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Hey, where are all the Wall Street jobs?

Amid the economic crisis, US investment banks go missing in India.

Bollywood actor Aamir Khan (C) gives a lecture to students at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad Feb. 7, 2009. (Amit Dave/Reuters)

BANGALORE — Not long ago, students of the graduating class at the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, or IIMB, made headlines with their $300,000 a year job offers from foreign banks.

But what a difference a global financial crisis makes.

Half a world away, Wall Street’s collapse has triggered an entirely different scenario during campus placements on this leafy suburban campus, India's top business school.

Wall Street investment banks — prolific recruiters in the past — were conspicuous by their absence this year.

Also missing? The usual swagger and smugness of the graduating class, a cadre of India’s brightest and most talented that had formerly been wooed by an array of high-flying multinational banks and global companies.

“It is a sign of the times,” conceded Sourav Mukherji, an associate professor of organization and a placement coordinator at IIMB. Moreover, the recruiting process that usually ends in five days stretched to nine this year.

In 2008, Lehman Brothers hired 11 IIMB graduates, Deutsche Bank seven, Merrill Lynch six, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan five each. Not one of these banks showed up at the campus this year.

Each year some 300,000 Indians compete to get into the coveted IIMs (they exist in several major cities), a selection process that is said to be more grueling than admission at Harvard or Stanford because of the sheer numbers. The select few who make it are considered to have won the "career lottery."