Inevitably, one of the foremost questions in the minds of B-school aspirants is “How can the school help me progress in my career?” To answer this question, V K Menon, Senior Director for Career Advancement Services at ISB and our guest blogger for the week, walks us through the immense machinery in motion behind ISB’s placement success:
Enrolling into a premium management program is a serious decision that you are taking, both in terms of the year that you are staying away from work and also the investment that you are going to make. So, the more clearly you understand the various aspects of the program, the better off you are. Let us take a look at ‘Careers’ at the ISB.
ISB students come with significant work experience, which could be anywhere from 2 to 20 years. They add to their skill sets tremendously during the PGP, and so look for significant improvements in their careers after graduation, where these new skills sets can be leveraged and will be appreciated. Naturally, placements at ISB are all lateral placements and we are not in the business of facilitating entry-level jobs. From our side, this requires tremendous effort. Apart from finding the right opportunities, we want to ensure that our students are well-prepared to make the most of those opportunities. Not many people realise this, but unlike most other global B-schools, we start our ‘placement process’ in the first month of the PGP itself and it goes on till the end of the year.
Our placement cell, known as Career Advancement Services or CAS, consists of three divisions: Learning & Development, Corporate Relations, and Process. Let us take an example to illustrate the role of the Learning & Development (L&D) team. Suppose a current student who used to be a program manager in the IT industry prior to joining ISB wants to get into a Sales & Marketing role after graduation, but doesn’t know what this entails. The L&D team, which has several domain experts, will conduct a one-on-one session with him in Term 1 of PGP. They help him understand the nature of such a role: kind of day-to-day responsibilities, skill requirements, necessary aptitude and attitude, realistic remuneration and potential upside, career growth paths, etc. They help him determine his fit for such a role and identify companies that he may be interested in. Maybe he is also interested in some other functions or industries. If so, they repeat the process for each of his prospective career goals. They could even suggest options that he may not have thought of. So fairly early in the year, he gets a lot of clarity on what career he wants to pursue.
After he understands his options and decides to build skills for his dream career, the L&D team helps him get good exposure to the industry. They organise one-on-one as well as group interactions with ISB alumni and industry veterans from those domains/functions. In a year, we conduct several sessions such as Knowledge Transfer Sessions by Alumni (KTSA), Horizon Speaker Series, Gurukul Series, etc. Closer to the placement season that starts in Term 6, L&D team conducts resume reviews and mock interviews for students to ensure that they are well prepared to get interview shortlists and also convert those opportunities into actual jobs.
While the L&D team works with the students, the Corporate Relations team engages with recruiters to understand their talent requirements and to connect them with the right candidates from the graduating PGP class. Given the wide range of skills and experience among the students, a lot of effort goes into mapping the companies’ requirements with the available talent pool. The Corporate Relations team also facilitates interactions between industry and students throughout the year. For example, many top consulting firms conduct workshops on campus in the areas of structured problem solving, analytical thinking, etc. Senior management of companies also participate in events, panel discussions and industry focus groups held on campus. The Corporate Relations team facilitates all this and helps companies recruit the right talent for their needs. For the 767 students in the Class of 2013, companies made a total of 820 offers by the end of the placement season. If you guessed that many of these could be for senior management roles, you are right.
The Process team consolidates the efforts of L&D and Corporate Relations teams to ensure that the placement process goes on smoothly every year. Our placement process is done completely online. Participating companies provide detailed requirements and job descriptions of their open positions. These are uploaded to our proprietary portal. Students go through the roles and interested candidates then apply to the jobs through the portal. To help students with their decision making and preparation, CAS team provides students up to 5 years of past data of companies’ recruitment efforts at ISB. If a company shortlists a student, the Process team arranges an interview.
As many of you are already aware, ISB’s entire placement process is campus-neutral. At the time of shortlisting candidates, recruiters are not aware of where a potential candidate may be currently residing. So the shortlist almost always has a mix of students from both campuses. For the interview, the Process team brings candidates from both campuses to a single location and the interview is then conducted. All interview time slots are assigned by the Process team to ensure that no student misses any opportunities because of conflicting schedules.
