Stoodnt.com got in touch with Praxis Business School for an elaborate interview on the school’s latest curricula and recruitment successes.
In an elaborate tete-e-tete with Baishali Mukherjee – founding team member of Praxis, Charanpreet Singh, and Kaushik Sarkar, Head of Corporate Relations at Praxis – shared information about the institutions uniqueness, course details and placement.
When did you join Praxis? What did you do before that?
Charanpreet: I was part of the founding team at Praxis. I was the country manager, marketing at Hewlett Packard India and wanted to get back to my first love, education. I left HP in 2006 and we started Praxis in July 2007. Prior to HP, I had worked in Cryogenics (British Oxygen), Steel (Tata Steel) and consulting (Price Waterhouse Coopers).
Kaushik: I joined Praxis in 2015 as Head of Corporate Relations. I have been working in this field for the past 12+ years.
During by first assignment I was responsible in setting up the International Placements division for 14 centres at IIPM. Post that I had a stint with CoCubes handling their national accounts. I shifted to Alliance University, Bangalore in 2012 to set-up their International Placements.
In Praxis I am responsible for the placements for the PGDM program in Kolkata and the PGP Business Analytics program in Kolkata & Bangalore. I also engage in the placements at the PGP in Business Analytics program at the International Institute of Digital Technologies, the Andhra Government initiative in which Praxis is the knowledge partner and delivers the entire analytics program.
3 things that make Praxis the institution it is today?
Charanpreet: Praxis runs two programs –
AICTE Approved 2 year full-time PG Diploma in Management
1 year full time PG Program in Business Analytics
I believe the following traits make Praxis what it is today:
Capability: Our team recognized, as early as 2011 that data science as a discipline was set to explode, leading to a near crisis in the availability of trained manpower. We are fortunate to have people with a unique blend of excellent academic pedigree and considerable industry experience leading the curriculum design, pedagogy and delivery of the program.
As the society and industry undergo a digital transformation, technology and data become drivers of management decision making like never before. Our Business Management program has, as is customary at Praxis, undergone appropriate remodelling of its curriculum.
We offer the following areas of concentration:
1. Business Analytics
2. Consumer Banking, Investments and Project Financing
3. Consumer Insight and Market Intelligence
4. Digital Business Management
5. Risk and Treasury Management
Agility: As Darwin said, it’s not the most powerful species that are likely to survive but the most adaptive. Our team excels in keeping track of the latest developments in this nascent science, and incorporating changes in the curriculum that keeps it ‘always contemporary’. We are usually ahead of competition when it comes to adopting bleeding edge technologies and techniques and making sure that our students graduate with skills for the future.
Intent: Praxis differentiates itself on the basis of the honesty of its intent. Our intent is very clear – the student is the prime stakeholder at Praxis and we need to ensure that the interest of the student is at the heart of every decision we make or every action we take. This may include harsh decisions, which may appear anti-student at the time, but in the medium and long run they would prove beneficial to the student. Honesty of intent also brings about a culture of fairness – we need to be fair, and also to be seen to be fair.
Capability, agility and intent drive our approach and I believe are what set us apart.
What does the B School look for in students while admitting them?
Charanpreet:While in an ideal world we would like to help all students who seek admission to Praxis, we are constrained by two factors: one, batch-size (we believe in small batch sizes for superior learning experience) and two, suitability of the student to cope with, and hence leverage the program for career growth. For us suitability implies that the candidate has demonstrated academic proficiency, has a well-rounded personality with interests across different domains, is aware of what’s happening around her in her city, country and the world, and has the right attitude – to learn, perform an grow. It is not possible to assess these attributes every time and we do make mistakes, but as we grow we are getting better at selecting the right mix of students. While we do not give any additional points for work experience in the PGDM, candidate with experience tend to do well in the assessment process. For our analytics program, work experience plays a more significant part.
Bottom line – if the candidate shows the capability and willingness to learn, and we can see that post her time with Praxis she will become a valuable resource for corporate India, we select her.
What is the success rate of campus placement of the B School?
Kaushik: We look at three measures of success in campus placements: one, did the students get job roles in line with their profiles and interest; two, were we able to increase the average compensation for the batch year-on-year; and three, did we place close to 100% of the batch. From a recruiter perspective, success means two things: one, do we have substantial repeat purchase (recruiters coming back to Praxis after experiencing its students) and two, have we been able to add to the list of companies that visit our campus.
I believe Praxis is performing exceptionally well on all the above metrics. We constantly strive to improve our performance and better the last year’s numbers. Our placement percentage has hovered between 90 – 100 % across all years, and the quality of profiles has also seen a consistent improvement. .
How many got placed last year?
Kaushik: Praxis has believed in small batch sizes, between 50 – 60 students. For the graduating batch we had 14 companies visit the campus. About 8% of the batch were offered PPO’s by companies like IMRB and L&T Finance. The major hiring sector was BFSI, recruiting almost 60% of the batch. ICICI Group which included ICICI Bank, ICICI Prudential and ICICI Securities emerged as the biggest recruiter at the campus. ICICI Bank was the single biggest recruiter offering 8 jobs. Other recruiting organizations consisted of Research and Consulting, Retail, Logistics and FMCG and they offeredpositions in Marketing, Finance and Operations.
What is the highest salary bagged? In which company?
Kaushik: The highest compensation offered was 10.5 LPA by Nielsen for their research division based out of Kolkata. This role was bagged by 2 students. The top 25% of the batch had an average salary of 8.5 LPA
When is this year’s campus recruitment going to happen?
Kaushik: The campus placements will start on 12thNovember and students would be joining the organizations in April next year.
How are the students being prepared for it?
Kaushik: We believe that if we deliver a high quality program, we don’t really need any extravagant special preparation for placements. Placements, in fact, are an outcome of having the right curriculum delivered by the right set of faculty.
Having said that, the Praxis Placement Program has been designed in line withthe current hiring patterns and trends. We form a student placement committee that plays an active role on the process. Student CVs are vetted by the faculty team. We provide links to aptitude tests for their practice, and facilitate mock GD and PI sessions to get them mentally geared towards the process. A large part of this happens during program delivery itself, as we have subjects like managerial communication that prepares students to present themselves effectively.
Who are the mentors who prepare students for campus placement? What is the module followed?
Kaushik: I lead the campus placement program for Praxis. I have worked with other colleges, but have never seen the same level of concern for the student’s career anywhere else. This concern drives all our processes and, as they say, if there is intent, results will happen.Mentoring of students is an on-going process, and as I said earlier, placements is an outcome of a sustained rich interaction between the students and the faculty team. The Praxis alumni are key players in the mentoring process as they bring their experience in both placement processes and the real world work to guide the current batch. We conduct knowledge sessions before the day zero,during which students who have interned with the companies present to the rest of the batch on insights regarding the sector and organization.
5 things that companies coming to Praxis look for while recruiting?
Kaushik: Most companies look for the following skills when the visit Praxis:
• Knowledge about the sector and different businesses of the company, and of the job role on offer
• Knowledge of the domain and projects/ assignments in that domain
• Leadership skills, initiative and ability to work in teams
• Analytical/quantitative skills
• Communication and soft skills