Finance takes back seat at B-schools; sales & marketing lead

Written by Kiritika Suneja | New Delhi | Updated: Nov 13 2012, 07:18am hrs
The economic slowdown has made top-notch management students cautious, making them opt for traditional sales and marketing roles compared with the financial sector, if one were to go by the recently concluded summer placement trends at the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and other top business schools.

Summer placement is the eight-week compulsory internship period and first-year students will join their internships during the April-May period next year. Most IIMs follow this calendar after which the final placements for the second year batch will begin in December.

Consider this: At IIM-Bangalore, around 25% of the batch received offers for sales and marketing internships. Procter & Gamble recruited seven interns, Amazon made nine offers while ITC extended eight. Delhi's Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) saw 39% of the companies offering sales and marketing roles. Similarly, marketing continued to be the stronghold of IIM Lucknow with 36% of the offers coming from various firms such as Hindustan Unilever Limited, Procter and Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, LOreal, Asian Paints, Colgate Palmolive, Godrej, GlaxoSmithKline, ITC and Marico, among others.

In contrast, finance profiles were offered to 29% of the students at FMS and 18% at IIM Lucknow.

This years summer placements saw 265 offers in the first two days. Sales and marketing were among preferred sectors, with media and telecom firms offering these roles for the first time in addition to other FMCG firms, said Ashvek Ambe, member, placement committee, IIM Bangalore.

At IIM Calcutta campus, Choppies, the leading FMCG retailer in Botswana and South Africa offered four roles across different functional areas to offer internship in Botswana.

In fact, IIM Lucknow saw a near 20% increase across all recruiters with the average stipend being close to R50,000 per month for domestic locations. As far as international offers are concerned, many regular recruiters such as Deutsche Bank GMC, HUL, P&G, ABG, Coke and PepsiCo and some new ones such as Wolff Olins extended a total of approximately 20 international offers to the interns from IIM Lucknow.

The profile has traditionally been students favourite as it is known to withstand economic vagaries besides offering more power and responsibility to managers.

Compared to other profiles, sales and marketing profiles offer better growth, are not prone to slowdown fears and are being preferred as they allow managers to lead a team of many people, explained a student from FMS.

Nokia, Sony Entertainment Television, Boston Scientific and Zee hired from FMS for the first time for sales and marketing positions.

At IIM-C, sales and marketing saw an abundance of offers with companies like Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Procter and Gamble, ITC, Kraft Foods, Nestle, Johnson & Johnson, Pepsi Co, Dabur, Asian Paints, Airtel, and Nokia recruiting on campus. P&G and Kraft Cadbury led with seven offers.

The same was repeated for XLRI Jamshedpur whose students got internships from Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Asian Paints, Castrol, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Colgate Palmolive, GSK Consumer Healthcare, Britannia, Johnson & Johnson, ITC, Kimberly Clark, Marico, Nokia and Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages.

Same is the case with IIM Ahmedabad, which follows a cluster approach of inviting companies with similar profiles. Philips recruited students for business development, and sales and marketing internships as part of its business leadership program. Shell India recruited students for the first time from IIM-A for sales and marketing internships.

Vinay Shende, Graduate Recruitment Team Lead at Shell India said: We were very impressed by the quality of applications and happy with the placement process. Also, we liked the fact that candidates were sure about what they wanted.

The trend was confirmed by IIM Kozhikode where 28% of the batch got sales and marketing profiles with finance offers being taken up by 25% of the students. In 2011, while sales and marketing was taken up by one fourth of the batch, 30% students took up finance related internships.

The highest stipend at IIM-K was R1.5 lak this year for the summer interns.