MBA Placements 2023: How is Masters’ Union beating IIMs by adopting the “Global Way” - decodes Strategy

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April 20, 2023
Masters’ Union Gurugram Placement 2023 Report, released in November 2022, stirred the hornets’ nest as it reported Average Salary for the 2023 batch at Rs 33.10 Lakhs per annum. This was higher than the average salary of most IIMs! decided to dig deeper to understand if the numbers are real, and if yes, what is the secret of the success behind these stellar results?
Masters’ Union Placement

In late November 2022, Masters’ Union (MU), a Gurugram-based practitioner-led B-school, stirred the hornets’ nest. Masters’ Union released its Placement Report 2023 where it reported its Average Salary for the 2023 batch at Rs 33.10 Lakhs per annum. To put it in context, this is higher than the average salary of IIM Lucknow (Rs. 32.20 LPA) and IIM Indore (Rs. 31.02 LPA).

What’s more, the Masters’ Union placement report was audited by the same agency (Brickworks) that audits IIM Ahmedabad’s placement report as well. The Masters’ Union Report also claims that new-age companies like Zerodha and Cred, companies that generally don’t hire MBAs, have recruited Masters’ Union students for the prestigious founder’s office roles. decided to dig deeper to understand if the numbers are real, and if yes, what is the secret of the success behind these stellar results? In the process, we carefully reviewed Masters’ Union’s Placements Reports alongside all the Top 10 B-schools in India and interviewed Founder Pratham Mittal, his team, and students. We also accessed internal documents including the official Placement Handbook of Masters’ Union, which proved pivotal to understanding the strategy behind its placement success.

Masters’ Union Placements: Is it for real?
But first, let’s catch the bull by its horns. Are Masters’ Union Placements truly reliable? Can a startup B-school, without an IIM or big corporate tag and with just two years of placements history, really have average salaries better than most IIMs, and other B-schools?

To be honest, we at were sceptical at first. So, we started reviewing their audited placement report, speaking to students who claim to work in Zerodha and other firms, and conducting other fact-checks. We also visited the campus, met the students, quizzed the top management, and accessed audited reports and planning documents.

Importance of Placements, “Audited Report” and IIM Ahmedabad’s IPRS
Before we move forward, here is a quick background on how auditing of MBA Placement Reports came about, and why it is important. Like it or not, virtually every B-schools including top IIMs tout their Placement achievements, which is lapped up by business and education media. Most rankings give a very high 30-50% weightage to placements as well. Hence, most B-schools make extra efforts to dress up their placement reports. In this context, in 2011, IIM Ahmedabad launched Indian Placement Reporting Standards (IPRS) to bring uniformity in the manner in which Indian B-schools report salary and non-salary information related to placements. IPRS said that “reliability of data is ensured as the reports undergo a third-party audit process.”

While IPRS didn’t take off with only a dozen B-schools participating today, it introduced the concept of audited placement reports in India. IIM Ahmedabad uses Brickworks Analytics, a Bangalore-based company, to audit its results. IIM Ahmedabad’s 2022 placement report, audited by Brickworks

In a move to establish its credibility, Master’s Union too decided to engage Brickworks Analytics to audit its report. Their placement report dated November 25, 2022, prepared and signed by Ritaban Basu, Head - Risk & Analytics, Brickworks Analytics, confirms an average salary of Rs 33.10 Lakhs per annum.

When asked why Masters’ Union opened up its placements data for audit, Pratham Mittal told, “We believe that the best way to talk about what we have achieved is by backing it up with verified data.” When asked if a formal audit puts it at disadvantage by lowering its salary, Mittal said, “Yes, in many cases, the audit process reduces the average salary offered by clearly demarking the average package in hand, other variables and ESOPs offered to candidates. But we strongly believe that transparency is the best policy as it leaves no room for ambiguity and doubt no matter the cost.”

After reviewing the placement report and related documents, we next interacted with Masters’ Union students. In our interactions, we met students who are CAs or CFAs or have studied at IITs, BITS, and Delhi University. They saw this program as a route to fast-track careers and gave high scores to the Master’s Union MBA experience.

