Goutam Gurha wrote this post earlier describing the Life on the ISB Mohali campus. He concludes the 2-post series with insights on how the placement process works at the ISB Mohali campus. It’s a good way to understand the story before the employment reports are created.
ISB boasts of various social fests and events through the year that occur on a grand scale and attract large scale participation from various schools both national as well as international.
There are the social events like Bandhan where the students invite hundreds of under privileged kids to the campus and host a full day of fun and learning activities for them; there’s Aikya where we get a chance to interact with small and medium business owners in the city; and there’s Equinox which is a 3 day party festival intended for the Alumni of past batches to come back to their campus and relive those days again.
More formal events like the ISB Leaderships Summit (ILS) and Advaita attract senior business leaders from around the country to inspire the students. They also host ISB’s flagship case competitions, each of which is entirely conducted by their respective professional clubs.
The biggest sports event at ISB and arguably in India at the college level is the ISL (ISB Sports League) which is just an overall delight whether you are into sports or not and I could write an entire article just on that.
But in an effort to keep it short, I’m going to say that the ISL works on the same system that the IPL works on. At Mohali there are 3 team franchises that are bought by students who come together and put in real money to the scale of 5 lakhs per team or more.
These owners then purchase players who are bid for at an auction to decide their value. The registered players include current students, alumni and even the associates at ISB.
The teams then compete in 8 sports against each other and the team with the highest points tally at the end of the year walks away with 60% of the pooled amount. (60% of 3*5 lakhs). The second placed team gets 30% and the remaining 10% goes into the organizing budget.
It’s a unique spectacle that lasts for the entire second half of the year and brings people closer together to support their teams and unites the campus like only the prospect of money can.
Suffice it to say, ISB has a large number of events that take up the year and keep the students engaged in a positive manner.
And finally let me shed some light on placements. The placement process at ISB is hectic, intense, competitive but rewarding. It all begins with the murmurs of someone having made a CV somewhere around September.
Over the course of the next two to three months, the average student ends up making at least 10 to 15 iterations in their CV’s. The Career Advancement Services (CAS) team run by ISB and the Career Advancement Council (CAC) run by the students perform the Herculean task of managing the visits of various companies, pulling additional recruiters on board and ensuring that all students get a fair chance, all while their own careers are at stake as well.
The CAS team also organizes various resume review sessions by Alums who take their time out to come down to campus in order to help the students perfect their CVs. The consulting firms the likes of Mckinsey, BCG and AT Kearney who have a long term relationship with ISB take significant time out of their schedules to help the students with resume reviews and overall career guidance.
Companies begin to visit the campus and hold formal sessions with the students that are organized through CAS and CAC in coordination withthe respective professional clubs. These sessions largely involve a presentation by the company about themselves and then there’s an open question answer session with further networking and informal interaction opportunities after this.
The placement portal opens up in late September with the international placement processes taking place before the domestic season begins. The application process takes place on the ISB placement portal where students are expected to submit their CVs and EOIs (if required) by relevant deadlines.
The companies then shortlist candidates on the basis of criteria that remains known only to them. CGPA is a criterion here but is mostly only relevant for the top few consulting firms or a couple of other roles.
Most other companies don’t give too much weightage to CGPA if your work experience and profile is to their liking. However, though there is no established correlation between CGPA and the salary you land, it’s worth noting that a higher CGPA is always seen positively and shows that you have dedication and can work hard.
Students are eligible to apply to all jobs but are limited by a counter that restricts them to a certain number of active job applications only. This is of course intended to ensure that students with only genuine aspirations for a particular role are able to apply.
To prepare for their shortlists, the students have a wide array of resources that are made available to them. Practicing cases in groups being the most widely followed method of preparation.
Case frameworks help the students revise the essence of what they studied over the past few months and prepare them to think in a structured format with a clear thought process. Most MBA interviews are either case or situation based where the candidate is required to think on their feet to solve a business problem.
The first phase of interviews is called Day 0 which occurs in the first week of December before which all shortlists are released. All the students at Mohali are flown to Hyderabad or vice versa in alternative years for this day of days because recruiters cannot obviously be asked to send representatives to both campuses on the same day.
This is just another simple example that shows that ISB believes in the ‘One school, two Campus’ philosophy and goes out of its way to keep everyone at par.
As you can imagine, managing 800+ students in one campus many of whom who have 3 or more interview’s scheduled for the day is a mammoth logistical challenge.
However, the day goes by in a flash for some and is the longest day of their life for others. I myself had three interviews scheduled on Day 0, one with Aditya Birla Group, one with Lodha and one with Deloitte.
