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Serving society makes these IIM Bangalore graduates happier than fat pay cheques

Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO poviding mid-day meals to underprivileged children, has emerged as a strong contender among employers at IIM-B.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Feb 10, 2014, 11.17 AM IST
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The NGO that provides food to 1.3 million school children across nine states has received resumes from 65 students in its maiden trip to an IIM campus.
The NGO that provides food to 1.3 million school children across nine states has received resumes from 65 students in its maiden trip to an IIM campus.

KOLKATA: The Akshaya Patra Foundation, which provides mid-day school meals to underprivileged children, has emerged as a surprisingly strong contender among prospective employers at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.


Despite promising an annual salary of just 4-6 lakh, first-time recruiter Akshaya Patra has got 15% of IIM Bangalore's 2014 batch interested in the profile it's offering. That's much lower than what the students could hope to get at companies. IIM Ahmedabad graduates last year got a median annual salary of 13 lakh for local recruitments, according to placement data. IIM Bangalore does not disclose salary details.


The NGO that provides food to 1.3 million school children across nine states has received resumes from 65 students in its maiden trip to an IIM campus.

Akshaya Patra, which counts former Infosys director TV Mohandas Pai among patrons, is looking to recruit two-three students for operations, resource mobilisation and sustainability at designations such as manager, business development, said BS Venkatachalan, director of human resources and IT. It will recruit on the fourth day of campus placements, February 14, and battle it out with a mix of Indian banks, startups, IT firms and other companies.

The development reflects the increasing professionalisation of the sector that has come about with the entry of big corporate philanthropists who get personally engaged, such as Bill Gates globally and Azim Premji in India. Apart from this, Indian companies need to focus more on corporate social responsibility (CSR) as part of the new Companies Act.

"The social sector with its many NGOs was grappling with issues of credibility," said Santhosh Jayaram, director for sustainability at KPMG. "However, now with awareness, the industry wants to improve visibility and credibility and (is) therefore attracting top professionals and students. For a student, work done with an NGO would mean experience at the grassroots, which even corporates with their CSR mandates are trying to target."

An IIM Bangalore first-year student confirmed this line of thought.

"The students are now open to more options and this is a good number for a first-time recruiter from this industry," said the student, who did not want to be named. The first day of placements at IIM Bangalore has investment banks and consulting firms while the second day sees Hindustan Unilever, P&G and Reliance Industries wrestle for picks. The next few days witness a mixed bag of recruiters. During placements, few top investment banks and consulting firms have a strict winnowing process before interviews, which could be a reason why Akshaya Patra has got a similar number of resumes. Even so, IIMB has spotted a growing number of students interested in the development sector.

"As of now, a fair number of students have shown interest in the profile and we hope some of it converts into acceptance of offers," said Sankarshan Basu, chairperson of the institute's Career Development Services. A financial boost from the school may be one of the deciding factors. IIM Bangalore will fully refund the tuition fee if a student joins an NGO and works there for three years, an incentive for those so inclined to begin with. If the student leaves after two years, only a portion of the fee is refunded. Other IIMs are also trying to include representatives of the social sector in their list of recruiters. IIM Calcutta has considered the refunds option, but hasn't decided on this.

Instead, it gives students who choose a job in the social sector or start their own venture the option of deferred placements. This means they can come back and participate in placements once again anytime within a two-three year timeframe, helping to reassure those who may have a change of heart that they won't lose out too much. "We have had a couple of students who joined NGOs avail of this option. Sometimes the unstructured nature of social sector enterprises has left them a bit disillusioned," said Krishanu Rakshit, IIM Calcutta placements chairperson.

( With inputs from Sreeradha D Basu)

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