At the outset, let me clarify that this is based on a limited sample of the pre-placement talks attended by me during the final placement season at IIM Ahmedabad. These talks share much in common-a nice graphic/whiteboard based PPT, videos, interactive Q&A and free food etc. But what I've noticed recently across sectors(consulting, general management and even finance) is that firms want to have their cake and eat it too-'entrepreneurial mindset'-wherein employees unleash their creative energies within the organizational framework and create wealth. Indeed, companies pitch this 'intrapreneurship' as a positive, claiming that with their vast resources(cash, infrastructure, relationships, reach etc), they can make the employee's business idea come true. This trend is not new to the USA where companies actively seek out those with entrepreneurial mindsets. Infact, Jamie Dimon(Bank of America CEO) said in his FY10 letter to shareholders(Pg 23) said these golden words which sums up the importance of intraprenuership.
Big business needs entrepreneurs, too
the popular perception is that entrepreneurs – those who believe in free enterprise – exist only in small companies and that entrepreneurs in small companies should be free to pursue happiness or monetary gain as appropriate. Free enterprise, entrepreneurship and the pursuit of happiness also exist in most large enterprises. And you, our shareholders, should insist on it. without the capacity to innovate, respond to new and rapidly changing markets, and anticipate enormous challenges, large companies would cease to exist. the people who achieve these objectives want to be compensated fairly, just as they would be if they had built a successful start-up
This is a very interesting shift from the earlier apprehension that entrepreneurial minded employees would soon leave the organization to start their own thing. But like how Infosys had incubated/funded Onmobile, perhaps organizations could also start that practice of investing in their spinoffs, to realize wealth and more business later. Another reason for the tolerance could be that for Indian firms growing at CAGRs of 20%-40%(or more) in new business segments, they need people like that to drive the growth-people fine with working in unstructured environments, and who can do some 'jugaad' to get across the inevitable obstacles in the way of achieving that growth.
Even more staid organizations like consulting, stress that that everyone's thinking is valued(naturally!-why else would you pay that person big bucks to join you!), and that they are ever open to new ideas/innovative ways of working.
But that begs the question-why come to business schools if you want entrepreneurs instead of managers? To be a successful intraprenuer, I strongly believe that you should be a good manager adept at navigating the organization dynamics. And MBAs are a good fit for that. Hence this approach by companies. Anyways, if this trend continues, clubs and activities aimed at fostering entrepreneurship among students(Entre Club, business plan competitions etc) will really do well.