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My Encounters With The Absurd Admission Process At Narsee Monjee

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By Sreekanth Narayan:

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.

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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.

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  1. Venkatesh

    I agree with all points in your article except one. I think it is great that NMAT gives the option to give the exam thrice, a bit like GMAT. It allows deserving students to save a year in case they have screwed up their first attempt. Moreover the b school gives releases the final results abt 5 times within the time frame, so in case u have good marks, u dont need to retake the exam. 🙂

    1. Sreekanth

      While this is good for candidates who screwed up their first attempt due to a bad day, the questions that appear in a particular slot are mostly repetitive. And these questions are also leaked through various social media. May be they should reduce the time frame of the slots and avoid repeating questions.

  2. rajesh

    My dear friend, just because the rules did not suit you doesn’t make them wrong. If you felt that that process is exploitative ( and even a cursory glance at any MBA prep site would’ve told you about the entire cost of application to nmims), you could have simply chosen not to appear. The 3 strike rule actually gives a second chance to someone who may have just had a bad day during the first attempt. And all the rules you mentioned are clearly mentioned in the application form/ website, whether in small or large print.. if you can’t be bothered to read it or find more through any of the prep sites, how can you blame the institution? ( on a lighter note, maybe they wanted to check if you exercise even a semblance of due diligence ;)) Anyway, tough luck buddy, but time you stopped cribbing and started prepping better.

    1. Sreekanth

      See you are missing the point. While the rationale behind the three strike rule is debatable, the eligibility criteria mentioned in the prospectus is clearly ridiculous. Trust me, I wouldn’t have applied in the first place had I seen such absurdities before NMAT. Neither am I blaming the college for the money and time I had spent. But imagine the amount of good students that the college will be losing out because of these clauses. An MBA aspirant preparing for CAT will normally appear for XAT,IIFT,NMAT and SNAP as he/she would be wanting to get into a good B-School. While it is perfectly obvious that the backlog clause was meant for final year students, the college authorities are unwilling to accept the flaw in their criteria. There is zero logic in those clauses. (FYI, I have better calls. The only reason for going through all these troubles was this misconception that NM was a decent college 😉 )

  3. khali

    I believe the very basis of ur argument is wrong

  4. Akshay

    On thing which I wanted to point out in your article regarding charging money for GD/PI. Don’t you pay up to a college when you apply to it, i.e. you pay an application fee for MDI, NITIE even after paying for CAT. Heck you even pay a separate fees for XLRI even after paying for XAT. How is this case different from paying for NMIMS GD/PI after paying for NMAT?
    You need to understand that for conducting an examination, the institute incurs some costs which it tries to reimburse through the test application process. In case of other colleges all the candidates are paying the application fees which is roughly 2k, whereas in NMIMS only the applicants who have qualified pay this.
    P.S. Not that I don’t agree it is a money minting business, but just that every institute today is following this pattern

    1. Sreekanth Narayan

      The reason why you have to pay separately for XLRI or NITIE is because there are a large number of institutes that use the same test scores for their admission process. But NMAT is solely used by NMIMS? An example would be IIFT. I just have to register onceand if I clear the cut off, I am automatically eligible for the next stage without any extra payment. Because IIFT entrance scores are used only by IIFT. So the whole point of paying up 950Rs for GD-PI is absurd.

    2. ALOK

      I had to say I completely agree with srikanth.The purpose of the institute seems just to make money.I mean consider this.First you have to pay rs. 1600 for registration.Then you need to pay again 1600 if you want to retake and apart from that a sum of 1000 rs more for rescheduling.Now while the retake payment of 1600 can be understood, there is no logic of asking 1000 for resheduling.If so, why don’t they charge the same for sheduling ? And if this wasn’t enough they are selling prepation material in the form of a guide book on flipkart.Which sort of college gives study material to get into itself.Imagine IIT Bombay releasing official book titled “how to crack IIT Bombay”.And I have never heard of a colg. asking money for gd/pi rounds from the candidates who are in the merit less.That’s just Riddiculous.
      I’m also surprised to see they refused admission to srikanth due to a back. I have also had a back here in my colg which I ahve cleared now.So does this mean I will also be refused admission just like srikanth ?

    3. Sreekanth Narayan

      When did you clear it? If you had cleared it before the date of results of your final semester exam, you should be safe. Their weird logic is that you can have any number of backs if you manage to clear it within the date of your final semester results.

    4. Rakesh Sharma

      Bro the book is released by GMAC…they do it for GMAT as that you dont need to join some institue to crack it

    5. Ramakrishna

      NMIMS has now come up with insane gimmicks. For every attempt, an aspirant has to shed 1600 + reapply once again to NMIMS by shedding another 1000 bucks.
      Moreover, the average salary mentioned on the site is dubious. The site shows 16.5 lakh per annum while the truth is it is around 11-12 lakhs/annum. This is a verity. It is better to opt for
      other institutes such as SIBM-Pune, NITIE, IIFT etc.

  5. tushar agarwal

    I am in the same shoes like yours . I have graduated from ST XAVIERS COLLEGE,KOLKATA. I have got my degree one year back but I have got a few backlogs there . So is narsee monjee not possible for me?

  6. Rajat Jain

    I have a backlog in 8th semester which I will clear in December. Am I eligible or not?

  7. Shankul Gupta

    This Is clearly a lie, if we check the clauses words have been added……not the same clauses as mentioned on the official website

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