B-school rankings- Need for credibility
96 per cent of prospective employers worldwide believe that hires from B-schools add value to their organizations
Hiring organisations pay a higher premium to recruit quality candidates from premier institutions
There are clear signals from the industry that hiring from business schools will continue to indicate a rising curve. A recent survey by Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) reveals that 96 per cent of prospective employers worldwide believe that hires from B-schools add value to their organizations. While e-commerce will be one of the hottest hiring industries for business schools, other key industries in this sector will include, consulting, pharma, and technology. At the same time, there is an ironic dichotomy between demand and supply in the Indian talent market. While the demand for quality business school graduates continues to increase, several studies indicate that recruiters in India lack confidence in the quality of business school talent.
In such a scenario, we see hiring organisations pay a higher premium to recruit quality candidates from some of the most recognised management institutions. As a result, there is a large gap between “average salaries” and “batch hiring percentages” between graduating batches in some of the most recognised institutions in the country and the lesser-known ones.
Rankings- a key shortlisting tool
When we asked recruiters across industries to share best practices in campus hiring, it appears that the starting point of a successful campus hiring season is in the selection of the right schools. Senior leaders in several organisations are directly involved in the selection of institutions for campus hiring. After creating a pool of target institutions, hiring teams aim for the best talent in these institutions. Becoming a recruiter on the first day of hiring in the campus hiring jargon is called a ‘day zero slot.’ Organizations need a very strong employer brand in the campus circuit to ensure a ‘day zero slot.’
One of the first sources that hiring organizations refer while shortlisting business school for campus outreach are rankings. Several factors, such as specialisation, location, batch profile etc. go into the selection of a business school for campus hiring. Based on the organization’s current location, strategy, and talent needs, rankings also help recruiting teams plan pre-hiring interventions, such as guest lectures, competitions, and internships.
Hiring organisations seek credible rankings
A key reason why hiring organisations refer multiple ranking studies while shortlisting business schools, is the common perception that all rankings are not credible. Rankings have become a public relations tool for several institutions, featuring commonly as an integral part of advertising brochures and publicity campaigns. Consequently, cash-rich management education establishments are willing to invest money in ranking studies and interpret results to suit their promotional objectives. The last decade has seen a mushrooming of business schools in the country and there has been a subsequent proliferation of ranking studies.
It is important for neutral industry bodies, such as the National HRD network (NHRD), to create a credible and unbiased basis for ranking business schools. The NHRD network undertook a ranking initiative in 2012 to put forward a study of the top business schools in India. The industry body published its first ranking study in partnership with People Matters in 2013. The study takes into account various factors that contribute to the academic credibility of a business school, such as pedagogy, industry linkages, alumni strength, and research strength. Besides that, the study also investigates the factors that lend to the corporate and industry credibility of a business school, including integrity of the institution's governing body and the composition of the current batches. The 3rd NHRD B-school ranking study will be released in March 2015. In the future, an organisation's annual campus hiring strategy will largely depend on similar unbiased rankings by industry bodies.
Unless perceptions about business school rankings change, hiring organisations will continue to pay a huge premium for hiring graduates from premium schools while avoiding the potential market outside the premium club. This year, there has a 25% to 40% increase in top salary offers across the IIMs and several other top business school establishments in the country. A credible ranking system will rationalise the salary market and allow recruiters to tap schools beyond the premium club.