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At a time when every second student from urban India wants to wear an MBA tag, management institutes from the stable of established educational institutions are generally preferred over the Johnny-come-lately stand-alone institutions. Thus, Sydenham Institute of Management Studies Research and Entrepreneurship Education, run by the old guard Sydenham College in south Mumbai, ranks prominently on the list of wannabe-MBA students.

The mother institution itself is the bedrock of commerce education in Mumbai and one of the few colleges that offers commerce as its mainstay. Though both the college and the management studies institute is government-owned, it is an old institution started by one K. Subramani Aiyer in 1901 who wanted an institute solely devoted to education in commerce. The college was set up with the help of local heavyweights in Mumbai like Sir Vithaldas Thackersay, Sir Dinshaw Vaccha and Sir Manmohandas Ramji, etc. But it was the then Governor Lord Sydenham of Combe who helped make the bachelor of commerce degree a reality in 1913.

Course conduct

The management institute was set up in 1983 and is affiliated to the University of Mumbai. It offers a two-year full-time masters of management studies course (MMS) and a postgraduate diploma in business management (PGDBM) which is again a full-time course of two years. Admission to both these courses is through the common entrance test (CET) conducted by the Maharashtra Government’s department of technical education. Course fees are pretty low since it is government affiliated and is approximately Rs 42,000. There are several government hostels in the area for outstation students.

The institute is bang outside Churchgate station and a stone’s throw away from Nariman Point, the hothouse of economic activity in India. The share market or the Bombay Stock Exchange and a host of business houses, are all nearby. This has of course, worked in favour of the college as the faculty comprises the who’s who of the corporate world. Mohan Krishnan from IMRB, H.P. Ranina, on the board of the Reserve Bank of India, Ashish Bhasin from Lintas, Neeraj Roy, founder of Hungama.com are just a few of the luminaries.

Tough call

Both the courses take a combined strength of 120 students, so the selection procedure is pretty rigorous and is based strictly on merit. Thus, there is a pressure to perform and the students redeem themselves well. More often than not they are among the toppers in the exams.

Take the case of Sheetal Gaba, a student from the 2004-2006 batch, who stood first in the Mumbai University exams. Hemali Parkar and Raghu Bale won the best presentation award in a programme conducted by the Forum for Free Enterprise along with the Bank of India while Mihir Kapooria won the summer project prize conducted by the Institute of Management Consultants of India.

Also, much emphasis is placed on strengthening the industry-college interaction. There is a students’ initiative called Simergence, which is an industry conclave based on interesting themes. This year the theme was India Inc. Going Global.

A brand to reckon with

In terms of ranking, insiders say that after Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Sydenham is the second choice for management studies in Mumbai. And for a city that is teeming with a multitude of management courses and degrees, this is no mean feat. Says Siddesh Ranade, a second-year student doing his PGDBM, “Sydenham is a great brand name. They offer good courses and the faculty is excellent. The library is state of the art and new books are selected in consultation with the students. The courses are a perfect mix of theory and practice.” Little wonder that they have the industry heavyweights coming in for the campus placement. These include HDFC bank, HSBC, ABN AMRO, Citibank, IMRB, to name a few.

However, don’t go by their website www.simsree.org as most of the links don’t work and it doesn’t tell how big SIMSREE actually is. The site is a classic example of how government funded things don’t necessarily work. It is hardly ever updated and you should get in touch with the college directly if you want to study there.

Velly Thevar

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