Life at KJ Somaiya: Experiential Learning entwined with Edutainment
Life at KJ Somaiya in every way is holistic; the B-school lays great emphasis on the holistic development of its students. It offers an array of opportunities both inside and outside the classrooms. Be it cultural activities, industry interaction, socially relevant activities, sports competitions or consultancy for small and medium enterprises.
Life at KJ Somaiya - Founded by the late Shri K.J Somaiya, in 1959, the Somaiya Vidyavihar Complex encompasses 34 institutions. KJ Somaiya Institute of Management Studies & Research is a top B-school that offers PGDM course, Doctoral and Research programmes to the management degree aspirants. With its existence for over three decades, KJ Somaiya has re-invented and re-defined a new growth pavement for itself. The B-school has designed and developed course curricula with an aim to initiate learning not only inside the classroom but outside as well. Through live case examples, case studies, on-the-field experiential learning and simulation activities/ games to name a few, each innovative method has been put in place to ensure experiential learning for the students.
KJ Somaiya may not have the ‘IIM’ tag but that doesn’t overshadow the reputation which the B-school has earned over the years. It has gained a strong foothold in the field of management . Today, it is look upon as one of the top B-schools in the country that each year attract MBA aspirants to its ecosystem.
If you are an aspirant who is keen on joining the B-school madness and are curious to peek inside the campus life at KJ Somaiya, this is your one-stop destination.
Financial Capital of India
Located in the financial capital of India- Mumbai, KJ Somaiya campus is spread across 60 acres amidst the hustle and Bustle of Mumbai. A lush green campus is a rare sight in a people-packed city like Mumbai, having its own advantage; the city also known as the financial capital of India bridges the gap between KJ Somaiya and the corporate world outside. B-school life at KJ Somaiya will start right on the 1st day of your reporting where you will be a part of the induction activities, informal session with your seniors’ cum mentors and an ice-breaking session with seniors. The marketing lectures are going to kick off on the same day followed by the committee’s selections which in a way is huge in terms of responsibility. Cracking committee interview is no less than a gruelling session at an MNC. For a couple of days you will juggle between your lectures, committee selection interviews and the various clubs— all a form of learning.
Become Part of the Internalization Process
One of the highlights of the B-school life at KJ Somaiya is the international exposure the B-school offers its students. As a part of its academic curriculum, the institute offers student exchange program opportunities to enhance the vibrant international community and to foster cross-cultural experience. Currently, KJ Somaiya has international collaborations with leading universities in Europe, USA and Asia. Universities such as University of San Diego, The University of Akron, Yunnan University, Saint Martin’s University, Aston University, Birmingham, University of Vaasa, Finland and Communication University of China are some of the partner institutes of KJ Somaiya.
To be a part of the student exchange programme, you must have excellent grades in your first year as students are selected on the basis of their first-year marks. You have to apply separately to each of the university where you would like to go in student exchange and meet their selection criteria in order to be shortlisted. Apart from this, you can also participate in the international immersion activities, where the tour/ program involve you visiting a foreign country for a period of 7-14 days.
Life at KJ Somaiya beyond Academics
Life at KJ Somaiya in every way is holistic; the institute lays great emphasis on the holistic development of its students. It offers an array of opportunities outside classrooms as well, be it cultural activities, industry interaction, socially relevant activities, sports competitions or consultancy for small and medium enterprises. Here you will witness cultural diversity at its best; it celebrates all festivals with equal enthusiasm and eagerness, be it Christmas, Diwali or Pongal.
In addition to the regular academic activities, KJ Somaiya also organizes several extra-curricular activities with the help of students. Some of the main events include Samavesh, Resolution, Spriha, Stratinova, National Retail Summit (NRS) and Navikaran among others. These activities help in overall development of students as they are actively involved right from organizing such events to executing them. This instills a sense of authority and responsibility among students which is crucial before joining the corporate world. Campus life at KJ Somaiya prepares you for the professional world right from the day you set foot inside the campus.
