IIM Bangalore Admission Process

The news

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.

Pre-GD/PI break-up:

  • CAT: 20 points
  • 10th Board Exam: 15 points
  • 12th Board Exam: 10 points
  • Bachelors Degree: 15 points

Post-GD/PI additions:

  • Work experience: 5 points
  • Group Discussion score: 7.5 points
  • Group Discussion summary score: 7.5 points
  • Personal Interview score: 20 points

Quick thoughts

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.)

That’s that

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.

13 Comments

  • I really dont think this is a good decision….. scores in boards and bachelors’ dont necessarily speak of the aptitude of an individual for an mba program.!!
    Also :
    1) The leniency in board correction may vary state wise.
    2) It would be something like considering 10th and 12th board mark for IIT-JEE….
    Entrance like CAT, tests an individuals’ ability to perform accurately under pressure along with conceptual clarity, unlike mugging up the text book(s) for the Boards.
    3) And for Bachelors’, the students who fall under the CGPA system (who are graded on the class average or something similar are marked from top to bottom) have more chances of getting a sharper edge against the students who are marked on percentage grounds which they obtain from a university say CUSAT or MGU The correction in the latter case is strict and may involve corruption. :(

    4) Work Experience is given only 5 points

    This Curiosity worries me the most : Will all the IIM’s upgrade to this phenomenon, in the future and deny admissions to those who even have a good CAT percentile?

  • 1. The leniency is taken care of by normalizing the scores to the respective boards, so that’s not much of a concern.

    2. The CAT is, all said and done, only an aptitude test and I guess consistent performance throughout your academic life merits a significant weight. Consider this: Sehwag has brilliance but Dravid is consistent. Who’d you pick to go into a crunch game against the Aussies?

    3. No, the CGPA has no edge, as the scores are normalized

    4. Work experience is what I worry about the most. Significant work experience is I think a much better preparation for an MBA program than anything else. You’d be able to take away much more from an MBA if you have worked or have had some kind of non-trivial association with customers, clients or markets. But I’d wager that over the long term, the IIMs will move towards a more serious slant to work experience.

  • Phew! Worries Mitigated

  • 1)A higher weightage for 10th and 12th marks makes it difficult for candidates who are self taught to get into IIMs.
    It is equivalent to making reservation for candidates who are born to educated parents.

    2) Extra curricular activities at an early age should be given lesser or no weightage as compared to ones in their bachelors or during work when they are on their own.

    3) IIMs seems to be blind to candidates with work experience after 10th or 12th.There might be candidates who fund their education after few years of earnings.

    There is a need to assess true merit. The current system of assessment seems biased.

  • Naveen-

    You raise a good point in 1. If you have been self-taught, it certainly stacks the odds against you. But it doesn’t not prohibi you in any way.

    Re: 2, there is no preference for extra curriculars at an early age, so I don’t see that as a problem.

    Re: 3, no, there is no evidence to proev your #3, funding your own education after 10th or 12th would be only a positive if anything as it shows drive, determination and independence at an early age.

  • good decision.no worries about admission

  • [...] current PGP at IIMB remarks: It can’t be proved that it’s the best way to process admissions, but it sure is the only way [...]

  • This is to the one who put their effort for this rules, I don’t know Ramesh, who put you this thoughts , it seems shame on some one asking talent to go down by counting the % of Players, % of players has no business in delivering the Common Sense, if you are unable to manage the concepts of the game it sounds no good at going depth, i think every one has the same Brain, its the matter of maturity, i hope you understood ………..

    you can reach me at keepcooliim@gmail.com

  • Considering 10th and 12th marks… not a good idea… i mean its ridiculous….

  • sandeep wrote:

    ITS realy not good to judge on the basis of 10th ,12th, marks . because there may be students who worked for years part time job for con tinuing studies and if today they got good percentile after a long battle for coaching , degree, what mean–mean they can’t get into iim’s. we say that we have very intelligent persons here at iim’s. it’s a great lie .who took these decisions are not aware of insian poorty. r not aware of the real stand of india today. they all must be expelled from iim’s. they don’t have any right to stay there.
    even 2009 budget has been totalyy based on indian poors and not only about industrialists, that’s a good one . but what’s going in iim’s is realy embarrasing. an mba is suposed to take decisions quickly with a very great accuracy, inventive . but what it is we say these persons wise one at iim’s . if i were there i would have kicked them out

  • will someone please tell me that, in case of 12th % will iims take overall % i.e. PCMB along with language marks
    or only PCMB marks or only PCM marks.Why i am worried about this is, i have a preety good % if i consider PCM
    marks and at the same time i have very bad % if i consider PCMB and language marks, since i haven’t done well in
    Bio and languages. So please help me out. You can send your answers to my id
    ramya_shree98@yahoo.in

  • will some1 plzzz tell me dat what is eligibility criteria to admsn in IIMB…………….!
    i didn’t get dat, what is
    CAT: 20 points
    10th Board Exam: 15 points
    12th Board Exam: 10 points
    Bachelors Degree: 15 points…………….!
    so plzz help me………..!
    i hav good marks in 10th, bt bad score in 12th………!
    nd nw m in FY of engineering (IT)………!
    so sir plz help me………!

  • Hello sir! Nicely written and an useful information you have shared
    with us, thanks for that. Sir, I have a doubt regarding the performance
    in 10th, 12th and bachelors degree. My marks are as give below:

    10th- 90
    12th- 74
    U.G.- 72

    Work ex- 2 years

    Sir, kindly let me know if I would be eligible for a call from IIMs
    A,B,C for PI if my cat percentile is above 99.

    Reply is awaited.

    Thanks & regards

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