"Companies may reduce intake, but no reason to panic yet" - GIM Director

*MICA co-founder and currently Director of Goa Institute of Management Alan D’Souza *talks in details about admissions at GIM and how exactly MBAs would be impacted because of the global financial crisis. He also discusses the verticalization …

MICA co-founder and currently Director of Goa Institute of Management Alan D'Souza talks in details about admissions at GIM and how
exactly MBAs would be impacted because of the global financial crisis. He also
discusses the verticalization of management education in India and the proposed plans for GIM's new campus in the beach town of Sanquelim.

How many applications does GIM receive and what is the number of students that are called for GD-PI after the XAT results are declared?

The number varies from year to year but to the best of my knowledge,last year about 800 to 1,000 students were called for a total of 120 seats. The number of applications that we received was 10,000.

What are the differentiating factors for GIM as a business school?

I think our value systems have been strengthened ever since our inception. Father
Romould D'Souza has been the founder of three business schools in the country,
all of which are in the top 20 including XLRI which is in the top five or
seven. Therefore, our genes in a sense are right. We place a great amount of
emphasis on teaching and hence our curriculum here gets top priority. As far as
our environment is concerned, many people who come here cannot believe that one
can have an institute of excellence in what can be described as typical holiday
settings. One of the things that we can very clearly state is that we combine
work with pleasure. A component of education is coupled with tourism which I
would say is quite unique.

The GIM placements report 2008 states that close to 100 students had accepted offers from software and financial sectors. Given that these sectors are the most
affected by the present world financial crisis, how do you see placements at
the institute getting affected?

It is true that the IT and financial sectors are the sectors in which GIM students have got more placements. Suffice it to say that this is driven entirely by industry requirements for example if there is a boom in IT then there would be a requirement for more IT students. However, the education provided here is not sector specific as of now and students from GIM have the ability to work in any sector of the economy. We are thinking of sectoral specialization as we go along such as programs relating to the sectors of retail, tourism, health management etc.

For a B-school student graduating in 2009 and looking forward to placements, how should he or she prepare given the current scenario in the world economy and particularly in the financial sector?

My advice to any B-school student would be to firstly be very clear of what management education is all about and what itis likely to deliver. Secondly, be very clear of what you want out of life. It is important to not only benchmark but also to 'next-mark'. It is important to know what you want to do and be the best in the world in that field whether it be journalism, acting, cricket or any other field that you're destined for.

How do you see placements changing in the finance sector? Will there be more first time recruiters, less job offers or more private equity firms recruiting?

Within the finance sector there are several verticals which one can look at. The banking sector, the insurance sector, the non banking financial institutions, the NGO sector and the government sector all make up the finance sector. There are bound to be ups and downs because of the meltdown. In our country we are not likely to be affected to a large extent. Our economy and banking sectors are still very strong. Jobs would be
coming up in the finance sector. It's not that they would be drying up
completely. The general sentiment is that this is a time where we need to maybe
tighten our belts in a sense. A sentiment that goes somewhat like this, "If we
recruited ten last year then maybe we could do with eight this year". There might be a reduction in some cases but I really don't see the need for an overall panic.

How is GIM placed as regards placements which are scheduled to commence in a week or so from now?

As far as this year is concerned, once we got a sense of the meltdown and its possible repercussions, we consciously adopted a strategy of diversifying our company base. We don't believe that there is a panic situation. Of course there are cases in which
some companies have pulled out because of certain reasons, some have said that
they will come a bit later, some have said that they might recruit in lesser
numbers. My argument is that if students generally got placed within a week or
two then it might take a month or two months and it's just a question of a time
lag. One just needs to have patience and there might be a compromise in terms of money here and there. As we have been telling our students here, money should be a consequence of a good job. Today the argument is - look at the company and the job profile on offer, it doesn't matter even if you have to take a salary cut, your long term plans are more important than your short term interests.

As far as the current economic slowdown is concerned, do you think it could lead to sectors such as the FMCG sector and media attracting talent? Could it also lead to a change in expectations that students have for the MBA degree, in a positive way?

Yes, there would be a reshuffle in terms of the industries that are affected by the meltdown and those that are not. Fortunately the advertising and the entertainment sectors continue to be extremely buoyant. It is possible that more jobs come from these sectors. Typically, advertising agencies have not been paying the kind of monies that
other sectors have been paying to MBA students and therefore MBA students have
not been going into advertising. Now with the meltdown, because there will be a
dearth of jobs in other sectors, people will be looking at this sector in a
very interesting way. Now, the irony is that we must educate our students to
not follow placements but to follow their hearts and what they want to do.
Therefore, if you wanted advertising you should have opted for it in the first
place and not been driven to it because of it offering jobs! The perspective
with which students are looking at management education is wrong and that is
what we must change as the education fraternity.

