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Tricks of the Trade | Best Commerce Colleges in India

In 2018, Delhi University’s Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) had announced 98.5 per cent as the first cut-off for its BA (Honours) Economics course. The second cut-off was just 0.25 percentage points lower, at 98.25 per cent. SRCC received 1,331 applications for its Economics (Honours) programme and 2,665 applications for BCom (Honours). A towering institution of learning that began as ‘The Commercial School’ in pre-Independence Delhi in 1920, SRCC boasts of a massive alumni network across the country and the world. From the country’s finance minister to top bureaucrats, technocrats and film personalities, the college has a glorious list of achievers.

SRCC attracts students from across the country. Principal Simrit Kaur, however, says most students in the college are not from Delhi. The college works hard to stay relevant and ahead of the pack in order to retain its position as India’s premier education centre for commerce and economics-a position it has held for decades.

SRCC’s 120-strong faculty (permanent and ad hoc) caters to 2,630 students. With great emphasis on the holistic development of students, apart from academics, the college has numerous student societies focused on various areas of interest, such as drama, debating, music, books, sports and literature. Students are also encouraged to work on creating social entrepreneurship models and solving real issues on the ground. No wonder students say a lot of the learning happens outside the classroom-doing projects in the real world.

100,000 euros is what two students from SRCC ’s Incubation Centre received as funding

1,200 persons can be seated in the centrally airconditioned sports complex built in 2010. It has a multipurpose hall, sports field, changing rooms, a physiotherapy unit and a gymnasium

Recently, a group of students worked with Thathera craftsmen of Amritsar to help market their products. Thathera is a dying art of making traditional copper and brass utensils. Designers were brought on board and the products were showcased at several exhibitions, such as Dastkar India, the International Trade Fair and the Jaipur Literature Festival. The students forged collaborations with retail outlets based in Delhi, Chandigarh and Chennai and the products were also listed on premium e-commerce portals.

A team from SRCC stood second runners-up at the Enactus World Championship, 2018, which was held last October in San Jose, California. The championship aims to recognise path-breaking entrepreneurial action that transforms the lives of people and creates widespread social impact. Enactus is an international not-for-profit organisation with presence in 1,700 universities across 36 countries and over 72,000 students as active members.

SRCC is also known to get its students first-hand experience in organising national and international conferences. The conferences are designed by the students themselves on topical issues, such as global risk, sustainability and economic inclusiveness. Last July, SRCC students organised an international conference on empowering women, ‘Fostering Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Sustainability’, in collaboration with the NITI Aayog. Twenty countries participated. The college is also being instrumental in increasing financial literacy through its Financial Literacy Cell, which was launched in 2016 to spread financial education and awareness.

SRCC is also carrying out training programmes for the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) officers and the corporate affairs ministry. Apart from the faculty and practical experiences, the students say they learn a lot from their peers. The environment is highly competitive and can sometimes get tough to cope with. On-campus placements set a record last year, with a student getting an offer of Rs 31 lakh per annum from a consulting firm-the highest placement offer to a student in Delhi University pursuing an undergraduate programme.

The college has enviable infrastructure, including a massive sports complex and a library with digital check-in/ check-out. Another striking feature is the sanitation park, SRCC’s waste management facility. The idea behind it is to nudge students to think of sustainable solutions for India.

Corridors of success: Exam time at Hindu College. (Photo: Chandradeep Humar)

Students say there is immense focus and pressure to be corporate careerists, which veers many with different career goals into corporate life. Students joining SRCC come with various aspirations-some want to join the civil services, some want to do an MBA while several others want to go into academics. It’s this motley mix of backgrounds and aspirations that makes the experience at SRCC more enriching. As principal Simrit Kaur says, the ability to adapt quickly is the key to surviving and thriving in the college. Her advice to students is to focus on what they aim to do and not what they want to become eventually. Because what you do is what you become.

Guruspeak: Simrit Kaur, Principal, SRCC

>What sets SRCC apart?

We try to understand the gaps in our curriculum. We have added value data programmes. We are also working towards beginning courses in artificial intelligence and blockchain technology. We might introduce a language course as well.

SRCC hosts national and international conferences. Some of the recent events held were on global risk, sustainability and inclusiveness. For industry, we have discussed digitally disruptive technologies.

We adopt a very good methodology towards ensuring the holistic development of students. We have over 39 students’ societies-largely run by student bodies-developing the applied skills of students.

We also have a sanitation park. Today, my students know how much waste they are generating.

We offer students 24/7 counselling-both for their career and psychological well-being. We maintain full confidentiality.

>What defines a student from SRCC?

Typically, SRCC students have very high IQ. They are very high on adaptability-most of my students are from south India, so there is a culture shock. Our students are very aspirational, so the frustration levels are high if their aspirations are not fulfilled.

My experience at SRCC: Arjun Madhusudan, 1st year, BCom (Hons)

>What is unique about SRCC?

It is a student’s dream to get admission in SRCC. With all its societies and activities, there are just so many things to do. The faculty is very inspirational and one gets to learn so much from batchmates. There is good infrastructure. SRCC is a great package.

>One advice to future students

Enrol yourself in the societies that interest you because it is actual learning.

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