B-School Selection
Comments 47

The IIM Selection Criteria: Will I get a call from the IIMs?

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 that this is such a popular question, I think it is time to dedicate a post to the same.

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 for the six OLD IIMs.

IIM Selection Criteria 1The first three numbers represent the sectional percentiles and the last one the overall percentile. Once you clear this hurdle you will move on to the next stage.


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
  • 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 20 10 NA 36 15
XII Marks 10 10 15 10 40 0
Grad Marks 10 20 15 10 NA 0
CAT Score 65 40 56 60 20 75
Work Experience 5 8 NA 10 NA 5
Gender Diversity NA 2 4 5 4 5
Education Diversity Yes NA NA 5 NA NA

Some points to note that are specific to some of the colleges.

IIM-Ahmedabad Shortlisting Criteria
As 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 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-Ahmedabad gives no weightage for work experience at any stage. So all that matters is how you do well in your PI, it does not make a difference whether you are a fresher or a working professional.

IIM-Bangalore Shortlisting Criteria
Unlike IIM-A , IIM-B gives weightage both to work experience and to Gender Diversity.

  • The weightage of 5 for work experience is calculated as follows:
    • The marks for work experience = 5*(number of months of work experience)/36.
    • If you have more than 36 months you will get 5 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.

IIM-Kolkata Shortlisting Criteria
While 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 Criteria
There 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 Criteria
While graduation marks along with work experience and education diversity have no role to play in the first call, the final call will give a 15% weightage to graduation marks.

IIM Kozhikode Shortlisting Criteria
While 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.

Also, X, XII & Graduation Marks will have no role to play in the final call. Work experience, which does not have a role to play in the first call, will have a weightage in the final call.


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?

IIM-A uses the marks of all the applicants that they have from the previous years’ to arrive at specific slabs for specific streams at both XII and Graduation Levels.

 

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The classification is an exhaustive one to give a short summary, for the detailed article please see this:

  • AC – 1: Medicine and Surgery based subjects — MBBS, MD(USA).
  • AC – 2: Selected Professional Degrees — CA, ICWA, CS
  • AC – 3: All Commerce, Economics, Finance and Management Related Degrees
  • AC- 4: All Engineering, Technology and Architecture related areas
  • AC -5: All Arts/Humanities Related Degrees, Design, Education, Fashion Design/Technology, Law and Rural Studies
  • AC – 6: Any other discipline not mentioned in AC-1 to AC-5.

Please note that there is no distinction made across boards but only across streams.

Other IIMs use different method use the standard normalisation process based on means and standard deviation of the scores of all applicants.


How much of an impact will X, XII and Grad marks have on getting a shortlist?

While our parents had told us all along how important X and XII marks will be in “settling down” in life, they never really told us much about the importance of Graduation marks. To a certain extent even they, like us, assumed that life will more or less be settled after getting into a good engineering college (by the way there is nothing called settling down, only sediment settles down).

But given the selection criteria of the IIMs and the additional weight given for educational diversity, it might turn out that one stands a better chance had one not chosen engineering in the first place! And if one did, one should have ensured a percentage above 80%!

As you can see from the table above, almost all colleges barring IIM-L, which gives no weightage to X marks, give weightage to X and XII marks.

Each IIM has different marks at different slabs. For example, IIM-A has the following slabs for X:

  • 90 and above – 10 marks; 80 to 90 – 8 marks; 70 to 80 – 5 marks; 60 to 70 – 3 marks; 55 to 60 – 2 marks; less than 55 – 1 mark

All colleges barring IIM-C and K start at slabs of 90 and above. Since these days getting above 90 in X and XII has become quite common, those who get below a 90 in X and XII will have a tough chance getting the first call since they will be dropping valuable points.

The biggest differentiator can end up being Graduation Marks since some of us were good students until till we reached graduation.

So if you have a Graduation CGPA or percentage that is less than 80% then a WAT-GD-PI call from

  • IIM-A or IIM-B is ruled out even with very high CAT percentiles
  • IIM-C is most definitely possible since there is no weightage
  • IIM-L is definitely possible since the weightage is quite low
  • IIM-I most definitely since there is no weightage
  • IIM-K is possible since the weightage is moderate

The table below summarizes calls you can expect for most of the typical Academic profiles.

Academic Profile Versus IIM Calls.jpg

If two out of three among X, XII and Graduation are below 80 then I am afraid there is only a very slim chance of getting a call from any one of the old IIMs.

In case there is a combination I have missed out on, say 80-90-70, you can deduce it from the table and the analysis provided. You have to do at least some DI!

