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Saravanan R – Life at S P Jain Institute

10 January 2009 31 Comments

Hello All,

Today we have a fantastic interview about life @ SP Jain by Saravanan R. It is a must read for SP Jain aspirants.

Coffee With Saravanan R – Life at S P Jain

Brief introduction

I am Saravanan R. I graduated from NITT in the year 2004 in Electrical & Electronics Engineering. Then I joined Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) and worked as an application developer cum module lead in the insurance domain for 35 months (based out of Hyderabad). I left CSC in June 2007 and joined SPJIMR, Mumbai for my two year PGDM course. I did my Autumns Internship at Microsoft, from September’08 to October’08.

Before proceeding to answer any of the questions, I would like to add a disclaimer: All the below views are my personal opinions based on my various interactions, experiences & observations and there is nothing official about it. In case the candidates want more clear information, call up the admission committee or follow the official admission thread in PagalGuy.

Entry Criteria:
– What are the entry criteria? What are the exams which one should take? What are the typical scores?

Exams to take: CAT/XAT/GMAT

The candidates are required to fill an online application form (there is no hard copy application process), which is a bit elaborate when compared to most of the other B-School forms. Interestingly, the candidates have to opt for their area of specialization (Finance, Information Management, Marketing & Operations) at the time of filling in the form itself – this is because SPJIMR insists on only those candidates who have clarity about what they want.

The entry criterion is based on a combination of the following parameters: Exam score, Academic record, Extra Curricular activities, and Work experience (all these details are captured in the online application form). The candidates will be rated on each of these parameters and are supposed to be excellent in at least two and not below average in any of them.

Typical Scores: depend on the specialization one is opting for. The usual trend is:

Specialization Opted for

Work Experience

Typical Exam Scores (CAT / XAT)

Finance & Marketing


>97-98 percentile

Finance & Marketing

Relevant Work Experience

>94-96 percentile

Information Management & Operations

Relevant Work Experience (>30 months)

>93-95 percentile

Information Management & Operations

Relevant Work Experience (>20, but <30 months)

>94-96 percentile

Freshers or people with less than 20 months experience are not that much preferred for Information Management or Operations Management. However as the website says, if your profile & achievements are really good, any percentile >85 will get you an admission into SPJIMR – what I have given above are just indicative figures based on my observations.

– What is the selection process? (GD-PI or essays etc)

Based on the above entry criteria, the candidates will be shortlisted for Group Interviews (GIs). The shortlisted candidates need to fill an elaborate form which includes questions on real life experiences (situational types) & work experience. After this, there will be two rounds of GIs followed by a 1 hour descriptive (essay type) psychometric test. The first round of GI is an elimination round and only those who get shortlisted for the second round need to give the psychometric test.

Group Interview is a process unique to SPJIMR – about 6 candidates will be interviewed simultaneously by 2/3 panelists at a time. The panel usually consists of professors, alumni & a first year student representative. There might be a GD or a group activity as part of the GI on a case to case basis. The final selection list will be released approximately one month after the last GI process.

In a nutshell, the participants of the PGDM program go through a very rigorous admission process and come from the best academic institutions and leading corporate houses. The attention to quality that the college emphasizes is seen in the success rate in the admission process – only 1 in 150 applicants gets in. This programme, now in its 27th year, has a number of successful alumni in senior positions across the industry.

– What is importance given to workex? What is the average work ex at the university?

Relevant work experience is of utmost importance for the Information Management & the Operations Management specializations. Average work-ex in these two specializations is about 33 months. However, there are a small percentage of participants in these two specializations with less than 24 months work experience owing to their excellent profiles.

There is no work experience criterion for Marketing and Finance. There is a very good mix of fresher and people with work experience ranging from 10 months to 40 months in these two specializations. The average work experience in these two specializations is about 12 months, but that is no indication of the batch mix as the actual range is pretty wide.

– What is the fee for the course? Are there chances of getting an aid or scholarship?

Fee: Rs.2,85,000 per year, inclusive of hostel & maintenance fees. However this doesn’t include food bill. This might increase this year, given the past trend.

SPJIMR has a tie up with the SBI branch in Andheri (W), Mumbai – this enables the students to get their educational loan at an interest rate lesser than the prevailing market rates (around 2% lesser).

The institute as such doesn’t provide any aid or scholarship, but the top 20 students in the batch are eligible to apply for OPJEMS scholarship, which will be finally awarded to one student.

Typical Ranking range of the university (just ranking is not a good idea… it doesn’t convey much)

SPJIMR has been consistently ranked amongst the top 10 B-Schools in India, , the range being from Rank #4 to Rank #8. SPJIMR has been rated as the 6th best B-School in India in the recently released CNBC – MBA Universe rankings. (http://www.mbauniverse.com/innerPage.php?id=ne&pageId=1581)

Life @ Campus:
– What is the system there? Is it semester or trimester? specialized MBA or general MBA with electives?

