VADODARA/ANAND: A Gujarati and a Punjabi student created a record during placement season at country’s premier rural management institute – the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA).

Vrundavan Bhatt, who hails from small town Godhra and Abhishek Kaundal, from Punjab’s Hoshiarpur, have made their mark by bagging salary package of Rs 46.50 lakh per annum – the highest every in the history of IRMA, set up by father of country’s White Revolution late Dr Verghese Kurien in 1979.

During previous placement season, the highest salary package earned by an IRMA graduate was Rs 27.39 lakh per annum. The duo have been hired by first time recruiter — Singapore-headquartered Tolaram Group, the Indian multi-national, having huge agri-business operations in Africa. “We feel proud of being the first ones to be selected by this group. But there is also a sense of responsibility,” said Bhatt, who after completing his engineering studies, had the opportunity to get admission in IIFT, Narsee Monjee, Symbiosis, Delhi University among others but opted for IRMA to follow his interest in rural management. “My selection has paid off well,” said Bhatt, 23, whose chartered accountant father Dattatraya is an independent financial practitioner while mother Purnima is a primary education researcher.

Abhishek, 24, who had completed his chemical engineering from Ahmedabad, too had the option to get into newer IIMs, but had opted for IRMA.

“IRMA has its brand equity,” said Abhishek, whose father Chainkumar passed away two years back due to cancer while mother Parveen is a homemaker.

Chasing hefty salary packages has never been motto of IRMAns. But at a time when most B schools in the country are facing adverse impact of demonetisation on their placements, IRMA has registered several records while placing 169 students of its PRM 36 batch in record three days.

“We have not only maintained the record of 100 % placements but even the average salary offered to students has touched Rs 10.22 lakh per annum against Rs 8.56 lakh per annum last year,” said professor Pratik Modi, who coordinated placement activities this year.

“Even the salaries offered by development sector organisations including NGOs, cooperatives and government development agencies have averaged at Rs 9.37 lakh per annum which is a record in itself,” said Modi. The institute had received 220 job offers from 92 recruiters for the batch while 21 students had already received pre-placement offers.

Like previous years, the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) that markets brand Amul, emerged as the single largest head hunter recruiting 19 candidates while Bihar Rural Livelihood Promotion emerged as second largest recruiter with 11 selections.

UNICEF, for the first time, participated in IRMA’s placements making offers to five students of which four were placed in UNICEF Wash in Gandhinagar.

“There is a rise in the average salary due to the image IRMA enjoys and inflationary factors. The way we look at the future, it will go up further and faster,” said IRMA’s director Dr R C Natarajan, adding that only mediocre B schools are facing the impact of demonetisation.

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