Forget technology and e-commerce, India’s business school graduates are currently most interested in soaps and detergents.

The fast-moving consumer goods industry is the most preferred employer among management students graduating in India this year, according to a survey by research and insights firm Nielsen India. The survey, the results of which were released on May 21, included 1,100 graduating students from 36 business schools.

“The FMCG sector is poised to grow at a healthy rate of more than double digits over the next few years,” Sanjay Pal, executive director at Nielsen India, said in a statement. “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.” India’s FMCG market is estimated to touch $104 billion by 2020, and the country is slotted to become the world’s third-largest consumer economy by 2025.

This is the first time since 2014 that FMCG firms have topped the ranking.

Data: Nielsen Campus Track B-School Study, 2017-18

E-commerce companies, the most preferred employer for two consecutive years (2015 and 2016), slipped this year. A string of consolidations in the sector and layoffs at prominent firms like Snapdeal have rendered it somewhat unattractive.


Indian B-school graduates also prefer foreign companies far more than their Indian peers. And only one Indian firm made it to the top 10 favourable employers ranking in the survey. American consulting firm McKinsey & Co emerged as the most favoured employer among B-school students, followed by Silicon Valley giant Google.

The country’s largest consumer goods firm, Hindustan Unilever, remained the most sought-after employer among marketing students and also the most applied-to firm, according to Nielsen.

The campus recruitment index (chart below) of top employers is based on recruiters’ brand strength.

Data: Nielsen Campus Track B-School Study, 2017-18

This article first appeared on Quartz.