The above is NOT just a hackneyed cliche but is really true. It is when things get worse that true quality shows up and is differentiated. So when the finance job market kind of collapsed, the well oiled placement system stepped up to the challenge and filled the gap with consulting/general management /sunrise industries. Some management colleges with pretensions of challenging the best, realized their status and all. And students who attended the Wharton India conference held in Mumbai recently, found out from the Wharton students of Indian origin that the job situation was worse than in India, because those students had to network like hell, attend interviews off campus etc and in comparison, those fortunate enough to get campus placements had easier offers.
Despite those who call the placements as 'cattle farms'. they are quite efficient systems of matching employers and students. While people can crib about the scheduling exploding offers, being spoilt for choice etc, that does result in an overall efficient outcome for all concerned. Otherwise, imagine a senior manager having to interview 20 people on different days etc, the coordination problem would be quite difficult.
The reason this efficient system may seem a lottery at many colleges(but mainly IIMs) are
- With multiple students and companies on a given day, there is usually an algorithm needed to match students with companies as per revealed preferences, availability of students etc. This algorithm is kept a blackbox from all but a trusted handful, to avoid chances of gaming the system. Hence, certain scheduling decisions may seem random, especially for those not slotted for interviews.
- In a spot offer system where companies must make spot offers or risk losing the candidate to other firms(or students must make spot acceptance decisions or risk losing that hand in the bush), the final job matching may correlate more with scheduling luck than the actual 'optimal' preferences. Of course, this brings us to scheduling of interviews again
- Equity and efficiency needs to be balanced in this system as in any other system. Equity would entail that all students get atleast one interview, that people are not allowed to reject offers once accepted etc, but efficiency would entail that people on the 'hotlist' of many companies are scheduled first and often to clear the company wishlist, they are scheduled repeatedly