12 Feb 2020 20:26 IST

Consulting is still a big draw at top B-schools this year

Recruiters find industry-ready B-schoolers a good fit for their needs

Keeping with the trends of the past few years, this year too placement season at the top business schools saw consulting firms as the biggest recruiters by far.

At the country’s premier B-school, IIM-Ahmedabad, consulting firms hired in large numbers, offering roles across geographies, including Malaysia and West Asia. McKinsey made the highest number of offers (including pre-placement offers) at 27, closely followed by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) at 23, in cluster 1 of the placement process.

Prof Amit Karna, Chairperson, Placement Committee, IIM-A, said the B-school’s programme focuses on problem-solving aptitude, client relationship management, leadership skills and cultural sensitivity. “All of which make our students a good fit for the consulting industry. It gives them an opportunity to work across a variety of projects and industries. Hiring in large numbers by consulting firms only reinforces the strength of this programme,” he said.

At IIM Calcutta, the consulting sector was the largest recruiter, making 31 per cent of the offers. BCG, McKinsey & Co., Bain & Co., Kearney, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Accenture were the top hirers in the sector.

Opportunities galore

At Indian School of Business (ISB), a large clutch of consulting companies made a total of 314 offers between them, constituting 22.75 per cent of the 1,383 job offers made on day one of placements. ISB has a large class size of 890 students in the 2019-20 batch.

An ISB spokesperson says that consulting continues to dominate recruiting at ISB because, for such firms, people are their most important resources and ISB’s value proposition of world-class teaching, experienced and industry-ready students offers a great pool of candidates to fulfil their annual talent requirements.

The top consulting offers at ISB came from: McKinsey & Co (39 offers); Accenture Solutions (37); Bain & Co (30); BCG India (23); PwC DIAC MC Analytics (23); Deloitte Touche Tomatsu (21); and Deloitte Consulting (USI) (21).

Prof Shovan Chowdhury, Chairperson, Placements, IIM-Kozhikode, said that hiring by consulting firms dominates as it is one of the few domains that has not been affected by the slowdown in the economy. Consulting offers constituted 29 per cent to a batch of 413 students, with 21 per cent offers in finance; 14 per cent in IT and analytics and 19 per cent in sales and marketing. “Students prefer business consulting because there is a better scope and wider range of opportunities,” said Prof Chowdhury.

Steep learning curve

At XLRI, too, most offers made in the consulting domain were for management consulting, with only a small section of students opting for tech consulting. KPMG (18 offers), PwC (17) and BCG (10) made the highest number of offers while McKinsey and Bain & Co made four offers each. “Consulting as an industry has been growing, with the big three firms expanding their industry presence at an unprecedented rate,” said an XLRI spokesperson.

Given the slowdown that has hit the manufacturing industry, offers from this sector were muted at most B-schools.

On the insatiable quest for consulting roles among B-schoolers, Rahul Guha, Managing Director and Partner, BCG, said the consulting industry offers the opportunity for recruits to work across sectors and functions, deliver impact and have a seat at the table. “This value proposition of diverse experience has particular appeal to new recruits which is what is leading to the demand for consulting positions with students,” he says. This year, BCG expects to hire between 200 and 250 people from across B-schools, under-grads and lateral hiring.

Guha said BCG’s consulting hires join a client-facing team focused on delivering impact for the client. “It is a fast-paced experience with a steep learning curve, with cross-functional exposure across a variety of functions. This allows for well-developed experiences for our teams,” he added.