Srikanth Iyengar, global head of business development at Infosys, hopes MBAs will help Infosys build a brand strategy
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Infosys, a bellwether for India’s IT industry, has announced plans to hire up to 200 MBA students from leading international business institutions, including Insead and Harvard Business School, in the largest recruitment drive of its kind for the company. The IT group’s activities span consulting, technology and outsourcing. It has clients in more than 30 countries and annual revenues about $7.4bn.

The hiring exercise will make it one of the biggest recruiters of top business school MBAs in the world.

Srikanth Iyengar, Infosys’s global head of business development, explains why the group is hiring so many MBAs.

Why is Infosys hiring so many MBA students right now?

The 200 hires will go directly into the Infosys sales force which is responsible for managing clients and bringing in business for the group’s entire range of services. The hope is that a business degree equips people with the skills required in these client-facing roles, helping them to build a brand strategy.

The shift to hiring straight from business schools is a sign that Infosys is moving from offering pure technology services to solving wider business problems. The IT company has previously only rarely hired entry level recruits directly into the sales force. Instead, Infosys has tended to either hire people with have gained experience elsewhere or else moved existing workers into these client-facing roles.

This group of 200 MBA recruits will include only about 15 students from within India. A third will come from Europe. The recruitment is part of Infosys’ strategy to build a culturally diverse team to support expansion in overseas markets.

Can you give us more detail on the new MBA packages?

The 200 MBA recruits will be based overseas. About 97 per cent of business comes from outside India and the hiring exercise will reflect this. Infosys does not disclose salaries but can reveal that MBAs will be paid in the currency of where they will be working – pounds in UK, euros in Europe, US dollars in the US and so on.

Infosys is making good progress towards the target of 200 and has made a substantial number of offers. A small number of MBAs have already joined Infosys.

Has Infosys worked closely with business schools in the past?

Infosys has developed strong relationships with international business schools and earned a good reputation among MBA students for its global internship programme, InStep, which has been running since 1999.

Last year there were some 160 interns from more than 100 different universities representing 40 nationalities. This year Infosys plans to ramp that figure up to between 175 and 200 interns. MBAs can continue to apply for internship positions.

Has InStep been a route to a full-time job at Infosys?

Between 8 and 10 per cent of interns end up with jobs. Many students look at InStep as a way of gaining experience in an emerging market and the technology industry, but do not aspire to work at Infosys once they graduate.

How does the InStep internship programme work?

Interns spend two to three months at Infosys. All interns work in India, so the scheme provides an opportunity for students to gain experience in an emerging economy with a very distinct culture. In the past, interns have worked in a range of functions, from marketing to corporate strategy. As well as being involved with hands-on projects, interns visit the Infosys educational research centre in Mysore.

Describe the Infosys educational research centre.

The centre has 250 training staff and the capacity to manage 14,000 trainees at any one time. MBAs tend to spend 11 weeks training at the centre.

The Mysore campus also houses the Infosys Leadership Institute, which runs programmes aimed at creating Infosys’s next generation of leaders.

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