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How to score well in MBA placements

education Updated: Jan 18, 2012 00:49 IST
Gauri Kohli

There is a lot of speculation today over the impact of the economic slowdown on B-school placements. HT Education spoke to experts to find out how, despite a gloomy economic scenario, fresh MBAs can manage a fat pay package and a great job profile for themselves.

Maximise your chances
Most organisations do not look just for the goal setting of candidates in the recruiting interviews but also want to know if they’re passionate and clear about their goals. According to Debashis Chatterjee, director, IIM Kozhikode, “Goal and role clarity requires the candidate to be well read in general knowledge and have adequate industry knowledge. If the resume highlights the candidates’ potential around these two issues, the chances to secure placement are pretty high.” Identifying your core competency area and matching them with companies that would value them is another great idea.

Keeping abreast with the world around you will help you form opinions. Joining committees and clubs, taking part in inter-college events and other initiatives in and around the campus not only widens students’ horizons but makes them confident enough to present themselves well during placements.

Says Dipak Kumar Das, head of placements at IIM Shillong: “Peer learning and support definitely help you stand out. It helps you understand yourself, which is essential for answering HR-based questions put up during the placement process.”

Impress the recruiter
Your energy levels, body language, and inquisitiveness to learn would be the screening points for the recruiters. So, well-organised and measured responses are key.
Putting your ideas across in a concise and lucid manner helps you score over others. “With hardly 20 to 25 minutes of interview time per candidate, beating around the bush with lengthy stories is definitely not the way to go. Besides all of this, the candidate should be courteous and truthful during the interview process. An unethical person is the last thing an HR would want in his/her company,” says Das.

Choosing salary over company?
“A candidate should be aware of the career growth potential of a particular role in an organisation and know if she or he is fit for the role. Choosing merely on the initial pay package may sometimes mar one’s career growth prospects,” warns Chatterjee. Another important tip is to “always look for opportunities to learn and grow and trade off with the starting pay over a five to 10-year horizon,” says MJ Xavier, director, IIM Ranchi.

“There is an emerging trend among students to prefer smaller companies operating in niche areas of their interest which offer challenging assignments as opposed to the conventional big firms. Students opt for these firms after careful research and end up climbing the ladder faster than some of their peers,” says Das.

While a settled conglomerate gives you an exposure to a global work culture and structured growth, a smaller firm gives you avenues to innovate and experiment on different methods.

According to Das, “Most students must stick to their long-term career choices while accepting job offers. For example, a candidate aspiring to be an investment banker in the long run should not be advised to take up roles in marketing or operations. The principle reason behind this would be that his/her dream of becoming a banker will then remain a dream forever. Career transitions of choice are possible only during an MBA and it will be foolish to let go of something one has always dreamt of.”

“An MBA student should choose a career based on his interest and not on the salary offered. This interest must be demonstrated in the interview,” says Rajiv Misra, professor, Operations Chair, placements at XLRI, Jamshedpur.

Recruiter’s speak
“It is prudent to do a background research and update yourself on the latest facts on the company (you’re being interviewed for) and its peers,” says Ravi Shankar, senior vice president HR, HCL Technologies.

Chance favours the prepared mind
* Read general knowledge books and have adequate industry awareness
* Do background research and update yourself about the company (you’re being interviewed for) and its peers
* Your energy levels, body language, and eagerness to learn would be the screening points for the recruiters
* Remember, recruiters look for candidates who are passionate and clear about their goals
* Always look for opportunities to learn and grow and trade off with the starting pay over a five to 10-year horizon
* Be aware of the career growth potential of a particular role