For many Indians, the stomach-churning market drops and growing recession talk of the past few months – triggered by the global spread of the coronavirus – has revived memories of the 2008 financial crisis and Great Recession.
During the times of 2008 financial crisis, the 2009 graduate batch suffered the most. We talked to Ms. Taru Kapoor, who graduated in 2009 and was the TnP Coordinator that year. She said, “December 2008 was arguably a horrid time for running placements and graduating, as the final recession was still in free fall and no companies in any position to really plan 6-8 months in advance. There was widespread uncertainty in the macro-environment and companies. Finance, Oil & Gas and multinationals were heavily hurt. I remember clearly that on Day 1, Dec 1 2008, 19 people from our graduating batch got a job. This compared to 75+ the previous years. Many really smart students didn’t have a job. I was one of the 19. Not a single person celebrated that night.” Companies like the BCG, Mckinsey hired very few people that year. The number of companies coming for campus placements reduced significantly. Institute toppers were unplaced even after several days of the start of placements. More people went for higher studies as compared to previous years.
Take a breath. While the toll, the infection ultimately would take on the nation wasn’t clear, the economic upheaval caused by the outbreak was not as damaging or long-lasting as the historic downturn of 2007-09. For one thing, the 2008 financial crisis and recession resulted from years of deeply rooted weak spots in the economy. That’s not the case now.
“At that time, it seemed like the end of the world. But now I don’t have the slightest hint of what happened in 2009”, says a 2009 batch graduate. Most 2009 batch graduates believe that the crisis did delay their career plans a bit, but didn’t affect them much in the long run.
“I think there are similarities, but I believe that the rebound will be faster today than 2009. As far as I know, it took around two years for me and my friends to get back to what we wanted to do.” said Vireshwar Kumar.