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XLRI alumni keep returning here to hire street-smart MBAs Shrenik Avlani Reports

education Updated: Nov 04, 2009 09:29 IST
Shrenik Avlani

It’s a day before Diwali. About 40 young women and men, most of them in formal shirts with crisp sleeves, walk out of the academic block. A small bunch is animatedly discussing — something that seems quite important going by their expressions.

“We need to finish 43 courses in eight trimesters. On bad days, we have classes from 9 to 9 and then have to stay up all night to finish a case study,” said Gayatri Krishnan, a second year student of Business Management at the XLRI School of Business, Jamshedpur.

One fails to understand why the students aren’t out buying sweets and crackers.

“Tomorrow we will have a blast. The teachers have invited the students over. They will give us Diwali snacks and sweets. Some students have already told them what they want,” said Gayatri.

The teacher-student relationship is the institute’s strength.

“There is no red tape here,” Prof P. Venugopal, the soft-spoken dean of XLRI, tells us.

“Our teacher:student ratio of 1:6/7 helps in dealing with students and their problems, both academic and non-academic.”

The ISO-certified messes at both the women and men’s hostels are super clean. Workers use disposable gloves while loading the table with rotis, dal, rice and salad for lunch.

Even the 24-hour library is ISO certified. It has one of the best archives of journals and case studies in the country since the institute has been running for 60 years now. All international journals available online can be accessed from anywhere on the wi-fi campus.

A typical day at XLRI — lectures, some reading in the library, recreation and then some more lectures and some more reading up —stretches beyond 12 hours.

Dadoo’s samosas and lime juice, the egg Maggi at the night canteen and the basic fare at the new XLRI dhaba keep students going day after day all the way to their convocation when they walk out and into the corporate world which keeps coming back for more professionals during every placement season.

Abhishek Sen, lead consultant with Hewitt Associates and an ex-Xler, has worked with Britannia, SAP and Hewitt in the last five years and has returned to the institute to hire for all the three firms he has worked with.

“During the 2003 placements, I was interviewed by an ex-Xler and every time I jumped jobs, the offers came from ex-students. All XLRI alumni go back there to hire because the institute produces, street smart, professionals, especially HR professionals. They know. All of us know. It’s not just academics and theory with this lot,” adds Sen.

“XLRI’s culture is such that it encourages students to go beyond the classroom, beyond the campus and beyond books. Students actively organise and participate in sports events and also implement awareness drives and social projects. The stress here is on holistic development,” says Prof Madhukar Shukla, who has taught here for 20 years.

“We don’t need rocket scientists or theorists in business. We need people who can apply what they read in class in real time situations and get things done and have a good time doing it. Two years in XLRI teaches us exactly that,” says Sen.

Perceiving the huge demand for students from its personnel management and industrial relations course, the institute increased its intake course from 60 to 120 last year.

But finding teachers is a bit of a strain, rues Prof Venugopal.

“However, we are looking at expanding the batch as there is a demand in the industry and among students as well. When we do it, it will be done in batches of 60-65
students,” he adds.

Average salary
2009: Rs 12.12 lakh
2008: Rs 14.74 lakh
2007: Rs 12.6 lakh

Batch size
2009: 180
2008: 178
2007: 180

Placement season days
2009: 5 days
2008: 5 days
2007: 5 days

High-profile alumni
Bijou Kurien
President and CE, Reliance Retail

Abraham Chacko
Executive Dir (Global Trade Advisory)
ABN Amro, Singapore

Aquil Busrai
Executive Director HR
IBM Corporation, India

Madan Mohan Pillutla
Professor, London Business School

High-profile recruiters
JP Morgan Chase, Lazard, Carlyle, Ernst & Young, KPMG, Hewitt, Mercer, Accenture, Deloitte