The Vinod Gupta School of Management (VGSOM), Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur released its placement report for the MBA batch of 2008-10 this week, claiming a total of 110 offers for an eligible-for-placements count of 80 students. With 15 job offers, IBM was the largest recruiter at the placements.

According to the institute, 45 companies participated in the process, though only 41 companies made final recruitments. A total of 11 students accepted pre-placement offers. Two students had opted out of the placements. “Both of them were Armed Forces guys. One is going back to army while one is retiring and would be starting something of his own,” said the institute. Not all students seem to have gotten jobs, even though the official placement season has ended (see analysis).

VGSOM has claimed an overall average salary of Rs 11.37 lakhs per annum and that the statistical mode of the salary was Rs 9 lakhs, offered to 15 students. In the answers to a PaGaLGuY questionnaire, the institute also claimed that 62 candidates had offers equal to or above Rs 9 lakhs. The institute refused to clarify if these were just accepted offers or also included offers that were not accepted (see analysis).

The highest salary was claimed as Rs 15 lakhs. All figures include variable salary components and other benefits over and above the in-hand component.

Profile breakup

Profile category Percentage of offers Some companies Some profiles
Consulting 38% AMI Partners, Avalon Consulting, Deloitte, Deloitte-USA, IBM, i-Maritime Infosys, KPMG, Wipro Consulting. Strategy Consulting, Business Consulting, IT Consulting, SCM Consulting and Finance Consulting.
Operations 22% ABB, Balmer Lawrie, BHEL, Heinz, ITC, Mahindra and Mahindra, Tata Motors, Vedanta Resources, UB Group, Welspun, BHEL, SCI Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing Operations, Procurement. BHEL offered General Management
Finance 18% ANZ, Bank of Baroda, Citibank, JP Morgan, Nomura, NCDEX, Power Finance Corporation, SBI Caps. i-Banking, Banking Operations, Corporate Finance, Advisory and Structured Finance to Business Development in Commodities.
Marketing 11% ABB, Berger Paints, Citrix, DataMonitor, ITC, Tata Metaliks, Tata Motors, Tata Telcon, Tech Mahindra Sales & Distribution, Market Research, Product Marketing, other traditional marketing roles.
IT 5% Not disclosed by the institute Not disclosed by the institute
HR 5% Not disclosed by the institute Not disclosed by the institute

Apart from the above, students were offered jobs in analytics and statistics by ANZ, Dell, HP, and HSBC and Citigroup Global.


On ’62 candidates having offers equal to or above Rs 9 lakhs’

While the institute’s placement committee gave us this data on email without our asking, it refused to answer our question if these were just accepted offers or also included offers that were not accepted, saying that “We would like to bring to your notice that all the relevant data is available in our Placement Report, which has been approved and authorized by the institute to be published.”

This implications of this difference are important, since “62 accepted offers >= Rs 9 lakhs” would mean that 62 distinct students out of a total batch of 80 secured more than or equal to Rs 9 lakhs. Whereas if they meant “62 of the total offers >= Rs 9 lakhs”, (total number of offers claimed is 110) then it means only 56.4% of the offers were above Rs 9 lakhs, some of them appearing as multiple offers shared among a small bunch of the brighter students. Yes, I can see that they have mentioned ‘candidates’, but after once writing it without our asking for it, they have refused to stand by it and provide data to corroborate their claim. A clarification about this would have been helpful, else it brings to mind the famous William Watt one-liner, “Do not put your faith in what statistics say until you have carefully considered what they do not say.”

The entire batch has not been placed yet

While VGSOM claims in its report that the official placement season has ended, it has not disclosed that there are students in the batch who are still looking for jobs because they did not find one in the institute-driven placements process. The following message posted on LinkedIn was passed to us by a source:

VGSOM student who hasn't found a job

(Click on image to enlarge)

(We are not disclosing the student’s identity for obvious reasons.) This reporter spoke to the student on phone and he admitted to not having gotten a job at VGSOM until the closing of the placement process. “I did interview with a Kolkata-based company after the placement process, but they later turned back on their decision to send an offer letter citing lack of enough projects to make a new hire. So as of now I am still unplaced,” he added. The VGSOM placement committee refused to comment on the above and to our question “how many students had not been placed by the end of the placement season.”

Additionally, according to sources, two more students are without jobs until the end of the placements. Upon our calling them, they refused to either agree or deny if they had gotten a job during the placements, adding that VGSOM placements was a confidential system and they were not authorized to speak out-of-turn. (Disclosure: The information in this paragraph has been confirmed by one source, as opposed to multiple sources in other parts of the report.)

“B-schools are not placement agencies…”

… nor should they be, in our opinion. One sees many b-school students and professors fall back on this argument when put into a corner on the subject of their b-schools’ respective placements.

At the same time, it is interesting how all b-schools behave like placement agencies – by revealing data selectively to portray themselves as having had good placements, not revealing how many students did not get placed, pushing out persuasive reports containing flowery language singing accolades about their exemplary placement scenario which reaffirms their status as one of the best, how recruiters make a beeline to that college despite unfavorable economic climates, how recruiters have reaffirmed their faiths in their b-school, etc etc. Compare this language and style of operation with the sales pitch put out by aggressive placement consultancies and spot the similarities.

But many times, students do not get placed because of their inability to communicate their strengths to recruiters, inadequate work experience, bad grades or just plain bad luck. None of this should be the b-school’s responsibility, as their jurisdiction at best ends with facilitation of conversations between students and recruiters. So if the argument by b-schools is that they are not placement agencies, they should logically have no hesitation in revealing how many people did not get placed at the end of the process.

This comment does not apply to VGSOM alone, but to all b-schools. This year since April, we have been trying to scratch below the surface of all placement reports, with the objective of providing balanced coverage, which perhaps no other media outlet has ever tried to do. As a result, we are often slightly late in publishing placement reports compared to our competitors. Our objective is anything but to malign b-schools, but to show our readers a balanced perspective of placement reports which by nature are biased and written with the explicit intention to persuade. While their right to persuade is valid, so is the media’s right to unearth all that vital information which was lost in the b-school’s endeavor to persuade. Else, wouldn’t we just be glorified PR agencies? But in our pursuit, we find that most b-schools start to feel uncomfortable with sharing data beyond a point and clearly ask us to keep off.

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