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A school for specialists

education Updated: Sep 01, 2010 09:41 IST
Kiran Wadhwa
Kiran Wadhwa
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

It is located on a hill, has its own helipad and you might even run into a peacock. The three-year-old campus of Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM) is one of the best in the country.

Part of the Symbiosis International University, SIBM is one of the five institutes on the verdant 300-acre campus. From a sports centre to hostels overlooking the valley below, the campus is a vibrant mix of students from various backgrounds. And yet, it is not too cut off — Pune is a mere 25-minute bus ride away.

“The best part about the campus is that you have students of other institutes specialising in telecom and mass media. So, you make friends across backgrounds.

There is no better management campus in the country,” said Shivathilak Tallam, an SIBM student.

The 33-year-old institute breaks the conventional method of a two-year MBA programme where the first year is common and the student chooses his specialisation in the second.

At SIBM, where most students have work experience, they are exposed to all branches of management education within 40 days of joining and they start their specialisations almost immediately.

“One might say it is tunnel vision to start specialisations so early, which is why we give students choices for electives. For example, a student can major in marketing and make HR his elective,” said director Vivek Sane, who took over his current responsibilities three months ago but has been with the university for more than 20 years. Though the institute broke away from the University of Pune only in 2002, it had begun its brand-building exercise long before that. Since the university curriculum was not flexible, the institute introduced a range of voluntary courses for students in the evening and soon these courses became their USP.

Once SIBM became autonomous, it changed the curriculum and introduced subjects unique only to the institute such as the Indian corporate sector. It also designed its own entrance test — Symbiosis National Aptitude Test (SNAP), which gets more than 100,000 applications every year.

It also has a team of students, called Aspire, which visits colleges across the country to make presentations about the institute and attract students.

But going private meant higher fees. The tuition fee for the two-year MBA programme is R7 lakh.

Another area where the institute seems to have captured market share is its programme for executives. Over 33 companies have tied up with SIBM for its training programme. Faculty members either go to the premises of client companies or executives come to campus.

These ties with the industry also show in SIBM’s placements, which in 2010 ended in exactly three days with all 150 students placed.

“When we do our placements, we first look at what our students want to do and then invite companies. I have a variety of students from architects to doctors and I have to place them according to their aspirations,” said Dilipraj Dongre, dean, placements.

Popular with the fast moving consumer goods sector, this year students got an average salary of R9.5 lakh. The highest salary received was R16 lakh, an improvement over last year’s figure of R9.15 lakh and the 2008 figure of R10.5 lakh.

The institute is actively connected with its alumni. “I always go back and the new campus is beautiful, a big draw for students,” said Vishwas Mahajan, CEO, Compulink Systems, and an alumnus from the Class of 1982. “The students of SIBM stand out because of their independent thinking and presence of mind.”

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