Without going into too much detail, let me just say that it wasn’t to be. However between 150 and 200 people on average find their post ISB destinations on Day 0. There are of course some companies that are allowed to complete their processes before Day 0 due to their business obligations and this includes the international placements as well. However all final offers are made and signed off on Day 0 itself and not before that.
At ISB, a student is entitled to receiving a maximum of two offers beyond which he or she is required to accept one. There are more companies that visit individual campuses on the subsequent days because of scheduling difficulties and these days are conveniently termed Day 0.5 by CAS.
It was here that a little old company called Ericsson came and agreed to pay me to do things for them in the future. And the relief that comes with getting placed is simply magnificent I must say.
Post this, comes Day 1 which takes place in the first week of January and once again the students who are yet to be placed are shuttled to one of the campuses so recruiters can pick and choose the ones who have luck on their side on that day.
I only mention luck because without doubt everyone at ISB is capable and has the potential to ace most job interviews, but having seen so many capable people who prepared so hard, drag on looking for jobs towards the end truly puts luck into perspective.
Day 1 slowly becomes Day 2 in February and ISB keeps at it till every student has a job offer. However for almost everyone, ISB creates brilliant job opportunities that are both challenging and promising.
Almost every company you can think of visits ISB for recruitment and as such creates a massive array of options for the average student. Like a lot of people say, ISB is a like a buffet with a huge spread, you simply have to decide which items you can take on because the size of the plate remains the same.
A lot of people question how ISB manages to place 800+ people. Let me just say, ISB’s alumni network even in its relatively short span of existence is massive and far reaching. ISB created close to 1.5 times the number of offers when compared to the batch size last year and that is no mean feat.
Another important thing to note here is that even though it seems like the 800 odd students are competing amongst each other, this fact is only true to a certain extent. Like I have mentioned before ISB consists of people from a wide array of backgrounds and experience.
When you compare ISB to the other business schools in India who have an average batch size of between 200 and 300 students, it seems amazing that ISB can churn up more than a 1000 offers when those schools with such a rich legacy do only 300 or so.
The fact is that these schools have almost everyone within 3 years of experience whereas ISB actually has a similar number in each of its experience ranges.
For e.g., there would 200 odd people with less than 3 years of experience, maybe 300-400 who are between 3 and 5 years and the remaining who are above that experience range. And because of this the jobs that ISB attracts are spread according to these numbers.
So in essence the people within these experience ranges are the ones competing with each other and not exactly with all 800 plus. Regardless the ISB placement team does a commendable job of attracting not only a large quantity of offers but also maintaining their quality over the years as batch sizes have increased.
After placement, the ISL fever rises and activities and fests become more prominent and enthusiastic. The number of parties on campus double and the level of alcohol consumption sky rockets.
Another massive advantage of the Mohali campus that’s worth mentioning here is that Chandigarh has much cheaper alcohol and over the course of the year that becomes a significant saving, believe me.
The Mohali campus also boasts of a one of a kind Party Hall conservatively called the Student Lounge. However this is a proper discotheque right above the Canteen and boasts of a complete DJ deck, a huge dance floor and a bar that can get 200 people drunk on any night and does so frequently too.
No other campus in the country, not even the Hyderabad one can boast of anything similar.
ISB recognizes the efforts students put in and feel that’s its safer they get their release within campus rather than outside. The Chandigarh tricity is indeed a beautiful city, one that you fall in love with on the year that goes by quicker than you can say ‘life at isb’ which became sort of a catchphrase for us, who were privileged enough to call it home for a year.
Towards the end of the last term, you have the ISB Oscars, which are a pretext for us to dress up fancily one last time in our suits and dresses and present well researched and cleverly invented awards to those who deserve them among the student community. It’s an excuse for everyone to relive the year that was.
As the last term comes nears its end, you are left with a deathly hole in your chest somewhere where it can’t exactly be found.
After the final exams of the last term, there’s a week aptly termed the ‘Dis-Orientation week’ just before Orientation week for the new batch where we try to fill the hole in our chest with laughter, memories and dance all fuelled by spirits.
But unfortunately it doesn’t work. You try to tell yourself there’s still time and that you’ll come back and it will all still be here. You tell yourself that you’ll stay back for the new batch’s Orientation week and that it’ll be the same. But it’s not.
You realize that as beautiful and amazing as the campus is, it’s the people that truly made it home for the last year.
You leave with the heaviest of hearts and you look back one last time. It still looks pristine and beautiful, just like the first time you laid your eyes on it 52 weeks ago.
You turn around and walk away from the quickest and the best year of your life and you take away so much, friends, experiences, learning, a bump up in salary and you wonder if get its better from here.
It takes some time, but you realize that you just graduated from one of the best if not the best Business school in the country. You had the most amazing year you could have asked for and that ISB has truly transformed you. You are ready; you can take on the world.
– Goutam Gurha
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