The anatomy of B-school Placements – Behind the scenes

Its a week before Christmas, we are bang in the middle of Goa during prime tourist season, and we are not here to holiday.

In an Exclusive and first-ever arrangement between a media and a B-school, reporters are covering the entire placement process of the 2005-07 batch of the Goa Institute of Management (GIM) Live, bringing out never-before stories and coverage from a typical MBA placement day.

And even as we type this out sitting at the hub of activity on the GIM campus at 10 pm in the night, a gleeful second-year student ejects himself out of the room wearing a brilliant smile and hugs the first guy in sight, as others like him who just got a high-salary offer from IBM shout out a loud cheer.

Today is redemption day for me after a decade. I wasnt really the ace at academics and have had my dark ages, but today after getting into a top-notch IT company, for the second time in life I have had that moment again, he exclaims.

A few blocks away, a girl on the brink of tears is consoled by a group of friends who mirror her some hope to bring her out of the instant low experienced when you do not get the company you had dreamed of.

There is a fine line that separates experiencing the biggest high of your life and the feeling of absolute worthlessness when a company announces their results after rigorous rounds of group discussions and interviews, remarks a bystander.

This is but a small snapshot of the roller coaster ride that the B-school placement season is.

The series of articles that we feature here shall go in-depth into educating us all beyond the hype and wonderland-like aura that multi-lakh salary placements have held in our minds. By staying three days here at the GIM campus during the completely student-driven placement week, getting exclusive access to what is usually held confidential and closest-to-heart by B-schools, we shall get you an inside look into the planning, execution, emotionally charged atmosphere and humorous moments of the MBA placements at a B-school that is fast breaking into the league of top B-schools after the Indian Institutes of Management.

Gobbling up some grub

in between interviews

How it all begins

The story begins in January, when the previous GIM batch has been placed and the first year students must begin planning their own placements. Dozens of presentations during the marketing and finance classes have sifted those gifted with extraordinary skills at Powerpoint from the others. Elections are held for five Placement Representatives who shall have the onus of marketing GIM to the corporate world and getting all their classmates jobs.

After completing their summer internships at companies across India, the GIM batch of MBAs enter their second year. On reaching campus, they find the newly admitted batch of first year students grappling with the churn of MBA.

Interviews are held for selecting five placement representatives from the first year batch, who along with the five second year placement representatives shall form the Placement Committee.

The next few days are simply put, a mammoth contact-data collection drive. Everyone pools in their contacts in the industry, from the uncle in the FMCG company to the aunt in the consulting company, bosses from previous jobs and alumni to the college facultys network in the industry, all is summoned and put into a database.

The monsoons breathe their last drops and end-term breaks arrive in September. The institute unleashes its army of good communicators to visit companies across Indian cities, from Delhi to Bangalore and Kolkata to Mumbai or Chennai in teams of one or two comprising both second and first year students. They all have a common mission: convince companies to come to campus with the best profiles and salaries and if possible, go that extra mile to get them to recruit for summer training too.

Now comes the fun part, or maybe not. This is when B-schools hardsell to the hilt. Some companies are extremely cordial and welcoming while others can be tough to deal with, says Pritam Patnaik, a first year student.

There was a company in Kolkata, where after being made to wait, we were called in and asked to wind up our presentation within three minutes using no more than three bullet points about why they should recruit from GIM. It was a tough one, but we managed to convince him, says another first year student.


A Deloitte Pre-Placement

Talk in progress

Back from the breaks, all leads are compiled and analyzed. The General Body Meeting attended by the entire batch records the trend about what kind of jobs they want. About the same time, companies start giving out Pre-Placement Offers (PPOs) to summer trainees they liked. These are the luckiest of the lot and have a job offer in hand before the others have even started preparing for placement interviews.

As the placement week comes near, the second year students discover a new love for the library. Anything could be asked in the group discussions and personal interviews and preparation must be flawless.

While those with work experience rely on their knowledge of the industry, newspapers and reports to sail through the placement interviews, those without any work experience work on their academics, says Dibin Raj, who has received a PPO from Wipro Technologies.

I prepared myself for placements in the last one month. I went through the entire CRISIL database, researched a lot on companies by visiting their websites, read newspapers and magazines. I also read a lot on various IT related topics and my favorite subjects, which I assumed I would be quizzed on, says Moneet Kaur, a B-Tech graduate from Delhi.

BBA graduate Girish Kharas summers experience has reaffirmed his decision with respect to his profile. He declares, I do not believe in last minute preparation. I read and researched a lot during the last one and a half years spent at GIM. Basically I do not like exerting or pressurizing myself at the last minute so I keep myself updated all the time. Im very clear as which field and profile Im looking at.

Both have received offers from a top IT company.

Being a fresher, I concentrated on revising basic theories and concepts. I read up most of the books in the library in the last couple of weeks. I have never been a regular visitor at the library but this one month has been a revelation. I think I have explored this library like never before, says Shruti Jain, a BTech from Kurukshetra University, who has an offer from Infosys for an HR profile.

Everybody is very tense and you see the whole batch coming together to help each other out. The sale of Economic Times skyrockets because everybody buys a subscription, adds Vikram.

Focus helps. I had prepared and researched only on telecom companies and it showed during the placements. I did not get through any IT company that I sat for, said Srinivasan Subramani, who is joining Idea Cellular.

To be continued. Look out for Part 2 of this feature – How companies throw tantrums to get the best slots.

This article is neither a sponsored feature by nor an opinion on the Goa Institute of Management placement process. Readers are urged to conduct their own research before making a judgement on the institute.

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