SPJIMR PGP(SM)-MIT Joint - Director Interview

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Prof. Sunil Rai, Joint-Director of Mumbai based SPJIMR talks about the benefits the PGP(SM)-MIT students accrue from their association with Virginia Tech. In an interview with PaGaLGuY.com he explains in detail about the admission process, course ...
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Prof. Sunil Rai, Joint-Director of Mumbai based SPJIMR talks about the benefits the PGP(SM)-MIT students accrue from their association with Virginia Tech. In an interview with PaGaLGuY.com he explains in detail about the admission process, course structure and placements of the PGP(SM)-MIT program.

How is PGDSM-MIT different from SP Jains flagship PGDM program?

PGP(SM)-MIT is a unique collaborative program offered by S.P.Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai in association with Virginia Tech's Pamplin College of Business, USA. This is a residential program of a duration of 2 years. The participants pursuing this program obtain a PGP(SM) from SPJIMR, one of the premier business schools of the country and an MIT from Virginia Polytechnic State University.

SPJIMR has an enviable track record of recognizing needs of the industry and designing high quality programs that address these needs. Today, organizations need to gain a cutting edge to establish themselves in a closely competitive scenario. A superior understanding of technology and systems which drive and support the business processes would carve the niche much sought after. Creating globally focussed managers who not only understand & appreciate how IT and Systems can help businesses but also have the knowledge to take critical decisions based on them is what differentiates PGP(SM) - MIT.

Is there a possible case of an applicant for whom studying PGDSM-MIT is a better idea than the PGDM? If yes, could you illustrate one?

At SPJIMR, we offer various programs and it is upto the student to decide which one caters to his/her requirements. We can enlist the advantages of the program specific to this interview i.e. PGP(SM)-MIT.

PGP(SM)-MIT provides a blend of functional and general management inputs with a specialized focus on Domain Specific Learning to develop an insight into various business practices.

The program offers specific advantages to freshers, working professionals alike.

The unique focus of this program enables working professionals in various business domains (other than IT, say Manufacturing, Telecommunications) to change their career track by bridging the gap required to pursue management roles in IT enabled firms.

It thus provides the correct exposure to a fresher (with a graduation in Non-IT discipline) without pre-requisite IT work-experience to explore extensively various domains (owing to active peer-learning). It thus helps the participant gain a holistic view of the business processes supplemented with an in-depth knowledge of systems and thus, renders him flexible to choose his/her own career path.

Students with past relevant IT work-experience would benefit by gaining an overview in general management concepts and relate to their respective former companies. The option to choose to be part of more than one domain group enhances their view spanning across all the verticals and thus creates an organizational perspective. This helps them leverage their past experience by linking them to the functional inputs acquired.

Besides the degree, what other benefits do students accrue from your association with Virginia Tech? How many professors visit SP Jain from Virginia Tech in the two years of PGDSM-MIT?

PGP(SM)-MIT provides its participants with a perfect global footing. The participants pursuing this program automatically qualify to become alumni of both SPJIMR and Virginia Tech, both of which have very strong alumni bases.

A total of ten professors travel to India to take up the MIT courses over a span of two terms.

More importantly, the professors who personally interact with the students are eminent personalities with membership in international forums (IEEE)as well as editorial /review boards of world-renowned journals €“ Strategic Management Journal, Organizational Science, Academy of Management Executive and the Annual Academy of Management World Wide Web, ACM Transactions of Modelling and Simulation to name a few.

The professors are heavily engaged in several consulting, research and professional development programs with the most influential organizations, businesses and the government alike. It makes a marked difference learning subjects like business Intelligence and IT Strategy from the thought-leaders in the filed.

The unique pedagogic style adopted by the faculty of SPJIMR along with the extensive knowledge and world class research experience brought in by the faculty of Pamplin College of Business and Virginia Tech makes the PGP(SM)-MIT curriculum one of the best amalgamations of Eastern and Western pedagogies.

Needless to say a degree from this university hones the very outlook of the student other than the numerous other benefits such as easier international opportunities due to Virginia Techs world-wide recognition. For the academic enthusiast, there is further opportunity to pursue the second year of their MBA at the Pamplin School of business subject to excellent academic performance.
Also the students of PGP(SM)-MIT are eligible for all the privileges that any student of the Virginia Polytechnic State University has access to. One of them being the option participate in Job fairs along with the MIT students of the Virginia Tech.

Please explain the admissions process of PGDSM-MIT in brief.