The entire CAS team works very hard through the year, coordinating with each other to ensure that the right company finds the right student for the right role. The results speak for themselves, as can be seen by our placement trends and placement highlights over the last few years. But while the CAS team can help the student get to the negotiating table, at the end of the day, it is completely up to the student to impress the interviewers and secure an offer letter! Let me assure you, you really need to prepare well to bag that “dream offer”. Companies recruit from ISB for middle- and senior-management positions. They expect our students to display a very high level of intelligence, expertise and maturity. Once recruited, they will be expected to hit the ground running from Day 1 of the job, which will be in a higher position, a different area, or both, as compared to their pre-ISB jobs. In short, students have to clearly demonstrate their value to the interviewers sitting across the table from them.
This puts the onus on you as a student to effectively develop your skills and temperament throughout the year. Understand the theory behind various management concepts, get your hands dirty with experiential projects in your target industry or function, take on extracurricular activities and leadership roles, learn about the world around you, learn about working in high-performance teams. Become a capable and mature individual, and develop confidence in your abilities. At the end of your year at ISB, when you get the opportunity for a career you have always dreamed about, you will be ready to seal the deal.
I wish you all the very best!
About the Author: V K Menon is the Senior Director for Career Advancement Services (CAS) and Admissions and Financial Aid (AFA) at ISB.
Hello Mr. Menon,
I am thankful to you for having written this blog and have no qualms in admitting my confidence towards your institution and the amazing growth opportunities it offers for prospective candidates.
It gives me immense pleasure to also inform you that I was a first round interview shortlist for the ISB class of 2014 but did not make the final cut.
While it was exciting to read your blog I, however, felt a slight commotion inside because of the text below:
“Suppose a current student who used to be a program manager in the IT industry prior to joining ISB wants to get into a Sales & Marketing role after graduation, but doesn’t know what this entails.”
I felt a disjoint in ISB’s expectations after having read this. It has often been stressed, and certainly reflected in the way ISB conducts interviews that candidates should have good clarity in what they want to do after their MBA and that their thoughts should have a road map and maturity. From what I know from my friends is that this has been the point of discussion in a lot of interviews as well.
Under such a circumstance, where does the above example candidate stand? What additional credentials should or could one have in order to mitigate this slight deficiency in his or her profile? Will the adcom accept a candidate based on what they “want” to do without knowing what it entails?
I hope you would understand why this question and where this is coming from. 🙂
Your response is eagerly awaited. Please accept my humble apologies in case my queries are inappropriate.
Thanks and Regards,
Yes, you are right – we do expect applicants to have a good idea about what career they want to pursue after graduation, what interests them in that career, and why they want to take up a business programme. It helps us understand their purpose, clarity of thought, and drive, so our interviewers take the necessary time to understand these. But while we expect a candidate to have thought through their career choices clearly and how business education fits into it, we certainly do not expect them to have a great deal of clarity on the nitty gritty of how to make the change. This is where CAS comes in, and particularly L&D. Things to do, people to meet, courses to opt for, projects to take up, interview preparation required, etc – this is what L&D can guide you with and help you make the transition. But all of this can help you only if you know where you want to go.
In a few cases, students may realise after coming to ISB that there are other avenues that interest them more. In such instances, we help them understand these so that they can make an informed decision before diving into something new they have come across. However, such cases are a minority.
A great blog post!
However, I am curious to know whether students also play a role in the placement process facilitated by CAS (by participating as volunteers may be).
Students are involved in all the efforts listed in this blog post. At the beginning of the year, those students interested in volunteering their time towards placement activities join the student-run Career Advancement Council (CAC), through a process of election as well as selection. CAC team is then fully integrated with all three divisions of CAS and they jointly take up the various activities. CAC is the liaison between the rest of the student body and CAS, and plays an important role in policy formation and implementation.
Additionally, during the busy placement season, a lot of students who may not be a part of CAC also volunteer their time to manage logistics and support their classmates who are shortlisted for interviews. The latter, I believe, is one of the most significant contributions that students make to the placement process.
I really appreciate for this help to let us know ISB a lot more.