Can Work Experience can compensate for a slightly lower CAT Score?

If you look at the weightage for work experience, A, C and I have no weightage for work-ex, only B, L & K give 8,10 and 13.33 percent weightage to work-ex. 

So those who have work experience of two years and above (and good acads) can get a call from IIMs at Bangalore, Lucknow and Kozhikode at a CAT percentile between 98.5 and 99.

In fact, we have had a girl candidate with 4 years of experience, a good academic profile and belonging to the General Category get a call from B at 96.5 percentile.

Which IIMs are freshers most likely to get a call from?

Freshers are with a good academic profile are likely to get a first call from A, C and L since all the three have more than 50% weightage for CAT Score.

The shortlisting criteria of various IIMs for a final call

The criteria for the final call will more or less remain the same with a few changes coming in here and there. Some b-schools bring in weightage for work experience in the final call stage and others remove weightage for some components such as Gender Diversity from the final stage.

But we will be running ahead of ourselves if we are discussing those elements at this stage. It is best that we cross the bridge when we get to it.

There might be changes this year

Later this year, the IIMs will announce their criteria for the 2018-2020 batch. Apart from IIM-B, most of the IIMs have tended to make some changes or the other every year. So do not treat the criteria as set in stone!


Do not worry about what you can’t change, control and change what you can

This post wasn’t intended to demotivate test-takers rather, as I had mentioned earlier, it has stemmed from a lot of queries posted by aspirants.

Some of you might feel dejected at this point of time that — Oh I didn’t know that IIM-A will not be possible! What’s the point if I can get a call only from one or two old IIMs?

Just take a breather and ask this question to yourself — What is the goal?

  • To get into IIM-A or to build a great career?

Getting into IIM-A might be much easier than surviving IIM-A!

  • Do you know that a number of students (sometimes as high as 20) from reputable graduation colleges drop out after the first trimester at IIM-A being unable to handle the heat!
  • Do you know that big consulting firms such as McKinsey barely give shortlists to candidates who are not from IITs or NITs.

We have to always play with the cards we are dealt. We have to always play the current round well. There is no point wishing for other cards or trying to undo other rounds, both are exercises in futility.

So what is it that you can control and change?

  • Your X, XII or Grad Marks — NO.
  • Your preparation towards getting a great CAT Score – YES.

And remember there is always FMS — the b-school with a fee of Rs. 20, 000 and average salary in excess of Rs.15,00,000 — that does not consider X, XII, Grad marks or work experience both for the first call and the final call. The only scores that matters for FMS are the CAT Score and WAT-PI Scores.

So do not waste your time and mine asking me about whether you will get a call from the old IIMs. It changes nothing in terms of prep plan and application strategy (if you have to ask me whether you will get calls then it means that you have to apply to good schools other than the IIMs).


It is crunch time, NOW

I hope all the readers of this blog are aware that crunch time has started.

A lot of aspirants waste a year and get it on a second or third attempt since they do not bring their A-game early on. They still operate in the college mentality and believe that they can pull it off by getting semi-serious and taking all mocks from September.

Only after trying and failing a few times do they put in their all. Cracking the IIMs and getting that awesome salary is not tough but it is definitely not going to be as easy as getting a 90 or a 9 in your engineering. The CAT is a different kettle of fish altogether.

Those who succeed not just on the CAT(or GMAT) but also at a premier b-school and in their professional life later are those who are willing to plan, prep and put their best foot forward.


I’ll leave you with a story of one of the best students I have had in recent times. A fresher in his third year of engineering, he had enrolled for the GMAT with us and attended most of the classes diligently. Each and everything I told him, right from reading the GMAT blog to planning the mocks he followed to the T. After every Mock he brought his laptop along to discuss how he could get better; he was not late even for a single appointment. He was taking the exam in Bangalore and so before he left to take the exam, he came to me to discuss a bit of the mental part of test-taking with me (he said he gets tense when he is unable to solve a QA problem and I had sorted out the issue for him)

Three days later texted me saying he got a 760!

I asked him whether he was applying to the ISB YLP program and he said he was planning to work for three years and then apply to premier MBA programs abroad; he was not looking at any school in India.

For some reason throughout these 3-4 months, I had not asked him which college he was from. Listening to his career plans, I asked him which college he was studying in and he replied that he was from IIT-Madras!

Given the stereotypes surrounding IITians’ ability (and hence their attitude towards coaching centres) and their attitude, it had not even remotely occurred to me that he might be from IIT-M. I thought he was a bright student from CEG, SRM or SSN.

If an IITian can be so diligent, organized and focused about his prep, I am sure many of you reading this blog should also do the same.

