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The administration, ISB alums and student body all come together every year during the grueling placement season to help PGP candidates bag their dream job!

One of the biggest reasons for any candidate to pursue an MBA is career progression, and hence the importance of placement season is unknown to none. ISB has to its name a stellar placement record – with over 1300 offers made to Class of 2020 alone, average CTC rising to INR 26.14 lakhs, and all this in a year that was deemed to be on the cusp of a worldwide recession.

ISB, with its uniquely premium status in the Indian corporate world, attracts keen interest in their PGP students from a wide spectrum of companies, both industry bigwigs and booming startups!

THE GOVERNING BODIES

Placements at ISB are led by the CAS (Career Advancement Services) team, part of the ISB administrative body and they work in close proximity with the student body CAC (Career Advancement Council) for the execution of all placement related activities.  

The entire process till final placement interviews is mostly managed online on the ISB Placement Portal.

PLACEMENT PROCESS 

ISB follows a rigorous placement process that starts as early as August, even though placement interviews are scheduled sometime mid-November onwards. Afterall, spawning 850 highly competent and outstanding business graduates every year is no mean feat!

CAS, in partnership with SEAL and CAC, works round the year in organizing industry and alum interventions, which are then followed by

Pre-Placement Talks -> Application Submission -> Shortlist Decisions -> Pre-Interview Processes

before finally culminating into the placement week where the final interviews take place.

PLACEMENT PREPARATION

At the forefront of preparation for placement are the ISB professional clubs, completely run by students. They carry the onus of professional upskilling and personal grooming of all of their respective members. They are essentially responsible for the complete immersion of their members in the industry/domain they represent. Right from keeping the members abreast about the latest industry trends and disruptions to organizing expert talks – there is not a free day in their calendar! So much so that many a times students find themselves spoilt for choice with 3-4 different club sessions scheduled at the same time.

Read our detailed article on Professional & Social Clubs at ISB here.

Come August, pre-placement frenzy starts gripping the campuses. Early drafts of resume, guest speaker sessions and industry deep-dive workshops keep students swamped through the month. These industry deep-dive workshops are organized by SEAL (Student Engagement & Applied Learning), often in partnership with industry experts. This is an extremely important intervention aimed at equipping students with an in-depth working knowledge of various industries. SEAL also organizes dedicated resume making workshops for all students to help them make impressive resumes. All this while, professional clubs continue to focus on scheduling study treks, resume reviews by alums, guidance workshops for those looking for a career-switch amongst other regular things like classes, assignments & bi-monthly exams (mid-term & end of term).

September officially marks the onset of the placement season at ISB, and resume review sessions by alums and mandatory presence in pre-placement talks mean every calendar is choc-a-bloc with commitments! So much so that the SLC (Student Life Council) in 2019 planned a dedicated doggo-day when cute, furry friends took over the Hyderabad Campus to help students destress.

October usually sees students, scout, the alumni portal to reach out to ISB alums working in their dream companies to understand the company better. CAC continues to schedule pre-placement talks, while also arranging for mock interviews, especially with alums in Consulting, Product Management, Marketing and Finance.

Days seem to get shorter as the placement mania takes over the campuses. Checking your email every 20 minutes hoping for a company shortlist update, running from one prep group meet to another to perfect your case study preparations, working on the 100th iteration of your resume and reaching out to alums for placement tips and company insights – this is how the first few days of November look like at ISB. Especially so because students get almost a 15-day long study break before the arduous interview week, which is slotted in the second half of the month.

Note: The ISB program structure has changed effective 2020. For more details read our blog on the ISB PGP 2.0 here.

PRE-PLACEMENT TALKS

PPTs are sessions held by recruiting companies at the campus (in some instances by tele-presence) to introduce the organization, its culture and the roles being offered (usually) and to allow them to answer questions prospective applicants might have. Simultaneously, it allows recruiters to gauge the interest level of students and serves as a critical first impression for first-time recruiters.

While most major recruiters conduct PPTs, not every recruiter does so. The recruiters are usually represented by the senior management (Principal/Director/VP/Co-Founder) along with few ISB alums that work with that company, ISB recruits from the previous year and HR personnel.

ISB PLACEMENT RESOURCES

  • Knowledge Management Portal – Contains historical information about every recruiter sorted as per year, company name, industry, and job function:
    • Job titles offered with job description including eligibility criteria and CTC if disclosed
    • The number of offers made, and the number of offers accepted
    • Shortlisted resumes (candidate names redacted)
    • Interview experiences of candidates (in some cases)
  • Placement Portal – Is used to view postings, apply, check application status and accept/reject offers
  • Alumni Portal – While this is not a placement specific portal, it is highly relevant for placement prep. It allows access to the alumni directory with details of their background, current work profile, contact info etc. Alumni are exceptionally helpful with insightful information regarding job role, preparation tips and even resume reviews
  • Case Books/Preparation guides – These are prepared by professional clubs of the previous ISB batches and include interview experiences, preparation tips, industry overview and updates. The most popular is the Consulting Club Case Book which contains case frameworks, sample cases and interview experiences regarding consulting firms.

