Business Standard newspaper conducts a B-school Summer Project Competition every year, sponsored by Crompton Greaves. B-schools from around the country are invited to send what they consider their ‘best summer internship project report’. As readers know, most two-year MBA programmes have a compulsory 6-8-week industry internship. This often carries a full credit or two, so students and faculty take it very seriously.
Business Standard gets around 150 reportsfrom B-schools spread all over India. These are reviewed by a knowledge partner and 15 of these are then selected and sent to a jury panel for review – which consist of business leaders from digital, consulting, banking, IT and HR.
One common theme, this year, which was emphasized across projects was the use of data and analytics. Be it to study supplier quality in an automobile company or studying employee attrition rates to helping the differently abled, the jury was impressed with the diligence shown by the students. The revelation being that many of the projects presented had ready application: One even quantified the financial impact of her project.
More and more companies are beginning to use internships as a way of getting new projects executed at a fraction of the earlier cost. More importantly, unlike pre-COVID times, companies are now using the internship process to evaluate a candidate’s suitability for permanent employment. And B-schools are now not just measuring placements, but also how many of the students are able to land a PPO, a pre-placement-offer.
The Indian Journal of Industrial Relations in an article on ‘Internship Conversion’ says that 33% of premium B-school’s placements are happening through the internship route. The most important reason why IPS BUSINESS SCHOOL has been able to place its students in these so-called ‘trying’ times – On-Job-Training and Live Internships from I Semester onwards.
This route is also said to reduce the ‘intern-shock’ and help young MBA entrants into a company develop realistic expectations from their job. Companies that do the internship to PPO process have perfected some of the critical aspects of evaluating their interns. For one, the projects are well thought-out and have an internal owner. Second, the intern has an internal supervisor who checks in with them every week or more often. Third, the company wants the intern to also have a Professor as a supervisor, whom the intern can talk to, to clarify doubts. Fourth, each project has to be evaluated at the end and the intern needs to make a presentation of his or her findings.
This is almost like a final interview and companies wanting to follow this path are putting in place the required systems and processes to ensure that these four steps are rigorously followed.
So what is IPS BUSINESS SCHOOL doing differently, as internships are going to become the critical window for landing a job?
IPS has created two parallel streams of coaching students before internship starts. One, senior students are roped in to conduct sessions on what to do and not do during an internship. Two, faculty take sessions on the importance of internship and the tools needed to do well. Corporate Professionals, HR Heads and established alumni are also roped in to conduct mock interviews and training sessions.
Moving forward, it is likely that as is the case in US of A, B-Schools in India will also clock 70% of final placement through the PPO route. Something realized and implemented by IPS BUSINESS SCHOOL long back!