What explains stellar Masters’ Union Placements, then?
If the placement numbers are right and students are happy, what could explain the stellar placements at Masters’ Union? To understand the reason, we interacted with top management and reviewed internal documents. A document that particularly helped us understand the strategy was Masters’ Union Placement Student Handbook. This 60-page booklet, which is updated regularly and draws inspiration from Harvard Business School Placement Handbook, reflects the radical view that top management has on MBA placements and outlines the strategy that is pulling Masters’ Union Placements to the top.

A close reading of the Placement Handbook and our interactions with management and students revealed a five-pronged placement strategy followed by Masters’ Union. 

1. Intense Focus on Placements by Top Management
The first aspect of the Placement Strategy at Masters Union is the obvious attention paid by top management to this aspect. The Placement Strategy at Masters Union is closely looked into by Founder & CEO Pratham Mittal and Mahak Garg, Director of Placements. “Strong placements are vital for the success of Master’s Union. While it is a desired output, placements are an outcome of ensuring the right inputs (students) and following our well-established learning processes,” said Pratham Mittal.

Importantly, Placements and Career Development at Master’s Union are not left to faculty, students or administration. There is a dedicated team of professionals, who have corporate experience at leading companies like Bain, TCS and others in the career development area, who look after students’ career preparations. More on this later.

2. Learn Business by Running Business! Curriculum, Pedagogy and Faculty-mix
Emphasizing the connection between curriculum and placements, Pratham Mittal said, “At Masters’ Union, we believe that to earn better, one must learn better.” In an earlier article, we uncovered the five pillars of Masters’ Union’s Curriculum, Pedagogy and Faculty-mix:

  • Differentiated Vision & Mission that adopts a medical and law education approach to management education
  • Core Curriculum that marries new-age electives with foundational courses
  • Practitioner-led hands-on pedagogy that is focused on experiential learning
  • CXOs collaborate with academics for a holistic learning experience
  • Located in the heart of business at DLF Cyber Park, Gurugram

In summary, Masters’ Union at its core is designed to provide students with hands-on experience in various aspects of business, finance, operations, marketing, technology and more. Education coupled with outclass components allows the students to traverse complex real-world problems, helping them learn business by doing business and acquiring industry-relevant skills. This prepares students for complex real-world challenges, which helps them stand out in the job market. This approach helps in ensuring that students are ready for placements.

3. Professional Placements & Career Advisory Team: ex McKinsey, Bain, Accenture 
A designated careers development team, led by Mahak Garg, implements the placement strategy at Masters’ Union. Mahak herself is an MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business. The Career Team consists of professionals who are alums of leading B-schools including ISB, XLRI and MDI, and have worked at leading companies including McKinsey, Bain, Accenture and TCS. Here they are:

Team Member
Prior Experience
Richa Mehrotra, Deputy Director - Career Advisory
15+ Years at McKinsey, Bain and Arthur D. Little
Institute of Management Technology (IMT)
Mehak Kaur, Head - Placements & Corporate Alliances
10+ Years at Accenture, Mondelēz India 
Indian School of Business (ISB)
Gurumoorthy Natarajan, Head Corporate Relations
17+ years of experience in Campus Placements, Career Services, Corporate Relations at XLRI, TCS, IIM Ranchi
XLRI Jamshedpur, University of Wales
Nishant Singh, Deputy Director - Corporate Relations
15+ years of experience at Hero Mindmine,
XLRI Jamshedpur
Anurag Yadav, Head - Corporate Alliances & Strategic Partnerships
5+ years of experience in B2B SaaS Pre-sales & Sales Consultant, Corporate Relations
MDI Gurgaon

4. Embracing the “Global Way” of Placements

Masters’ Union Placement Student Handbook revealed an important aspect of the placement strategy adopted at Masters’ Union – embracing the “Global Way” of placements.

The Handbook says that there are two ways for MBA students to get placed: “the Indian way and the Global way:

  1. Indian Way: Sit in mass placements during the placement season. Apply to a bunch of companies, starting from MBBs all the way down. Prepare, compete with classmates, and hope to land a good job.
  2. Global Way: Figure out 4-5 companies that you like that’s a role and culture fit Reach out to them independently and build relationships with HR and functional teams. Interview and close.