How would the way in which students look at an MBA degree change? Would they do a lot more thinking before choosing to enroll in an MBA program?

See, nine out of ten students get into an MBA program because everybody is running in that direction. And therefore, if everybody is running in that direction then the question is - in which direction will everybody run, next? It's almost as if, if the NGO sector suddenly has a lot more jobs or government salaries increase dramatically then a lot of
MBAs would be going in these directions! Can we pause, think for a minute and
ask why we are getting into an MBA program? Earlier the only two professions
which were considered to be good were medicine and engineering. My argument is
- look, the world is big! There are many other jobs and professions which are
waiting. You could be anything. You could be a doctor, an actor, play cricket,
tennis, be a CEO, be an entrepreneur. Fundamentally we must have a good process
starting at the school and college level of trying to help our students
discover what they want out of life and guide them in that direction.

On the basis of your extensive experience in the advertising industry, how does a
B-school use the media to enhance its image, if at all it is possible?

A B-school's image is not something which should be mass advertised. We are in the educational field and I would like to liken ourselves to a medical school or an engineering college. Do you see engineering or medical schools of good quality advertising? You don't.
Therefore the question that I ask myself is, why is it that this B-school
syndrome has become such a marketing game? To my mind it should not really be a
marketing game. If your product is good, you will get known in any case. The
concentration should be on building the institute rather than marketing the
institute. Unfortunately today, given the demand and supply position a lot of
institutes are into heavy advertising and heavy gimmicks of various kinds. In
my mind, marketing does not substitute a product. You must first have a good
product and then I believe that in the education sector, it will market itself.
Of course, this does not mean that you do not talk about the institute or you
do not show the institute in good light. Marketing is important but it is
incidental and you do not market first and then create a product. It works the
other way.

What do you think is the future for management education in India? How do you see Indian B-schools tackling the ever increasing demand for MBA?

Let's go back in the past to understand what the future holds for us. At the time of India's independence, we decided to go for an industrialized economy and Jawaharlal Nehru in his wisdom thought that the country needed a body of engineers and the Indian Institutes of Technology were established. After this came the phase of management because good managers in various fields were required to manage these industries and
this is how the IIMs came into being. So the IIMs evolved out of the need for
management education which existed at that point in time and a lot of other MBA
colleges were started. From here onwards we will be seeing what I call the
'verticalization' of management education or certain sectors would evolve which
would be the sectors of the future and managers will be required for these
sectors. Today a general management education does not seem to serve the
purposes for each and every industry in a uniform way which is why we created
MICA in the first place. This stemmed from the concept that management
education needed to be sectoralised and the communications sector required talent
of a certain kind which blended the understanding of communications with
management. An entirely different curriculum, syllabus, pedagogy, group of
students was needed to address this issue. This will increasingly happen in the
years to come and lead to the establishment of a lot more sector specific MBA

A sector such as aviation experienced a sudden growth which resulted in a lot of flowering of aviation schools. Now, with the current crisis a lot of aviation graduates and schools are facing problems. Do you think such a situation may come to be if sector specific MBA programs gain in prominence?

That's a good question but one must try and understand management education vis--vis vocational education. The people most hit in the aviation industry are pilots, flight stewards and stewardesses. These are vocational jobs and not management jobs. Management is a holistic concept, it can straddle and so one can seamlessly move from retail management to hospitality and from retail to health and so on in time to come should the need arise. The reason being that a basic grounding in management has been
obtained and it's just that the flavour added, the icing to the cake so to
speak pertains to a particular sector.

Interaction with students at b-schools that have sector specific MBA programs has revealed that the quality of students in these programs is in some cases lower than that in a general MBA program. Do you see this changing in the future?

I think there will be a steady state which will be achieved in the time to come. In my mind, the demand for general MBAs will reduce, salaries that MBAs receive will peak, come down and stabilize. Today I believe that in any B-school, salaries are hiked up and more than what students should be getting. This is the result of various factors such as
demand-supply, globalization and others. This year will be the year of reckoning where one will actually know at what level salaries are getting stabilized. Ups and downs will decide what kind of salaries are really meaningful salaries to be paid to individuals who come out of B-school.

