According to Business Week,  Indian MBA grads are facing a tough job market in the current worldwide economic slump. According to the report, in a sharp reversal from last year (where peak international placements got offers up to $360,000), this year the highest salary is just a paltry $86K.

And so the story of gross excesses during boom time and the inevitable contraction during not-so-good times that follow go on all over the world. According to the report, the elite Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, only 57% of the students have managed to get a job offer.

To this blogger, both extremes described in the article seems excessively reactionary, a little over the top.

In good times, for 23 year old kids (most, without a single day of relevant work experience) to land offers that paid hundreds of thousands of dollars always seemed an egregiously expensive way of hiring talent. I admit that most students coming out of Tier 1 business schools in India are exceedingly bright and very motivated. However, real life experience does not replace sheer intellect and I firmly believe that most offers from leading business schools in India have been over-valued by companies. So it is natural, given the traditional costs for companies to recruit talent from these schools, to pull back when the economic indicators are as weak as they are.

This too shall pass. But the trick is to wisen up and not be unrealistic about one’s market worth and value.  One can be bright – but like in ISB’s case, 12 months of academic experience does not replace years’ of experience in the trenches. And when expectations are about instant gratification and insane incomes straight out of school, something’s got to give. Sometime.

And unfortunately, it always does.