A new breed of soldiers is quietly quitting the army to wage wars in a new combat arena -- corporate boardrooms. And the corporate sector does not mind loosening its purse strings for these go-getters: salary packages being offered go up to Rs 30 lakh per annum.
The army's Directorate of Resettlement is playing a crucial role in facilitating a smooth transition for these "corporate warriors" by offering them the chance to enrol in some of India's best B-schools, including the IIMs, for tailor-made courses in business administration. Less than two years after the directorate kicked off this initiative, the results are now beginning to show.
Meet Captain Randeep Hundal, a short service commissioned officer who opted out of the Army last September. At 30, he's the senior vice-president of an investment firm taking home an all-inclusive package of Rs 30 lakh.
With the directorate's help, Hundal completed a six-month course from the Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon, where he added business skills to his inventory of leadership and man management skills.
Hundal is among the 130 officers who have planned new careers in the corporate sector over the past two years. Pay packets range from Rs 10-30 lakh. Colonel R.S. Locham, 42, who is attending MDI after putting in his papers, will soon be joining NIIT as head of procurement on a starting salary of Rs 30 lakh.
While the IIMs at Lucknow and Indore are among the institutes offering special programmes for army officers, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Kolkata will all be within their reach by April 2007. The army has already received 250 applications for the 36 seats IIM Ahmedabad will be offering from October.
Major General Harwant Krishan, director general resettlement, says, "Around 3,000 officers retire every year. It's crucial to create more avenues for them. The middle management in the private sector desperately requires experienced managers. There's tremendous scope." The course fee works out to about Rs 1.4 lakh, with 60 per cent of the expenses being reimbursed by the MoD.