A survey of students including MBAs at some of India’s leading business schools found that 71% of respondents preferred the e-commerce industry to other sectors such as financial services and consulting.
Assocham, which represents trade and industry in India, polled 500 students from schools including the high-ranking Indian Institute of Managements.
Leading European business schools are also being tapped by large technology groups for new hires, many of them from the fast-growing online retail industry.
Amazon, which plans to hire hundreds of MBAs in 2014, was the top recruiter at London Business School last year and was one of the biggest recruiters of MBA students at other schools with European campuses including INSEAD and HEC Paris of France.
The migration to the tech sector is also evident across the Atlantic where many of these companies are headquartered in Silicon Valley. At Harvard Business School, the percentage of graduates going into financial services is down to 27% from 42% in 2006, while the percentage entering tech firms more than doubled during that period to 18%.
At Stanford Graduate School of Business, seen as a feeder to the Bay Area, 32% of last year’s MBAs chose careers in technology.
The shift towards the e-commerce sector is unsurprising. Financial services have become a less attractive path since the Great Recession, while technology companies are increasingly hiring MBAs for jobs in internal consulting – one of the most popular functions this year.
Online retailers have also amassed troves of resources. Snapdeal, India’s third largest e-tailer, has raised $1 billion in 2014 and its rival Flipkart has raised similar amounts of venture funding. Chinese group Alibaba floated its shares on the New York Stock Exchange earlier this year while Amazon is investing in new markets ripe for online growth.
And Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, launched a pilot e-commerce platform in Lucknow and Hyderabad in July.
Assocham says the e-commerce industry has experienced unprecedented growth in India with its total revenue increasing more than 60 times between 2010 and 2014.
At the Indian School of Business technology companies were the biggest recruiters, led by Amazon and Apple.
Amazon offers internships for MBA students lasting between 11 and 12 weeks, according to its recruitment director.
At the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore – the country’s third highest-ranked business school – Amazon made 11 job offers, while up-starts Flipkart, Jabong and Yepme were the biggest hirers in the e-commerce space.
At the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, about 27% of the class accepted summer internships in e-commerce and IT firms.