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Meltdown contains brain-drain – Business Standard

Thanks to the global meltdown, the brain-drain to foreign countries from major institutes like the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) is on the wane as of now. Not everyone is calling it a trend, but Indian companies, especially government-owned ones, aren’t complaining.

“With fewer foreign companies visiting campus for placements, students are now increasingly open to domestic companies, especially from the public sector. Students have also become more affordable for Indian firms,” said Samir Barua, director of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A). “The fascination that students had for foreign companies has gone down,” he added.

He believes the trend will continue next year. “Whether the tendency to opt for domestic companies, especially public sector companies among them, is permanent or not depends on how challenging the jobs are,” he pointed out.

Last year, international firms accounted for 35 per cent of participation at campus; this year the number dropped to 15 per cent.

The pattern is the same at IIM, Bangalore (IIM-B). Last year, 75 students were placed abroad. “This year we are likely to have fewer foreign firms, and more domestic ones, especially public sector units at IIM-B,” said Sourav Mukherji, chairperson-placements at IIM-B.

“Usually, the best brains of the country go to multinationals or Fortune 500 companies. Fortunately, after a long time the best brains in the country are going to remain in the country. This is the case not only with IITs and IIMs but across all major institutes in the country,” said Dr Shailesh Thaker, management expert and Chief Learning Officer of Knowledge Inc, Canada and India.

Not all institutes subscribe to the reverse brain drain theory, however. “It is true that the number of foreign companies has dwindled lately, which is why it is obvious that students are staying back in the country. Yet, it will take some time before we can say the brain drain has been reduced,” said Jayakumar, deputy registrar (training and placements) at IIT, Madras.

Some institutes believe it will take a few more years before the shift can be defined as a trend. “It is about opportunity. This year the number of foreign companies visiting campus for placements may have fallen 5 to 10 per cent, but next year the number may increase again. The shift has to continue for another two years before it can be regarded as a trend,” said a faculty member at IIM-C, requesting anonymity.

Note : Dr. Shailesh Thaker, Latest Interview on Business Standard by
Maulik Pathak & Vinay Umarji / Ahmedabad March 11, 2009,

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