A woman working in a professional environment.
Are you a management student gearing up for placements and wondering what you should opt for in terms of a good organisation, the job profile or salary? With the campus placement process underway at major management institutes in the country, we spoke to students who bagged plum offers with some of the big players in various sectors, and got advice from experts, to find out how to grab that dream job.
Impress the recruiter
According to Aman Bhatnagar, an alumnus of IIM Lucknow who was hired by the Boston Consulting Group during the pre-placement process recently, “you should not put too much pressure on cracking the interview. Treat it as a conversation between people and take it in a relaxed manner.”
Recalling his campus interview, Bhatnagar says, “The first 15 minutes in two of my interviews included informal chats with the recruiters about my interests. HR representatives and partners in the firm were present. I was given real life case studies to solve by my current recruiter and one of them was about a life insurance company consistently losing its market share. I was asked to analyse it and suggest solutions.”
To prepare for case studies, candidates successful in placement interviews recommend reading case studies of ISB, Wharton School and Harvard Business School.
Another important thing to keep in mind is the group discussion as it helps you in your interview. “If you have made a good impression in the GD then it helps during the interview - during which you have to be specific while replying to questions. Quote numbers wherever possible and ensure that these are backed by strong reasoning,” says Ravi Pandey, an alumnus of IIM Ranchi, who bagged a job as an assistant banker with a leading multinational bank.
Recruiters today look for a well-rounded personality. Just having the subject knowledge is not enough in today’s competitive world. “You have to go a step further to distinguish yourself. Participate in corporate competitions, campus events, extra-curricular activities, paper presentations etc,” says Merlvin Jude Mukhim, member of the placement cell at IIM Shillong.
Another factor that helps in making your interview experience good is how much you know your recruiter. “You must try and make an effort to know people of that company. Most companies have buddies or mentees who are there to guide students,” adds Bhatnagar.
Once you get an interview call, it is important to do a thorough research on the company and understand how your profile fits into the scheme of things. “Beyond a point, recruiters look more for a culture fit with the company rather than technical concepts. Matching your expectations from a job with the opportunities available in the given profile helps you convince the recruiters. Asking a good relevant question to the interviewer gets you brownie points,” says Prashant Maheshwari, an alumnus of XLRI, Jamshedpur, currently working with a leading financial advisory firm.
Grabbing a handsome package depends on various factors, say students and faculty members. “Your prior work experience, performance at the institute and how you perform during the placement week are the most crucial aspects that will determine whether you get that dream job with a dream salary or not,” says Pandey.
Company or profile?
Brand, profile and package are the three major aspects of a job. “Students today realise this fact and give due importance to all three. They have become increasingly open about their options and are willing to join small companies and even startups, if the work offer promises good value. Hence, the profile is a deciding factor for a candidate to choose a company,” says Mukhim.
In such a scenario, candidates need to decide what exactly their expectations from their career are. “If they value aspects like job security, future growth potential and prestige associated with working for a big name, they should go for a job in a big company that might not offer the position or pay they aspired for. If they value money/position as the biggest driver and are sure that it can keep them motivated enough, then they can go for a job offer from an organisation that might not have a great future,” says Rajiv Misra, head, placements at XLRI, Jamshedpur.
Before accepting the offer
Says Arpan Srivastava, an alumnus of the Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi University, who is a manager (product development) at InfoEdge, “It will be easier to change your industry (where you do what you like) than to change your functional area (what it is that you do). In the initial phase, you need to build your key skills – whether these are in finance, sales, operations, HR or marketing. Once you have demonstrated consistent results in your function, you can take your talents to multiple industries and companies. Instead of being swayed by package or brand name, ask yourself if you will enjoy doing the core functions of this job day-in and day-out for several years in this specific company. Many b-school jobs deal exclusively with crunching numbers on excel sheets, others require constant travelling to remote areas, some may require you to acquire IT skills. Be sure of what you are getting into.”
Your key to success
* Treat your campus placement interview as a conversation between people and try to be as relaxed as possible
* To prepare for case studies, read the case studies of ISB, Wharton School and Harvard Business School
* Go a step further to distinguish yourself. Participate in corporate competitions, campus events, extra-curricular activities, paper presentations
* Try and make an effort to know the organisation you are being interviewed for. Do a thorough research on the company and understand how your profile fits into the scheme of things
* Your prior work experience, performance at the institute and during the placement week are the most crucial aspects that will determine whether you get that dream job with a dream salary or not
* Instead of being swayed by package or brand name, ask yourself if you will enjoy doing the core functions of this job day-in and day-out for several years in this specific company