Making the case for the Global way, the Handbook says that getting placed through the global way “leads to 42% higher CTC than the Indian way.” The Handbook goes on to credit this strategy for placement success at Masters’ Union: “This is also the reason why MU’s average CTC was so much higher than our competition. The bottom line is that to get to the 40L+ brackets, the Indian way just does not work. More importantly, you are always just competing with your classmates rather than expanding the pie for the community. Our overarching recommendation will be that 100% of you try the Global way.”

5. Getting Student Expectations Right: “B-school is not a placement agency”
Masters’ Union is very clear that while it can offer the best curriculum, and attract the best faculty and companies for placements, it is finally up to the students to secure the best placements for themselves! Cautioning its students, the Student Placement Handbook says, “Don’t feel entitled…throw away the entitlement today… you are joining a B-school, not a placement agency.” The report goes on to outline the responsibilities for both the B-school and the students, in a classical B-school grid, as below:

Masters’ Union Responsibility
Your Responsibility
Provide top-notch curriculum
Take each course & challenge religiously, do the readings and perform
Provide the best faculty
Proactively network with them and build relationships
Provide skill-building classes
Practising daily and refining those skills
Opportunities to build unique stories
Crafting stories and building a strong personal brand
Bring recruiters to campus
Build the skills required to get shortlisted
Provide mock interview sessions
Prepare and practice hard to crack the interviews


In their bestseller, Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, authors Lawrence Bossidy and Ram Charan wrote that while Strategy is about deciding what to do, Execution is about doing it well. They say that a good strategy without effective execution is likely to fail, and excellent execution without a solid strategy is unlikely to achieve meaningful results. Therefore, it's essential to strike a balance between the two, ensuring that you have a well-thought-out strategy that is effectively executed. It seems Masters’ Union is striking this delicate balance.

To put its strategy into execution, Masters’ Union has outlined these essential six steps for students. 

1. Laser Focus on Your Domain of Choice
To begin with, Masters’ Union recommends a “Laser Focus” on the domain of choice by students. “Cracking a breakthrough placement is about mastering the art of crafting a narrative such that you become irresistible to the target companies,” it says. The Placements Handbook outlines eight roles, along with earning potentials and who are ideal candidates for each role.

Avg. CTC
Wealth Creation
Best for
Rs 28L
High (If esops granted)
Tech background exposure to tech/sass products, general curiosity about how things work, tech-savvy
Rs 38L +
Very high (esops usually high)
Proven leaders (class presidents), hustlers, initiative takers, extroverts
Rs 22L
Medium (only at startups)
Creatives, good written communication, social, have a marketing mind, readers
Rs 29L
High (due to commissions)
Extrovers, target-oriented folks, networkers, forthcoming
Rs 36L
Very high (esops usually high)
Maths prodigies, background in data, know some coding, knack for graphs and data visualisations
Rs 30L
Low (no esops)
High grades throughout, amazing communication, one of 3 spikes (strong story, strong skills, strong comms/grades)
Finance (FP&A, IB)
Rs 24L
CAs, dabble in stock, intuitive about P&Ls & balance sheets
Web 3
Rs 45L
Very High
Interest in crypto, general awareness of protocols

Source: Masters’ Union Student Placement Handbook

2. Shortlist 5-10 Companies and Build Relationships There
After identifying one of the above domains, Masters’ Union next recommends that students start building relationships with HR and line managers in 5 target companies by looking them up on the internet and sending introductory emails. They even have email templates, with subject lines, ready for students! Like this template meant for “Zynga”.

Template Email:

Subject: Starting my MBA journey with Zynga

Dear Rakhee ji <use your judgement on adding suffixes like sir/Ma’am/ji>

I am Vinod and I have recently started my MBA at Masters’ Union.

Ever since I was in school, I have been playing Zynga games (only in my free time I promise) and always dreamt of one day working with your team.

Now that I am starting my MBA, I wanted to share this dream with you and ask you for guidance as to how I can successfully build my profile for a Game Designer role in your team.

