H is just one of the nearly three lakh students who will appear for the CAT 2010. Like almost all others who have passed this exam before him, he too harbors the hope of making it to one of the top management institutions. However, unlike many of his precedents who would have looked for brand names, infrastructure faculty etc. H’s condition for a top B schools is just one – a placement record with an average, a very constricted distinction, one would say!

However, his is not an isolated case. Over the last few years, management aspirants are increasingly ascribing immense importance to the placements records of institutes in making admission decisions. These students frequently sidestep other crucial factors, in the belief that a decision based on the placements an institute can offer is the only way to make an informed choice.

A survey conducted in 2009 by PagalGuycom, a popular Indian website for MBA aspirants, contains evidence of the statement above. Participants of the survey, essentially B school aspirants’ current students and alumni, ranked placements as the top most important criterion in selecting a business institute. This is over factors such as good faculty, a great learning environment, industry interface and even kids.

Placements have indeed become a huge matter of concern for MBA students and aspirants alike. Although it has been this way since 2002 when the market exploded in the aftermath of globalization and a sudden spate of jobs in MNCs was made available. Earlier, there was hardly a private sector for MBAs to be sought after. Hence while jobs were important to students nothing was too talked about or too easily available for it to be the deciding factor.
A good job is a fancy designation and a compensation package that even at the worst can provide a luxurious lifestyle have almost become symbolic of the coveted MBA degree for most aspirants. However it was not always the case. There was a time, not so long ago, hen for knowledge acquiring skills and developing competency.
The program itself was designed to impart knowledge and more importantly values to create business leaders of tomorrow. However, it seems to have lost its significance to the very job opportunities it created for its pursuers. No longer are students seeking an education but a ticket to that elusive post MBA placement. The question then arises what has relegated this elite degree to just another job oriented courses?

India has always had a large middle class driven towards instant monetary gratification. The sole purpose of education has been to land a job. There was a point in time when a government job was all one desired post graduation, but today’s youth seeks beyond just job stability. They want great salaries an excellent work environment a plush office and accelerated growth. The MBA seems to be the best option in terms of ROI and two years do not seem to e too long a duration

Government job was all one desired post graduation but today’s youth seeks beyond just job stability. They want great salaries an excellent work environment a plush office and accelerated growth. The MBA seems to be the best option in terms of ROI and two years do not seem to be too long a duration.

Evidently the problem lies in the attitude itself. However, B schools themselves are not making any effort to curb this attitude. On the contrary fuel is being added to the fire with the media being roped in to further intensify the hysteria around placements Realms of media space are dedicated to companies that visit campuses highest and median packages foreign placements lending an air of glamour to the entire placement activity. Institutes are seen spending lakhs of money on in your full page newspaper advertisements special reports rankings and what have you not only to convince that they offer the best placements.

The big Trap

Most of these claims are just that – exaggerated statistics with little or no evidence. Typically students get attracted by assurances such as 100 per cent placements international offers, multinational jobs etc. While not all of it might be untrue, fact is that it is only he crème de la crème in management education that manage to place al their students in excellent jobs.

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