MBA curriculum must reflect sensitivity, sustainability and global outlook: Dr Ranjan Banerjee, Dean, SPJIMR
Urvashi Dalal, 20 Apr 2016, #SPJIMR, Mumbai

In an interview with Careers360, Dr. Ranjan Banerjee, Dean, SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai shares his thoughts regarding the emphasis on social and value based growth in the MBA education in India.

According to Dr. Banerjee, the management education market is evolving to a more healthy mix of entry level MBAs and MBAs after different levels of work experience, which is a global trend. Sharing the details about SPJIMR selection process, he says, “Our recruitment process is team-based interviews where we also look at the way students interact and assimilate learning from peers during the process.”


Read interview excerpts:


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Careers360: How do you foresee the MBA education in India and its scenario in the coming 1-3 years?

Dr Ranjan Banerjee: I foresee that management education at the top institutes will continue to be very valuable. Institutes like ours and the top IIMs will not have an issue. At the lower end of the market, there may be issues of oversupply and salary expectations not being met.


In terms of the scenario in the next 1-3 years, you will see a lot of upgradations of the curricula to reflect market movements in areas like analytics and e-commerce. You will also see a need for graduates who understand both urban India and rural India, and institutes which innovate in terms of different projects and internships, and stronger industry integration.


We will see a stronger emphasis on sustainability, social sensitivity, and value-based growth, and this should reflect in curricula. You should also see the top schools do more to give a global outlook to their students, and this will manifest in our students doing some coursework in top international schools, as well as students from international schools doing projects in India with our students.


Careers360: What is your take on the application trend at CAT and other entrance exams over the years?  

Dr Ranjan Banerjee:  We see a lot of introduction of one-year courses which typically look at people with 5 years plus experience. Here many institutes are open to GMAT scores, and hence, the market is growing, but CAT applications do not fully reflect the growth. Many institutes have their own entrance exams and it is worthwhile to look at growth there.


It is also true that more companies are open to recruiting undergraduates in some areas, and the willingness to look beyond tried and tested options is greater. I think this is healthy.


In sum, I think the management education market is evolving to a more healthy mix of entry level MBAs and MBAs after different levels of work experience. This mirrors the trend globally. 


Top B-schools are seeing application growth. The flattening out is at the middle and lower ends of the market. At SPJIMR, we have consistently been growing in applications for the past few years.


Careers360: What is the total intake in the flagship PG programme in Management in your institute?

Dr Ranjan Banerjee:  Total fee for 2 years is Rs 14.5 for Class of 2017. There was no change last year. We have yet to decide for next year. 240 Indian students and 36 International students is the approved intake. 


Careers360: How has been the placements at your institute for 2015 batch?

Dr Ranjan Banerjee:  There were 78 companies on the placement process. The average salary increased to Rs. 18.2 lakh, a substantial increase over the last year. 23% of the batch was placed in E-Commerce companies and 17% from consulting companies. 48% of the Class of 2015 received Pre-Placement Offers and Pre-Placement Interviews through their Autumn Internships at top corporate houses, some of which included Amazon, Asian Paints, Axis Bank, Colgate-Palmolive, Dell, Flipkart, GE, GSK CH, HSBC, HUL, Mondelez, L’Oreal, Mahindra & Mahindra, Marico, Microsoft, P&G, TAS, among others.


Careers360: What will be your selection criteria for MBA/PGDM programme for academic session 2016? Has there been any change in the process for the current session?

Dr Ranjan Banerjee:  There will be no major change from last year. We have been able to get gender diversity without any emphasis or special treatment. We have over 35% female students.

Essentially, we place a lot of stress on values and attitude in our recruitment and actual curriculum. Our recruitment process is team-based interviews where we also look at the way you interact and assimilate learning from peers during the interview process. We are also very open to accommodate students with exceptional extra curricular achievements. We find that this openness in the selection process helps us create one of the most diverse student profiles among the top institutes.


Careers360: What is the USP of your flagship management programme which differentiates it from the others? 

Dr Ranjan Banerjee:  A) We hire for attitude and values.


B) We have a unique mix of globally recognized and awarded non-classroom initiatives which provide rich, reflective real life experiences for students. In addition to a corporate internship, our students do internships in rural NGOs for five weeks. This gives them a flavour of Bharat and problem solving in unstructured situations. Each student mentors a talented child from an urban slum through the whole of the first year under a program called Abhyudaya. They learn to see the world through somebody else's eyes and soft skills which prove very valuable later on.


C) We use a blend of interactive learning tools which include a multitude of simulations, case studies and industry projects embedded within courses. The idea is to shift the emphasis from one way teaching to two way learning. Our faculty goes out of the way to be approachable to students.


D) Our curriculum is continuously revised in collaboration with industry, and industry leaders play active roles in our area advisory councils.


E) All our students do a month of advanced specialization courses in top international universities like Cornell, CMU, Purdue, Darden etc.


F) We are introducing elements of design thinking and the growth mindset as key differentiators of our curriculum.


Careers360: Do you think the publications in peer-reviewed journals, as indexed in international databases, have a western bias? What should be done to increase the no. of publications in the management domain?

Dr Ranjan Banerjee:  Yes, there is a western bias, but it is reducing. To increase publications, we need to a) train our faculty in the latest methodologies b) look at the problems of India and find interesting research questions which are relevant to India. Be open to collaborating with foreign researchers on projects which impact management in India. c) Start our own, world-class research journals. d) Move beyond research incentives to the creation of a research culture.


Careers360: Any message to B-School aspirants?

Dr Ranjan Banerjee: a) Have the courage to chase your passions. Do not just go by projected salaries.

b) Consider entrepreneurship post MBA as a serious option. We need more job creators.

c) Look carefully at the B-school's values and process. Ask yourself, does your personal value match with the school's values, and take action on the basis of your answer.

d) Since B-schools are often linked to the corporates in their catchment, location is an important factor in school selection.

Also Read:


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