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The unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing recession has significantly reshaped the landscape of employment, particularly in the context of Indian B-Schools. The labour shortage and project delays in core sectors have led to a re-evaluation of the traditional selection criteria for fresh graduates. The evolving dynamics have prompted B-Schools to shift towards a more profile-based criteria, placing less emphasis solely on high academic performance.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing recession have disrupted global and regional employment, leading to significant challenges in various industries and countries. In India, the pandemic has contributed to increased unemployment, inequalities, and poverty. The labor market has witnessed a shift in job opportunities, with certain sectors experiencing job losses and reduced employment options, particularly for young adults and individuals with low educational levels.

In response to the changing employment landscape, Indian B-Schools have been compelled to reassess their selection criteria for fresh graduates. B-Schools are now considering a candidate's overall profile, including their adaptability, problem-solving skills, and industry-specific knowledge, in addition to academic qualifications.

Professor Debashis Chatterjee, director, IIM Kozhikode emphasised that young managers are going to be required to solve complex problems compounded by climate change, terrorism, and other foreseen and unforeseen calamities. Hence, management aspirants will require a broad range of thinking skills and awareness of the world. They should be able to extract actionable insight from a sea of data in an uncertain environment. Therefore, the most important managerial skill required will be ‘flexpertise’. 

The Common Admission Test (CAT), a pivotal examination for aspiring management professionals in India, has witnessed significant changes in recent years. B-schools now place emphasis on international exposure, diversity, and practical skills, shifting away from its once India-centric and elitist perception. Exchange programs, collaborations, and global internships are encouraged to broaden aspirants' perspectives, while promoting diversity by considering socioeconomic backgrounds, gender, and differently-abled candidates enriches the learning environment. The current focus on practical skills, industry relevance, and employability underscores the need for aspirants to bridge the gap between theory and practice to excel in the dynamic business world.

According to recent data, there has been a 20% decrease in white-collar hiring due to global macroeconomic conditions and geopolitical tensions, while the shortage of skilled and semi-skilled workers has led to project delays across various sectors, including manufacturing, construction, real estate, and retail. This has prompted B-Schools to reevaluate their selection criteria to ensure that graduates are not only academically proficient but also possess the practical skills and knowledge required by the industry.

Hence, by embracing a more profile-based approach, B-Schools aim to produce graduates who are not only academically sound but also equipped with the practical skills and mindset necessary to thrive in the current employment landscape. This shift not only benefits the students but also aligns with the needs of the evolving job market.



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