Tough days ahead for B-schools

Written by Kirtika Suneja | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 5 2012, 09:44am hrs
With the economic conditions showing no signs of stabilising, many business schools are finding it difficult to place their students and hence, these management institutes both Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and others are encouraging students to take up entrepreneurial role on their own. B-schools like IIM-Lucknow, Calcutta and Indore along with Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) are either offering placement holidays to their students or setting up incubators to support the entrepreneurial ventures of their students.

IIM-Lucknow is mulling an incubation centre to house a few student ventures and has selected two proposals to start with.

We have had discussions with The Indus Entrepreneurs and will start with local and UP-based small business units to start an incubation centre. In fact, we are looking at a network of centres with other institutes, said Devi Singh, director, IIM-Lucknow.

Students from the institutes entrepreneurship cell say that the incubation centre is a prerequisite to offer placement holiday to students. Under the policy of placement holiday or deferred placements, students can set up their own ventures but can come back for placements after a few years if they want to.

IIM-Calcutta introduced deferred placements in the last placement season wherein a student could opt out of the placement process, start his own venture and appear for the placement process anytime in three years. More than five students have availed the opportunity to start their own ventures.

Delhi Universitys Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) also jumped on the bandwagon recently and offered placement holiday to allow students with entrepreneurial aspirations to start or be partner in a new venture. If the venture fails, the student will have the option to participate in the placement process but within two years of graduating.

At IIM-Indore, though currently there is no set policy in place for placement holiday, the institute takes it up on a case by case basis.

These days participants are showing increased interest in social causes, NGOs and entrepreneurial ventures, so as and when participants show their inclination, their case is taken up by the institute. Last year, one participant opted for Teach for India. His case for placement holiday was approved by the institute, said a member of IIM-Indores placement committee.

Mumbai-based NMIMS will set up its incubation centre in a month but the universitys vice-chancellor Rajan Saxena said a placement holiday will not be offered.

The environment is difficult and all of us may take longer to place our students, but we cant take the escapist route of deferring placements. Almost 2-3% of the students opt for entrepreneurship every year but we dont agree with the placement-holiday strategy. In tough times, the institute needs to put more effort to place students, he said.

Same is the case with the Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon, which is clear on not introducing any such policy. Students are clear if they want to go for entrepreneurship or not. We have never thought about such a policy and right now, there is no need to panic as all our regular recruiters are coming for placements, said prof Kanwal Kapil, chairperson of placement affairs at MDI.