I am sure that with my passion for gaming and Zynga, I will leave no stone unturned to make sure that I build the right skills to deserve an offer from Zynga in 12 months' time.

If you can respond with 3-4 hard skills that I need to build, I will get cracking on it.

Looking forward to working with you in the future.


Source: Masters’ Union Student Placement Handbook

After students have decided on their core domain and shortlisted companies, Masters’ Union then recommends its students to work on Resumes, Interviews and “Build a story”.

3. Optimise Your Resume
Masters’ Union has a set resume format which all students have to use. This format covers sections like Education, Experience, Academics, Skills, Community Projects and Personal information. There are strict dos and don’ts recommended to students. 

4. Build Memorable CVs, Cover Letters, or Cover Videos
To break the clutter, Masters’ Union recommends innovative CVs, including Cover Videos! Says Masters’ Union, “Most CVs look the same and 90% of applicants get rejected at that stage. There is, however, a way to virtually make yourself appealing for an interview. Make a CV they cannot ignore. Make a CV so creative that they want to share it within the company slack channels.” 

To underscore the point, Masters’ Union shares a real-life case of Puja from Cohort 1 who wanted an interview at Netflix, which is a very small team in India and does not recruit fresh college graduates. Still, she tried by sending a CV in the form of a Netflix show homepage. As you will see, she showed her work experience in the form of the show’s various episodes.

5. Cracking Interviews
Other than doing basic company research, Masters’ Union recommends that students prepare well-documented presentations and recommendations to improve the outcomes. While it doesn’t mandate it, the B-school recommends students go the extra mile to make a positive impression on the company and recruiter with gestures like:

  • Taking a cupcake for the interviewer.
  • Dressing up in the company’s colour. Cheesy, but can be a great conversation starter.
  • Preparing a song about the company and performing with a guitar. Send them a video later. Especially for the music aficionados here. Again, very cheesy and very effective. Part of the hustle.
  • Proofread the company’s website. Especially for sales and marketing roles.

The idea is to go beyond conventional routes to get offers from the most coveted jobs!

6. Build a Story
Finally, Masters’ Union asks its students to build their own stories.  “What’s your story? To be irresistible to potential recruiters, you need an impactful story that makes you stand out from the crowd,” says Masters’ Union.

With so much preparation, it comes as no surprise that Masters’ Union students crack the interviews, and get hired for coveted jobs.

Masters’ Union Placements Report 2023 Highlights
Here is how these efforts by B-school and its students have translated into inspiring numbers:

Cohort 22’
Cohort 21’
% Increase
Avg. Domestic CTC
Rs. 33.10 Lakh
Rs. 29.12 Lakh
Median CTC
Rs. 30.92 Lakh
Rs. 29.50 Lakh
Highest CTC
Rs. 64.15 Lakh
Rs. 45.00 Lakh
Top 25% Avg. CTC
Rs. 44.52 Lakh
Rs. 41.14 Lakh
Freshers Only Avg. CTC
Rs. 24.44 Lakh
Rs. 23.2 Lakh

A closer look at Masters’ Union Placements 2023 reveals that 24% of all jobs were in the coveted Product Management area. This was followed by 20% of jobs in Chief of Staff/Founder’s Office roles.

% of Jobs
Role wise Offers
Product/Program Management
Rs. 31.39 Lakhs
Chief of Staff/Founders' Office
Rs. 37.01 Lakhs
Growth and Business
Rs. 26.16 Lakhs
Data and Consulting
Rs. 33.19 Lakhs
Rs. 31.00 Lakhs
Rs. 39.33 Lakhs

So how did these efforts help Masters’ Union student Deepankar Mathur land a job offer at the Founder's Office in Zerodha, which is known for not hiring MBAs? Deepankar told, “I loved that I did my management course at Masters’ Union and started a real business. The VIP challenge at my institute not only helped me in better understanding my MBA curriculum but also helped me build a great story to tell to my future recruiters - thus making me Zerodha's first ever MBA campus hire from across the entire country!”

On this note, it’s time to close this review of Masters’ Union Placements. But we hope we took you behind the scenes to help you understand the people, strategy and execution that is propelling a 3-year-old Masters’ Union into the top league. Masters’ Union Admission