Campus city

By Krishna Gopalan        Print Edition: Sept 23, 2007

The placement week for the class of 2007 at Mumbai's NMIMS University began in a rather unusual fashion. A key recruiter, Britannia, decided to troop into campus at 5 a.m. to make sure it would get the best set of students. The episode has obviously thrilled the staff of NMIMS no end.

"It is not a small thing," says Dr N.M. Kondap, the University's Vice Chancellor, with a smile. He certainly has had no reason to complain. For the class of 2007, there were 79 companies on campus with the average domestic salary a shade under Rs 9 lakh per annum. On the international front, that figure was an impressive $70,000.

What happened at NMIMS has been pretty much the story across most Mumbai B-School campuses in 2007. The fact that companies have been doing well has only helped the cause of the students. The numbers speak for themselves. BT's survey of India's Best B-Schools has as many as 10 from the city of Mumbai out of the Top 30 in the country. At a third, Mumbai's domination on the national business school education scene could hardly be better.

Mumbai's B-school story

The Top 10 list throws up two names straightaway. Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS) and NMIMS University are at #6 and #10, respectively, while S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR) is at a healthy 11. Add to these, the three entrants-ICFAI Business School (IBS), Sydenham Institute of Management Studies, Research and Entrepreneurship Education (SIMSREE) and South Indian Education Society (SIES), Navi Mumbai-to the other Mumbai schools on the list-Welingkar, K.J. Somaiya and IIPM-and Mumbai's image as a campus city is complete.

What is more, most of them have climbed up the rankings. JBIMS has moved up a notch to #6, NMIMS, at #10, has gained seven places this year, SPJIMR is up from #14 to #11 and K.J. Somaiya moves into the 17th slot from #26 last year. The only notable slide is that of IIPM-Mumbai, which crashed to #26 from #15 last year.

SPJIMR

Year of establishment - 1981
Batch size - 140
Faculty : Student ratio - 1:8
Total number of recruiters - 100+*
Average domestic salary - Rs 11 lakh*
Average international salary - $45,000*
Highest domestic salary - Rs 19 lakh*
Highest international salary - $83,000*
No. of offers made - 430*
No. of offers accepted - 140*
No. of offers per student - 4
No. of companies offering overseas jobs - 4*
Success rate for applicants for 2007-09 - Not disclosed
*These are for placements in 2007
Source: SPJIMR
Clearly, Mumbai's position as India's financial capital has made the B-school story that much stronger. According to JBIMS Director Chandrahauns Chavan, his institute enjoys invaluable advantages thanks to its location. "Every week, we have leading corporate personalities coming to our campus for guest lectures. Such a high level of corporate interaction keeps our students abreast of the latest business trends," adds Chavan.

NMIMS, too, does something along similar lines. It has a CEO series where people like Leo Puri, Ajay Piramal and Deepak Parekh come in for guest lectures and an interaction with the MBA wannabes. Quite clearly, having a campus in Mumbai makes things like this a reality.

That apart, having a large alumni in Mumbai, too, works well for the institutes. With Mumbai home to a large number of corporates, there exists not only better but continuous levels of interaction with senior managers. Institutes, in turn, are able to position themselves differently. Take the case of SPJIMR where the students do not opt for a conventional summer placement.

While students in other institutes opt for around an eight-week internship with a company, SPJIM's students spend time in the rural sector at the end of the first year. This is a part of the Centre for Development of Corporate Citizenship (DOCC). "Students go to areas like Bihar and Eastern Uttar Pradesh. We want the students to understand issues like deprivation and poverty or to work with NGOs where management principles can be applied," says the institute's Dean, M.L. Shrikant. Once the students are back in campus for the second year, they get back to academics.

In mid-September of the second year, they go for the autumn placement, which lasts for around two months. This is with a company and given that it happens shortly before the final placements, there is more than a good chance that the student will be absorbed by the same organisation. "We realised that the traditional summer project is not very useful. The advantage of this is that both the students and the company make an informed choice," thinks Shrikant.

