SPJIMR Mumbai is all set to go global in admission process for PGDM batch 2015-17. In the back drop of the application process for the SPJIMR PGDM batch of 2015-2017 and SPJIMR team leaving for a global tour to attract foreign applicants, the Deputy Director (PGDM), Dr. Atish Chattopadhyay shares with MBAUniverse.com how and why SPJIMR leads the way in management education in India.
Below are shared the excerpts of the interview of Dr Atish Chattopadhyay with MBAUniverse.com
Q. SPJIMR appears to be moving up over the last several years. What are the key factors making this achievement possible?
Ans. SPJIMR has tried to be relevant to the requirement of the industry, and to the realities of changes in the market place.
The key is to improve our academic content and delivery by bringing in best practices from the best known institutes globally and continuously innovate on our pedagogy and the processes by which this is delivered.
Q. Could you elaborate the strategy further with the help of examples?
Ans. We looked at some of the gaps in management education in India –dealing with ambiguity, issues of framing problems, issues of sustainability. For example, last year we launched an initiative whereby our first year students were given an exposure to dealing with ambiguity as it is presented in the industry, under an initiative called the Business Consulting Project. This deals with situations where the problems are not well defined and students had to actually work on understanding and framing the problem.
We initiated this in the first semester of the programme. At the recently concluded Indian Management Conclave, we received a ‘Gold Award’for the way this initiative has integrated with the industry.
That is one example of pedagogic innovation which gears participants towards the requirement of industry and at the same time addresses gaps in the present management education system.
Q. How do you rate SPJIMR different while remaining relevant?
Ans.We have tried to keep pace with the requirement of the industry. When it comes to sustainability, the SPJIMR PGDM programme is a pioneer and we have tried to continuously improve and innovate.
Before students go for social projects during summer, we provide a theoretical backdrop of the framework of sustainability and the way SPJIMR looks at sustainability from the lens of distributive justice; thus we introduced a course in the area of sustainability and distributive justice.
These are examples which have made SPJIMR remain relevant.
We find a chunk of our students are today recruited by MNCs for global positions; so we thought we should provide a global exposure to our students, and that is where we have introduced our Global Fast Track programme.
Q. What is the idea of Global fast track in changing scenario and offerings at SPJIMR?
Ans. Today there is no time lag between what is happening in the more advanced countries viz-a -viz what is happening in India. If we look at our changing recruiter profile, which today comprises the Amazons, Googles and the Facebooks of the world, what is required is that the students be exposed to the global best practices.
I think we are the first ones in a two year MBA programme to think of giving this kind of specialized input to 100 percent of our participants. The idea of Global Fast Track is to provide our participants inputs in advanced courses of specialization at the top global B-schools. For example, when we are talking about Information Management specialization, we collaborated with Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business - so our students can actually go and undertake specialization courses there, supplemented by projects with local companies.
The operations specialization group will similarly go to Purdue and they get exposure to the latest developments like 3D printing or how a drone functions; this is going to provide a glimpse of the way the supply chain will work in future.Similarly at Cornell, students get to actually see the way the global financial hub like Wall Street functions.
I think the change that has to happen is in the mind and if India has to really become a global player or an economic giant going forward, the future leadership has to think not in terms of jugaad but in terms of innovating best global practices.
Additionally, when our students are taught by internationally reputed faculty, the quality of teaching-learning within the institute goes up as the expectation of the students are raised. Faculty from within also has to put in extra effort to meet the student’s expectations. Overall teaching-learning within the institute is enriched in the process.
Q. SPJIMR is a much sought after B school for Indian students but why should an international student come to study at SPJIMR?
Ans. MBA participants are generally in the age group of 22 to 26 years, so they will have a work life of Say 35 years and will be at their peak maybe in another 15 years, so if they are thinking of reaching the CEO position 15 years down the line, I think the place to study management, for that matter to study leadership, is India.
I would say India specifically,because the China story has already played out. It is going to be India 15 years from now, so no better place than to prepare oneself for a leadership role globally than India. As far as Indian schools are concerned, I think Indian management education has evolved, and the learning experience in the top schools in India is comparable with the best globally.
