It pays to graduate from India’s premium business and tech schools even during the pandemic. The Class of 2021 — the first batch to bear the full impact of the pandemic — at India’s top business and tech schools got bigger pay packets than last year’s batch.

The average MBA compensation for Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and tier-1 and tier-2 business schools is projected to see a growth of 2-3% in 2021 over 2020, according to professional service firm Aon’s latest campus study.

At tech schools, the average compensation has shown a positive outlook with similar or marginally increased campus compensation package.

While the impact of the second wave of Covid-19 is still being felt in some sectors, this did not have a significant impact on the final placements for tier 1 and tier 2 campuses that ended before the second wave gained momentum.

At tier 3 institutes for both MBA and BTech, however, the compensation has faced a hit of at least 2-3%.

Joining bonuses at top institutes also have seen an uptick at tier-1 and tier-2 campuses. For MBA students, it has gone up by an average 2.9% year-on-year while for BTech students, it’s up by 3.8%, the study revealed. The 10th edition of the Aon India Campus Study 2020-21 had responses from 370 participant companies across eight industries, including hi-tech, ecommerce and dotcoms, consumer products, manufacturing, and financial institutions, across three campus tiers.

“The impact of the second wave has been less muted than the first wave last year, and we don’t see many instances of any offers being reneged or withdrawn, as was the case in 2020,” said Roopank Chaudhary, partner at Aon.

“Companies are clearly looking at the longer-term promise of normalcy returning much sooner and are far more measured and controlled in their actions in 2021 as compared to last year, especially around hiring and compensation,” he said. Also, the sectoral variation that was visible in salary hikes earlier in the year is consistent with the industry impact on campus salaries as well.

Recruiters and placement officials concur.

A placement official at XLRI said the business school has seen an increase in average CTC (cost to company) offered to ₹25.08 lakh per annum this year from ₹24.30 lakh per annum in 2020. This rise in average CTC is mainly due to a few sectors such as consulting, and ecommerce and other tech-driven firms.

“Despite the pandemic, we have seen companies willing to offer the same compensation, if not increased, for the top talent as they have historically found at XLRI,” the official said.

“That being said, we have seen an increase across multiple sectors, most notably consulting and tech-driven sectors for the final placements of the batch of 2019-21.”

IIM Indore saw a 3% increase in the average CTC (cost to company) from last year.

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