 

 

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47 Comments

    • Hi Amarjeet,

      With all three marks below 80 and two below 70, it is a bit tough to get new IIM calls.

      You should apply to a wide set of colleges among the top 30 schools.

      And given this, you have to get as high a percentile as possible, there is no safe score.

      All the best!

      Like

  1. Ragav says

    Sorry to ask you this coz its my personal score, X – 94.80 ; XII – 91.75 ; BTech(IT) – 7.32/10(CGPA).
    As per the above Is that chances are very less for IIM -A,B Calls?

    Like

    • With a grad GPA below 80, A and B are pretty tough. Since it becomes tough to make up for the drop in marks.

      C is as good as the other two! Forget about the calls for now and get the best score you can.

      All the best!

      Like

  2. MEGHA says

    Hi,
    10- 78, 12- 88 , GRAD – 63
    Female commerce student with 1-year of work experience.
    Can I expect a call from IIM C or new IIMS?

    Kindly revert! Thanks in advance.

    Like

    • Hi Megha,

      Given Gender diversity, you do stand a chance but since your Xth is below 80 you will have to score in excess of 99 to get a call.

      All the best!

      Like

  3. Akshay Khurana says

    Hi,

    10th – 10 CGPA (CBSE Board)
    12th – 86.4% (CBSE Board)
    Bachelors Of Technology – 76.4% (UPTU)
    1 year and 8 months of IT experience as of now.

    At what percentile should I expect a call from these IIMs (A, B, C, L, I, K, S), FMS, XLRI and other premier colleges.

    Thanks in Advance!

    Like

    • Hi Akshay,

      For A and B even a 99.7 plus might not get you a call given that your grad is below 8, the math does not add up.

      But for the rest of the colleges on your list, above 98.5 should get you a few and above 99.5 should get you most of them.

      All the best!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sagar says

    Sir, which of the old IIMs are ruled out for the mentioned profile?
    X – 97, XII – 86, Grad (Engg.) – 8.1

    Like

    • If you have no work-ex then B will be a problem unless you score above 99.5. Else a percentile a 99.3 should fetch 3 of the 6 old IIM calls and above 99.5, all of them.

      All the best!

      Like

  5. varad says

    X th 93 , XII 72 , BE 69
    What should be the safe score in CAT for good colleges ?

    Like

    • There is no safe score Varad, you have to score the highest you can if I say 90 is good will you aim for 90 and once you hit that you will stop trying? And good is relative since it depends upon your profile in relation to the college. So as of now, give your XII and Grad marks, apply to top 30 schools, take all the tests, and aim to score the highest you can.

      All the best!

      Like

  6. karan says

    Hi
    10th-82 12th 74 grad -62
    Category -ST
    what are the chances of getting into older iims if cat percentile is excess of 99.

    Like

  7. Simran says

    Hi,
    X – 92.4 ; XII – 71 ; BE(CS) – 73.3%(CGPA)
    Work ex- 3 years, 8 months
    Female OBC
    Do I stand a chance for any of the IIMs(old and new)?

    Like

    • Given that your XII and Grad marks are below 80 you will have to score above 97.5 to get a call from old and new IIMs, else a percentile around 95 would have sufficed.

      All the best!

      Like

  8. Hello Sir.
    Xth- 78; XIIth- 75; Grad- 70 (B.Sc. Economics Hons); 1.5 years work experience. General, Male.
    Chances with around 98-99 in CAT? Please guide.

    Like

    • A call from the IIMs is really tough since all marks are below 80. MDI and SPJIMR and other schools are possible and maybe a few new and baby IIMs.

      All the best!

      Like

  9. Hey Sir,
    With the profile
    Xth-85.4%
    XIIth-90.4%
    Grad.-74.48%(BSC)
    What can be the safe percentile for IIM’s Calls(Newer+Older{if any})

    Like

    • You can get a call from IIM-A since you have education diversity but the others are not that straightforward.

      At 98 and above you should get a call from the new and baby IIMs.

      For the old IIMs, you know that it has to be above 99.5.

      All the best!

      Like

  10. Vikas Kumar Gupta says

    Good morning Sir
    X – 93.1 ; XII – 78.8 ; BE(E&CE) – 66.12%
    Work ex- 8 months(IT till Aug 2019)
    Male OBC
    Do I stand a chance for any of the IIMs(old and new)?
    Please tell me the required cut-off for FMS as well Sir

    Like

    • Hi Vikas,

      You will need to score around above 97.5 percentile to get calls from old IIMs and FMS since your XII and Grad marks are below par.

      Else a 95 would have sufficed.

