Jay Puranik did his PGDM from IIM Calcutta. He served as the External Relations Secretary at IIM C and led the Mentorship Programme covering 1700 domestic and 45 international candidates shortlisted for admission into IIMC for the Postgraduate programme of 2013-2015. He also interviewed prominent dignitaries on campus such as former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly and Malli Mastan Babu, a Guinness world record-holder for mountaineering.
How are the placements at the IIMs ?
I will answer this question in 2 parts, because the two placement seasons (The Summer Internship Placements and the Final Placements) have different aspects. There is also the laterals process, but that is quite different and does not apply to the entire batch at the same point of time unlike the Summers and Finals.
Summer Internship Placements:
Well, for these, your entire life and achievements BEFORE you stepped onto campus matter a lot. So don't be under the impression that if you have just scraped through to your favorite IIM, you will get a hefty pay packet for two months of internship. Your salary can vary from a sweet couple of lakhs per month to tens of thousands INR depending on the company, your role, the day you got placed on.
This is where everything you did on campus over the last 2 years counts. Heavily. Many companies shortlist based on your academic performance in your IIM. Also, the extra-curricular stuff, the positions of responsibility you held, the competitions you won and so on.
Q1: Bloated Salaries:
Coming to the bloated salaries issue, I can only speak about my own institute, IIM Calcutta. We do not have a policy to disclose the salaries of our students. Therefore, the issue of salaries being bloated does not arise. Sometimes, reporters get wind of the packages and report it at their own credibility. All facts and figures about the number of people placed, the roles offered, split-by-sector of placements etc. is absolutely true.
Q2: Salaries across IIMs:
Salaries across IIMs vary greatly (especially when you take the old IIMs in one bucket and the new ones in another) and also within any IIM they show sharp contrasts between the guy who got placed first and the one who got placed last. In general, if you are In IIM ABC, you would expect amazing offers to the top 30% of the batch, really good ones for the next 30%, not so great for the next 30% and why-did-I-come-to-IIM for the last 10%. Life is a bell curve, and it doesn't matter if you are in IIM ABC or the rest - your placement-scenario will be meek if you are amongst the last few.
Q3: Types of companies, roles offered, international placements:
In IIM ABC, you can expect the best of the best global companies. Be it Finance bigwigs, Consulting majors, Marketing meccas, General Management havens or IT companies, you will not see any deficiency of opportunity in any of these IIMs. The roles can vary slightly depending on the IIM - some campuses are preferred for exclusive roles in finance, some for consulting, some for marketing and so on (in no particular order). Taking the talk away from just IIMs to illustrate my point, the best HR placements happen in XLRI. International placements happen as well - for summers as well as finals. The number is usually double digit.
Q4: Initial work-exp prior to joining IIMs:
This will have some effect on your shortlists for summers, much more for finals and the most for laterals. The thing is, laterals companies are looking to give people specific roles. Thus, any relevant experience makes a lot of difference to strengthen your candidature. Also, in general, Finance companies would not prefer people with too much work-exp in areas other than finance. Marketing companies too tend to favor, freshmen or people with less work-exp. Too much work-exp with absolutely no marketing background is a bad fit. Hence, too much work-exp in a chip-manufacturing company won't strengthen your chances there.
Hope this helps, try not to go strictly by what I have pointed out as every rule has an exception (except this rule itself).