Hello Menon Sir,
One of my relative got admission in IIM-A. He told me that in ISB only IITians get admission . Of course he is not an IITian. I just wanted to know that it is myth or reality because i am planning for ISB and i have attended some seminar from ISB adcom in Bangalore but i didnt raise this question. And one more thing currently i am working in IT (having 2.6 years in CenturyLink ) and i always want to part of Consulting firm. I heard about ISB L&D for career shifting . So this will really help me to achieve my goals?
Please help me.
The feeling that only IIT grads get into ISB is a myth. About 75% of our current class consists of engineers and they come from all major engineering colleges in all the states of the country. Yes, we do have a large number of IITians but certainly all the engineers are not from IITs.
Yes, the L&D team will provide assistance in helping you make the career shift that you desire. The Consulting Club, industry interaction with consulting companies, workshops, etc will also play a role in making that shift happen. Having said that, consulting is the most sought after career post the one-year programme, so it is of paramount importance that you put in the necessary effort to get to where you want to go. At the end of the day, it is the individual’s effort that determines their career.
Thanks for the insights Mr. Menon!
I am an ISB aspirant. I have 13 years of experience in IT Management and Project Management. I want to pursue career in conceiving and handling large Public Private Partnership Projects which have answers to deep rooted problems in Developing Countries for example Public Transport System, Public Distribution System or Public Health.
If you can throw some light on Core or elective subjects of ISB could help realize that dream.
With Regards/AK Singh
“Public Private Partnership” is a vast area that requires multiple skills. You need to be able to understand the finance and economics of such partnerships, negotiate agreements, manage people and manage change, at the very least. Additionally, for the areas you have mentioned, you would also need to understand nuances of operations and logistics, government policy, healthcare management, etc. So the answer to your question depends on what skills you currently need to add to your profile to advance towards your goals. The PGP is designed to give you a solid understanding of various management principles and practices in the core terms, so that the electives can later build on that strong foundation. You can see the full list of available core subjects at http://www.isb.edu/pgp/learning-model. The electives for this year are being finalized and will be updated in the same section shortly, so do check back later.
Apart from those, I want to mention that if you are keen on specific areas like Public Health, you may want to specialise in Healthcare, a new concentration we have added last year. There may also be some courses relevant to you from our other new specialisation: Manufacturing. We may be adding one or two more courses under Public Policy specialisation this academic year, in addition to what was offered last year, but that is yet to be finalised.
I really believe that this blog was very informative and inspiring to many contenders around the globe who are seriously thinking to join ISB. And, I am one among them.
thanks a lot..
A gud blog post indeed !
I was also an interview shortlist for class of 2014 and did not make the final cut. Raising further the issue of knowing the field of expected career I would like to quote my interview experience. While I was being asked deeply about the career choice and concerned case studies , which I answered successfully I feel; I was also asked to name few companies which I cud not recall then . while I do understand that the result may have been totally independent of this , my basic question lies , how far should we b able to successfully delve in our career option ?
As you may have inferred from this blog post, if you know “what” career progression you want to make, we can help you with the “how” part. We expect candidates to have thoroughly thought through their career goals and why they want to pursue the PGP. If one has done their homework well, they will be able to go into great detail and have a good conversation with interviewers on the subject of their career path and aspirations. They naturally stand a better chance of getting an offer of admission and are also better placed to make the most of the limited time they have here.
So yes, it is important that you have a really good idea about your career options.
I have 5 years of experience in handling EPC power projects in various roles including application engineering & bid management and business development with a global giant. In this period, I have catered the India & South east Asia region and got the opportunity to travel to 5 countries. Received techno-commercial training as part of International Training Program. Looking forward for a role in consulting or leadership program, how this transition looks like and what other opportunities i can look forward with ISB apart from this.
I have a low GMAT score of 630 and Honors in Engineering/ 12th 62% & 10th 80% . Do you can my profile can compensate for low GMAT. Because i feel four year consistency earns a Honors should be able to compensate one time standard test score. How, this part is taken care in second phase (post interview) of admission process. Also, this is extra weight age given separately in second phase.
