Change is wafting through the air. From corporate board rooms to business school campuses, the new rules of the game are engaging all and sundry. Indeed, the past 12 months have been a tumultuous phase for the Indian economy and businesses - from the night of November 8, when demonetisation and remonetisation was announced to the midnight of June 30 when the political fraternity assembled in the Central Hall of Parliament to launch the Goods and Services Tax (GST). On top of these seismic developments, businesses have found value in tapping the digital route, leveraging artificial intelligence, machine learning and business analytics. The net impact of this business churn has been a clear thirst for talent that can help organisations sail through it all. Not surprising, then, that despite economic growth slowing down, the mood on the campuses of some of India's leading business schools is still quite upbeat. It is in the backdrop of these developments that we bring to you the latest Business Today-MDRA survey of the best B-schools in the country.
Concurs G. Raghuram, Director of Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB). "The mood on the IIMB campus and in the industry for high quality talent has been quite positive. Areas like Supply Chain Management, Marketing and Finance would require enhanced set of skills," says Raghuram.
Recruitments by e-commerce and IT companies may have come down a bit but conventional sectors like FMCG, consulting, banking and finance now actually have a bigger footprint on campuses, according to Ranjan Banerjee, Dean of the S P Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR). "We are finding a growth in fintech with companies like Paytm recruiting. There is increased convergence between finance and technology so even banks that are hiring are looking for technology and analytics capabilities. In consulting, fintech is a space that they are looking at."
Many in the banking space would agree with him. Consider, for instance, the small finance banks. All the 10 players licensed by the Reserve Bank of India have emphasised during the past year that their IT investments are a key area of strength in a demonetised/ remonetised India. "Each of them would have invested between Rs 25 crore and `100 crore in their technology infrastructure," says S Viswanatha Prasad, Managing Director, Caspian Advisers, an impact investor with over `1,000 crore under management and an early investor in three small finance banks - Equitas, Ujjivan and Janalakshmi. "Digital has become a feature of each and every business," says SPJIMR's Banerjee, who is seeing increased demand for those with a greater understanding of analytics within the marketing specialisation.
How do the recruiters from some of these traditional hot sectors see the future? "Having set a goal of becoming a `1 lakh crore FMCG company by 2030, we, at `10,000 crore, are clearly at the beginning of our growth cycle therefore I dont see any let up in ITCs talent intake," says S Sivakumar, Group Head, Agri & IT businesses, ITC. The company, he says, hires around 120 managements graduates each year from the top 20 B-schools for its talent needs. So, what is the company looking for when visiting campuses of management schools? "The larger concern for the company would be to ensure the incoming talent meets the fundamental requirements of the business." These, he says, are a set of competencies around innovation: an ability to generate alternatives that are sensitive to customer needs; capability to collaborate across network and willingness to take ownership to outcome as opposed to mere completion of an assigned task.