Disclaimer: This post is not intended to vilify or defame any institution or the people who are part of it. But this is an insight into the absurd admission process of an institute, which is apparently in the list of top 20 B-Schools in India.
Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies or NMIMS, as it is better known, is a reputed business school in Mumbai. Known for having a forte in finance, and being situated in the financial capital of India only adds to this image. They conduct an exam called NMAT for the students seeking admission to their courses of MBA and MBA-HR. But, compared to the other B-School entrance exams, such as CAT, XAT, IIFT and SNAP, the process of NMAT itself is weird. Students are given a duration of 2 months within which they can take this online exam at the various centres prescribed by the college, up to a maximum of three times. This means that if you fail to score decently in the first attempt, then you still get two more attempts to improve your score.
The rationale behind this process is nothing but minting money by exploiting the insecurity of the applicants. For every attempt after the first one, you have to pay Rs. 2000, apart from the 2000 bucks already paid for taking it the first time. In effect, if I take all three attempts, from which my best score is considered, then I will end up paying a total of Rs. 6000. The turnout for the year 2013 was expected to be around 60,000 applicants and many of these candidates would have taken the exam thrice. The total revenue generated from these applicants alone, as far as I know, is much greater than the revenue generated by any other MBA entrance exam.
The absurdity only increases once the entire entrance process is over. They would shortlist around 3000 candidates (roughly 5-6% of the total test takers) based on their scores, and invite them for a case discussion and a personal interview process to fill their 800 odd seats across various campuses. Wait, the invitation is not free! Despite being on the merit list, you still have to deposit Rs. 950 and travel all the way to Mumbai to attend it. No other college that I know of demands a single penny from their meritorious students for this process, even if they have to incur hotel charges at various locations. You have to submit 2 sets of copies of all your mark-lists.
Money made during this stage is around Rs. 30 Lakhs, with zero expenses, as the interview location is their own campus. People still pay up, for the decent name it has garnered in Mumbai over the years. After this process, they announce the list of candidates selected for their courses. The amount payable is 7.5 Lakhs within a timeframe of 8 working days (This year, results were declared on March 5th and the last date to pay the fees was March 17th. This hardly gives the candidate 8-9 business days to approach a bank and process the loan. Banks outside Mumbai usually take 1-2 weeks to finish the entire process. Considering the pressure due to financial year-end, it will be nearly impossible to arrange loans outside Mumbai within the given timeframe).
Now, here is my story. I was shortlisted with a decent merit rank after the interviews, and was asked to pay this amount. For a lower middle-class guy like me, it is insanely difficult to arrange Rs. 75,000, let alone arranging 7.5 lakhs in a week’s time. Luckily, an SBI branch in Mumbai was willing to provide a loan without any collateral (I was rejected by various other banks outside Mumbai before I finally approached SBI Juhu. They wanted me to pay up first, and then come with the admission letter to get the loan). I happily accepted it and appeared for the admission process. Halfway through it, they told me that I was ineligible for admission due to the unfortunate backlog which I had during my engineering days – two and half years back. They pointed out to some clauses mentioned in their prospectus. But, many of the test takers wouldn’t read such clauses written in fine print. All you would be thinking about is an MBA from a decent B-school, as long as you have 12 years of schooling and a full-time degree.
Two years back, the college was rocked by an admission scandal (NMIMS Scandal), after which they had added such absurdly ridiculous clauses in their admission criteria. Let me dissect those clauses one by one (NMIMS Eligibility).
“3•1 For all the full time programs, candidates who are appearing for the final examination of their Bachelor’s degree are eligible to apply. Provisional admission is subject to clearing the final examination of their Bachelor’s degree in first attempt and in the stipulated duration with 50 % aggregate marks and selected candidates must produce all the necessary documents, in original, within the given stipulated time and must fulfill sub clause No. 3•3”
This portion is clearly absurd. While, this can be true for a student who is appearing for his or her final semester exams during the time of admission, how can you put such a condition on a person with proper work experience, who had obtained his engineering degree two years ago?
The second absurdity is –
“3•3 At the time of admission, the candidate should have cleared all the trimesters / semesters of the Program. No examination of any previous Semester / Trimester to the final Semester / Trimester examination be held subsequent to the final Semester/ Trimester examination. No result of any previous Semester / Trimester examination to the final Semester / Trimester examination be declared subsequent to the declaration of the result of the final Semester / Trimester examination.”
A couple of my friends were declared ineligible due to this clause. The problem lies in certain universities publishing the results of their exams after the final semester, even though the students had appeared for it along with the final semester exams. And why should it even matter, when the results were announced, if the candidate has a proper engineering degree certificate? These pressing questions were rubbished by the authorities leaving hundreds of legitimate applicants in dismay.
You don’t cover your scams by creating such inane postulates in your prospectus. Moreover, as far as I know, all the top B-schools verify the credentials of the candidates during the interview, leaving no room for errors. Well, you have to have decent professors to see through the candidates, but the question is why would you ask the students to furnish copies of their certificates during the interview stage if you are not going to verify them? To cover this insanity, there is another clause:
“3•6 It is sole responsibility of the candidate to ascertain whether they possess the necessary and requisite qualification for the admission at NMIMS, as verification of the documents is done at the time of final admission.”
And the icing on this cake of absurdity:
“3•8 NMIMS reserves the right to alter the terms of eligibility without intimation to the applicants.”
The sole reason students are flocking to NMIMS for admission is the reputation it has earned throughout the last three decades. By adding these clauses, they have tarnished their status as a decent B-School. The crux is that – although the college won’t be losing out any money (in fact, they will be earning more as the college can collect Rs.1000 as administrative charges, when they cancel an admission), there will be a drastic reduction in the quality of the students of this batch and also, of those who would be applying to this college in the coming years. I wish they realize their follies and stop harassing future applicants with such absurdities.