NMIMS

Year of establishment - 1981
Batch size - 230#
Faculty:Student ratio - 1:7
Total number of recruiters - 79*
Average domestic salary - Rs 8.85 lakh*
Average international salary - $70,000*
Highest domestic salary - Rs 14.25 lakh*
Highest international salary - $75,000*
No. of offers made - 245*
No. of offers accepted - 225*
No. of offers per student - 1.09
No. of companies offering overseas jobs - Not disclosed*
Success rate for applicants for 2007-09 - 1:140
* These are for placements in 2007
#Actual batch size is 240. 230 is the figure for the Class of 2007
The institute does not encourage multiple offers
Source: NMIMS

From a student's perspective, being involved in the institute's activities is important. At JBIMS, the theme remains autonomy. "Most activities on campus, including placements, are handled by the student committee. Students are also in charge of media relations, alumni interaction, business festivals and also maintain the entire it infrastructure of the institute," says Chavan.

Building careers

It is often said that a job at the end of an MBA is merely one part of the story. The focus is on the development of the student for a job or for a business or to make him a competent professional. "We believe in the concept of a complete student. It is not just about academics but also developing an interest in co-curricular activities," says Kondap. Healthy interactions in the classroom, having real life examples and an internship are some of the ingredients that go into making of a successful executive.

According to Shrikant, the classroom is a good opportunity for exploring and developing insights. "We believe in practice, value and service. These three words are key to us," he states. It is interesting to note that SPJIMR requires the student to indicate an area of specialisation at the time of applying itself. Every institute in Mumbai has innovated with time and a high-quality academic curriculum is a good starting point.

"Our rigorous course structure ensures that students learn to deliver under pressure and emerge as tough and well-rounded professionals. Live case studies, assignments and projects make sure that we keep up with the corporate world," says JBIMS' Chavan.

The alumni of Mumbai's best B-Schools, too, speak passionately of their experiences on campus and the skills they acquired. Mahindra Renault's Managing Director, Rajesh Jejurikar, a product of SPJIMR's Class of 1986, recalls that he had almost no idea on how organisations work when he started his MBA programme. "SPJIMR had a large number of people who came in as visiting faculty who prepared us for the corporate world. They spoke practically and created a good bridge between theory and practice," he states.

JBIMS

Year of establishment - 1965
Batch size - 120
Faculty:Student ratio - 1:1.5
Total number of recruiters - 87*
Average domestic salary - Rs 11.26 lakh*
Average international salary - Not disclosed*
Highest domestic salary - Not disclosed*
Highest international salary - $85,000*
No. of offers made - 290*
No. of offers accepted - 120*
No. of offers per student - 2.38
No. of companies offering overseas jobs - 7*
Success rate for applicants for 2007-09 - 1:500
*These are for placements in 2007
Source: JBIMS
For a lot of students, the high point of an MBA programme is the exposure to various subjects. For Kavita Hurry, the two-year study provided her with a variety of learning. "To me, subjects like hr and organisational behaviour were most useful. I think I always had a sense of ownership about whatever I was doing," says the NMIMS alumnus from the batch of 1984. Today, Hurry is a consultant for ING's KPO project and, till recently, was Managing Director of ING Mutual Fund.

Mumbai's B-Schools, interestingly, apart from accounting for a significant number of the country's top institutes, have the most number of new entrants. IBS, Mumbai is the best ranked new entrant. Its Senior Advisor and Campus Head, Y.K. Bhushan, thinks that given Mumbai's status as the financial centre of India, it is only fair that it deserves at least 5-6 schools in the top 20. With IBS, Mumbai having a strong finance orientation, Bhushan is looking to leverage that. "From a class of 30 students in 2000, we are at 400 today. Our faculty strength is significantly up to 40 today, from just four in 2000," he adds.

With a name having been established in Mumbai, the next step for some of the institutes is to look at other campuses. SPJIMR already has a S.P. Jain Centre of Management in Dubai and Singapore where a one-year Global MBA is offered. "We want to be the first global institute (from India)," says Shrikant. That's not all. The plan now is to get a deemed university status, which Shrikant thinks should be in place by 2008. Going global in today's context is really a natural progression for most institutes and Bajaj's Chavan speaks of receiving global recognition.

"We are in the process of tying up with top foreign universities for a faculty and student exchange programme. This year, we witnessed our highest number of international offers at final placements and we expect this trend to continue," he says. NMIMS has acquired land in Bangalore to set up a business school. "Our desire is to be among the top B-schools in South-East Asia. Over time, we want to have international faculty on campus apart from foreign students," says Kondap. For Mumbai's B-schools, the global journey is well and truly under way.

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