Written by Joanna Hughes

B-school grads have increasingly diversified their career interests. And while technology and e-commerce may be the first industries that come to mind when we think of alternatives to finance, Indian MBAs are looking elsewhere: to soaps and detergents to be specific, according to a recent Quartz Media report. Here’s a closer look at the trend.

A Growing Industry

India’s fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) is estimated to reach a staggering $104 billion by 2020, according to QZ.com. At the same time, India is projected to become the third-largest consumer economy in the world by 2025.

Given these figures, it’s hardly a surprise that so many b-school students are angling to get in on the action. In fact, a survey conducted by research and insights firm Nielsen India revealed that the FMCG industry was the most preferred employer among the country’s latest crop of management graduates from 36 b-schools: 46 percent wished to work in the sector.

Said Nielsen India executive director Sanjay Pal, “The FMCG sector is poised to grow at a healthy rate of more than double digits over the next few years. This is manifested in the increasing trend of recruitment in the sector amongst top B-Schools as well as students’ increasing interest in pursuing a career in this sector.”

A Shifting Scene

This was the first time in four years that the FMCG industry landed atop the survey. The second and third place spots were claimed by the banking & financial services and automobile industries with 43 percent and 34 percent, respectively. Consulting (31 percent), e-commerce (29 percent), consumer durables (27 percent), retail (25 percent) and analytics (23 percent) rounded out the list.

Meanwhile, the survey also revealed that Indian grad students prefer to work for foreign companies over domestic ones: Just one Indian firm made the top 10 list of preferred employers.

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.
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