Interview of Dr Monica Khanna, Director of K.J.SIMSR published in MBAUniverse.com

With a legacy of 56 years as part of Somaiya Vidyavihar  that was esblished in 1959,  K J Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research (SIMSR) Mumbai came into existence in 1981. Since then SIMSR has been imparting and contributing tremendously in qualitative development of Management Education in India. K. J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies & Research is popularly referred to as SIMSR and has autonomous status granted by UGC and notified by the University of Mumbai .  The B-school enjoys a high alumni base occupying key corporate positions and high international linkages.

Somaiya Vidyavihar campus comprises 34 individual institutes dedicated to Arts, Sciences, Management, Humanities, Philosophies and Social Sciences as important areas of scholarship, and is spread across a 60 acre complex in Vidyavaihar, in north central area of Mumbai and a 90 acre complex in Sion in the heart of Mumbai.

To have a detailed understanding of the USPs, rigorous admission process and expectations of K J Somaiya Institute of Management & Research (SIMSR) from admission seekers, MBAUniverse.com interviewed Dr Monica Khanna, Director of SIMSR. Dr Khanna is the Professor in the area of Marketing Management and has an academic experience of 18 years in the area of Marketing Management, Brand Management, Marketing Research, Services Marketing. She has an industry experience of 4 years in the area of Engineering & Industrial Automation. Dr Khanna is passionate about developing cases based on Indian businesses.

Dr Khanna has great Research Interests in the area of  Brand Management, Consumer Behavior with focus on University Branding, Brand Challenges of Heritage Brands, Impulse Buying Behavior, Online Buying Behavior, Consumer Behavior among Low Income Groups in India. Recognized for her super achievements she has been bestowed with many awards like Excellence in Teaching; Women Super Achievers Award; Best  Teacher  of Management among others. She has remained on the editorial board of international journals and is a keen book reviewer.

In the interview, Dr Khanna shares her vision and key USPs of the institute.

MBAUniverse.com: SIMSR offers various management programmes. What are the USPs of the flagship 2 year PGDM programme offered by SIMSR.
Dr. Monica Khanna: It is a Two Year Full Time AICTE approved program since 1993 and is equivalent to MBA w.e.f 1st June 2012 as per AIU (Association of Indian Universities) notification. The annual intake  in the programme is120 seats + 18 Supernumerary  seats.

PGDM at SIMSR molds students into competent value-driven professionals with a strong grounding in management principles and processes and aims at imparting holistic education incorporating ethics, good governance, social responsibility and experiential learning in addition to competencies in chosen specialization areas.

The  Program was accredited in the year 2005 for a period of 5 years by National Board of Accreditation (NBA), a body of AICTE, Ministry of HRD, and Govt. of India. The Institute has already received re-accreditation for further 5 years w.e.f 2013.

With a provision for specializations in the second year in Marketing, Finance, HR and Operations, there are additional specializations in Entrepreneurship, General Management and Systems offered on the basis of adequate number of students opting for them.

MBAUniverse.com: In the fast changing pedagogic scenario across the world to impart management education, does SIMSR restrict to only class room teaching?  
Dr. Monica Khanna: No. The institute subscribes to the latest case studies from Harvard Business School and has various databases like Ebsco, Euromonitor, ACE-Equity, Proquest, Prowess, Capline, IEEE, J-Gate, WARC ( World Advertising Research Council ) etc in order to bring the latest in the field of management into the classroom  Keeping in mind the Institute’s objective of developing managers with interdisciplinary skills, the Institute encourages students to choose from among a set of electives across different areas of specializations and also interdisciplinary areas. This facility is subject to an adequate number of students voting for a particular elective.

MBAUniverse.com:  Which are the different exam scores accepted by SIMSR to shortlist the candidates for final admission round?
Dr. Monica Khanna:  For all PGDM programmes offered by SIMSR candidates can appear for any of the admission tests viz. CAT 2015, CMAT Jan 2016, XAT 2016 and GMAT (for PGDM Executive and Foreign National / NRI / PIO/ Children of Indian Workers in Gulf Countries).

MBAUniverse.com:   How should an admission seeker to PGDM 2016-18 at K J Somaiya apply? Please share the process
Dr. Monica Khanna:   Candidates need to fill up SIMSR’s online application form and pay the requisite fee. Using a single form, a candidate can apply for more than one PGDM programmes (PGDM / IB / RM / FS / Communications). A separate form for PGDM Executive programme is also available online. Candidates should choose the appropriate form for being considered for admission to the various PGDM programmes.

MBAUniverse.com:   Would the short listing criteria for final admission round comprise other factors also apart from acceptable exam scores?  
Dr. Monica Khanna: No. Shortlisting of candidates for the final admission round at SIMSR will be done on the basis of test scores submitted by the candidates in the qualifying examination-CAT 2015, CMAT Jan 2016, XAT 2016 and GMAT. No other criteria shall be applied at the shortlisting stage. Weightage to other factors will be given at the subsequent stages.

