[PaGaLGuY Interview] All about MBA at BITS Pilani

Prof Anil Bhat, Group Leader of the Management Group at Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani, in an interview with PaGaLGuY.com sheds light on the institute’s MBA programme and selection process. While refusing to contrast the …

Prof Anil Bhat, Group Leader of the Management Group at Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani, in an interview with PaGaLGuY.com sheds light on the institute's MBA programme and selection process. While refusing to contrast the BITS MBA with the IIT MBA programs, he claims that the institutes alumni base and flexibility offered by the MBA programme set it apart from other MBA courses.

Why did BITS Pilani start an MBA programme?

We have had an MBA programme in place since 1970.
After an overall restructuring of BITS educational system was carried
out, the MBA programme was changed to be an MMS (Master of Management
Studies) programme. Discussions took place in 2006 and we decided to
revert to the MBA programme. It was also determined that the
eligibility criteria for admission to this programme would be an
integrated first degree of BITS or BE/ BTech from other recognised
universities rather than simply completion of 10+2 education as was the
case with the MMS programme.

How does the MBA programme at BITS Pilani stand in comparison to the MBA programmes offered at the Indian Institutes Technology (IIT) schools of management?

We cannot really compare in this manner since the MBA programme
at BITS Pilani is a very unique programme with the following features.
There is a feature of practice school of five and half months in which
students intern at companies and faculty from the institute regularly
visits the company to evaluate the students work. We place emphasis on
leadership and problem solving in a course called Business and
Society. There are lots of case studies from Harvard Business School
and IIM Ahmedabad which are included in the MBA course. BITS also has
an alumni base of over 30,000 persons and every week alumni visit the
institute and share their industry experiences. Alumni also mentor
students through video conferences. We also stress a lot on soft
skills such as negotiation which are essential in business. The
programme here also has a lot of flexibility incorporated in it which
allows students to attend courses across disciplines. An example would
be that of a pharmacy student in the BE programme attending a course
such as risk management in the MBA programme. At times, such students
also give the regular MBA students a run for their money! Most courses
do not require students to have attended related or preliminary courses
prior to a course. Every year, the management department also delivers
a lecture on the principles of management which is attended by students
of all programmes under the institute and also by BE students who have
finished their second year in college.

Please provide a brief overview of the procedure for admission to the MBA programme at BITS, Pilani.

The procedure that has been followed so far has had eligible candidates appearing in an online test consisting of engineering and management aptitude modules. Shortlisted candidates are subsequently called for group discussion and personal interview to BITS Pilani for the final stage of the selection process.

What is the total cost of the programme?

At present the cost in terms of fees etc. is approximately Rs 60,000 per annum.

Could you provide details of the online test which is held to screen applicants? How many students appeared for this test last year? What were the test cutoffs to get a call for group discussion and personal interview?

The online test has two test modules. The first test has questions related to engineering and the second is a management aptitude test. The former has the same questions as the test for admission to the ME course offered at the institute. At the time of application, students also specify their preferences for courses offered at BITS, Pilani. The institutes official website also briefly describes the details of these tests. Approximately 1,000 students write the entrance examination conducted by the institute. The policy followed by the institute does not allow me to publicly disclose the test cut-offs since these vary from year to year.

What are the eligibility criteria for admission for this course?

Students which have an integrated first degree from BITS or have completed BE/BTech from other recognised universities are eligible to apply for this course.

How many seats are available in the MBA programme and what is the ratio of calls given to seats available?

It would be difficult to provide exact figures as a number of students who apply to this programme also apply to other higher degree programmes. The institute has been steadily increasing the intake for the MBA programme. The first batch in 2006 had 15 students. The intake for batches since then has been 20 and 32 and we plan to increase the batch size to 60. The ratio of calls given to seats available is variable and a broad range of this ratio is 5:1 to 10:1. Simply speaking, if 1,000 students write the entrance examination and the MBA programme has 30 seats then 250 to 300 students may be called to BITS, Pilani for group discussion and personal interview.

Please provide an overview of placements of graduates from this programme?

The first batch of students that graduated from this programme has secured jobs in MNCs across a wide range of job profiles. Deloitte recruited two students for the post of senior financial analyst. JP Morgan and Frost & Sullivan also recruited a student each for posts of Team Leader and Reasearch Analyst respectively. Other companies which recruited from BITS, Pilani were Perot Systems, Citizen Group, Infosys and Kinapse consulting. The average pay package of graduates from this programme was Rs six lakh per annum.

Why did BITS Pilani decide to offer a specialization in IT and engineering technology? Do these specializations prevent students from moving across sectors, if they wish to do so after having worked for some years?

BITS Pilani is known for its strong engineering and technology programs. It was natural to leverage this core competency for the MBA Programme. The goal of this MBA programme thus is to create managers and leaders for an increasingly technology driven workplace. Presently two streams of electives viz. Engineering and Technology Management and ITES management are being offered. We offer many finance related electives like financial engineering, risk and insurance management, strategic financial management etc as well as marketing related electives like retail management systems, e-business, internet marketing and market research. Thus we have not taken anything away from the functional areas of study but added electives that would give our students a footing in an increasingly technologically complex work place.

IISc has recently announced the closure of its MBA programme. What are your thoughts on the future prospects and indeed sustainability of non-management institutions that run MBA programmes?

We feel a business programme amidst an engineering and technology university has many advantages in terms of faculty, interdisciplinary research, infrastructure, student activities, guest speakers, events, student interaction etc. The business schools at Sloan, Stanford, Wharton, Hass etc are examples of highly successful institutions that run MBA programmes along with many other courses.

How is the hostel accommodation for MBA students at BITS, Pilani? What would be the approximate living expenses?

Hostels have single room accommodation, are connected to the messes and have internet connectivity. The living expenses though would depend on many subjective factors and would usually be in the range of Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 per month.

What is life outside of academics like at BITS,Pilani?

BITS Pilani is known to provide an environment which helps to develop a well rounded personality. A cavalcade of student managed events, a large number of clubs, a state of the art students activity centre and other features of campus life make people cherish their time at BITS, Pilani. The BITSAA (BITS Alumni Association) is a very active association and there are many activities which are in progress all over the world. There is also a Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) on campus that promotes entrepreneurship development through its various activities.

The MBA programme of BITS looks more like MBA-M.Tech joint venture

To take in only engineers is one thing but to take an Engineering written test is another. It makes the prog. nothing but a farce in the aspect that you come to believe that it essentially provides a technical MBA.

IITs who also allow only Engineers do not have any such procedure and that is right coz what exactly is the meaning of an Engineering test for the MBA programme... And I would really like to know on what basis do they justify this written test ???

Federer Says
IITs who also allow only Engineers

IITs allow anyone with 16 yrs of formal education.. that means apart from engineers all the MA's, M.Com's, MCA's etc. are also eligible..

Hi dear Federer....
I will like to make u clear that BITS is here to provide MBA to only engineers (as mentioned in the eligibility criteria), so the engineering test is only to make sure that u had done your engineering well sincerely. So it does makes a sense.

Hey hi....
I want to know that BITS,PILANI accepts score of which MA exams other than CAT ?
Any idea abt XISS , does it accepts MAT/ATMA other than XAT ?

BITS cunducts its own entrance exam. No other score exam is accepted......