The IIM Selection Criteria: Will I get a call from the IIMs? comes with Apart from the — how many questions should I answer to score a 99 percentile on the CAT — question, one of the questions that I get asked to answer most frequently both from my students as well as people on Quora is the one that is more or less framed as follows: I have X% in X, Y% in XII and Z% in GRAD, will I get a call from the IIMs? Given the popularity of the question, I think a post on the same is more than par for the course.
The first hurdles are not your Marks but your SECTIONAL and OVERALL Percentile! Even before your Marks come into the play the first level of screening will be to eliminate all candidates who do not fulfil the minimum requirements in terms of overall and sectional percentiles. So even if you have an overall percentile of 97 or 98 but do not clear any one of the sectional cut-offs, you are straightaway eliminated at this stage.
The table below gives you a snapshot of the cut-offs —
General EWS NC-OBC SC ST PWD
IIM-Ahmedabad 80-70-70-70 80-70-70-70 75-65-65-65 70-60-60-60 60-50-50-50 70-60-60-60
IIM-Bangalore 85-80-75-75 75-70-65-65 75-70-65-65 70-65-60-60 65-55-55-55 60-50-50-50
IIM-Kolkata 85-80-80-75 75-70-65-65 75-70-65-65 70-65-60-60 65-55-55-55 55-45-45-45
IIM-Lucknow 90-85-85-85 82-77-77-77 82-77-77-77 70-55-55-55 65-50-50-50 65-50-50-50
IIM-Indore 90-80-80-80 90-80-80-80 80-70-70-70 60-55-55-55 50-45-45-45 50-45-45-45
IIM-Kozhikode 85-75-75-75 75-65-65-65 75-65-65-65 65-55-55-55 55-45-45-45 55-45-45-45
The shortlisting criteria of various IIMs for a first call By now you would know that getting a shortlist from your dream IIM depends on more than just your CAT score. What are the other elements that play a crucial part in the shortlisting process? X Marks XII Marks Graduation Marks CAT Score Work Experience Education Diversity Gender Diversity Each of the colleges gives different weights to each of these components. Some colleges might not use some components. The table below summarises the weight in percentage given to different components of your profile.
IIM-A IIM-B IIM-C IIM-L IIM-I IIM-K X Marks 10 15 10 NA 34 25 XII Marks 10 15 15 10 40 15 Grad Marks 10 15 10 NA NA CAT Score 65 55 56 60 20 45 Work Experience 5 10 NA 10 NA 5 Gender Diversity NA 5 4 5 6 10 Education Diversity Yes NA NA 5 NA 10
Some points to note that are specific to some of the colleges. IIM-Ahmedabad Shortlisting CriteriaAs you can see from the table above there is no numerical weight given to Education Diversity. Instead of giving marks to applicants from different streams, IIM-A uses a slightly different process: The various graduation disciplines are divided into 7 categories The top 100 students or 1% of applicants (whichever is fewer) are shortlisted based on their Composite Score – (Academic Rating).30 + Normalised CAT Score).70 This shortlist does not differentiate between GEN, NC-OBC, SC, ST or DA categories The IIM-A process thus ensures that the best commerce student or doctor or lawyer does not compete with the best engineer. So if 9000 people belonging to a particular stream appear for the CAT, then the top 90 students from that stream will get a call for the WAT-PI round.
The highest percentile in a particular education stream can be 97 but the topper will still get a call provided he/she clears all the sectional cut-offs. IIM-A keeps varying it’s stance on work-ex, as if it were an on & off relationship, it is back on now. IIM-Bangalore Shortlisting CriteriaUnlike IIM-A , IIM-B gives weightage both to work experience and to Gender Diversity. The weightage of 8 for work experience is calculated as follows: The marks for work experience = 10*(number of months of work experience)/36.
If you have more than 36 months you will get 8 marks Gender diversity plays a role only in the first call . For the Final Call the 1 mark allocated to women applicants will be removed and the remaining 35 marks will be for your WAT and PI. Of all the schools, IIM-B’s criteria and interview process have been most consistent and nuanced over the years. For example, while they marks to work-experience, they do not want candidates with work-ex to have an undue or rather unearned advantage over promising freshers. So, during the interview process they evaluate the quality of work-ex on a 5-point scale — 0.25 – 0.5 – 1 – 1.5 – 2 They multiply the marks you got for work-ex by this factor.
So, if you got 8 marks just by the dint of accumulating run of the mill work-ex, which they feel does not rate more than a .25, then it will become 8*.25 or 2. In the final total this would drastically the reduce the advantage that this particular candidate got during the work-ex. Similarly it can also help candidate offset a poor CAT score, a student of mine got a call at around 96 percentile owing to 4-plus years of work-ex and gender diversity. The quality of her work-ex though was standout and she would have got a 2 for sure, making her work-ex marks post the interview 16 and fetching her a final call despite the low CAT percentile (please note that IIM-B uses gender diversity only for first call and not the final call). IIM-Kolkata Shortlisting CriteriaWhile work experience and education diversity play no role in the first call, they play a role in the final call with a weightage of 8 and 3 respectively.
IIM-Lucknow Shortlisting CriteriaThere is no change from the First Call to the second call. There are 50 marks in total for all the components in the first call, to this 50 marks will be added for the WAT and PI to arrive at a final score. IIM Indore Shortlisting CriteriaOnly God knows why they give maximum weightage to XII marks and what uniqueness this brings to the kind of batch they put together! A particular kind of superhero team, may be — those who ace XII in India despite or without focussing on JEE and/or other entrance exams! IIM Kozhikode Shortlisting CriteriaWhile there is a 5% weightage for Gender and Education Diversity, a candidate cannot get marks for both. He/she can get marks only for one of the two. So girls who are commerce graduates DO NOT end up getting an outsized advantage.
This happened in the first year they gave weightage to both and the batch had about 52% women! (Even our elite management schools learn by trial and error) How is the CAT Score used in the shortlisting process of the IIMs? Your CAT Score is first normalised — divided by the highest CAT Score among the applicants — and then multiplied by the weightage or marks given to CAT Score, which is different for each IIM and is indicated in the table above. In a very easy CAT, the scores are all very close to each other and hence when divided by the highest score and then the multiplied by the weightage or marks, differences between scores are further reduced. Hence on an easy CAT a higher percentile will not necessarily make a very huge difference as will the other components, whereas on a difficult CAT on which the marks will be more widespread, CAT scores will end up having a huge impact.
I suppose this explains why at times we hear statements such as CAT is very tough my friend did not get a call even at 99.XY. It is not because of a tough CAT but because of an easy CAT and other components of the profile. How are marks across boards and streams made comparable?
This is usually a big concern for aspirants since different boards and different streams are known to award marks with varying degrees of generosity — the most generous being the ones, in my opinion, in the south of the country and most frugal ones belonging to the east! Obviously, something so obvious will be something that even the IIMs take cognisance of and each of them uses a different method to normalise the marks across boards and streams. How do they equate scores across boards and streams? Each one has their own sweet process and trying to decode that doing that Math is
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