Accustomed to being snapped up at headline-making salaries by corporations around the world, graduates of India's premier business school, the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad are now feeling the heat of the global recession, with offers slowing to a trickle.
More than two dozen students have failed to find takers in this week's job placement process, while entry-level salaries have come down sharply. This is unusual for IIM-A, which is considered one of the top 25 business schools in the world.
"No, we can't deny that we are badly hit. Some of the major companies have completely decided not to bring in any fresh blood, new recruitments due to the crisis and things are worst here now," said Amol Dhruv, president, IIM-A Alumni Association.
Every March, private companies and government enterprises battle for the best graduates, so that in ten years, the supposedly week-long placement process has never lasted beyond four days. But this year, some students are awaiting offers even after eight days.
"The placement session this year is expected to last a little longer," placement committee head at IIM-A Saral Mukherjee told reporters. However, he would not say how long the institute will keep the placement window open or how many students are waiting for offers.
"We miserably failed to understand and calculate the impact of the global meltdown, which has now led to such a grim situation; things are bleak," said Bakul Dholakia, former director of IIM-A and vice-chairman of Institute of Infrastructure Management.
But IIM-A director Samir Barua refused to attach any major significance to the extension, saying, "In routine course every year placements are held even after the five-day schedule, it's nothing new."
Ex-students to the rescue
In these tough times, IIM-A alumni are pitching in with help and support. The institute has a huge and active alumni network with more than 32,000 members, and a large number of them are actively associated with the institute through various programmes.
The flagship PGP programme alone has 8,000 alumni, a large proportion of whom hold senior-level positions in both domestic and multinational firms. While the alumni have always been active in facilitating placement of fresh graduates, this year they have gone into top gear.
Earlier, IIM-A officials had approached its alumni network through an e-mail with a request to put in ''special effort to ensure that their organisations did visit the institute for final placements and give an opportunity to students to present their credentials for recruitment.''
Consulting firms such as McKinsey, Frost & Sullivan, Boston Consulting Group and Booz and Co picked up IIM-A students on the first day itself. However, the number of offers they made was fewer. Standard Chartered Bank, ICICI Bank, UAE Exchange, and others have also visited the campus this year.