Experiential Learning Initiative
If any you feel tired of your monotonous campus life at KJ Somaiya where you are just involved in back to back lectures, committee activities, post class discussions and assignments, you can become a part of the Ankur initiative. The initiative aims to develop a robust learning environment that combines all aspects of learning and offers holistic development of a management student. Here you will be part of a team where you and other students will teach the underprivileged children. A day in this initiative begins with a lecture on a topic with regular breaks and activities such as singing, dancing, painting and drawing. It’s not just about teaching them few words in English but the sheer joy you see on their face when they learn a new word. You can become a part of this initiative and give back to society. The initiative will help you grow as a person by understanding these kids everyday struggle in facing the world full of competitions.
To get an insider’s take on the Life at KJ Somaiya, Jagranjosh connected with Pradyumna Adiga - a Programme- PGDM Integrated Marketing Communications 2018-19 student at KJ Somaiya. Here’s what he has to say:
Jagran Josh: How is the campus life at KJ SOMAIYA? What made you pick KJ SOMAIYA over other B-schools, something that makes it stand out from others?
Pradyumna Adiga: SIMSR is unlike any other B-School in the western region. The institute has been built on strong values which believe that true success lies in giving back to the society what it has given you. The idea and belief with which this institute was built on shows character. This adds to the personal touch and appeal to students who have their eyes set on the horizon of the future while still being very much grounded to their roots.
The lush green campus that SIMSR offers in the heart of the financial hub of our nation is simply expressed in verbose descriptions, it can only be experienced. The institute offers an Olympic size running track, basketball, tennis, indoor squash & badminton courts to ensure that the student leads a balanced & healthy lifestyle.
The ROI of SIMSR acts as icing on the cake.
Jagran Josh: How is the academic schedule at KJ SOMAIYA? How do you start and end your day?
Pradyumna Adiga: SIMSR like the IIM’s follows a block timetable, where we have 2 subjects being taught to us for a period of 10 days, with new subjects being introduced after the commencement of the 10-day cycle. We follow a trimester system, where we have around 8 to 10 subject every trimester. The classes start at around 9:00 am in the morning and usually run up to 5:00 pm in the evening. This timetable ensures continuity and in-depth study of the entire subject, while running a tight schedule. The students, learn the subject, prepare an assignment and give multiple tests all scheduled within the 10-day schedule. This keeps us really busy and engaged in the subjects being taught. However, we do find time to pursue our interests, be it learning music, working out or watching a movie and analyzing it from a B-School perspective.
Typically, the students in the hostel sleep by around 12:00 to get a good 8:00 hours of sleep. We often have Yoga sessions and various stress buster & team building sessions to ensure a holistic development of the students. So, all in all the schedule keeps you on your toes without compromising on your health.
SIMSR also believes in experiential learning. So, the concepts that are taught in classes are often put to practical use with the help of Harvard Business School case studies and industry exposure, through initiatives such as Big Wig Speaks, Marquest, and National Retail Summit etc. This ensures students get a hands-on knowledge of the concepts being taught in classes.
Jagran Josh: There are various academic and activity clubs at KJ SOMAIYA. Are you part of any such clubs? Share some of the activities and their experience.
Pradyumna Adiga: There are over 25 committees & clubs that a student can choose from out here at SIMSR. These committees enable the students to develop their interests & follow their hobbies. These committees and clubs range from academic committees such as Interface, FinStreet & Quantinum to extra-curricular committees such as Acumen, Mauj & Grooves. There are a few committees which work for the institute such as Public Relations & Branding Committee, Placements Committee, Student Council & Alumni Relations to name a few.
I am the co-convener of Public Relations & Branding Committee (PR) and a member of Acumen as well. PR looks after the PR & Branding of the institute; it is responsible for all the internal and external communication. Being a member of PR & Branding gave me exposure to meet and interact with a lot of imminent personalities such as Dr. Bhaskar Das (Executive President Dainik Bhaskar Group), Ambi Parameswaran (Branding Guru and Former CEO of FCB Ulka) & Kaushik Basu (Former Chief Economist for the World Bank) to name a few. To learn about Marketing, Branding & PR from such greats is an experience in itself. Acumen on the other hand is a quizzing and debating committee. This is something that I took up as a hobby. It has given me the opportunity to learn a lot about quizzing and debating. Organizing Just A Minutes (JAM’s) and Model United Nations (MUN) has been a learning experience in itself.
