IIM Bangalore has decided to go public and fully transparent with their flagship PGP selection process. I, for one, welcome that! Apparently, there’s been a heated debate amongst IIMB faculty regarding this move, but it’s now official. A 5-page document detailing the admission process is available on the IIMB website.
I’m sure the process is somewhat similar across the IIMs, though the big B is known for a lot of what is known in the circuit as single-calls, that is, candidates who are invited for interviewing with IIMB though they do not have calls from the other IIMs. The document sure answers a lot of questions about the admission process.
You can read the process description yourself and make your own judgments. But here’s the low-down, if you don’t want to bother.
- CAT: 20 points
- 10th Board Exam: 15 points
- 12th Board Exam: 10 points
- Bachelors Degree: 15 points
- Work experience: 5 points
- Group Discussion score: 7.5 points
- Group Discussion summary score: 7.5 points
- Personal Interview score: 20 points
One. The process is, as expected, rigorous (read the work-experience section in the document to get a feel of why I say that). It takes into account historical data of students and its correlation to their performance at IIM Bangalore to determine the weights and factors to be considered for the next batches. It’s a quaint field of math known as multivariate analysis. Don’t bother. It can’t be proved that it’s the best way to process admissions, but it sure is the only way that is objective and looks successful, from the outside, at least.
Two. Candidates with spikes in even one area (like super-stellar 10th Board exam scores (think, uh, 98.5% or more)) are invited for the GD/PI stage, though, however, their performance has to match with the general pool for final offer of admission.
Three. Past performance has to be both high and consistent.
Four. Work experience is surprisingly weighted at only 5 points. I personally think work experience has to be given more weight in admissions and believe (nay, know) that this is the single most important thing that the IIMs can do to take the IIM brand truly global. I wouldn’t have said this before my IIMB days. I wouldn’t have said this after one year of IIMB. But I sure do say it now. If you’re a CAT aspirant and don’t have any work experience, I strongly, strongly suggest that you work for 2-3 years in the real business world before you do your MBA. It will do wonders to what you will take away from your 2 years of higher education.
Five. The biggest surprise is, however, that the CAT score has only 20 points weight. And will account for an even lower weight when it comes to the aggregate total used for giving out final offers. Whoa. That sure sets a whole lot of delusions about the CAT to rest. The common perception had been that the CAT is well over 70% of your story, which I suspect has been a story constructed by coaching institutes. Ah well. Not that it’s going to change anything, but still, nice to know. The truth about the de-emphasis on CAT is bad news for under-performers during 10th, 12th and under-grad, but this was not entirely unexpected. If you took a walk inside any of the IIMs, you’d find that the place is densely populated with heavy academic performers who also happen to be great with extracurrics (which I think would probably be factored into the Personal Interview score).
Six. I would like to see career success (measured over the immediate 5 years after graduation) being incorporated into this. IIMB is old enough to have data on that and it sure as hell is one heck of an important factor. (Not placement salaries, mind you, but career success. I know that’s a whole Pandora’s hell-hole, but I also know it is more important a factor than CGPA.)
I’m sure this will incite numerous debates and upheavals about whether the process is fair, correct, objective, sexist, racist, whatever. But it’s great that IIMB has taken the first step in making the process transparent. It at least gives you a chance to reasonably surmise where you lost out, if you didn’t get a call or an offer, rather than coming out feeling like a total idiot.
If nothing else, it’s saved about 250,000 good folk wasted hours of heated discussions on why they did or did not get calls. Amen.