How Location, Purpose and Agility helps SPJIMR Mumbai Keep its Curriculum Cutting Edge for VUCA World

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Updated on November 21, 2018
Mumbai based SP Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR) is leveraging its locational advantage (Mumbai), its purpose and autonomy to hire faculty with rich industry experience and take initiatives for making sure its curriculum is at the cutting edge. Among the various initiatives taken by SPJIMR Mumbai in consistently developing its curriculum, the four key areas broadly defining them are the Purpose and Positioning; Key Innovations; Industry Engagement and Internationalization.
SPJIMR Curriculum Initiatives

With onslaught of disruptive technology and changing macro environment, the world of business has become highly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous – often termed as a VUCA world. Needless to say, old theories and curriculums are becoming irrelevant, asking for urgent update. So how does a B-school update its curriculum to prepare students for this changing world. Mumbai based SP Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR) is leveraging its locational advantage (Mumbai), its purpose and autonomy to hire faculty with rich industry experience and take initiatives for making sure its curriculum is at the cutting edge.

Among the various initiatives taken by SPJIMR Mumbai in consistently developing its curriculum, the four key areas broadly defining them are the Purpose and Positioning; Key Innovations; Industry Engagement and Internationalization. This article explores the thought process, approach and initiatives that make SPJIMR Curriculum at par with top IIMs.

Purpose & Positioning
While India is famous as being the fastest growing large economy in the world, Mumbai is at the heart of this growth story. Mumbai is a thriving metropolis and also India's financial capital. Home to the most Global Fortune 500 company headquarters and biggest stock exchanges in India, Mumbai offers maximum exposure to economic and commercial activity.

SPJIMR with its prime location is positioned as one of the top B-schools of India. Adding to the position, SPJIMR has evolved PGDM curriculum as a unique mix of experiential and traditional learning methods with ‘Knowing’, ‘Doing’, ‘Being’, ‘Purpose’ and ‘Flexibility’.

The program is designed to make participants aware of the facts, frameworks and theories of management – knowledge, the “knowing” component. The curriculum aims to develop the skills, capabilities and techniques that lie at the heart of management skills – the “doing” component. The curriculum focuses to inculcate values, attitudes and beliefs that go on to build a particular world view -attitudes – the “being” component.

Besides, SPJIMR’s PGDM devotes the highest number of credits and time to sensitizing its students to management’s larger purpose in society amongst India’s leading MBA programmes.

The programme offers students the ability to choose a minor specialisation and flexibility to change their main or “major” specialization helping them to choose the right career path.

Curricular Innovations
Not many top MBA colleges have been able to evolve so many initiatives in making their curriculum as effective as SPJIMR has done.

Strengthening Fundamentals & Building Foundation
The first year curriculum aims at strengthening fundamentals in all areas of functional management and provides a holistic perspective of general management. The management programme at SPJIMR commences with pre-MBA study material of Harvard Business School which is sent to students before they arrive on campus. On arrival, all students go through four weeks of the foundation module to ensure that they have a strong understanding of the basic issues and concepts related to management.

Beyond the Class Room Initiatives
The students also develop managerial traits through various beyond-the-classroom learning initiatives and real-life projects and internships. SPJIMR Mumbai has evolved five key initiatives on Non Classroom Learning which include Science of Spirituality; ADMAP; DOCC; Abyudaya and PG Lab. Going beyond the class room lectures, books and regular assignments, SPJIMR lays great emphasis on Non-class room learning through real life experience. The Non-Classroom Learning initiatives help the students bridge the gap between classroom learning and real life learning.

Design Thinking: Course Pioneered by SPJIMR
SPJIMR has pioneered Design Thinking in B-schools in India as a mandatory subject for all students since 2016. Sharing about the course, Prof Bindu Kulkarni Associate Program Head-PGDM at SPJIMR Mumbai said, “In the current uncertain and volatile environment, we believe our students will stand out equipped with an ability to think through a problem that is unstructured or semi-structured. DT drives an ability to work in eclectic teams which have folks very different from us and makes us tolerant and non-judgemental towards ideas that are different.”

The SPJIMR way of Design Thinking is unique as the institute spends a lot of time and energy in enabling the students to find deep insights through patiently interviewing and conversing for empathy. The course has a human-centered approach with users (and non users) at the heart of the process. This is a differentiator and helps focussed ideation and rapid prototyping. The essence is in early trial & error with iterations and early failure to speedy success.

Design Thinking at SPJIMR, is a course driven towards practice. Accordingly, PGDM students not only do a real project as the course rolls out, but also implement DT during their social (DOCC-Development of Corporate Citizenship) and corporate (Autumns) internships. Although it is not an easy process but these are skills that SPJIMR students learn for life.

