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ISB salary offers down to Rs 13-15 lakh

By B Krishna Mohan in Hyderabad
March 04, 2009 10:02 IST
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The ongoing placement season at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad is seeing some undercurrents of slowdown and recession.

Most compensation packages have fallen to Rs 13-15 lakh (Rs 1.3-1.5 million) a year, compared to the Rs 18-20 lakh (Rs 1.8-2 million) of last year. And, students have had fewer offers to choose from than last year.

Last year, around 230 companies came to the campus for hiring. The same number is likely this placement season, which began in January and would go on till March 31.

Last year, 657 offers were made for 421 students of Class 2008. Of this, the IT, ITeS, finance and real estate sectors combined made 280 job offers. This year, there are 440 students.

Typically, placements at ISB are marked by heavy career shifts. All students have prior work experience and a high number shift to another speciality or another sector.

Normally, companies would not take prior experience into consideration when the students wanted a shift in roles or sectors. During the previous placement season, about 80 per cent of students changed function (20 per cent) or industry (10 per cent) or both (50 per cent).

However, it's a different situation this year. The job profile a candidate held before joining ISB is getting more weightage than before. "Prior experience in the sector is very relevant now," said a student. The students, too, gauging the market scenario, are often grabbing the first offer made to them.

According to V K Menon, senior director of admissions, financial aid and career advancement services, the ratio of acceptance to offers is high as the students feel they are on a sticky wicket due to the slowdown.

ISB made it clear that companies would not recruit in large numbers as they did last year and that it is inviting more firms to the campus this year.

On many an occasion, it has told the students to set realistic salary targets. The average yearly gross salary offered last year stood at $144,812 for foreign offers, and for domestic offers, about Rs 19 lakh (Rs 1.9 million).

Contrary to the belief that information technology is down and out, ISB graduates are getting some "decent" offers from IT companies. Of course, there is no Satyam this time. "Biotechnology, pharma and healthcare sectors seem to be the flavour of the season," said Menon.

These have turned "Day One" companies. MNCs Novartis International and its domestic arm, Novartis Pharma, and life sciences company, Clarius, among others, have already come to the campus. This is the first time that life sciences' companies are coming to ISB.

The financial sector made 14 per cent of all offers for Class 2008 and 17 per cent for Class 2007. This year's should be much lesser. The shift is towards general management and consultancy.

According to a student, ISB is now asking small and medium companies in tier II and III cities to come to the campus for hiring. Many have expressed dislike for joining the real estate sector now.

"I got an offer from a pharma company," said a student who earlier wanted to be part of the real estate story. The change in decision, she said, was due to the not-so-rosy picture of these companies.

Some students say they will try entrepreneurship. For instance, Chandrani Chakroborty and Abhishek Mitra, a husband and wife pair, have started a health and nutrition fruit outlet at the campus itself on a pilot basis in December with an investment of Rs 30,000.

The couple, who have earlier worked with TCS in the US before joining ISB, have plans to start at least 10 outlets in Hyderabad and other cities after completing their education.

The duo has given a proposal to the Wadhwani Centre for Entrepreneurship Development at the ISB, seeking academic and financial assistance. They would invest about Rs 30-40 lakh (Rs 3-4 million) in the venture.

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B Krishna Mohan in Hyderabad
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