Well, well, well. Who would have thought this was possible? The top recruiters at the IIMs have turned out to be PSUs. I had to pinch myself in disbelief when I read that Union Bank of India had made 18 offers at IIMA, followed by Bank of Baroda, IOC and BPCL. PSUs hired a total of 41 students out of 235 candidates at IIMA. The public sector banks have substituted for the high-profile investment banks with their fancy offers.
What does this mean? Well, it's clearly not a trend. Those who were set on banking and finance careers would not have had other options. And public sector banks do provide a good training ground. So, most of the grads will take up these jobs and wait for the glamorous part of the market to open up. Mind you, at the kind of levels of which PSUs are willing to take IIM grads, the starting packages would not be unattractive.
The challenge for PSUs is not getting IIM grads in. It's keeping them for a while. Maybe they cannot keep them for a lifetime. But there should be a clearly thought strategy to get the best out of them in, say, three to five years. One way is, of course, putting them in positions where skills in PSUs are most lacking. The other is using them as change agents to bring about a cultural change in the organisation- to give public sector employees a sense of how young execs from the best schools think and act.
PSUs need not have a huge complex about attrition among IIM recruits. It happens to the best of institutions these days. Firm loyalty is passe. The trick is to make sure that such attrition is consistent with the business model- IIM recruits should not be money down the drain.