Marks for these qualifying exams will be normalized for comparison. The Shortlisted candidates shall have to fill the Candidate Profile Form and the Statement of Purpose (SOP) once they are shortlisted on the basis of the entrance test scores.

MBAUniverse.com:  Please share the key components of PI round
Dr. Monica Khanna:  Group Discussion of case analysis by each of the shortlisted candidates followed by personal in-depth interview will be the major components of PGDM 2016-18 final admission round at SIMSR.

MBAUniverse.com:   What is the intake in various programmes at SIMSR. Is there any proposed change for the 2016-18 batch?
Dr. Monica Khanna:  No change is proposed. In the PGDM Programme, the intake is 120 and there is a provision for 15% (18) additional seats for candidates from the categories of FN / PIO and CIWGC. NRI Students will be considered within the regular intake of 120.

However, all other programmes at SIMSR, excluding the PGDM Programme have an intake of 60 students. There are no additional seats beyond the above.

MBAUniverse.com: Does SIMSR propose to improve academic diversity in its class rooms through its admission process?
Dr. Monica Khanna:   As the selection process is more diverse than the shortlisting process, there is a possibility of candidates with academic diversity to compete in a healthy manner with engineers. Given an opportunity, such candidates have to strengthen their skills to seize the opportunity and convert it into an acceptance.
Traditionally, the nature of the qualifying tests is such that it favours persons with quantitative skills. However, looking to the industry need, and basic requirement of a diverse work force, we have seen some change in the composition of our classes.

MBAUniverse.com: Please share 5 important qualities that SIMSR expects from the admission seekers.
Dr. Monica Khanna:   As SIMSR is committed to providing quality education to willing seekers of such services, a very high level indicative list of 5 important qualities expected from SIMSR admission seekers is shared below. Students with such qualities, are very likely to get selected by SIMSR.

Candidates need to have good qualifying test scores and academic credentials as well as Good reading habits and an inquisitive mind.  SIMSR will prefer candidates with demonstrated potential to analyse and solve problems and have demonstration of willingness to learn and work in gender and culture diverse teams amid tough working conditions.  Besides, Candidates are expected to have a sound grasp of current issues and gender issues in addition to general business matters.

MBAUniverse.com: Please share the key USPs of SIMSR
Dr. Monica Khanna:   K. J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies & Research (SIMSR) was was inaugurated by Dr. Manmohan Singh, the former Prime Minister of India, and is consistently ranked among the top 20 Management Institutes and top 10 private sector B-Schools in India.

The Institute nestled in a 60 acre campus in the central suburbs of Mumbai offers full-time and part-time Masters and Post Graduate Programmes in Business Management, and Masters in Computer Applications, along with doctoral studies in management of the University of Mumbai and SNDT Women’s University. All the programmes are approved by All India Council of Technical Education, Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India, New Delhi and / or affiliated to University of Mumbai.

The Institute strives continuously to accelerate and achieve the benchmarks and has already coveted the prestigious South Asian Quality Assurance System (SAQS) accreditation by Association of Management Development Institutions of South Asia (AMDISA). The Institute is currently working for its accreditation to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). SIMSR is certified as ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 29990:2010 by Bureau Veritas Quality International. SIMSR believes in providing quality education to its students, steeped in Indian ethos and value system.

More Courses : The Institute conducts Post Graduate Diploma in Management programmes, housed within a world class infrastructure and cutting edge pedagogy focusing on 360 degree development, where the student emerges as a successful corporate citizen. The Institute also offers Ph.D. Program in Management of the University of Mumbai and SNDT Women’s University (for women candidates only). Apart from the regular programmes, the Institute offers customized and subject / industry specific certificate and executive development programmes for government bodies, companies, defense personnel and NGOs.

The Faculty : The faculty undertake research and consultancy for both public and private organizations. The Institute maintains a healthy faculty student ratio of 1:15. The Institute has 100+ core faculty members, 35 of them have Ph.D; 28 faculty members are at various stages of completing Ph.D.  A majority of the faculty members have rich industry experience. Faculty have published papers in 42 International Journals and 8 National Journals during academic year 2014-15. Papers were also presented in 36 International Conferences and 8 National Conferences.

External Linkages : SIMSR has international tie-ups for student / faculty exchange programmes with the following :  University of Applied Sciences, Krems, Austria, DHBW University, Stuttgart, Germany, THI Business School, Ingolstadt, Germany, University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Steyr, Austria

Placements : The current year placement process is ongoing and a substantial proportion of our graduating class has already been placed. We have witnessed increase over the years and we hope to end the year with a good placement record. In the past, the average salaries have been of the order of about Rs 8 lakh pa, with higher salaries for international offers.

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