Could you elaborate on GIM's move to the new campus at Sanquelim and what changes you propose to implement there? You had mentioned earlier that you would seek to emulate the ISB model of education.

It is easy to create resources of infrastructure such as good buildings, labs, libraries, technology within a span of two to five years. All that is required is money. What one cannot create overnight is international, global talent to have and come and stay in
the institute . Therefore the model of ISB appeals to me because one has global
talent coming and injecting a global quality of education to the institute. Now
the challenge there is, how good is the existing faculty to integrate all this
that is happening with the globalised world. Therefore it is important to have
core faculty talent which is outward looking and which can easily assimilate
this global talent into the Indian context and that is what I am talking about.

But in that case, would you be accepting GMAT scores?

In time to come we will have to relook our admissions process and we might have to take a look at GMAT scores. In that case, my argument is that firstly we have to define whether the B-school truly is a global B-school or not. Once we start attracting talent from abroad and people from countries such as the United States of America or from Europe think the education in India to be good enough to come here then such a situation will come to be. Already we have students from Africa and the Middle East
coming to study in India. However, if the developed world in the next 20-25
years is going to be located in the East rather than in the West then the
challenge for India is whether we can create an environment where instead of
Indians going to a Harvard we have students from America and other countries
coming to a GIM or an ISB.

My two cents on this post:
I would go with what Ratan Tata said that it is a high time to hire large pool of talented people with lower packages.
So definitely the placement figures are gonna come down significantly but placement would also be 100% as said by D'souza sir. But b-schools like GIM and above level schools will definitely be able to place all of there students.
Hopefully I will convert GIM this year and by the time I come out recession will be history again 😉

My two cents on this post:
I would go with what Ratan Tata said that it is a high time to hire large pool of talented people with lower packages.
So definitely the placement figures are gonna come down significantly but placement would also be 100% as said by D'souza sir. But b-schools like GIM and above level schools will definitely be able to place all of there students.
Hopefully I will convert GIM this year and by the time I come out recession will be history again ;)

I think this was once posted by grondmaster somewhere. Very few b-schools in India are able to 'genuinely' achieve 100 pc placements, even in a non-recession environment. It depends on the way you look at it - a b-school might be able to arrange offers for each and every student, but that doesn't mean that all students will accept those offers. But at that point, some b-schools already start claiming 100 pc placements.

I've witnessed this happening in at least five of the top-30 b-schools. Suppose you have a class of 180 and of that the placement committee has been able to place 160-165. Placing the remaining 15 students who are at the bottom of the class becomes one hell of a challenge. At that point, the placement committee realizes that the only companies remaining are the ones nobody wants - not even the 15 remaining ones. So via proxy participation at PPTs and a lot of pleading to the students and companies, they are able to ensure that the remaining companies at least give offers to the 15 residual students. These students are then forced to accept it just so that the b-school can claim 100 pc placements at the end of Day 2, often using threats of penalties in their already frail grades, etc. Eventually all those students revoke the offers anyway.

I can't even begin to imagine what would happen to such a ragtag system in recession period. Already, a lot of b-schools who used to wrap up their summer placements in 3 days have silently moved to the rolling process, wherein companies come and recruit over a period of 4-5 months at leisure. No more Day 0 Day 1 business. Of the top 30 b-schools, PaGaLGuY receives successful summer placement press releases from at least 20 b-schools by now. This year, only 6 have come.

We (Pagalguy HQ) received invitations from at least 3 IIMs (not the ones that have held Startup Fairs much before) to come and recruit their residual summer trainees. I reckon they would similarly have gone to other startups too and some of them would have taken the bait. We refused because we had already fulfiled our capacity for this year and we did not want the residual students. However, 2 weeks later those same IIMs went to the media claiming how their students are so interested in startups and entrepreneurship. The truth is, they had no choice but to contact smaller companies and startups because the situation is really bad with their normal recruiters. All this was disguised under the garb of new generation MBA students wanting to become entrepreneurs which is not entirely true.

To sum it up, the situation is really bad in b-schools right now. But do expect b-schools to disguise weaknesses as strengths at least this year. By next year, there would be acceptance of the harsh reality of a bad ecnonomy, if it stays bad that is.


I wont be surprised to see the news b-schools are reducing fees :P

paying 16-20L for education in india for a bubble is murderous ....after all we need to pay back the fees with interest.

