This freewheeling interview with Prof. Rama Rao, Vignana Jyothi Institute of Management (VJIM), Hyderabad sheds light on the present day placement scenario for fresh management graduates. Pivoting the conversation on VJIM’s placement in particular, the interview elaborates on certain common placement challenges of 2014, a critical survey on the contemporary management course curriculum and its relevance to the industry.
- With the 2014 placement season going in full swing across Indian B-schools and particularly VJIM, what is your take concerning the current economic scenario? Is it having enough scope for management freshers?
Current economic scenario has enough scope for management freshers in terms of numbers, with right aptitude and attitude, barring a decline in certain functions like operations in view of the deceleration in manufacturing sector. Compensation remains flat across the sectors as compared to the previous years except in some.
- What were the few challenges which you faced as the faculty coordinator of placements at VJIM, Hyderabad this year?
The internal challenges were i) increase the strike rate ii) Preparing the students to grab the earliest opportunities available within their choices iii) Training students for specific job requirements and iv) Place the enhanced strength of 200 students for the first time. On external front the challenges have been i) explore and convince new recruiters to visit our campus ii) getting enhanced numbers of recruiters to match the increased batch size to 200 students.
- What are two factors that you think have been keeping top-of-the-line recruiters away this year from recruiting fresh graduates from management schools? In that retrospect, how many old recruiters have come back to VJIM to recruit this year?
Most of our top of the line recruiters (more than 70%) have come back to our campus barring banking and manufacturing sectors. Banking sector have switched over to different models for fresh recruitments. They recruit under graduates and train them through specially designed training programs designed by them in collaboration with certain premier B-schools. Public sector banks are restrained by court order for not visiting campuses. The reluctance of manufacturing sector can be understood due to its present scenario. But over-all schools have done well and VJIM, Hyderabad in particular has seen quite a phenomenal placement session this year. However I am optimistic that both these sectors will come back to B-schools in the near future.
- What are the immediate three things you think contributed in getting so many old recruiters re-recruit VJIM graduates even within a turbulent economy as this?
i)Quality of our Alumni working with them; ii) long standing relationship between VJIM and the recruiters; and iii) our rigor in academic quality of curriculum and delivery being in line with industry requirements; iv) Quality of students undergoing Summer Internships and Pre Placement Offers procured by them in the process.
- What do you feel can be improved upon in the curriculum of MBA courses, so that students find a better connect with the industry? Is VJIM doing enough to bridge the gap (kindly give few instances/ specifics) between the academia and industry?
Periodically updating the curriculum design and delivery mechanisms in line with the changes in the industry requirements will help MBA courses become contemporary. Enhanced industry interactions through varied means also helps develop better industry connectivity.
We at VJIM are innovating many processes and introducing new methods in this direction. Some salient steps include i) introduction of contemporary sector specific elective courses and specializations, ii) reverse orientation after summer internship, iii) Faculty internship, iv) enhancing the involvement of industry personnel in curriculum design and delivery, iv) periodic functional seminars by top-notch industry personnel, v) Student memberships in industry bodies like HMA, AIMA, NHRD, Retail associations etc. and holding their meetings in our campus for students to benefit, vi) Through training managers from corporates in functional and managerial aspects by Management Development Programs by our faculty vi) Business Conclave and many other such moves. To mention in one go we are now following our own model “Business Education Repositioned” for imparting knowledge in sync with the concept of Global Width and Local Depth to our students.
- What are the sorts of diversities VJIM stress on while selecting potential students? Why?
We stress on Geographic Diversity, Gender Diversity, Under-graduation diversity, Cultural diversity and skills diversity for- i) raising the all India characteristic of VJIM; ii) providing students a diversified environment for day to day interaction and gain hands on experience of diversity management; iii) for enhancing the scope of diversity of placements to cover the risk of recession in some of the sectors.
- Do you find placements to be one of the key responsibilities for B-School management now-a-days?
Placement has become prime responsibility, not just a key responsibility, for a B-school management in view of the expectations of the prospective students and parents.
- Few highlights of placement this year which you might want to share with our readers?
- Highest salary of around 7.8 lacs p.a,
- Campus visits by leading corporates across large variety of industries, sectors and functions
- A good mix of repeat and new recruiters visiting the campus
- Successfully placing the largest batch of VJIM so far
- The placement process has largely been student driven