A dash of afriendly enmitya between SCMHRD, SIIB and SCIT: PaGaLGuY B-school Backpacker goes to Symbiosis Infotech campus, P

Lemon Tree hotel, Infosys and Cognizant campuses were the landmarks that I rattled off to the auto drivers at the Wakad flyover bus stop in order to get to the Symbiosis University campus in Hinjawadi, Pune. After some haggling I was on my way to the Symbiosis campus. I clutched my bag close to my chest to warm myself as there was quite a nip in the early morning Pune air. I soon reached the neat, clean and organized complex hosting the Symbiosis Infotech Campus (SIC) where the Symbiosis institutes of Symbiosis Center of Management and Human Resources Development (SCMHRD), Symbiosis Institute of International Business (SIIB) and Symbiosis Center for Information Technology (SCIT) are located. The complex is an IT SEZ and this is probably the reason that three b-schools are located in a campus which has a name that one would be forgiven for associating with a software firm.

The three Symbiosis institutes occupy two floors each in the campusas academic building and a similar allocation is followed for the hostels. There are two messes in the campus with SIIB and SCMHRD students each having a mess that they favour. I soon met some second year students of SIIB who explained the competitive spirit which exists between the students of the three institutes. An annual sporting event called Symbolympics is held which is extremely keenly contested between students with innovative slogans often used by onlookers for commenting purposes. Interestingly enough, in order to improve interactions between the institutes, another sporting event called aThe Friendship Cupa is organized in which each team consists of students from all three b-schools. Further, each institute closely guards information concerning placements and students do not share such data with other schools until after completion of processes. Students do however freely use library and faculty resources from across institutes.

aOn paper each of the three institutes here focuses on a particular area but practically speaking the coursework is not very different and we compete for the same placements,a comment students of SIIB. aDue to the academic rigours at SCMHRD we really do not get time to interact a great deal with students from the other institutes and frankly speaking we do not really mind thisa, says a first year student at the institute. But, does the inter-institute rivalry allow for friendships between students who stay in the same hostel buildings and eat in the same messes? aWell, amongst the boys there is some level of camaraderie because they play a lot of sports together. This is comparatively less between the women here. Over time of course, you do tend to acknowledge people that you see frequently,a explains Jyoti Ghegi of SIIB. Abhijeet Lahiri of SCIT opines,a Well, one needs to clearly identify what is professional and what is personal.a aFriendly enmitya is how Pradeep Mehta of SIIB succinctly sums up the spirit prevalent between students at the campus here.

SIIB students tell me that birthday parties are usually celebrated in a completely uninhibited manner. However, with placements at the b-school being severely hit there has not been a customary birthday or placement celebration in the last month or so. The mood while obviously on the somber side is expectant with students having resolved to not throw placement parties until the entire batch gets placed. The days of all students getting placed within two days are gone with half the batch left after placements having begun a month back. The placements situation is of course similar at most of Indiaas business schools.

SCMHRD students dryly comment that the institute truly lives up to its slogan of ‘The finest residential B-school’ with fines being levied for a host of reasons ranging from carrying cellular phones to missing guest lectures. So donat students here find these restrictions to be irksome and unnecessary for a post graduate institute? Campus timings are meant to be broken say students simply. If they do get late then they try to excuse themselves on the pretext of project work and if that fails too then they try to convince authorities in any which way. aTo convince, thatas why we are doing an MBA in the first place!a quips an SCIT student. An SIIB student raises an interesting issue when he says, aStudents from the three institutes stay in the same hostel buildings. Itas only SCMHRD which calls itself as ‘The finest residential B-school’. aIt is important for SCMHRD to change the perception of it being an HR specific business school and this is an issue that we are currently wrestling with,a says a women student of the b-school.

While I was at the campus I quite enjoyed the meals of breakfast and lunch that I had in the mess frequented by SIIB students. Students at the institutes did inform me that the dinner wasnat usually quite as good and that they often had meals at the nearby McDonaldas. Further, after sunset a whole host of vendors line up outside the complex and students often enjoy snacks such as fruits and pizzas at these joints. Movie screenings are often organized in the auditorium which is shared by the institutes in the campus.

pagayguyInterestingly enough, movie shootings have also taken place at the Symbiosis Infotech Campus. Jyoti Ghegi of SIIB muses: aIt almost seems as if film producers land up here whenever they need to shoot at a university campus! ‘Summer 2007’ and ‘Halla Bol’ as well as some Marathi films have been shot over here. Sikander Kher and Nana Patekar have played cricket in the campus. We’ve even had Gul Panag requesting us to fill in as extras and some of us not being able to oblige because of an assignment submission! A change of sign boards, some touch ups and Symbiosis University becomes a Kasturba Medical Collegea she adds.

Sunday afternoon at the SIC campus saw students in large numbers participating in the events of a cultural fest organised by SIIB. There had been enthusiastic participation in sketching and painting competitions as well as other informal events. The campus was buzzing with activity when I left in one of the city bound buses that regularly ply from the SIC campus.

So, the PaGaLGuY.com B-school Backpacker has made his third stop! (His first two stops were GIM, Goa and SJMSoM, IIT Bombay.) If you wish to invite him to your campus please feel free to shoot a mail to editor pagalguy com.