International placements and high salaries that come with it have traditionally been an important highlight of placement reports from business schools. This time, however, the Business Today-MDRA study has thrown up data to the contrary. As many as 11 of the top 25 B-schools in the study saw no international placements in the last round of placements on their campuses, versus just eight institutes in the previous year.
Kanwal Kapil, Professor of Marketing, and Dean, Continuing Education, Consulting, Placement and Alumni at MDI, Gurgaon, says a combination of factors have led to this development at some of the leading B-schools, including MDI. He says that while there is talk of sluggish growth in India, there are enough domestic opportunities for students, which in many cases seem more attractive than international opportunities in terms of job location, job profile and growth opportunities. "The attractions here far exceed those in some of the global markets. One also needs to remember that many Indian companies are going global and expanding their footprint abroad. Some of the students hired on campuses would eventually be placed abroad by the company," he says. In the Indian context, he sees opportunities emerge in some of the new growth sectors such as e-commerce and tech-based companies, which offer scope for greater role diversity.
The profile of the batch is also a factor. IIM-Shillong, for instance, has seen international placements either in single digits or none in some years. Most students have work experience of 1-2 years, whereas international offers typically need three years or more. There is also a component of domestic offers and career growth opportunities versus the international location or inadequate knowledge of the cultural fit.
Ajit Rangnekar, former dean at Indian School of Business, is not surprised by developments on the international placements front. He sees a combination of factors at work. "Increasingly, visas are becoming a problem for global companies that are keen to make offers to students here. Then, there is also a shift towards tech-strong MBAs (those who better appreciate the nuances of technology) which is making global companies, with presence in India, hire people here for eventual placement abroad. Apart from this, some of these global companies are instead headed straight to Indian technical talent and therefore more towards leading Indian technical schools."
However, providing students greater international visibility continues to be important, which is why some institutes such as MDI, Gurgaon, continue to offer joint programmes with foreign institutes.