The teaching-learning process at SPJIMR is comparable to the global standards. and can be summarised in a few points below-
-Our courses and curriculum can compare with the best globally
-Students get an Indian context in terms of issues of sustainability, exposure to the issues of social context, and at the same time opportunity to do specialization courses in the best schools globally
-There is an opportunity at SPJIMR to actually study the fourth semester of the programme during the fall semester abroad, which means students can do three semesters here, and in the fourth semester they can be abroad in a partnering global school of high repute.
-Students are specially equipped to work in global corporations with India-specific insights. I think recruiters going forward will value such individuals who have got a strong India connect, strong context of the issues of sustainability in the emerging world and also a robust exposure to the area of specialization in an international setting.
-As a student, you also work with a very strong and diverse peer group that mirrors the diversity of India, and now you add to that students from other international locations in a commercial hub like Mumbai – that itself is a great grooming ground for a future leader
-The median GMAT score of our class is 710; as a student, you are actually part of a peer group with rich credentials and a diverse background.
Q. How do you propose to attract international participants?
Ans. We are on a learning curve, so for the first time we are now reaching out. Last year, we didn’t do much, but we had students who reached out and hence we attracted international participants.
This year, we are going to reach out – to our alumni, our industry partners and also the Indian Diasporas in various locations to influence the local community to be more aware of not just SPJIMR, but the quality of education that Indian B-schools offer. The idea is, that going forward we also need to learn the ways to attract international students.
Q. What’s the idea behind SPJIMR Global tour?
Ans.This year we are going to make a start, we are going to eight cities – two in North America, Toronto and New York, one in Europe, UK (London) and then we are going to South-East Asia, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Bangkok and Ho Chi Min City.
The idea is not only to attract international students but also to create awareness among the community there regarding Indian management education in general and the top Indian B-schools and SPJIMR in particular. We hope we will learn and have a better understanding of what we need to do going forward. I am confident maybe three years down the line, we will definitely have 20% of our participants from various global destinations.
Q. The way SPJIMR is headed in the future, what would be your message to prospective candidates
Ans. The core of SPJIMR lies in two things,(i) influencing practice which means being relevant to practice, and(ii) promoting value-based growth, which means we are looking at ‘values’–of being a contributor, of non-self-centeredness, which will be essential elements of future leaders. So our core values will remain the same.
As far as the programme is concerned, it will keep on reinforcing its social connect, in terms of being relevant to the social context, graduates being sensitive to the issues of distributive justice, the issue of public cost versus private benefit. At the same time, as I stated earlier, the programme will keep on innovating and adding global content.
We will continue to provide students with better global exposure so that as an institute we can create a global footprint.
And that global footprint can happen only when we attract students from across the world, and also our students go and influence practice globally, and that I
think is the way forward for SPJIMR.
Q. Share a few initiatives at SPJIMR
Ans. One of the areas we have done really well is academic excellence; we innovated and we have gone forward and are ranked number three. We are ranked number four in personality development.
I feel, SPJIMR is one school with a leadership development programme that is today being acclaimed globally and we have got five distinct initiatives about which we have talked at various forums – the Personal Growth Lab, Abhyudaya (mentoring underprivileged children), ADMAP (learning administration by doing), Social Projects (in rural areas) and the course on Science of Spirituality.
What we did last year was to actually link the whole issue of self-assessment and self-development, with a tool developed by GMAC – the ‘Reflect’ test, to map individual competencies with career goals.
These initiatives provide opportunities to each individual participant to chalk out a strategy for growth and development based on their competency and career aspirations.
In this process, we have received increasing international recognition– we were invited to present at the GMAC Annual Conference at
I think our initiatives seem to be a good attraction when it comes to the student community and the recruiters – we were ranked number five in student perception.
SPJIMR is probably the first institution to provide a stipend to those who have taken up entrepreneurship and have opted out of placements.
The institute has not only provided deferred placement opportunities to such graduates, but also, incubation and other infrastructural facilities- including mentoring to its participants.
Stay tuned to MBAUniverse.com for more updates on SPJIMR