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Foreign B-school grads look to India for survival

As jobs shrink in the troubled economies of the West, some of their top business schools are increasingly networking with India-based alumni to explore opportunities in India. Kamayani Singh reports.

india Updated: Nov 05, 2008 00:43 IST
Kamayani Singh
Kamayani Singh
Hindustan Times

As jobs shrink in the troubled economies of the West, some of their top business schools are increasingly networking with India-based alumni to explore opportunities here.

Indian companies are still averaging double-digit growth and the broader economy, despite a slowdown, is predicted to grow
7 per cent this year. That’s why many B-school graduates are scouting for jobs here.

A team from Chicago’s Graduate School of Business visited Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore last month on an “entrepreneurial
immersion” trip. The visit was aimed at creating “networking and partnership opportunities for our participants which will be valuable during times of a financial crisis”, said Linda Darragh, director of entrepreneurship programmes at the school.

Alumni of top B-schools in the US and Europe, especially those focusing on entrepreneurship, strategy and information technology, are stepping up efforts to explore India’s job market.

And why shouldn’t they: When investment bank Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, heads rolled at its trading offices across the world, except in Mumbai, where operations were profitable and bought over by Japan’s brokerage giant Nomura Securities. In fact, the India unit is reportedly hiring now.

“In the last few weeks I have received numerous emails from Harvard alumni looking for jobs in India,” said Surat Singh, who has served as the president of Harvard club of India and Asia in the past.

“Surprisingly, more Americans than Indians have e-mailed me. I have been trying to get them in touch with Indian
alumni who are in key positions now,” Singh added.

Singh, who now heads the India chapter of All American Universities Alumni Association, said alums of several other Ivy-League schools have also been sending him mails and asking for help.

Some of the B-schools are also reaching out to alumni, who have either lost their jobs or are sailing troubled waters.
“Our Dean has got in touch with our alumni working at Lehman Brothers and we are utilising our extensive alumni network to help them out. India is definitely an important destination in this alumni network,” said Edward Buckingham, an associate director of executive MBA programmes at Paris-based INSEAD.

IESE, based in Barcelona, Spain, is also organising events for both their Indian and non-Indian alumni who want to know more about India.

“IESE has started a programme called ‘Inside India’ for alumni and executives who want to get an insight into doing business in India. The programme gives opportunities to interact with both major industry players and consumers,” said Anjaney Borwankar, a Mumbai-based associate director for MBA admissions at the Spanish school.

This year, management schools expect even more applications as economic slowdowns usually lead to a surge in applications. “An even larger number of Indians will be applying to B-school this year, adding to our burgeoning alumni network in the country. This is the time to make use of those contacts,” said Caroline Diarte Edwards, director of admissions at INSEAD.

First Published: Nov 05, 2008 00:39 IST