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INDIA TODAY

    CURRENT ISSUE JUNE 05, 2006

 

   COVER STORY: INDIA TODAY-AC NIELSEN-ORG-MARG SURVEY OF    COLLEGES

 
COMMERCE

Delhi's Shri Ram College of Commerce tops again, while four colleges make high-flying debuts
  PICTURE SPEAK
FLYING HIGH: Jubilant students on the SRCC campus
Year after year, while India Today survey results for best colleges across the country record entrances and exits, one slot remains unaltered. The story is no different this time. In what can aptly be described with American rap metal band Limp Bizkit's famous remark 'it's something like a phenomenon', Delhi's Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) has yet again retained its status as the best college for commerce. With cut-off marks touching 93 per cent for admission to its b.com course, the college attracts only the most focused and brightest of business minds.

Also firmly entrenched in the second position is St. Xavier's, Mumbai, while the third place in this stream has been bagged by Loyola College, Chennai, up five places from the No. 8 slot last year.

TOP 10
1 SRCC, Delhi
2 St. Xavier's College, Mumbai
3 Loyola College, Chennai
4 St. Xavier's College, Kolkata
5 Narsee Monjee College, Mumbai
6 Symbiosis, Pune
7 LSR College for Women, Delhi
8 St. Joseph's College, Bangalore
9 Presidency College, Chennai
10 BM College, Pune

It is not just the quality of students, SRCC also has an illustrious set of teachers, many of whom, like C.B. Gupta, are authors of textbooks prescribed in schools and colleges. The college maintains that selection for different faculty positions is extremely competitive and fair with no interference from the governing council or anyone else.

"No institution can become No. 1 overnight. It is a long, tedious process and takes years of perseverance and focus to reach this stage," remarks P.C. Jain, principal, SRCC. The college remains dedicated to commerce education and offers only two programmes: b.com (Hons) and BA Economics (Hons) at the undergraduate level. Despite the fact that it offers just two courses, the number of faculty members for the commerce department alone is 41.

CITYWISE RANKING
Delhi

1 SRCC
2 LSR College for Women
3 Hindu College
4 Hans Raj College
5 Jesus & Mary College

Mumbai

1 St. Xavier's College
2 Narsee Monjee College
3 RA Poddar College
4 Sydenham College
5 HR College

Kolkata

1 St. Xavier's College
2 Goenka College
3 Shivnath Shastri College
4 Shri Shikshayatan College
5 City College

Chennai

1 Loyola College
2 Presidency College
3 Ethiraj College
4 Pachaiyappa's College
5 Stella Maris College

Bangalore

1 St. Joseph's College
2 Christ College
3 Mount Carmel
4 SBMJ College
5 NMKRV

Based on perceptual scores

Sticking to the knitting has helped the college concentrate on developing the most effective pedagogy techniques, contends Jain. "An in-built check-in mechanism has been developed. Different teachers take classes and tutorials and teach various sections within the same paper," he explains. "That way, if someone is not accurate and extensive in classes, the faculty member can immediately be reprimanded." Regular classes also ensure that the syllabus is completed on schedule, and students get ample time to approach professors with queries. During protests or strikes by teachers, the general rule is that they conduct classes prior to demonstrations or hold 'special Sunday classes' to make up for lost time.

Sterling performances by college students in university exams stand testimony to its reputation. In the academic year 2005-06, the college bagged eight out of the top 10 university ranks in the commerce stream and five out of the top eight in economics. Apart from this, the seventh rank-holder in this year's IAS exam is its alumnus and almost 20 of its students have made it to the IIMs and other Grade A MBA institutes.

SRCC is no stranger to academic success. Since 1926, when the college -then called Commercial College -was affiliated to Delhi University, its results have stayed top-notch. "The peer group created by SRCC was a source of immense learning," recalls Rajiv Memani, country managing partner, Ernst & Young, who is also a chartered accountant by profession. "Each had diverse interests; some went on to get MBA degrees from top institutes or became entrepreneurs right after college."

FROM THE PRINCIPAL
"No institution can become No. 1 overnight. It takes years of perseverance."
P.C. JAIN, SRCC

Interestingly, even till the late 1980s, the college had the reputation of being a patriarchal institution, with just a handful of women on its student rolls. "As a woman student, one was often the focus of a lot of attention which was interesting, but also very intimidating," says Latika Khaneja, an alumnus of SRCC (Class of 1985) and IIM-Calcutta and now a sports manager.

Alongside remarkable academic results and achievements, SRCCians also take time out to excel in extra-curricular activities, including debates, model United Nations sessions and other conventional art forms. "We were never just geeks. There was a very balanced approach to academics, sports and cultural activities in college," says Mohit Bhatia, senior vice-president and CFO, genpact. SRCC enjoys the distinction of being the only college to hold late-night festivals and conducts the annual National Colloquium, where leading corporate leaders like Kumaramangalam Birla, Sunil Bharati Mittal, Mukesh Ambani and Y.C. Deveshwar have held day-long seminars.

It goes without saying that the college alumni are a versatile lot. Cases in point are Lalit Suri, a hotelier, industrialist and politician; Arun Jaitley, a leading lawyer and politician; and Navtej Singh Sarna, spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs and fiction-writer. Considering the crop of remarkable talent and impressive rankings, one can safely predict that toppling SRCC from its exalted position will take some doing by other institutes.

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