19 Dec 2020 15:43 IST

B-schools conduct virtual placement drives seamlessly

Participation from firms across sectors including business analytics, consulting, and IT

The tough economic scenario in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic and muted growth across various sectors notwithstanding, B-schools have been able to successfully conduct summer placements and have bagged a good number of offers this year.

Summer placements provide internship opportunities to first-year management students. It is estimated that nearly 20-30 per cent (or sometimes even more) of the pre-placements offers (PPOs) bagged by students at the final placements come through their summer internship stints. So, summer placements play an important role not just in boosting sentiments, but also in putting the candidate in a better stead for finals.

With the crisis impacting revenue streams and the hiring requirements of corporates, especially the new-age start-ups, institutes were geared for a certain amount of “disruption” in the placement season. The average placement process got a little extended from around two-to-three days to close to a week for some institutes.

However, institutes took a slew of measures starting from reaching out to a larger pool of recruiters, both old and new, to having an extended placement window and going all virtual, to ensure a smooth and seamless process for candidates.

Bracing for the change

IIM Calcutta for instance, revamped its placement structure to comprise three clusters scheduled on November 23, 26, and 28. The clustering was based on the core business competencies of the firm and the cohorts were ranked by student preference.

According to Prof. Abhishek Goel, Chairperson CDPO, the pandemic and economic recession had posed unforeseen challenges. “The key task in the uncertain situation was to maintain easy flow of information and impart clarity to all stakeholders to help them quickly arrive at decisions. The student team did a wonderful job to create a multi-tier communication and coordination system while maintaining our very high internal standards for all stakeholders. Our technical processes are very robust that could successfully deal with a fully online placement process or any mix thereof,” said Goel.

IIM Shillong reached out to a larger pool of potential recruiters and also started planning well in advance to ensure a smooth placement season.

“Given the larger set of apprehensions that were existent, it required us to adopt a pro-active approach. In order to ensure a successful placement drive, it became obligatory to reach out a larger pool of potential recruiters whose businesses have grown during the current climate. With businesses being hit and hiring timelines going for a toss, the Committee needed to plan all the placement-related activities well in advance, to ensure a smooth and seamless experience for the candidates as well as the recruiters,” Prof Rohit Joshi, Chairperson- Student Affairs, Placements and Public Relations, IIM Shillong, said.

Highlighting some of the key changes brought in by the virtual process, he said, aptitude tests and psychometric tests became key elements during the current placement drives, replacing the group discussion and group interview processes in certain cases.

“The novelty of the virtual ecosystem, integrated for the online summer placements 2021, will always be a landmark achievement. The continued support of our existing recruiters, the excitement of new recruiters and the amazing teamwork amongst all stakeholders have ensured the successful summer placements,” Dr Roopa Adyasha, Senior Manager of Career Development Services, IIM Bangalore, said in a statement.

Participation across sectors

Most B-schools witnessed a good participation from firms across various sectors including finance, business analytics, consulting, general management, IT/product management, operations and sales and marketing among others.

According to Prof Omkumar Krishnan, Chairperson (Placement), IIM Kozhikode, nearly 144 companies picked up 541 students, from three post graduate programmes, which was also the institute’s largest batch ever.

“This proved that the ability to secure a broad mandate of offers amidst a challenging business environment brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic is the hallmark of a top B-school,” he said.

Setting the tone for final placements

Given that summer placements set the tone for final placements, institutes are expecting things to recover and look better moving forward given the improved business sentiments.

“Our experience from the summer season has certainly provided us insights, while preparing for the finals campus drive. Business activity seems to have picked up post-Diwali and the recovery is only going to be stronger once the New Year kicks in. We do expect to once again witness a highly successful placement season,” Joshi said.

IIM Calcutta is watching the economy and the trends closely to quickly calibrate its responses. The placement team is gearing up for the upcoming season, Goel said.