MUMBAI | NEW DELHI: IITians are stealing a march and job roles over MBAs. Start-ups and large e-commerce companies such as Flipkart, Ola, Oyo Rooms, Jabong, CarDekho.com, Shopclues and Bewakoof. com, plan to hire more engineers this year in corporate and managerial functions.
These companies are increasingly looking at engineers for roles in operations, marketing, business finance, procurement, etc. Traditionally, MBAs have been preferred for such roles. Companies could save Rs 5-6 lakh every year if they hire an engineer instead of an MBA from a top b-school like the IIMs.
Engineers tend to be more data-driven. They also tend to be younger and find it easier to slip into a start-up culture. Moreover, with every function becoming more tech-enabled, IITians have an edge over B-School graduates, hiring managers said.
This year, Ola is looking to hire 125 IITians for non-tech roles. It hired only 20 such engineers last year.
In fact, a bulk of the 200 engineers Ola is looking to hire will be for non-tech roles. “IIT graduates are strong analytically and good with numbers. Hence, we approach them for non-tech roles, too,” said Amit Mathur, director and head of talent acquisition at leading taxi aggregator Ola Cabs.
Apart from engineering roles, Ola will hire IITians for data-driven roles such as data analytics, corporate functions such as marketing and HR and for various roles in business finance and procurement.
Similarly, CarDekho.com will double the number of analysts it plans to hire from IITs to 50-60 this year from 20-30 last year. “The IITs have a lot of smart folks who do not want to get into coding and are looking for a different career path. Besides coders, we hire analysts. The numbers will double this year,” said Umang Kumar, president, CarDekho.
Engineers are also more flexible than MBAs, hiring managers at these companies said. IIM grads expect a clearly defined profile and career path. This is not always possible in a startup. Younger IITians are also willing to take more risks than most MBAs, who demand more comfort in terms of risk profile and travelling, hiring managers said.
“We will need more engineers this year in non-tech/managerial functions like operations and marketing,” said Ashu Malhotra, head HR at Jabong.
“I would anytime prefer an engineer fresh from an IIT or with two years of work experience than an engineer with two years of MBA,” said Prabhkiran Singh, co-founder at Bewakoof.com. “Moreover, it is a huge payout if I have a top hire from a top business school like an IIM or ISB. I don’t see much benefit.”
Shopclues will double hiring from IITs this year from a year ago. It will also hire IITians for non-tech roles such as analytics, site merchandising, monetisation, and category, said Radhika Aggarwal, co-founder.
Saurabh Nigam, VP – HR, at Snapdeal, said the company hired 50-75 people from the IITs last year for analytics. “We will continue to hire students for analytics this year as well,” he said declining to disclose the hiring plan for this year. Flipkart declined to comment for the story.
IITs said registrations and hiring interest from start-ups confirm this trend. “Start-ups have been telling us this year that they want to increase the number of hires in non-tech/managerial roles. We also expect an upward revision in the compensation being offered for these roles,” said Babu Vishwanath, advisor – placements at IIT Madras.
“Startups are looking for people with good managerial skills in non-tech roles,” said Ayush Lakhotia, placement coordinator at IIT Bombay. For instance, an engineer who is an operations or a marketing manager, or a customer relationship manager will be able take the customer perspective to the tech team better.