A huge neon-sign displaying ‘Symbiosis International University and Symbiosis Institute of Management’ in English, Hindi and Kannada informs you that the Symbiosis Institute of Business Management-Bangalore or SIBM-B is the center of Symbiosis International University’s campus in Bangalore apart from being another institute from the Symbiosis group. Situated in the Electronic City of Bangalore at Hosur Road which is a hotbed of IT companies in the city, it is the first offshore-campus of the Symbiosis International University and hosts SIBM-B and Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication-Bangalore (SIMC-B). Bring up SIBM Pune to anyone from SIBM-B and they will be quick to assert that the name is all that they share in common with its 31-year old namesake.
The campus itself is compact. It has two entrances, one of which opens directly into the students’ residential area and the other, which leads to the reception and is the main entrance. There are three buildings; two nine-storey buildings that house the girls’ and boys’ hostels and a seven-story tall academic block. On the ground floor of the academic block are present a recreational center, which is a TV room for the students to relax, a well equipped gymnasium and a cafeteria. A small amphitheater is also under construction at the far end of the cafeteria. A flight of stairs from the cafeteria will lead you to the classrooms which are spacious with large-sized windows overlooking the electronic city. The windows, when opened, render a pleasant air to the rooms. No wonder the classes do not have air-conditioning.
The campus follows a dress code of formal wear on weekdays and a uniform on Saturdays (when, by the way, most guest lectures take place). The formal dress code is, however, strictly followed only by the junior batch while most seniors can be seen attending classes in t-shirts, although this is where the informality ends. The classes start as early as 8:30 in the morning and stretch to around 5 to 6 pm in the evening and sometimes extend to as far as 9 pm. As student and College President Rohit Garg says, “The Academic block is my home. I come here at 8 in the morning and only leave late at night.”
SIBM-B takes the ‘no-ragging’ rule to newer levels altogether. The number of notices announcing that it is an ‘anti-ragging campus’ and containing phone numbers of the wardens of the girls’ and the boys’ hostel whom one can complain to in case of an incident leave no ambiguity that it is almost a sin to rag in there. There is also a large poster categorizing the ‘actions’ that fall under ragging put up in the girls hostel indicating again the low-levels of tolerance the authorities had towards the act. The floors in the hostel are divided into senior and junior floors and during the first few weeks of the start of the session the seniors are not even allowed to enter the floors meant for the juniors. The girls’ hostel at SIBM-B incidentally, was also the quietest girls’ hostel I had ever been to. I was told by one of the inmates that because the students spent most of their day at the academic block and came back only after midnight (12:30 am is the in-time of the hostels), the hostels were generally not a place of a lot of activity.
As the college is in its early years (the first batch will graduate in 2010), informal clubs and committees are still being added to the institute setup and many new ones are coming up each day. The literary club that has been recently formed aims to spread the habit of reading and writing amongst students. The club’s main aim is to dissect the writing styles of various writers and understand both the superficial and in-depth meaning of their works. It also aims to improve the writing skills of its members and has adopted blogging, the latest and the most popular way of writing today. Each member has been asked to maintain a blog on which they can write anything that catches their fancy. These new bloggers will get help from the existing bloggers for improving their penmanship. The literary club looks quite determined to develop a writer in all MBA students at SIBM-B.
At SIBM-B, the committee level interaction between the students and the faculty is different from other b-schools and all the communication is channelized through the College President. There are eleven committees, heads of whom interact on a weekly basis with the President who then reports to the faculty. Committees like the placement committee are strictly supervised to avoid any undue advantage the students might derive out of their positions.
The cafeteria, ironically, is where the students gather for work. Towards the later half of the day one can see them sitting in small groups in the tables scattered around, discussing their projects, assignments or club activities amidst incessant chatter and food. If not the cafeteria then the next best place to find them working at is the ‘placement room’, situated on the fifth floor of the academic block. The ‘placement room’ as the name suggests, is a room for the placement cell to work in. It’s well equipped with all the facilities and is open 24 hours a day. It was converted into an ‘always open’ room because of the demands of the College President and also a part of the placement cell who insisted that they needed full freedom to work. The room is now the hub of all activities at the institute.
As for chilling out after a hard day’s work, the students head out to Koramangla, one of Bangalore’s more jazzed-up hubs to eat out at a restaurant, catch a movie or shop. It is the nearest enjoyment center that the students can go to relax without burning a hole in their pockets with the auto bills (the auto rates are quite high in Bangalore and thus the bus is the most preferred means of transport). The Forum shopping mall at Koramangla is the most haunted spot by the students and most of them agree that this is a good place to catch SIBM-B students away from work and academic life.
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