It is a trimester system – 6 trimesters spread over 2 years. After the first three trimesters, the participants carry out a Social Summer Project for 1.5 months with NGOs or as part of corporate CSR initiatives, when the other B-School students carry out their summers. After Trimester 4, the participants carry out their Autumns Corporate Internship for a period of 8 weeks (September-October).

It is a general MBA course in the first year covering all the basic concepts of management thereby developing strong fundamentals in Finance, IT, Marketing & Operations, whilst in the second year, participants move on to their areas of specializations, with a wide range of electives to choose from other specializations of interest as well. SPJIMR’s course structure of specialization in the Marketing, Finance, Operations or Information Management in the second year attunes participants to the needs of business functions, their skills being constantly enhanced by exposure to research and field experiences.

How does one choose electives?

There are about 7 common electives and about 6 specialization specific electives in the second year, in addition to the core subjects. The participants will be required to rank their choices of electives (with some buffer, meaning ranking 10 electives when one needs seven) and the allocation of electives will be based on either or all of the following criteria depending upon the demand and the course rigor:

  • First year GPA
  • Grades in specific subjects
  • FCFS (First Come First Serve)

Most of the courses in the second year are handled by top notch industry people, coordinated by an internal faculty. As a result, demand for some of the courses sky rockets, based on the faculty.

– What is work load there in terms of acads? What are the other activities a student can take part in?

SPJIMR is an institute known for its academic rigor – the pedagogy here has the best of elements derived from Harvard, MIT Sloan, Wharton, LBS, & INSEAD. SPJIMR continuously benchmarks its course not only with the aforementioned schools, but also with IIMs A, B and C thereby ensuring a right balance.

Having said that, it is not all about academics in SPJIMR. We learn and practice management through two unique initiatives: ADMAP (Assessment and Development of Managerial & Administrative Potential.) and DOCC (Development of Corporate Citizenship). As part of ADMAP, the students get to do case studies on movies & books, attend workshops ranging from six thinking hats to earn your money to in-basket, carry out projects with Government organizations like Railways, Police, Municipal Corporation and be part of committees that carry out the day-to-day regular administration of the college – be it admissions, academics, placements, or infrastructure. ADMAP provides the participants hands on experience in administrative work and a chance to develop and strengthen their managerial potential. This unique experience prepares participants to hit the ground running as soon as they join their respective organizations.

As part of DOCC, the participants carry out their summer social projects for two months. The institute encourages the participants to carry out the same in rural areas in alliance with reputed NGOs or as part of corporate CSR initiatives, thereby sensitizing the participants to the ground realities of the not-so-publicized face of India. This also gives the participants an opportunity to work in an unstructured environment and acquire a balanced perspective on the needs and realities of Indian society. This unique experience churns out a world class management talent pool: participants who are proactive yet do not carry any ‘chip on their shoulders’.

With the exquisite advantage of being in the commercial capital of India, SPJIMR has forged a number of strong tie ups with the who’s who of Indian industry. There is constant interaction between Industry leaders and the SPJIMR community through forums like Guest Lectures, SPJIMR Supply Chain Excellence Awards, SPJIMR Marketing Impact Awards, the annual IT seminar: bhavITva and the Annual SPJIMR Leadership Summit. In addition, the institute strongly encourages the participants to participate in various B-School competitions and events – the numerous awards and accolades won by the SPJIMR teams across all the premier B School events stand testimony to this fact.

– Is internship a part of curriculum? Is it a must? What are the chances of getting an internship?

Yes, internship is part of the curriculum and it is mandatory. SPJIMR promotes a unique Autumns internship concept whereby the participants carry out their corporate projects in the months of September-October, as against the usual summers. This is highly beneficial given the fact that the students would have completed one Trimester in their areas of specialization and thus would be able to contribute to the organization in a much better way, than it would have been in the case of summers.

The chances of getting internship are 100%. The Autumns Internship Placement process for the class of 2009 was held on August 27th and 28th, 2008 and 299 offers were made to a batch of 164 participants. The two days of the autumns process witnessed all the big names from the industry like HUL, P&G, Marico, Motorola, Colgate Palmolive, Godrej, Asian Paints, Miebach Consulting, TAS, E&Y, Deloitte, GSK, Citibank, Barclays Bank, Axis bank, Morgan Stanley, Kotak Mahindra Capital, Tata Capital, Microsoft, Cognizant, Capgemini, Intel, Cisco to name a few.

– How are the students in terms of diversity? What are the various back grounds from which people come from?

Among the premier B Schools in India, SPJIMR has the best mix of engineers and non-engineers (CAs, CFAs, Economics, Commerce, Business & Science Graduates) – the batch consists of participants from diverse educational back grounds and varying levels of work experience. Majority of the batch comes from the top 20 schools in their respective streams of undergraduate programs.