Jagran Josh: Tell us something about KJ SOMAIYA’s annual fests, cultural fests and various competitions.
Pradyumna Adiga: The Flagship Event of SIMSR is called as Melange. It happens at a large scale and boasts of a foot fall running in a tens of thousands. Melange often has prominent personalities such as Nuclea, Indian Ocean, Zakir Khan, Kunal Kamra etc. performing in the closing ceremony. Melange attracts B-Schools across the western region. The Sheer number of followers that the Melange’s Facebook page has is indicative of the popularity of the event.
Apart from Melange, we have initiatives such as Marquest, National Retail Summit & International Business Summit to give the students a hands-on experience in the fields of
Marketing, Retail Management & International Business to name a few. Most of the courses at SIMSR have a fest of their own.
Talking about cultural fests, the Students Activity Forum (SAF) organizes various cultural events such as Dandiya Night, Kite Flying Festival, Holi etc. SAF even organizes an ice breaking fest called All Izz Well. All Izz Well is the first cultural fest that incoming batch is exposed to. Here the incoming batches compete against each other to market their course the best. This unites the entire class while brewing a healthy competitive environment amongst the courses.
The 25+ Committees & Clubs often organize competitions of their own as well. It ranges right from case study competitions, quizzes, MUN, debates, pitches etc. The competitions organized by these committees and clubs look for innovative ways to build interest among students.
Jagran Josh: How do you spend your time when not studying?
Pradyumna Adiga: While not studying, I am often found working for the PR & Branding committee of SIMSR, I am also a member of Acumen Committee which is the quizzing and debating committee of SIMSR. Acumen’s TV room quizzes are something that I cherish and look forward to attend every week. I am also a regular at the tracks and spend a minimum of one and half hours of work out. I also spend time at the library and go through the databases such as Euromonitor, Proquest, Ebsco etc to read articles in the areas that interest me. This helps me stay up to date with what is happening in the world.
Jagran Josh: Tell us something about the hostel life? How do you relax after a day full of classes and activities?
Pradyumna Adiga: The best part of SIMSR hostel is the infrastructure. The various sporting options such as athletic track, badminton court, squash court, basketball court, tennis court, table tennis, fully functional gym etc. are at the disposal of the hostilities. The curvature room and activity room prove to be a useful place for those late-night study sessions during the exam. The night mess, which stays open till 3:00 am in the night helps students grab those midnight snacks. For those lazy Sunday afternoons, one can always use the college Wi-Fi to binge watch their favorite TV series via OTT platforms.
SIMSR also celebrates the diversity of India. Right from Onam from the Kerala, to Durga Pooja from West Bengal to Lohri from Punjab, all the festivities are celebrated with equal pomp and joy. The Mess also joins in on such occasions by providing a grand feast during such festivities.
Jagran Josh: Please share a message for future KJ SOMAIYA aspirants. How they should prepare themselves before joining the institute and what they can expect?
Pradyumna Adiga: SIMSR pays equal importance to academic accolades and for other co-curricular and extra-curricular activities taken up by the students. They prefer a balanced candidate, who has paid equal emphasis on academic as well as personal development. The first-round screening is done on the basis of the cut off scores. Second round is where SIMSR conducts a group discussion and a personal interview. The group discussion is based on a spot case provided to the aspirants. This ensures that the amount of information each candidate has about the topic remains the same and more emphasis is laid to inspect the articulation of the candidate and the approach of the candidate to solve the problem given in the case. This ensures that no candidate has an upper hand than the other on the basis of the topic. The personal interview is conducted by team of faculty & alumni of the institute. The personal interview focuses on the personal aspect of the candidate. Questions are often based on what his / her view points are, beliefs are, their outlook towards the life they have led so far or what their future plans are. The interview is focused on finding out whether the candidate is a good fit for the institute. I would also recommend the aspiring students to fill out the SOP carefully as a lot of questions will be asked based on what one has written in it. The interview is pretty normal paced and is more like a friendly conversation rather than an interview.
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