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Know all about KJSIM: An interview with Dr Raman Ramachandran (Director and Dean)

Know all about KJSIM: An interview with Dr Raman Ramachandran (Director and Dean)

Edited By Ujjwal Kirti | Updated on Jan 03, 2024 05:42 PM IST | #KJSIM

In this exclusive interview, Dr Raman Ramachandran (Director and Dean), discusses what sets KJSIM apart from other bschools, eligibility and other admission parameters, placements and more. Check the interview here.

About: K J Somaiya Institute of Management, Mumbai was established in 1981. Courses offered by KJSIM Mumbai are MBA, MBA-HCM, MBA-SM, Executive MBA, MCA and PhD in different specialisations. Admission to MBA and MBA-HCM programmes is based on CAT/ XAT/ GMAT/ NMAT/ CMAT scores followed by group discussion and personal interview.

Know all about KJSIM: An interview with Dr Raman Ramachandran (Director and Dean)
Know all about KJSIM: An interview with Dr Raman Ramachandran (Director and Dean)

Q. Describe the journey of K J Somaiya since its inception.

A: K J Somaiya is one of the old business schools in Mumbai and dates back to about 43 years. It is part of an educational ecosystem that was started by Late Padma Bhushan K. J. Somaiya who was a great entrepreneur and made his wealth in the sugar business. Karamshibhai Jethabhai Somaiya was a Gandhian to the core and was a freedom fighter. He was recognised as a great philanthropist and he believed in the principle that “Knowledge alone liberates”. The wealth that Karamshibhai Jethabhai Somaiya created, he invested into creating educational institutions. The first educational institution he set up was a school in rural Maharashtra 82 years ago.

Q. What key features set K J Somaiya apart from a regular BSchool?

A: One of the key features that sets K J Somaiya apart is that it has a long legacy and over 15,000 alumni. Many of them are in key positions in Indian companies and globally. For a business school, alumni connect is very important. The second key feature is the location, as K J Somaiya is located in Mumbai which is the commercial capital with very vibrant industries.

K J Somaiya is spread over an area of 60 acres and has a College of Engineering, School of Design, Institute of Drama Studies and College of Arts and Commerce. Over the last 12 to 18 months, we have started focusing on the concept called ‘Day 1 Ready’, where we want the graduates to be ready for a transformational journey from day one of joining.

Q. What are the various MBA programmes offered at KJSIM? Please elaborate on the specialisations.

A: K J Somaiya currently offers three programmes. The Core MBA programme has the maximum number of seats - about 600. We have two additional programmes which are sector-specific which are MBA Sports Management and MBA Healthcare Management.

In the second year of the core MBA, students will specialise in a major subject - Data Science, Finance, HR, Marketing and Operations Management. In addition to that, students will also have an opportunity to take a minor. This is a subject that would complement your major and give you skills that enhance your ability to work in your major area. The minor could be Business Analytics, Data Science, Finance, Marketing, Strategy and Consulting, People Development, Operations and Business Economics.

Q. What is the eligibility criteria for admissions to the various MBA programmes?

A: For the MBA Core and the MBA Healthcare Management, the eligibility criteria is 50% aggregate in graduation from a recognised university. The qualifying scores of CAT/ XAT/ GMAT (valid from January 1, 2021 to January 18, 2024 )/ NMAT (only 1st attempt of NMAT will be considered) or CMAT are considered. However, for MBA Sports Management a minimum 50% aggregate in graduation from a recognised university along with qualifying scores of CAT/ XAT/ GMAT/ NMAT (only 1st attempt will be considered)/ CMAT/ MAT/ ATMA/ PERA CET/ CUET is required.

Q. Is there a specific percentile score that is the minimum requirement for shortlisting?

A: As of last year's batch 2023-25, the CAT cutoff was 83 percentile, XAT was 70 percentile, NMAT was 222 in the 1st attempt, GMAT was 500 and CMAT was 97 percentile.

Q. When should students choose their specialisations at KJSIM – at the time of admissions or later? Any pointers on how they should choose specialisations?

A: K J Somaiya has introduced a new approach to solve this problem. All our first year students go through a competency assessment with a professional agency. The institute then counsels the students based on their competency and aptitude. It is one way to help and counsel the students and make them understand what would be the right specialisation for them to choose.

At KJSIM, students can choose their specialisations in the 4th trimester. Students pursue specialisations in their 5th and 6th trimesters.

Q. What are the factors K J Somaiya gives importance to during admissions? Is there any weightage for each factor?

A: Yes we do have clear weightage for our programmes:

MBA programme: Qualifying Exam: 25%, Personal Interview (Competency Based): 25%, Group Discussion (Competency Based): 15%, Academic Profile: 15%, Written Ability Test (WAT): 10% and Work Experience: 10%.

For the MBA Healthcare Management: we have an additional Written Ability Test (WAT) of 5%. The institute also gives 5% weightage to their healthcare-related qualifications.

However, for MBA Sports Management the weightage of the entrance exam is 30%, Statement of Purpose is 15%. Weightage of sports played is 15% (National level: 15%, State level: 10%, District level: 7% and College level: 5%). Weightage for Personal interview is 40%.

