Think of placements at the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), and a long list of investment banks and consultancies as the major recruiters come to mind.
But in an initiative that could make microfinance the new buzzword during summer and final placements, 25 students from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, (IIM-A) are set to work with top business houses in the country including Reliance Industries, Tata Chemicals, Fab India, ICICI, ITC, Godrej Agrovet, Mahindra and Mahindra and Basix India to develop innovative and competitive models of business towards poverty alleviation.
The initiative is a brainchild of Nancy Barry, president of NBA Enterprise Solutions to Poverty, and former president of Women’s World Banking (WWB), who led around 100 students from Harvard, Wharton and MIT business schools and Harvard KSG in the academic year 2006-07.
The students did field studies, live cases and internships on enterprise solutions to poverty with some of the major companies in the world.
From January 2008, students from IIM-A, which is the biggest student contingent among all other B-schools, will take up joint feasibility studies, research papers and case studies on subjects like supply chain management, microfinance, agri business and enterprise solutions for inclusive growth with other B-schools for companies interested in the development sector.
Close to 35 companies in India, China, Mexico and Columbia, including New Oriental, Proctor &Gamble, China Mobile, Gruma and Nestle, will partner the B-school students to prepare innovative models of business.
“More than 70 per cent of B-school students prefer working with investment banks and consultancies, which means with their education they are not creating real value. These jobs are not the same as taking hands-on responsibility, which is only possible through sectors like microfinance, agri-business and distribution systems. The fact is that 80 per cent of MBAs across the world want to make a difference but do not see options. This is one such opportunity for the best B-school in India,” said Barry.
NBA Enterprise Solutions to Poverty is an initiative jointly undertaken with the Inter-American Development Bank that looks at six countries to begin with — India, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, China and Kenya.
The initiative has been formed to develop innovative and competitive models of business, to encourage micro entrepreneurs and to mobilise masters’ students in business schools towards investigating enterprise solutions that fight poverty.
The initiative will be coordinated in India by Vijayendra Haryal, a second year PGP student at IIM-A, who plans to be a part of the project even after he passes out from IIM-A in March 2008.
“In recent times, IIM-A students have begun to focus on the development sector. We had organised a social entrepreneurship fair at the campus and now more and more students are enthusiastic to work in the field of microfinance sector with Nancy Barry,” Haryal said.