I agree with ur views but I think it is not any kind of weakness on the part of the institution. Just the consequence of the present economic condition.
ANd this wont result in applications to bschools dropping in anyway...

IMO the best thing to do now is look for placements in smaller companies, not necessarily start ups but those which were so far not considered because they couldnt pay as much as the bigger companies did. And there is no other choice as nothing can be done much about it...

But still, what seems highly unreal to me are 100% placements under any conditions... And that too consistently, every yr! and evry college!

.. really good interview of the GIM director.... nice questions and helpful answers.. tthanks ! :cheers:


Hi Apurv,

Good to hear some valuable comments from you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. This thread was dead which shouldn't be the case considering today's situation.
I guess the title of the thread will contradict with the discussion going on. The new title can be "Panic button is pressed, companies are reducing intake" :death:
Anyways what puys think about the situation after two years?

Hey ...

goood to see this thread and the various perspectives....I personally think, the job scene is bad....with Adventity closing the Chennai Office, Boston Analytics moving bags and baggage out of India, CISCO giving 5 day paid leave to its employees to reduce operation cost, the fixed price projects in IT and ITES and consulting firms, Kotak Securities throwing out MBA's hired last year...
It surely rings a bell somwhere....2 yrs from now i dont know what wil happen...but I feel currently what we can do is keep doing our job right, acquire new skills, make urself a critical resource on one of the modules of ur work area and help ppl u know with openings in ur org.

As far as people persuing MBA goes...be reasonable and justify ur existance in the prospective org. by working towards it from now...dont waste time....take up certification courses if u can, or bulid up sections of ur resume..like extra currics, achivements etc etc!!


But do expect b-schools to disguise weaknesses as strengths at least this year.

Couldn't stop a laughter at this statement.

IT scenario is definitely bad (and would remain so for next 10-12 months), so much that the top B-school passouts are having not that easy time to hold on to their jobs - and hence in this scenario one can well imagine those who are waiting to get placed. Our generation has never witnessed recession before - just hope this phase passes out very soon.

Though the mood is somber out there in the B-schools, Tech schools....but this would only be a passing phase (believe it or not!)

This is the time, when we would come to know who answered the question - "why do you want to do an MBA?" - Honestly rather than correctly.

These are the testing times...I have seen and experienced the post 2000 years of downturn...and believe me a person with strong determination and hope would surely come up with flying colours...So stay focussed...and move on..

Why Microsoft? Look closer home. Satyam has 60,000+ employees. Where will they go after today's 7,000 cr. fraud by Raju?

You cant compare apples with oranges, the reasons are different.
Satyam populace is endangered coz of fraud not just economic gloom.

the reduction in intake and layoffs were inexorable and quite foreseeable. If the companies don't earn how would they pay their employees. The trend is expected to continue for a good amount of time to come, as the total implications haven't been assessed nor felt yet.
As this is a first time situation for most of us, nobody knows what to do, so one thing would lead to another.
Hoping the process leads to a very propitious 'another thing', ending the world's ordeal.


Oracle fires 120 ppl across India....
majorly from the sales team!!!
Low performers you better heed to the reminders...and hints dropped here and there!

I would say very valid points made and good advice given in this thread.

For working people who are planning for MBA, it is really important to manage time and consolidate their positions in the workplace also, apart from MBA preps.

My question is on the practicality of doing an MBA now, especially a high cost one. Agreed that a recession is the best time to do an MBA because by the time you pass out things would be better. I also understand that a good MBA is a long term investment and would definitely pay off in the long run.

However some analysts believe that the recession might continue till 2010 and even 2012. Basically no one can say for sure when it will end.

We need to think long term but there should be an eye on the short term implications too, especially if finances is a factor and if one is planning to take a big educational loan.

In such a scenario what should be the plan of action?

I know people first hand, talented people, who after the MBA from top institues have got lesser packages than what they earned before.

What opinion do you all have on this?

Very interesting thanks for sharing.

It was an eye opener :shocked: for many grad. passed out students seeking to opt mba...

Thanks for sharing :cheerio:

It was an eye opener :shocked: for many grad. passed out students seeking to opt mba...

Thanks for sharing :cheerio:

dude dnt u thnk dat ur wachn a 1 1/2 to 2 year old thread whn dr ws actual financial crisis goin nw..
n nw its almst over,,,n job prospects r well back in evry b school

m sry... m a newbie n I dint notice when it was posted..

anyways thanks for informing 😃