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Ahmedabad, March 16

"IT is a great year to be graduating." It sure must be so for 26-year-old chartered accountant Mr Ravi Singhvi, a student of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, who has been picked up by HSBC Bank for $1,52,000 per annum.

"After I completed the interview formalities, I just crashed out and did not even bother to check up what was happening to my batch-mates," Mr Singhvi told Business Line after the `Day Zero' of the placement week at the IIM-A on Wednesday.

A banker's son, Mr Singhvi has worked for two years with Arthur Andersen and has had smaller stints with Citibank and a leading media house. He has been placed in the Investment Banking arm of HSBC in London and would be involved with mergers and acquisitions.

Other top-dollar salaries were offered to Mr Gourav Varma, who has been picked up by Lehman Brothers and Mr Yugandhar Karna, who is joining Goldman Sachs. While the 24-year old Mr Varma is a mechanical engineer from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, the 22-year-old Mr Karna has graduated in computer engineering from IIT Guwahati.

In all, 21 companies, which include top investment banks and consulting firms visited the campus on Day Zero. As many as 18 companies were offering international placement, as against 13 last year.

The students decide on which companies would visit the campus on which day of the placement week. Notable companies which visited IIM-A on Day Zero include Booz Allen Hamilton, Barclays Capital, McKinsey and Company Ltd, Boston Consulting Group, Merrill Lynch, LNM Group, Temasek Holdings and Deutsche Bank.

The highest salary offered for an entry level has jumped from last year's figure of $96,000 per annum to $110,000 per annum. The highest domestic salary offered on Day Zero stood at Rs 13 lakh annually, but the figure could go up as the placement week progresses. The number of Day-Zero offers more than doubled to 86 from 41 last year while the number of acceptances rose to 58 as against 36 last year.

The IIM-A Director, Dr Bakul Dholakia told reporters that the sharp increase in the salaries and number of jobs being offered could be attributed to a robust growth in the world economy. The batch size has also gone up from 166 last year to over 250, he said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 17, 2005)
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