The notification for admissions has been put up on the web-site and the candidates can apply online. Short-listing for further rounds is done based on the candidates profile. The short-listed candidates go through two rounds of Group Interviews (GI). Post the interviews a final merit list of all the selected candidates would be released.

What were the cut-offs for CAT/XAT scores for getting short-listed to the interview stage in the last two years?

As such there are no cut-offs for CAT/XAT/GMAT test scores for getting short-listed for the interview stage. The selection is profile based.
What do you specifically look for in candidates who appear for your interview?

Amongst a lot of other factors, we prefer candidates with the following qualities (not in any particular order):
1) Potential to be developed into world class managers who appreciate how Systems can drive Businesses
2) Clarity about their future goals and how this Program will help them achieve those goals
3) Right attitude & aptitude to perform well in this program and in the industry after passing out from SPJIMR.

What are the three top mistakes rejects in the first round of interview make?

We consider the interview a selection process and not a rejection process. An interview is to judge the applicant the way he or she is inherently and thus, we do believe that there is any mistake as such. The judgement is based on relative performance of the candidate.

Why are the PGDSM-MIT admissions scheduled so late in the admission season? How does it affect the quality of applicants for the course, given that the best talent has already secured admission in top B-schools?

There is a serious demand-supply mismatch in the Indian education sector today. Compared to nations like US or Japan, India has very less universities considering its population base. This is typically true of good B-schools too. Thus we believe that the talent pool cannot be exhausted by the early thousands whom a few of the good- B-schools pick up out of the more than 2 lakh CAT aspirants. A lot of quality applicants are overlooked. Hence we are certain that there would not be any compromise in the quality of applicants due to the delay. Also, not all the business schools have completed their admission processes yet. Most students wait for multiple calls/admissions before making a decision and SPJIMR being a premier business school would definitely be an excellent opportunity to explore in spite of competitors.

Moreover, the PGP(SM)-MIT program being one of its kind, we are expecting candidates who understand and appreciate this unique program to apply. In the past too, we have had a lots of focused candidates applying to this Program. The quality of students has only been better with every batch and this year too we expect the same. A glimpse of the same can be found on the student achievements section of the website.

How is the PDGSM-MIT course structured across the two years?

The course curriculum is spread across five terms that combines the best in general management, systems management and IT solutions inputs from SPJIMR and Virginia Tech. The courses under this program cover diverse academic areas such as finance, marketing, operations, strategic management and information systems. The participants also get an experience of working in various industry sectors during their autumn project. In the final term, participants take up elective courses and are required to do a thesis presentation in their area of interest.

What is the domestic average figure for placements for the batch passing out this year?

The average domestic salary for the 2006-08 batch is INR 10.9 Lakhs per annum.

Why is PGDSM not AICTE accredited? Are there any disadvantages to potential students because of it?

At present AICTE does not have a policy on dual degree programs. Since this program is the first of its kind, it is not clear whether it falls under the scope of AICTE or not. Until that clarification takes place, one can assume that this program is not within the scope of AICTE and hence is not approved by it.

We believe that there are no disadvantages to potential students because of the same as the industry acceptance of this program has been very high. The excellent placement statistics of the batch of 2006-2008 are a testimonial to the same. The report can be found on the link mentioned previously.

Tell us a little about life on campus when studying PGDSM-MIT

A plethora of impending exams, pending assignments and a flurry of Autumn placements did not discourage the students from working their way off till 7.00 a.m on the morning of August 15, 2008 for the independence day celebrations! This is the spirit of the SPJIMR students wherein even twenty fours are not sufficient to live through a typical day at SPJIMR; that the day ends slightly before dawn is another case! The pre-reads, classroom discussions, surprise quizzes, group discussions, case studies, impending deadlines, night outs, projects do not deter them from taking active initiative in committee work, on-campus clubs, cultural festivals, Dandiya night, Republic day and numerous other activities. We have very interactive curriculum where students travel to Lonavala for Personality Growth Lab, AnandWan to understand the self sustaining cottage industry for the under-privileged and finally are exposed to Gita Shibir for spiritual and thus, holistic development.

Be it the next CEO guest lecture or a workshop by the industry stalwarts; a panel discussion by eminent personalities or the Nimitt- the annual business festival; Holi celebrations or Sonu Nigam on Campus the students are all set ready to get going any minute of the day. It is indeed more than a jampacked two years but what makes it worthwhile is the peer interaction, group learning and team sprit all-pervasive in the AdMap committee work or Academic groups. We have encouraged our students to explore every avenue like never before in these two years such that they pass out as polished, energized and mature individuals!

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