IIM Shillong's Director is mulling shifting the school's placements to IIM Calcutta this academic year. The Director Prof Ashoke K Dutta says that he is currently making an assessment of the company responses to be able to take a final call.
"If there are some companies not willing to come over or do the interviews via video conferencing, I will shift those student interview sessions to IIM Calcutta," the Director told PaGaLGuY.
According to Prof Dutta, Shillong's physical location is sometimes a deterrent in the placement process.
"It's not possible for all the companies to make the journey to Shillong. This place is beautiful for a holiday and if one wants to relax. But if you have to come here purely on work, it is not the best place. Not when one has to travel so many hours to reach here. The actual placement process may take a couple of hours but the journey to-and-fro is much much more. It's also a tiring journey," Prof Dutta added.
The nearest well-connected airport to Shillong is 100 kms away at Guwahati. Although the distance is short and picturesque, the road passes through hilly terrain and hence it takes more than 4 hours to reach Shillong. There is an airport at Umroi which is 30 kms from Shillong, also known as Barapani Air Force Base. However, few flights land on this airport and the ones that do face frequent delays and cancellations. Guwahati is also marred by frequent strikes and bandhs, hampering local movement and making travel to the region very unpredictable.
"If I see that we are losing out because of IIM Shillong's physical location I will conduct placements at IIM Calcutta. We can't afford to not have the best companies," the Director said.
On the Director's wish list are companies like McKinsey, Deutsche Bank, KPMG, Volkswagen and others.
"The IIMs are known to get the best consulting and financial companies and IIM Shillong should get a good share of them too. We already have a good list of companies who came to us last year. We also had a big group of PSUs and are happy with them too," he said.
The Director is attending the 'Recruiters Conclave' organized by IIM Ahmedabad in Mumbai on October 1, where recruiters and b-schools are slated to discuss each side's needs and demands.
"I will make contacts there which will help get IIM Shillong a still better bunch of companies," declared Prof Dutta.
As many as 42% of the offers for the first batch of IIM Shillong (graduating in 2010) had come through interviews conducted through video conferencing. According to IIM Shillong's ex-placements officer Arijit Majumder the placements were as good as that of any other IIM and each of the five international offers had come via video conferencing.
Although the PGP 2009-11 batch has 66 students, the PGP 2010-12 batch has a strength of 94 students, which means that the number to be placed will also be higher.
Besides all these factors, Prof Dutta also wishes to improve the b-school's guest house and mess facilities in order to attract better companies.
"At present, there is one guest house with a few independent rooms. If three companies come over at one time, we have to put them up in hotels, which is not too good an idea. We need to increase lodging and also up the facilities," Prof Dutta explained.
In the present campus, there is little scope for a lot of additional construction. The b-school is situated in its temporary campus at the Mayurbhanj complex of the North Eastern Hill University. The permanent campus is under construction in the new Shillong township and will take a while before it becomes operational. The space constraints also restrict the Director's other ambition to increase student intake of IIM Shillong to 180.
Students at IIM Shillong are however upbeat about the placements and think that they will be as good as those of last year, if not better. A representative from the External Relations Cell said that so far they had received positive feedback from companies and many are willing to come down to Shillong for interviews.