The placement process is a guarded secret at IIMA simply because of the sensitivity of the information that is handled. Nevertheless, it is important to familiarise oneself with the underlying fundae of the process to make informed choices when the process roles out. The objective of this article is not to tell you everything about placements at IIMA (it is a boatload of information and will be paced appropriately by the placement committee) but to give a general sense of how things are done at IIMA. If you want the hard facts and numbers feel free to check out the annual IPRS reports (http://www.iimahd.ernet.in/iprs/). On a similar note, this article might raise more questions in your mind than it answers, apologies for that, but you will have to hold on to them until you reach campus (or reach out to mentors for really urgent ones).
The placement process at IIMA is almost entirely student run, a tip of the hat to all the placement committees who have over the years gained a reputation for their fierce work ethic and high moral standards. The process is run by them in three phases. Phase I-Summers for internships after first year; Phase II-Laterals for parallel process run for people with experience (eligibility changes based on batch average experience) in the middle of the second year and Phase III-Finals for final placement at the end of second year.
IIMA is reputed to have the best bang for buck in terms of career progression globally or ROI, if you want to get all fancy about it (http://profit.ndtv.com/news/life-and-careers/article-iim-a-offers-better-career-growth-than-harvard-business-school-survey-734866). This has helped the placement process to evolve beyond looking at getting the best salary packages for its students because that is already taken care of. The process in the recent past has focussed on “fit”-getting the right role for the right candidate. This is done by breaking the process into cohorts and clusters.
A cohort is a group of similar roles. For example all sales roles are one cohort, private equity roles are another cohort and so on. The number of cohorts has been increasing over the years to include newer roles like e-commerce and diverse roles like NGO management. The placement committee strives to get as many roles as possible to increase student choice and it has always been a problem of plenty for the students. It hence becomes important to understand which role you would want to take up and this is where inputs from seniors and pre placement talks help. Pre placement talks are usually a presentation given by senior management of a firm to provide visibility as to the role that is on offer and the firm in general. Attending these will not only inform you about the roles on offer but will improve general understanding of the economy.
A cluster is a group of similar cohorts. 4 clusters are usually run over a period of 10 days to 2 weeks. This is a deviation from the day system followed at most undergrad colleges and it has again been created for students’ comfort. Clubbing similar cohorts lets the student get a better focus as to the type of roles they want to get into and tailor their preparation accordingly. Clustering also helps in exercising the option of a “dream”. A dream firm can pan across and within a cluster where a student can pick one or two firms that they would want to convert instead of the offer in hand. This has been possible because of the years of trust built between the institute and recruiting firms as the firms have also bought into the concept of fit, and are willing to let go of a student if the student sees himself in a different role.
Most of you might have already received communication regarding CV proofs. This process starts early to ensure you have the best possible representation of your abilities on your CV. A CV more often than not serves as the initial communication to the firm about you and you know what they say about first impressions. This again ties back to the concept of fit, the firms try their best to communicate about themselves to you and you should ideally try to reciprocate this to the firm.
It’s paradoxical that you are almost assured of a good job once you get into IIMA yet it is one of the most worrisome things because of the options on hand. My advice: keep calm and follow place comm.