Q. What is the weightage and importance given to work experience for MBA admissions? Would this affect the chances of a fresh graduate?

A: We believe that a business school needs to be a very diverse cohort. In any class, there should be a certain proportion of freshers and a certain proportion of people with work experience. In the attempt to balance, we have very clear guidelines - additional marks for work experience varies. Those who have 25 to 36 months of work experience will get 10 marks; those with 12 to 24 months of work experience will get 6 marks.

As the experience goes higher, the marks awarded are lower. Therefore those with 37 to 48 months of experience will get 6 marks, those with 49 to 60 months of experience will get 4 marks. Candidates with more than 61 months of experience will only get 2 marks.

Ideally, we have found that a good complement to a classroom would be students with 24 to 36 months of work experience. Such students constitute 40% of the class.

Q. Engineering graduates generally do well in MBA entrance exams. What are the policies regarding balance of academic disparity at K J Somaiya?

A: We believe in having a diverse cohort whether it is academically or geographically. We don’t want to give undue preference to engineering graduates because of their quantitative aptitude as we believe that a certain proportion of engineers, commerce students, liberal arts students and students with very diverse backgrounds make a balanced classroom. K J Somaiya admission process is designed to balance academic disparity.

The students' experience is completely different with a mixed group of students as their interactions and looking at the problems are different and they learn a lot from each other.

Q. What about gender and regional diversity? What are the policies regarding this at KJSIM?

A: We don’t have a quota, but our gender diversity is fairly good compared to other business schools. In the 2023-25 batch, we have 39% women and 61% men.

Q. What are the new initiatives introduced and practiced by K J Somaiya for a robust admission process?

A: The new areas that we are looking at for a robust admission process are: the introduction of the competency-based interviewing techniques, group discussion (where we are looking at specific competencies that students have) and Written Ability Test (written ability to think and communicate). These ensure the fairness and robustness of the admission process.

Q. Give details about the various scholarships available to students.

A: Somaiya Vidyavihar University has financial aid which applies to all the constituent institutes within the university and K J Somaiya Institute of Management is also eligible for that financial aid. This is for those students who have a family income of less than Rs. 8,00,000 per annum and also for people with disabilities. The level of scholarships that is given will be between 20% to 100% of tuition fees. Wards of Defence personnel disabled or deceased in the line of duty are also eligible for this financial aid. In addition to that, in 2022, K J Somaiya introduced a Merit Scholarship which is a 100% tuition fee waiver. Last year we had five scholarships available through various processes and four students were found eligible on merit-based criteria.

Q. Accreditations are parameters for quality. KJSIM has AACSB, NIRF to name a few. What is the contribution of accreditations to the institute and how do students benefit?

A: An accreditation is a stamp of approval to an educational institution that maintains suitable standards. For example, Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is a global accreditation and only less than 6% of business schools across the world get AACSB accreditation. The AACSB accreditation will tell you that this business school has processes and teaching pedagogy which is of global standards. When a student comes and looks at the AACSB accreditation, the assurance that the student gets is that I’m going to an institution whose processes are of global standards and there is a global agency which has put a stamp of approval after several years of preparation.

Finally, I would say that accreditation is something that students should look for while taking admission to an institute.

Q. One of the major factors contributing towards holistic development are extracurriculars. How does K J Somaiya facilitate these?

A: K J Somaiya has recently introduced the Student Progression Index and it uses about 5 to 6 parameters where 45% weightage is for academic CGPA. We give 15% weightage for case studies, 10% weightage for students participating in competitions, 10% weightage for industry-led certifications and 10% for an event called Careers and Conversation where every month we invite CEOs and CXOs. The last 10% weightage is for physical fitness and participating in sports. This in total is the student progression index and it is the way to a very comprehensive holistic development.

We now have an initiative where every week all students are divided into groups of 10 to 15 and assigned a mentor faculty. Every week we send out an article from global or business magazines. We ask the students to read it and answer a few reflective questions or participate in group discussion on this. The whole objective of this is to help students relate to what they study in the class and what is happening in the business world - both national and global.

Also, this aims to inculcate the habit of reading which our generation is rapidly losing. It is difficult in the beginning but is beneficial in the long run.

Q. In current times, technology, sustainability and liberal education are major role players in most businesses. How has K J Somaiya facilitated and balanced these in its curriculum?

A: One of the degrees that K J Somaiya Institute of Management offers is a Master of Computer Application. We have a Data Science Department with specialists in Data Science, AI, MI etc. Students who come to study here in their foundation year are already studying things like Python, Programming, AI, and ML and there are enough faculty resources who can help them with this technology. Our MCA programme is one of the oldest programmes.

K J Somaiya has a lot of alumni who are in tech companies. They come and talk to MBA students about changes in the technological world. Students get both theoretical and practical experiences on how technology and functional expertise and appreciation of technology is extremely important to be successful in the corporate world.

Sustainability is an equally important topic. We now have an ESG course which is a mandatory foundation course. We are also looking for students with a liberal arts background to join the institute. Liberal Education is more about enabling students to appreciate diversity, inequality and the importance of social justice.

