Management Update: IIMs calling

Soon the IIMs will run CAT-qualifiers through the final filter – the Interview and Group Discussion (GD) – in February-March. As Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore (IIM-B) for the first time revealed how it handpicks contenders from among the thousands, it is clear that an aspirant needs to be a smart CATcracker, with impressive marks in Class X, as well as through graduation and have some quality, relevant work experience to boot. And as IIM-B and IIM-Lucknow admission policies show, all these factors carry specific points.

Arindam Lahiri, Director, Academics, Career Launcher, feels that there is nothing new to the IIM selection grind. "Work experience is always checked." It’s just that now you know the formulas (literally- they use to filter out students.

Of late, it’s been seen that a significant chunk of CATtakers comprise people with work experience, says Deekshant Sehrawat of MBAguru Roots Education. Lakhs of freshers who do not make it to an IIM in the first attempt keep trying for the next two-three years, says Sehrawat. It is not surprising then that more and more working professionals are making it to the IIMs and other leading Business Schools in India now. The majority (60 per cent) in IIMAhmedabad’s class of 2009 has work experience ranging from less than a year to more than 60 months. IIM Kozhikode’s 2006-07 batch of 177 students includes 132 with some professional experience.

IIM-A too certainly considers this as one of the criteria to select candidates. In its admission policy for 2008, IIM Lucknow too says that it uses a weights system for relevant professional experience as follows:

Work experience (In months)
Score (Out of 5)
72 and higher

According to IIM-B’s disclosed formula for calculating work experience, it would reward points to work experience up to 36 months.

Pre-GDPI score for work experience = 5x/36 if 0<x<36 (x is the number of months of experience up to December 2007) = 5 if x >= 36

In other words, unlike what IIM-L’s policy, if your professional experience is more than 36 months, you wouldn’t earn a higher score. IIM-B will test your pre-GDPI work experience’s quality as well. The score will be multiplied by the quality of work experience score on a 5 point scale given by the faculty in the GDPI.

IIM Ahmedabad

Of late, it’s been seen that a significant chunk of CAT-takers comprise people with work experience In IIM-B’s points system for academics, Class X carries 15, Class XII 10, Bachelor 15 and CAT 20. On the other hand, IIM-L points slab for academic performance goes like this: Class X, XII and graduation carry 5 per cent each, work experience 5 per cent and aggregate CAT score 30 per cent.

The institutes have also given the minimum percentile required in each of the three CAT sections and in aggregate for first shortlisting. While the actual scores of finalists may be higher depending on their performance, IIM-A has specified that general category hopefuls require a minimum cut-off score of 25 per cent in each of the three CAT sections and 33 per cent in aggregate to receive an interview and GD call. The cut-offs for reserved category contenders would not be less than 17 per cent in each section and no less than 25 per cent in aggregate, it has said.

So, what kind of questions do they ask? "‘What kind of a role did you have in your job?’ ‘How have you grown in your job?’ ‘What’s been your contribution to the organisation?’ If the candidate’s been in the job for two-three years, they ask if there has been any improvement," said Lahiri.

It is indicated that the IIMs shortlisted close to 1 per cent of the 2.3 lakh candidates who took the CAT. According to MBAguru Roots Education, these 20002500 candidates would have nearly 5000 IIM calls among them for the next round of personality assessment. This is because many contenders receive calls from as many as five to six IIMs.

Those who have done well but did not receive any IIM call, have the option of other institutes that accept CAT scores, provided, of course, that they applied to them. There are 111 non-IIM institutes across India that consider CAT scores.

Courtesy: HT & Jeroen Potjes