Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Isn't India's regulatory system need to be toughen to avoid Lehman-Brothers news

There will be no more bright-eyed IIM grads flying to London and New York to do their summers with Lehman Bros.
It's the death of a Dream. The end of the Formula.
Sure, in time, i-banking may bounce back but right here, right now the idea that clearing one entrance test followed by two semi-educative years on campus lead you straight into the 'global league' (in terms of greenbucks)... that, for the next couple of batches, is over.
And honestly, I think it's actually a very good thing.
I don't hate i banks or i bankers. But I do have a problem with the fact that these jobs offered so much more money than ANY other sector that even the thinking bschool grad could not help being dazzled. It was like a thousand watt bulb shining in your face -blinding you to all else.
2007 was actually the peak year for the global i-banks, in 2008, they remained strong but consulting and private equity were seen as 'hotter'. One 2008 grad from IIMA who had offers from a global i bank in New York as well as McKinsey chose the latter. Two reasons: I banking he felt was more 'risky' and secondly, he wanted to stay in India.
Here's the sector-wise break up of
That will change because Lehman & ML apart, there are just very few jobs now on offer in the financial sector. Global or otherwise. The regulars will come and pick up a couple of students, just to keep the relationship with the institute. But that will be a light drizzle, not a downpour.
We won't be seeing (I think) any new records being set in terms of dollar-converted-to-rupee salaries (last year's record: Rs 1.44 crores).
We also won't be seeing (I hope) the crazy one-upmanship among the top three IIMS about which one bagged the most PPOs and global ibanking offers.
What will happen? No IIM grad will be wanting for a good job, but there will be no auto-pilot choice. Students will think and choose more carefully.
The traditional recruiters like FMCG marketing (HLL, P&G), Indian companies (TAS, Aditya Birla Group) and emerging sectors like retail and telecom will attract more attention and interest.
Consulting and PE of course will be red-hot.
An interesting phenomenon (pointed out by a former i banker friend) is that in the US, whenever there is a slowdown, applications to MBA programs surge. If you're out of a well paid job you may as well go back to school. By the time you graduate, the economy would also have recovered.
In India though, I wonder if all this news may not have the opposite effect. I don't think the aam junta will STOP wanting to do an MBA but we may see the numbers taking the CAT stabilise. Instead of the year on year surge.
Also watch for the hot new trend of i bankers returning home. And when asked "What are your plans"? the response I'm hearing a lot of is "Starting up."
That could be a respectable way of remaining unemployed until the markets correct themselves. Or a case of i bankers who've 'made enough money' deciding to hang up their ties for good.
Welcome to the heat and dust!

This article also appear on Expressindia Blogs
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