The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on economies and businesses moves from the disruption caused by lockdowns to the more long-term effects on demand. In this scenario, MBA placements come into the spotlight, considering both their prominence in the recruitment calendar as well as their vulnerability to industry cycles.
There is a general sense of worry among MBA students. News about retrenchments and hiring freezes are obviously distressing. Recruiters – big and small – are being extremely cautious in verbalizing their present or future hiring plans. Media reports of job offers being revoked further add fuel to the fire!
At FLAME University, we have been fortunate that all our recruiting partners are steadfast in honouring their commitments. At worst, some have delayed the on-boarding by 3–4 months from May to October 2020 or later.
If one were to believe in the adage ‘It is darkest before dawn’, then there may be some room for optimism going forward. There is growing positivity in some business quarters that all activities will resume pretty fast, once the COVID-19 situation stabilizes a little. While some recruitment drives have been suspended at FLAME University, a few organizations like JSW Paints, The Times Group, Byju’s, and Great Learning have brought back hope and also offers. Most experts, however, are of the view it will be another year, if not two, before industry gets back to the pre-COVID-19 normal. In this interim ‘new normal’, simple economics of ‘supply > demand’ will mean that all business activity will be affected. Sectors like hospitality, transportation, event management, investment banking, capital markets, and organized retail have been worst affected. Bootstrapped start-ups are negatively impacted too. E-commerce and real estate have witnessed erosion, but that may reverse soon. On the other hand, health and wellness, edtech, banking services, B2B retail, insurance, IT/ITES, communication-video, OTT and streaming services, media, and home entertainment have seen moderate to high uptick. Another important segment will be communication. Social media, digital marketing, journalism, online gaming, entertainment, design, consumer insights, and television – all will need more talent. Our Marketing and Communications Management students can look forward to growth prospects.
Cutting across industries, customer acquisition will be a key objective. For this, building better customer relations, business intelligence and research, domain analytics, and design would be key skills.
For individuals, backing their ‘will with the skill’ will be important in this new normal. The bright side is opportunities of knowledge and skill enhancement abound. In this era of free knowledge and paid certification, candidates can back up qualifications with knowledge and smart thinking.
Organizations will look for candidates with keen analytical skills, learning attitude, agile multitasking, mobility, and ability to think on their feet. The ability to perform under pressure in teams and with an entrepreneurial mindset will be most sought after in the near future where fewer people will be required to do more. In an emerging work-from-anywhere culture, trust and communication would be key.
At FLAME University, we have constantly endeavoured to empower our students through a range of learning initiatives and engagements:
- Business Communication skills are emphasized right from the start
- A foreign language is part of the curriculum for all MBA students
- A 360-degree learning environment that seeks to transform students into smart, entrepreneurial, and innovative professionals
- FLAME’s Investment Lab, Centre for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Centre for Case Study Development, and student-led initiatives such as the annual conclaves and management consulting group all aim to achieve the singular goal – ‘ignite creativity in a global mindset
- Our deep-rooted corporate relations ensure students are able to meet, interact, observe, and learn from practitioners by way of guest lectures, leadership talks, industry visits, live projects, and internships
- Campus–to-Corporate training interventions including a personality enhancement program, alumni connect, and ‘buddy’ programs are helping students get real-world inputs
Monty Python once said, ‘Always look on the bright side of life’. The pandemic has ushered in an era of robust communication across levels, leaner organizational structures, innovation, and rising acknowledgement of interdependence, not to mention a patch in the ozone layer for a cleaner world!
Whatever happens and however long it takes to recover, the need for talented and agile management professionals will remain. Domain and functional knowledge will be important, but will not be the primary required skillset. The MBA and MBA (Communications Management) at FLAME University provide sufficient options to all our students to choose from a range of major, minor, and elective subjects. This variety ignites entrepreneurial creativity and broadens the knowledge base of students, both of which will be crucial for the ‘new normal’ business managers.
- Mr. Mohit Gupta, Director- Corporate Relations & Placements