rise in the coming weeks.

According to Prof Raina, international consulting and finance firms “like McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, JPMorgan, besides marketing majors like Unilever, Procter & Gamble and Diageo, have already confirmed PPOs”. “Tata Administrative Services is another company that has offered job offers at IIM-L with companies operating in the renewable energy space also showing keen interest in IIM Lucknow students,” he added. In sync with the climate, Prof Raina saw 2010 as more promising than the previous year.

Despite prolonging the placement process last year, IIMs had to contend with a heavy baggage of realistic salaries and less number of job offers. This year too, most of the institutes have kept their placement season open much beyond the usual timeframe seeing the job-engine chugging once again.

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