Is Your Corporate Relations & Placements Team Aligned With the Institutional Goals?

Academic institutions are gradually evolving in developing countries like India; however it’s unlikely to expect the institutions to be absolutely departmentalised where roles need to be defined perfectly. However, looking at the limitations of resources, Indian institutions operating with results-oriented performance culture system is prospecting into more formal education sectors. And until, well-defined roles and departmental objectives wouldn’t sync with the institutional goals, it would certainly impossible to derive an optimum performance.

The purpose of writing this article is, to create the linearity between the office of corporate relations, or external relations, a globally known term and its institutional objectives and goals. I hope, this article will guide academic leaders in defining the purpose of departmentalisation of external relations of their institutions.

Premier institutions across the world consider outreach / corporate relations / Industry relations / external relations department as profit center. And looking at the way, Indian institutions are facing challenges in student enrolments, fees cannot be the only source of revenue for the institutions and education institutions must focus on converting their corporate relations/outreach department into profit center.

Most of the institutes in India struggling with final placements of their students are just contacting corporates for placements and summer internships only. They may call it placement cell; career management cell/ centre, corporate relations cell/ centre, etc. but task at hand is final placement of students only. Many-times these departments even do not give training to students to tackle interview or clear their doubts. Even general perception about the department is also the same i.e., jobs to final semester students. At the same time they are not considering at the academic credentials, of the students at the time of enrolling them with their institution. In these B-schools placement cell is more of a cost centre or expensive affair for the school.

There are a few more institutions that are a step ahead. For these institutes corporate relations are not one time interaction but a year-long process. There corporate relations department keeps continuous communication with the decision makers and the HR departments of the corporates. They keep corporates updated of the happenings in their premises; sends their newsletters; invites them in various activities like, guest lectures; convocation day and prize distribution, etc. These schools don’t have to struggle for placements but are never sure of whether their all students will be well-placed. Packages and positions may have to be comprised.

Industry engagement is now a buzz word amongst b-schools. This is in short first step towards keeping their students in sync with the corporate world. Institutes take input from the industry while finalising their syllabus and program content; there is regular industry interaction with the students; MDPs are conducted; exchange of students with some international university is done to give international exposure to the students. Seminars and research are part of program. Simulations, live projects and real time case studies form part of their daily curriculum. There is frequent interaction with business leaders of the pupil. Students are groomed to face real corporate challenges with industry ready training. Now corporates approach institute for recruitment of its students. Corporates sponsors institute’s events themselves. Corporates offers scholarships. This makes career management centre a profit centre.

There are few institutes in India, where corporate relations department develops industry partnership. This is an international concept, which implies that corporates make endowments/ donations, sponsors a particular subject, many students lend job before beginning of the course. There are sponsored chairs and joint research is conducted by students in association with the corporates. There are large scale endowments by the industry leaders and corporates. Curriculum is devised to develop global competence among the future managers.

So, institutes with industry partnership have corporate relations department as profit centre in itself. Multinational organizations approach them for their future ready managers for recruitment.

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