NMIMS School of Business Management addresses the need of the sector-specific and at the same time domain programs. To give a general example, let’s take various specializations in the field of medicine. A general physician does not have a clear demarcation in terms of duties as compared to an ENT or a heart specialist. So there are always two factors, a general field and a specialization area with a market for both. These days we have certain specialized markets like Retail, Banking so on. We at NMIMS realized this potential and had a tie up with Bombay stock exchange 5 years before with which we provide Management in Capital markets. We already have a management program in Retail in association with Pantaloons and see that we meet the needs of sectorial program and domain program. Today 70 pc of the business is family owned or managed, and when we talk of family managed business we see that different communities like the Marwari’s or the Parsi’s have different way of conducting business. Also, there is a generation gap within the communities. So what is required is to give them the input to business but at the same time enable them to upkeep their family customs. Doing this, we must ensure that we do not compromise on the quality of NMIMS. At NMIMS we are looking at two things, corporate success and academic quality. So at NMIMS we would like to follow all corporate policies, procedures and practices and also in order to ensure that we have academic quality there are two factors that we follow namely selection procedure and faculty development. When we talk of selection process, today NMAT is a known test across the country. Last year we got around 33,000 applications for 240 seats. Of the 33,000 who appeared we short listed 2500 and finally gave calls for the top 240 for the core MBA program. This clearly shows the popularity of NMIMS in the market. We also want NMIMS to have a selection process which is transparent. We see that the NMAT test is comparable in terms of difficulty to other tests conducted by various testing agencies and we take various parameters into judging the ability of a prospective candidate. Having short listed the candidates, before calling them for the GD we have a computer based test, which is an extended portion of NMAT. This test is just to ensure the candidates ability once more after the actual NMAT.
In the near future, are you planning to move NMAT to an online based test?
Actually NMAT was an online test initially, the feedback we got from the students showed that they clearly preferred taking tests on papers than to take tests online. We also figured out that an online pattern might work in metros but in the certain other cities where NMAT was being held power failures and power fluctuations could be a serious hindrance to the test taking process. So we have shifted back to paper pencil tests and have plans to shift to an online test in future, but before we do that we must ensure that every student has access to log in to take these tests.
Could you elaborate on your selection process?
After the NMAT we have a round of group discussions and personal interviews. Talking about the GD process, we have a panel that looks into certain qualities in students and judge them based on that. Some of the key parameters we look into during a GD are the candidate’s ability to communicate clearly and efficiently, and put forth his ideas to the team in a convincing manner. Certain candidates believe that by talking non-stop during the GD process they are able to score more points, but in reality that is not true. We look for candidates who can arrive at conclusions by logic and reasoning. When it comes to Personal interviews, we look for the candidate’s scores in HSC, Pre University, graduation his work experience and how does that relate to his written exam. On the whole, we look for students who are not just academically strong, but also have good extra curricular skills like participation in sports and other organizational activities. Last year our students have won around 108 awards at many different B-Schools across many different events. During the selection process we also look at the skills a student already has like philosophical skill or talent in acting, singing and so on. Also, a candidate should have fair amount of knowledge about the environment and the happenings around him. Another very important aspect we look at is the concern for society that a candidate has. We try to look for hints which show his attitude towards society at large. At the end of it we try to see if there is consistency in his performance.
Can you tell us about your placement process?
In NMIMS placement is a 24 hour process. We try to maintain a regular relationship with corporate bodies and invite them to give lectures and insights into the requirements and positions in a corporate organization. This is one of the main focuses at NMIMS.
Besides the flagship MBA program NMIMS has entered into domain-specific management education (Retail, Capital Markets, Family Business, and Pharmacy). What is the major difference between these programs? How are they different from the full time MBA program?
Well, for someone who comes from a retail background, he is naturally more interested in retail. Similarly if someone is working in banking he is naturally more inclined to that. So our job is to provide the needed input and leave the rest to the candidate to explore and figure out.
What is the selection procedure for candidates who want to opt for the sectoral program?
Well to start with, they have to answer NMAT, and then go through our selection procedure. From next year onwards, we plan to put out advertisements in papers for sectoral programs, as we do not want a situation where a candidate who does not make it through domain program to opt for sectoral program. We are trying to ensure that when we release the advertisement, we try to put forth the point that, for sectoral program, the test would be common, but the GD-PI would be slightly different based on the stream that the candidate wishes to pursue the management course in. For instance during the selection process the candidates are required to make a presentation and we also expect a certain minimum work experience. A candidate interested in taking the Pharma stream has to give a presentation of pharmaceuticals, and also answer a test, by which we can ensure that he or she knows about that domain.
How different is the sectoral program from the core MBA program based on academic curriculum?
Now, certain core subjects are common between the sectoral program and the regular MBA program, like marketing or principals of management, these are what we call as fundamental courses. After this we move on to the sectoral program, and here we start offering courses based on the stream. If for instance the candidate opts for capital markets, then the entire second year will be based on equities, shares, securities and so on. We also have industry experts who come in to share their knowledge on these topics.
Tell us about the proposed new NMIMS campus.
Well, as per the plan, the current NMIMS campus is going to be demolished and we have a proposed an 8 storey building on a 50 acre campus. The new campus will have state of the art infrastructure and is planned to be completed in the next 2.5 years. At NMIMS we also believe in social development, and probably we are the first school in the country to launch 3 year part time MBA program
Where else are you planning to open up campuses?
Right now we are planning to open a campus in Bangalore and the work on that is in full swing. We would start in Bangalore with school of business management and we would have NMAT as the entrance test for it. We would ensure that in the new school that we start, the subjects that are taught are the same with the subjects that are taught in our existing B-School. The delivery mechanism might be different, but we do not want any student to say that a particular topic was not covered. So here we talk of compatibility, and this improves performance.