In terms of work experience, for instance, the batch, which passes out in March 2009, comprises of 164 participants with work experience with leading global companies such as Goldman Sachs, JM Morgan Stanley, Citibank, GE, McKinsey Knowledge Centre, Cisco, CSC, SAP, Microsoft, Oracle, ISRO, and Maruti Suzuki.

Exit Options:
– What are the type of job profiles and companies which visit campus?

The popular job profiles in the campus are: Strategy / Management Consulting, Investment Banking (but after the recent financial crisis, this might change 🙂), Equity Research, Corporate Finance/Banking, Sales/Marketing roles in FMCG, FMCD, Technology & IT companies, SCM related roles in Operations/Manufacturing companies, IT consulting/Business Analyst roles, General Management roles in companies like TAS, ABG

Key recruiters: McKinsey & Company, Accenture, Barclays, DSP ML, Citibank, Ernst & Young, JM Morgan Stanley, Microsoft, Intel, Cognizant, Deloitte, TSMG, CapGemini, IBM, Oracle, SAP, Motorola, Nestle, HUL, P&G, Sun Microsystems, Bharti, and TAS. A detailed list can be viewed at http://spjimr.org/pgdm/placement_rec.asp

A detailed statistics of last year’s placements (Class of 2008) can be viewed at the following link: http://spjimr.org/pgdm/placement_stats.asp

– How many people start company on an average? What are the support available for students to start their own venture if they want to?

SPJIMR recognizes the pivotal role of entrepreneurship as a driver of growth in our economy. It has set up the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development and has partnered with the Wadhwani Foundation to launch the National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN). There is a dedicated committee (EntreCom) which strives to bring out the entrepreneurial spirit in the participants by organizing various workshops & events – the highlights being Lock, Stock & Trade (a mock stock trading game bringing Dalal Street to SPJIMR) and Saakar. As part of Saakar, the winners are eligible for a seed fund of up to Rs.10 crores for starting their dream venture. There is also an elective called MNBI (Managing New Business Initiatives), aimed at sharpening the entrepreneurial skills of the participants.

In addition, SPJIMR provides an option to the participants whereby they can defer their placements for two years and in the mean time, try their hand on any entrepreneurial venture of their interest. In case they want to return to the corporate world after two years, the institute helps them with their placements.

Thanks a lot Saravanan. It was a fantastic interview. Readers, hope you enjoyed this edition of Coffee With Experts.




  • Varun said:

    Key recruiters: McKinsey & Company, Accenture, Barclays, DSP ML, Citibank, Ernst & Young, JM Morgan Stanley, Microsoft, Intel, Cognizant, Deloitte, TSMG, CapGemini, IBM, Oracle, SAP, Motorola, Nestle, HUL, P&G, Sun Microsystems, Bharti, and TAS.

    A lot of the IB in that list are mostly bust or pathetically ailing (also those other bankers).. what a sad state of the economy!

  • sandeep said:

    @above and sundar…. highly informative ,thank you.

  • Shankha Basu said:

    Good review. Encompassed all aspects. But the fun part of being at SP could have been covered. Things like GASP, Boom Shankar, Wednesday Night outs, B’day Bashes, and so much more 🙂

    Anyway, good job!!

  • Shankha Basu said:

    Nice review. Encompassed everything that needed to be covered. But the ‘fun’ aspect of SP could have been covered more. Things like GASP, Boom Shankar, Wednesday night outs, b’day bash and more!! 🙂

    Anyway…good job !!!

  • Nikhil Sharma said:

    Good Post Sundar. the Elaboration on DOCC and ADMAP is helpful.
    Could you also elaborate on the kind of Profiles IM folks get?

  • Deepak said:

    It was a very informative and interesting account about the life at SPJIMR.You have addressed almost all queries that had sprung in my mind.It would be very useful if you could touch upon the details of the hostel facilities-esp. space available in rooms-are cots and wardrobes provided?Bombay being humid and hot I hope fans would be fixed in the rooms or do the students have to bring table fans?Will single rooms be allotted once students go to the 2nd year?

  • Anubhav Dutt said:

    Hello Saravanan,

    I am a candidate for the 1yr PGPM at SPJIMR, Mumbai. Having worked for more than 5 yrs in the IT industry, I was inclined/forced to apply for Information mgmt., stream. However, now that I have recieved an interview call, I am looking at career option post the MBA and I am now a bit depressed to find out that an MBA in IT, actually doesnot open an individual for broader career choices. I thought of taking your help to find out, what all options do i have post the MBA? what job profiles are offered to candidates from the IM specialization? is it possible to change specialization once you have started with the course, for e.g. I find out that I have been really good in subjects related to Finance and I have a good grasp of it, if my grades proove this fact will the management of SPJIMR allow for a shift.

    Thanks a lot for your help.

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