PLACEMENT WEEK

ISB Placement Week Glimpses; Source: ISB Youtube Channel

Months and months of placement prep lead to an exhausting and hectic placement week. The first two days of the week – Monday and Tuesday – are earmarked for pre-processes like group discussions or written tests, while the following three days – Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are respectively treated as Day 1.1, Day 1.2, and Day 1.3.

They are then followed by Day 2.1 and Day 2.2 in early December and rolling placements thereafter. Each day sees recruiters visiting the campus and conducting their evaluation processes (interviews/ assessments/ group discussions etc.). The placement week also brings to life the ‘One School, Two Campus’ spirit when Mohali students fly down to the Hyderabad campus for a combined placement process. Also to ensure fairness at all level, the school refrains from revealing the campus of students to recruiters & bars the students & recruiters from discussing the same during the interview as well.  

Every student is informed in advance of his/her shortlisted applications (role & company) for each Day. The final placements days begin around 8 am and end whenever each recruiter scheduled for that day’s process is completed. The first interview of the Day for each student is pre-scheduled by CAC, post which candidates are required to coordinate with placement volunteers and recruiter representatives for each interview (students often have interviews with multiple recruiters lined up for each day). Most recruiters have multiple rounds of interviews, and while awaiting the result of a round, a student is free to appear for interviews at another company. With so many companies & rounds of interviews, it is not unusual for Day 1.1 (when most of the top consulting companies recruit) process to go beyond midnight. Understandably, each day is extremely hectic and draining for students, having to rush from one interview to another, thus it becomes important to stay hydrated and calm. It is a constant emotional rollercoaster that candidates find themselves navigating – with rejections and selections happening every few hours. The placement volunteers, ISB staff, alum representatives from the company & even interviewers all try to support the students as much as they can. Snack & coffee counters are set-ups near all interview venues to keep the students energized through the gruelling day.   

While students are informed of the company decisions on final selections (including waitlists) by end of each day – with companies and shortlisted students signing the Final Intention Form (FIF), that includes details like overall compensation & other broad terms. The official offer rollouts happen only at the end of Day 1.3 on the placement portal. Students are then given a limited time window to accept the offer of their choice digitally and physically. By the end of it, the campus is brimming with happy smiles, warm hugs, even stronger friendships, and some goodbyes as Mohali students fly back to their campus.

Trivia: It is not uncommon to hear of recruiters fighting, and making counteroffers to the star candidates whom they are eager to attract to their firm. One instance of a bitter fight between two Consulting A-list company reps for a Dean’s Lister candidate is legendary.

ISB Placement Week Glimpses; Source: ISB Youtube Channel

However, at an overall level, the whole community (students, ISB staff, alums & recruiters) comes together in the most beautiful way during the placement days, constantly working to not just secure offers for themselves but foster a mutually uplifting environment for everybody. Students that find employment during Day 1 (1.1 / 1.2 / 1.3), take it upon themselves to help prepare the unplaced students for Day 2 & subsequent recruitment days till the whole batch has found something suitable.

PLACEMENT RULES

Since the placement process caters to approximately 850 students every year and witness 350+ companies register with ISB, there are stringent rules to ensure a smooth and fair process. Some of the key rules are highlighted below –

  • Counters: Counters are used essentially to restrict the number of jobs each student can apply to on each day. One can think of them as tokens available to students. As of 2020, ISB allotted 9 live counters for Day 1.1 and 12 counters each for Day 1.2 and Day 1.3. For every application that a student submits, a counter is utilized. This ensures that students exercise discretion during the application process and do not apply to roles/companies they are not really interested in.  

    If a student’s application is not shortlisted by a recruiter, the counter for that application is automatically released back to the student for further use. For ease of understanding, imagine this – 9 live counters for day 1.1 means till the beginning of placement week, a student can have a maximum of 9 live applications (in-progress + shortlisted + wait-listed) at any point of time. If the student is not shortlisted for interview on Day 1.1. by the company, then that counter can be utilized by the student to apply to some other company recruiting on Day 1.1.
  • Shortlists: When applying to a certain company on the ISB Placement Portal, students can see the expected date of shortlisting before submitting the application. Students are expected to only upload their resume (and in some cases a cover letter, if asked by the company) as part of the application process and shortlists are also released basis the same. A student is allowed a maximum of 6 shortlist counters for each of the interview days. This means that once all 6 counters are used (by either a shortlist or a waitlist), the student cannot accept the interview invite from any other company visiting on that day. If a student is subsequently rejected by any recruiter during pre-processes, the counter is released back using which the student can accept any other still open interview invite. 

More resources:

Class of 2020 placement report

Class of 2019 placement report

Companies recruiting at ISB

Top Industries at ISB

About ISBmantra

With a strong focus on ISB and a team of Former ISB Admissions Officers onboard, ISBmantra offers personalized Application Consulting & Interview Prep services. Feel free to send your profile to info@isbmantra.com for a free profile evaluation.

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