Obviously, it doesn’t hurt to have a higher GMAT score and the option of taking the test again is available to you. However, you should know that we evaluate applications in totality and not on any single parameter. So it is important that you prepare well and submit a strong application. You will need to demonstrate how you can cope with the academic requirements of the programme and also showcase the value you can add to the class. Think about how you can differentiate yourself from those applicants who may have similar profiles.
sir, i just completed my B.TECH and i don’t have any work experience. I just want to know whether work experience matter much during the P.I’s?
To be accepted into the PGP, you need to have a minimum of 2 years work experience at the time of starting the programme. If you have less than that, the Early Entry Option will be relevant for you. You can get more information about it here: http://www.isb.edu/pgp/early-entry-option
thanks for the great placements process info this is a little piece of info but helped me a lot
Honorable Mr. Menon,
I am have a score of 650 and 3 years work experiance after my B.tech.But my academics are a poor.I have 64% marks in my B.tech,58% marks in 12th and 64% marks in 10th.I have a good involvment in extra curricular activities.What are the chances for me to get a call from ISB if i apply.
The admission process at ISB takes a holistic approach towards the applicants’ qualifications. The panel looks at how lucid your essays are, your clarity of thought, any strong leadership skills you may have demonstrated in the past, work experience, academic ability, etc. There is no cut-off for GMAT scores. We have accepted scores ranging between 600 to 780 in the past.
Before I start I want to thank you for the wonderful blog.
I am still a graduate pursuing my B-tech in Mechanical but I have a dream to pursue my career in Finance which is completely a different form of business and so I have planned to take 24 months of prior experience in International Finance as an full time paid Intern, will this be taken as my job experience and will I be able to join ISB after 24 months of Internship?
But my academics are poor. I have 60% marks in my B.tech,52% marks in 12th and 54% marks in cbse board but I have a very good approach to extra curricular activities and good involvement in leadership skills.What are the chances for me to get a call from ISB if i apply.
Md.Obaid Farook Jani
Depends on the nature of the internship even though it is a paid internship. You will have to provide more details of the internship before we can decide. As you rightly pointed out your academic record is below average. However you could compensate for this with a very good GMAT score. We cannot comment on your chances of getting into ISB with the information that has been provided. For further queries, please write to email@example.com.
Another Query is on what basis is the selection done for PGP as I heard there are many rounds of selection before grabbing an admission in ISB.
What are the rounds happening for selection process and is the same procedure carried for Early Entry Option?
Candidates need to submit their application in our online application portal in the prescribed format, giving all the information that is required to be filled in including 3-5 essays. Based on this, the candidate may/may not be shortlisted for an interview. The shortlisted candidates will be interviewed. Post the interview, the final decision will be taken. From a candidate’s point of view, there are only two steps to applying to ISB – the application and the interview.
i got avg marks in under grad and MBA with less than 50 p.c. & i ve work experience in public sec insurance company formore than 10 yrs in clerical cadre. but i wish to TAKE ON GMAT WITH THAT LOW ACADEMIC QUALIFICATIONS. IF I SUCCEED CAN I GET ADMISSION IN ANY ISB/IIM
I WILL BE GRATEFUL TO YOU SIR FOR YOUR REPLY.
-R K RAJ
We look at all profiles holistically, so admission will depend on overall strength of the profile rather than any single exam.
Good Evening Sir,
Thanks for this detailed description.
My doubts are regarding the difference in age group of the class.
How does the CAS help in fulfilling this gap of experience present in the class where placement is concerned ?
Our CAS does multiple things to take care of the wide range of work experience and age band in the class. We approach companies to provide opportunities at different levels in their organisation. This takes care of the experience band in the class from a recruiter perspective. The Learning & Development team works with each student to prepare him/her for the roles they are targeting and hence there is a more personalised effort too.
the placement blog is very helpful for the fresher students. they got a lot of knowledge..
This is a very good article! the process followed by ISB of helping the student decide on exactly what he wants to do and also mapping them to right opportunities is the key.
I find this really relevant. Great job!
Currently i am Studying MBA in one of the Best B-Schools in Bangalore named as Presidency. Really i am proud of that college which they use to teach is special. Always they use to teach us we never need to take notes whatever they are teaching just we have to do as practical what we learnt. So when we use to do practical of the projects it will never forget till our life end.