Q. There is much focus on practical training during MBA. How has K J Somaiya incorporated this?

A: There are three ways. One is live projects, the second one is summer internships and the third one is research projects. We also have visiting faculty from the industry who talk about how the concepts work in the real world; so they learn from practitioners.

Q. With new age demands in a rapidly changing technological world, innovations in curriculum have become a necessity. What are the innovations and changes that have been brought by KJSIM?

A: We have constant reviews and we have people from the industry giving inputs. The innovation is on two fronts - one is our choice of courses. The framework for this involves questions like, “Does this course make the students ready, does this course provide a technological appreciation”. These are factors that we look at, carefully debate and decide which course should be taught.

The second part is the pedagogical innovation and here we are rapidly transitioning. Case study methodology is a very important tool because it is about enabling critical and integrity thinking while teaching the students to work with each other to come up with solutions. The third area where we are increasing our tools and commitment is simulations.

In addition to this, we are now in the process of setting up communication labs where students can learn how to communicate better.

Q. Describe the placement process at K J Somaiya – when does it start; how is it facilitated etc.?

A: K J Somaiya has an operational placement team which includes the employees of the institute who are responsible for sector-specific kinds of companies. But students play a very active role during the campus placement and the K J Somaiya placement committee members take the lead in identifying the company, and bringing them on board. We have a programme in which from day one, they are groomed for a better placement experience.

Q. Give the latest placement statistics and leading recruiters as well as roles that MBA students get?

A: Last year, K J Somaiya had 100% placement. The highest salary was Rs. 28.25 LPA. The average salary package for the top 100 students was Rs. 17 LPA and the top 200 students was Rs. 15.4 LPA. The major sectors we cater to are BFSI, IT Consultancy and FMCG. The major companies that visited the campus for placements are Decathlon, Mercedes Benz, i-Capital, Deloitte, Maruti Suzuki, Michael Page, Deutsche Bank, London Stock Exchange and many others. We had a total number of 115 PPOs out of which 89 students accepted the PPO.

About the Interviewer

Dr Raman Ramachandran has retired as Chairman and Managing Director of BASF India Ltd. A PhD from the University of Adelaide in South Australia, Dr Raman comes with three decades of experience at BASF, Dr. Raman has held various positions of responsibility and played a key role in establishing BASF as a leader in the agricultural products business in the Asia Pacific region. He also conducted research with international organisations in Kenya, the Philippines, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison in the USA.


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Questions related to KJSIM

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K. J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies & Research, Mumbai (SIMSR) has closed its PGDM 2020 admission process. Now the GD/PI process is continuing for final selection. The college has closed its PGDM 2020 admission on February 6, 2020. The institute has started its GD/PI process for final selection. The classes for new batch will commence in July 2020. Keep visiting the official website for more details.

Hope this helps!

Hello Aspirant,

No, SET is not for MBA.
Symbiosis Entrance Test (SET) 2020 is a university level entrance test conducted for offering admission to candidates in undergraduate programs offered by Symbiosis University.You can get admission in Bachelor's level courses through SET and MBA is Postgraduate course.

I hope this helps
KJ Somaiya requires a minimum of 85 percentile for both CAT and XAT. There's no different cutoff for different categories so anyone who wants to apply for the college has to score a minimum of 85 percentile. But you can definitely apply for Welingkar Mumbai and Bangalore campuses as the shortlisting for PGDM HCM is completely profile based. The fees for Welingkar is nearly 11 lakhs and the average compensation package offered for Human Resources is 6-7 lakhs. The last date to apply for Welingkar is 14th February 2020. But you have a decent score so you should check some other good colleges also like
  • XIME Bangalore (fees = 10 lakhs)
  • XISS Ranchi (8 lakhs)
  • Praxis Kolkata (4.4 lakhs)
  • Great Lakes Gurgaon (11.76 lakhs)
  • IMT Hyderabad (12 lakhs)
  • NL Dalmia Mumbai (9.3 lakhs)
  • SIES Mumbai (7.9 lakhs)
  • NDIM New Delhi (9.3 lakhs)

All of them are decent colleges in terms of both academics and placements and you can easily get an average compensation package of around 6-7 lakhs.

And if you want to pursue Human Resource Management and build a good career in that then XISS would be a great option which will provide you great returns on investment. The average compensation package offered for HR is nearly 9-10 lakhs.

Good Luck
You have a pretty decent XAT percentile but KJ Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research requires a minimum of 85 percentile in both CAT and XAT exams. The Institute considers only the overall percentile. So it may be a little difficult for you to get a call. But you can still get some very good colleges with your XAT scores like
  • IIFM Bhopal
  • XIME Bangalore
  • IFMR Chennai
  • IMT Nagpur and Hyderabad
  • Prin LN Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research
  • Christ University Bangalore
  • Great Lakes Gurgaon and others.

These colleges will also offer you good placement opportunities and good academics and you must try to attend as many interview processes as possible to get enough options to choose from.

Good Luck

Hello Shaikh

The expected cutoff for K.J. somaiya college is 1124-1454,

Below this it will be difficult to get admission in this study hard as the cutoff is really high.

Best of luck.

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