College placements give IITs, IIMs run for their money

A final year student of economics at Delhi’s Lady Shri Ram College for Women (LSR) has bagged a salary offer of close to Rs 38 lakh a year in a robust placement season that has seen recruiters loosen their purse strings to scoop up some undergraduates at higher than average packages offered at some of the elite engineering or business schools.

The highest offer to the LSR student for an overseas role in the first round of placements this year, which tops last year’s best offer of Rs 34 lakh at the college, was made by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, people aware of the matter told ET on condition of anonymity. A spokesperson from the bank refused to comment. At St Stephen’s College this year, the highest offer so far has been of Rs 20 lakh from Boston Consulting Group, which has offered a similar package to an SRCC student, both for domestic roles. Such offers are higher than the average salary offers of Rs 10-15 lakh per annum for fresh graduates at the premier IITs. Postgraduate MBA students at the likes of IIM Indore and IIM Kozhikode get average salary offers of Rs 16-17 lakh.

A student at Delhi’s St Stephen’s College had last year got an even higher top salary offer of Rs 40 lakh from management consultancy Arthur D Little Middle East, but this year average salaries have soared up to 50% in leading colleges, making this a significantly better placement season.

Average salaries have risen in colleges including Hindu College, Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), St Xavier’s College in Mumbai and Loyola College in Chennai, according to placement officials.

The number of offers has risen as well this year in the season that began in August at some colleges and will run intermittently till the end of the session next year, they said. “This year the number of students every company is hiring is much more,” said Soni George, placement convener at St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, without disclosing exact numbers.
College placements give IITs, IIMs run for their money
Saurabh Chhabra, co-president of the placement cell at Hindu College, said the college has already met more than half its target for this year.

“Students of the current batch have been placed faster than ever in the history of our placement cell. Till date, we have striven hard to achieve 64% placements. But this year we are highly confident about achieving the target of 95% placement rate,” said Chhabra.

The college has so far placed 47 students, up 33% from last year, he said. Professional services firm Deloitte, the top recruiter at SRCC with 39 offers for domestic roles, cited value in hiring fresh graduates as the reason for the high number of offers.

“We see great value in hiring undergraduates. Globally, our model is to hire them as analysts and then based on merit and performance transition them into consultant role within a couple of years,” said Debabrat Mishra, partner consulting, Deloitte. “They are far more open to learning and working hard, and they do not see any work beneath them, unlike B-school grads. For us, this pool will expand.”

According to placement officials, average salaries are lower at these colleges than engineering or business schools because humanities students included in the placements generally get lower offers.

“The market this year is a little better despite the general muted economic sentiment,” said Soni George of St Xavier’s College, Mumbai. “When business is going through a crisis they need consulting companies and that might explain the spurt in demand for people from these firms.”

At SRCC, 97 of the 450 students who registered for recruitments, received job offers in the first round that concluded recently. “Maximum number of students have shown a keen interest in consulting and investment banking profiles,” said Smita Sharma, associate professor and placement convener at SRCC. At LSR, 54 students have got offers so far, according to the people cited earlier, while 23 of the 90 interested students at St Stephen’s College have been placed. Loyola College is close to the half-way mark, having placed 74 out of 150 students who registered for placement.

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