Industry Engagement
SPJIMR offers choice of specialization in Marketing, Finance, Information Management, Operations & Supply Chain at the application stage. Credits to courses offered at SPJIMR include the core courses with specialization in 3rd & 4th Semester synchronizing the course content as per Industry Requirement.

The second year provides inputs in the chosen area of specialisation and is customised to the career focus of students and industry requirements. According to Prof Kulkarni, “The students undertake eight-week corporate projects with our industry partners during the second year.”

Industry 4.0 Trends in SPJIMR Curriculum
SPJIMR plans to bring these trends into the curriculum. All B-schools aspire to expose their students to state-of-the-art industry practice. SPJIMR does so in a way that sets it apart. In addition to guest lectures, field visits, live projects and internships, the PGDM programme also offers unique opportunities like SBAC, grooming professional skills among others.

SPJIMR Business Academia Conclave (SBAC) 
SPJIMR Business Academia Conclave (SBAC) is a nine year old initiative that has evolved from a small initiative to a series of six conclaves and now to a high value one day event with marquee speakers to address Indian academics, students and corporates.

SBAC invites a leading global thought leader in the identified theme for the year that is critical to enable Indian industry become world-class.  The typical format is a panel discussion with leading practitioners who can revisit their respective journeys, discuss the experiences with a global leader and lay out the road map for growth.  

Student Professional Development Cell
This cell aims to help students effectively develop their professional capabilities, define their identities and present themselves in industry across different media. The team invites more than 30 senior industry personnel to interact with students.

Integrated with the academic and the career services calendar, it spans over both academic years and ensures that students are able to:

1. Sharpen key skills via beyond-classroom practice opportunities
2. Identify own competencies, challenges and interests
3. Understand industry career paths and available roles
4. Prepare for effective engagement with industry

Internationalization of Curriculum
SPJIMR is making Global Footprints with its various initiatives which are a part of its curriculum:

Global Fast Track
SPJIMR students are required to undertake a three week international immersion called the Global Fast Track programme. It enables PGDM students to travel to a global top ranked B-School in order to gain cutting edge inputs in their area of specialization. SPJIMR has devised an intense, three week cluster in the fourth semester before the autumn internship so that the students are better prepared with knowledge when they go for an internship and can make an impact.

International Company Visits
During Global Fast Track programme, students visit leading companies and business organisations abroad. Students are given advanced inputs not only through advanced coursework but also through a series of industry visits aligned to class room learning.

SPJIMR follows Industry Intergration approach to update its curriculum. Sharing about the process Prof Kulkarni said,SPJIMR is a very agile and young institute. Our autonomy allows us to be quick on our feet. If we decide to implement something we can do it in a day. This is a very essential to our functioning and we do not take it for granted. Our autonomy allows us to hire people who have rich industry experience and can help our students make better decisions and articulate their thinking to thrive in today’s VUCA world.”

Among the many factors, the success can be attributed to four key areas at SPJIMR Mumbai: Innovative Pedagogy with greater emphasis on Non-Classroom Learning, Innovative placement approach, Profile-based student admissions and choice of specializations at the application stage. The Placements of 2018 in SPJIMR compare well with top Business Schools such as the premier IIMs and XLRI.. Read More about the innovative placement approach at SPJIMR

Choice of two specializations at application stage at SPJIMR is an innovative approach leading to admission despite moderate CAT/XAT scores. You can apply for admission to PGDM 2019 at SPJIMR Mumbai till November 23, 2018.. Read More about SPJIMR Mumbai wants you to be clear about your career, even before you enroll

SPJIMR wishes to look at the candidates from a holistic perspective and not just focus on test scores.​ Noted for its pedagogic innovations, SPJIMR uses unique teaching-learning methodology and is moving ahead with its mission of influencing practice and promoting value-based growth.

The Profile-based student admission is a unique process that was pioneered at SPJIMR and is yielding good results.. Read More about the SPJIMR Science and Art of Attracting Bright Students

From this article, it will be clear to you that SPJIMR Mumbai keeps its curriculum Cutting Edge for VUCA World with various initiatives taken by it.

Only two days are left to apply for admission to SPJIMR Mumbai. The last date to apply for PGDM admission 2019 at SPJIMR is November 23, 2018 and there is no proposal at SPJIMR to extend the last date for application submission. If you have registered and applied for CAT 2018 or XAT 2019 and expect a good percentile around 85, you stand a good chance to be shortlisted for final admission round at SPJIMR Mumbai.

Stay tuned to for more updates on SPJIMR Mumbai