It is India’s only business school that bars companies from on-campus recruitment. Yet, all 93 students participating in the placement week in February had landed jobs by day two.
On Saturday, convocation day at the 20-year-old Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA), Gujarat, every student had a job, defying 2009 trends that saw placement weeks at elite B-schools — including the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) — sometimes run into extra weeks with a 25 to 30 per cent drop in pay packets. IIM-Ahmedabad, just 80 km from IRMA, took nine days to place its students. The recruitment process there usually takes just five days.
“We had the fastest placement compared to other management institutes,” said Saswata Biswas, head of placements, IRMA. “That’s because we serve a very different set of organisations (rural produce cooperatives, rural banks and civil society groups). They are not market-oriented and not as exposed to the US economy as the financial services sector has become.”
This is one indicator that India’s growth is still driven by domestic demand: exports are a little under a fourth of gross domestic product, against China’s 40 per cent. Moreover, various experts believe the rural economy — largely untouched by the global meltdown — has great growth potential.
According to Rakesh Beniwal, a fresh graduate and placement coordinator, 90 per cent of placements were made on the first day itself and the dairy sector dominated this year. The reason for the quick finish was that pre-placement offers from organisations the students had done fieldwork for awaited them way before the recruitment process started. The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), Amul and Mother Dairy — associated with IRMA — made 38 pre-placement offers. International organisations like the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) also made an entry.
“We were apprehensive of what the situation would be but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise,” Manish Mohandas, placed with SDC in the Swiss Embassy in Delhi, said.
Beniwal (28) begins work this May with the NDDB on a 15-year plan to boost India’s milk production growth rate from 2.5 per cent to 5 per cent. The veterinary doctor-turned-manager said: “We are already the world’s largest milk producer, but we need to increase production from the current 104 million tonnes to 180 million tonnes by 2022 to meet the demand.”
“As growth slows on account of the global crisis, it will be necessary to back our own strength, which lies in the rural economy, its hard-working peasantry and its artisans,” IRMA director and former Planning Commission member Yoginder Alagh told the fresh graduates recently.
There were some disappointments — the highest offer came down to Rs 7 lakh from last year’s Rs 10.8 lakh, even the average offer was down to Rs 4.6 lakh from Rs 6 lakh.
But that was overshadowed by the fact that seven students (there were 100 graduates in all) who opted out of the regular placement process bagged a best offer of Rs 9.5 lakh, way above the institute’s best offer. That offer too came from the dairy sector — Paras Diary from Delhi.