I woke up one Saturday morning unusually early with a phone call from Mumbai. A voice from the other end told me: “You have been selected to the Operations batch of Class 2015–17. Welcome to SPJIMR!”
As much as I couldn’t believe this was happening, I knew it was probably one of the best mornings I ever had. The next few days were spent at home talking to senior students and joining WhatsApp conversations in the converts’ groups.
As I started reading blogs on how hectic MBA life could be, I received study material and notes for an exam that was supposed to happen on the very first day of joining. I landed in Mumbai one day before the date of joining and was excited to find out that the college lies in the heart of the city in Andheri West.
One of the best things about SPJIMR is the size and diversity of the batch. The batch has 228 participants falling into four different specializations: Marketing, Operations, Finance, and Information Management.
The selection of the candidates is not based on the entrance test score alone but also on the overall profile. What this essentially means is that there is a good mix of fresh as well as experienced candidates (0 to 5 years) from various backgrounds. I have always felt that each and every student is as smart as the other one. The collective experience of the batch enriches the classroom discussions.
This is how a typical day goes at SPJIMR. I crawl out of bed at 8 in the morning and then it’s a rush to enter the first class that starts in about 30 minutes. A quick bite and a tea for breakfast (sometimes have to skip that) and I’ll be off to classes. Quizzes and class presentations have become a routine. Coffee in Bistro comes as a big relief while attending long lectures at a stretch. You’ll be loaded with assignments to be submitted by end of the day and so it’s time to sit with academic groups. The campus strictly prohibits non-vegetarian food. Being a hardcore non-vegetarian, I go out for dinner once in a while (lots of options nearby). As soon as I come back in room, I find time to watch a TV series, play an occasional game of badminton with friends or read a book. However, I’ll be slogging throughout the night with pre-reads for the next day’s classes until I go out for the daily night strolls with buddies along the lakeside and the temple on the campus.
Let me now talk about academics a bit. Although I was selected for Operations, I learned topics across all functions in the first year. The highly qualified and experienced faculty are very approachable and ready to help you out any time. They encourage students to contribute to the discussions with their experiences in various industries and functions. When I admit the fact that the peer learning has been great, it also means the academic environment is highly competitive.
SPJIMR follows a case-based approach for learning. Solving real life business situations puts you in the shoes of a manager and makes you think and apply what you learned.
SPJIMR offers learning through non-academic courses as well. The first year started with a PG lab where we spent three eventful days in Lonavala. It wasn’t just fun but also an opportunity to understand others and discover one’s own personality in depth. The one year-long Abhyudaya programme requires you to mentor a kid from the slums of Mumbai. My mentee was a bright kid and not only did I mentor her, there was a lot to learn from her as well. At the end of the first year, the five-week long rural internship (we call it DOCC) started. I worked with my friends for an NGO in rural Karnataka to help set up business for self-help groups of women. I value this experience the most among all the first year subjects as it was the first hands-on experience in management and strategy. In fact, courses like these make SPJIMR even more different from other top b-schools.
The second year started with learning the core specializations in depth (in my case, operations). I must admit that I did enjoy the subjects a lot with the live projects adding immense value to the learning. SPJIMR offered an option to take up a minor subject (out of six) since last year. I took Marketing as my minor.
Now let’s get to the interesting part: the Global Fast Track programme. The entire batch went to four different top universities in USA for a period of three weeks to complete customized courses in our respective specializations. I consider myself lucky to have spent some quality time at the Michigan State University with the awesome faculty and weather there. We had industry visits and live projects with top companies during our stay there. And of course, I did travel a lot on the weekends too!
It’s not all academics and learning that comes to my mind when I talk about SPJIMR. Each and every student is part of a committee where we work with our team to accomplish a set of objectives. We have ‘OJAS’ and ‘SPRINT’, our own cultural and sports fests respectively.
SBAC business conclaves also happen around the same time. These events are completely run by the students and offer a wonderful live managerial experience. In my batch, you can find countless exceptionally talented people: a national level swimmer, state level badminton players, a national level violinist, and young entrepreneurs, among others.
As for placements, I have a different story altogether to tell. Unlike in other colleges where they have ‘summers’ (internships), we have ‘autumns’. This happened soon after coming back from our Global Fast Track programme, which essentially means that the students were well poised to do projects more effectively and thereby add value.
In fact, I am writing this article after a hectic day of internship at my office while still wondering what’s in store for the next 4-5 months. Some of us would be leaving for the international exchange programme, some of us not. With the last semester and final placements round the corner, I believe that joining SPJIMR is one of the best decisions I have taken.
Education : B.Tech. in Electrical & Electronics Engineering from College of Engineering, Trivandrum.
Work Experience : Validation Engineer (30 months), BOSCH India.
Hobbies : Singing, reading & travelling.