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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014
Importance of being practical
Pankti Mehta, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, August 30, 2011
First Published: 11:53 IST(30/8/2011)
Last Updated: 09:44 IST(31/8/2011)

Last year, Kaushal Gandhi worked on a plan to improve sanitation in Mumbai slums as a project for Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS), where he is a student, and got help from Unicef to implement it.

“That, for me, is a great example of what makes the college stand apart,” says Gandhi.

Since then, there have been sanitary napkin dispensing machines, urinals that use less water and programmes to tackle hygiene issues in slums.

“We learnt that we cannot sit in offices and make assumptions,” says Gandhi, 24, who is specialising in finance. “We thought slum-dwellers would not pay R2 a day for clean toilets. It turned out that they were willing to pay even R5.”

Practical learning is given great importance, which is reflected in the way the institute is structured.

There are only five full-time faculty members, the rest are visiting lecturers from industry. This gives students exposure and helps make them job-ready. “We pay very little to the visiting faculty,” says Balkrishna Parab, professor of financial management and full-time faculty member. “That helps eliminate teachers who look upon it as just another job.”

Adds Parab, “They come to JBIMS for the love of teaching, and come with their real-world experience and a practical outlook that academics sometimes lack.”

The institute’s location at Churchgate, Mumbai’s business centre, serves as a practical measure because the institute depends critically on visiting lecturers. The visiting faculty is given the freedom to add topics, with an eye on the changing expectations of industry.

JBIMS figures in the top 10 Indian B-schools’ list because it continues to give its students exposure to the latest trends in the corporate sector through its visiting faculty, practical training and an evolving syllabus — it is renewed every year.

The Mumbai University, to which the institute is affiliated, examines only three papers out of 36, leaving enough room for change.

“We hold regular meetings with our alumni to improve modules,” says Parab. “This year we decided to focus on the securities market.”

“We have an off-summer programme, during which students work with companies,” says Stephen D’Silva, director, JBIMS.

Management-related games and competitions are a part of developing practical skills. One game is called Marketing Maestro. Players split into teams and work with NGOs to sell products within a time frame.

JBIMS also organises Prayaag, an inter-B-school competition, on subjects based on negotiations, advertising, mergers, acquisitions and even mock stock market events.

The presence of industry professionals makes the classes more interesting.

“A particularly exciting one was by the director at a major corporation, who was explaining the nuances of a deal,” says Gandhi, adding, “He gave us the details of a deal he made and asked us to deconstruct it and explain the rationale, which led to a really interesting debate. He wanted us to think for ourselves.”

The campus, although restricted to a single building, has recently renovated classrooms, is equipped with free WiFi facility and has a canteen. It also has a library with a budget of R30 lakh per year.

“We also have access to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy database,” says Sumedh Shevde, 24, a second-year student of finance. The institute has a corporate mentorship programme, under which an alumni member is in charge of a student. “Although the JBIMS schedule is gruelling, with lectures often stretching from 7am to 9pm, everyone is prepared to work hard,” says Anita Shandhag, alumni and visiting faculty, who runs the Shandhag Engineering Company. Shandhag specialised in finance and graduated in 1984.

JBIMS has had record placements this year. The highest package offered was R26 lakh, the average, R15.54 lakh. Ashutosh Mishra, senior vice president, talent management, HSBC, one of the recruiting companies, says: “With each passing year, we are increasingly impressed with the quality of students.”

FACT FILE
Established in:
1965
Main courses: Master of management studies from the University of Mumbai
Other courses: Part-time MBA programme in finance (MFM), HR (MHRDM), Sytems (MIM), marketing (MMM)
Course fee: R1 lakh per annum
Number of students per batch: 120
Faculty-student ratio: 1:48 (This includes only the core faculty, the rest of the faculty is visiting)
Facilities offered: Library with more than 55,000 books, round-the-clock Internet facility through wi-fi, a state-of-the-art computer centre, an auditorium that can accommodate 150 people
Day zero placements: 40%
Top recruiters: Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, HSBC, Hindustan Unilever, Colgate, P&G, Yes Bank, BTS Consulting
Famous alumni: Harish Manwani, global COO, Unilever; Chanda Kochhar, MD and CEO, ICICI Bank; Vinita Bali, MD and CEO, Britannia; Siddharth Roy Kapoor, CEO, UTV Motion Pictures; Mani Ratnam, filmmaker; Sam Balsara, chairman & MD, Madison World


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