      All the best!

      Like

  11. Kapil says

    X- 8.6 CGPA (CBSE)
    XII- 87.8% (CBSE)
    B.Tech – 7.97 CGPA
    Work ex – 2 years till now, still working.
    Male , General
    Chances?

    Like

    • Hi Kapil,

      IIMs A and B are tough since the grad CGPA is below 8 but the rest are possible, with a few calls at above 98.75 and all of them at above 99.5

      All the best!

      Like

  12. Pooja Kumari says

    Good afternoon Sir

    Very insightful article Sir 🙂 and kudos for the same.
    X – 86.4 ; XII – 89.85 ; BMS (Bachelor in Management studies) – 88%(2019 Graduated)
    Work ex- 3 months(till Aug 2019)
    Female OBC
    Do I stand a chance for any of the IIMs(old and new)?
    Please tell me the required cut-off for FMS as well as the CAP Calls?
    Thank you in advance

    Like

  13. Priyashi says

    Good evening sir,
    X-91.2%, XII- 94% Graduation (B.com (h))- 79.325% (after 2nd year), female,General,fresher

    Does the low in my graduation score gonna affect getting calls from top old IIM’s?
    And the safe percentile to be scored to get into top IIMs and cover low grad. marks?

    Like

    • Hi Priyashi,

      Your Grad marks will hinder your chances for A and B but not the rest, you will get a call from a few of them if you score above 98.5 and all of them if you score above 99.5

      Also, you might get a call from A because of your education diversity and since you are a not engineering student 79.325 is not low!

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!

      Like

  14. Hello Sir
    Having profile
    X-7.4 CGPA
    XII-66%
    Grad-70%(B.sc.Science)
    Male SC
    which IIMs do I stand a chance for & what percentile should I target to have a call.

    Like

    • Hi Sayak,

      Since your academic profile is a bit weak, you have to score around 90 percentile to get a call from the old IIMs.

      Between 80 and 90 you can get calls from the new and baby IIMs.

      All the best!

      Like

  15. Pooja Kumari says

    Good afternoon Sir

    Very insightful article, kudos for the same.
    X – 86.4 ;
    XII – 89.85 ;
    BMS (Bachelor in Management studies) – 88%(2019 Graduated)
    Work ex- 3 months(till Aug 2019)
    Female OBC
    Do I stand a chance for any of the IIMs(old and new)?
    Please tell me the required cut-off for FMS as well as the CAP Calls?
    Thank you in advance.

    Like

    • Hi Pooja,

      With all three marks above 80, You have a good chance of getting a call from the old & new IIMs and FMS if you score above 96 percentile.

      IIM-B might be doubtful because of low work-ex but the rest are fine.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!

      Like

  16. rishabh says

    Hello Sir,
    X – 9.4 CGPA (CBSE)
    XII – 84 (CBSE)
    B.Tech – 7.3
    I’ll have a work experience of 6 months by Jan’20. I am a general category student. What percentile will ensure a call from Calcutta and Lucknow. And how well does the profile stand in the XLRI selection process for the BM program?
    Thank-you

    Like

    • Hi Rishabh,

      For C, you will need a percentile above 99.6 and for L a percentile above 99.

      Your profile is good enough to get a call from XLRI BM, though the grad CGPA might be a bit of a hindrance.

      All the best!

      Like

  17. Rhea Gupta says

    Hello sir,
    X-82%
    XII-94. 6%(commerce student)
    Graduation-60℅( law from pune university)
    Female General
    If I score 99% percentile in the CAT exams do I have a chance of getting a call from any of the old IIMs?
    Thank you.

    Like

  18. Sandeep says

    Hi sir,
    I graduated engineering this year (June 2019) . I am in the dilemma whether i need to work or devote my time to CAT Prep. I feel working and preparing simultaneously might hamper my concentration. What will be the sane thing to do if I want to get an admission in top 20 B-schools.
    X- 86%
    XII-90%
    B.E.-70%
    Category-SC

    Like

    • Hi Sandeep,

      The consequences of quitting your job or not having work-ex in terms of getting into an IIM and then during the placements there are discussed in detail in this post — https://thecatwriter.com/2019/03/25/should-i-quit-my-job-to-prepare-for-cat/

      After reading the post, the first and most important question you need to ask yourself — is this job aligned to your career goals? Unless you job role now is linked to your plans post your MBA then there is no point taking up the same.

      So instead of looking at the kind of jobs you, it is better to look at the various paths you have open to you post your MBA and work backwards, to figure out if the job you have is worth it.

      In the post, I discussed the role work-ex plays in different domains.

      If the domain you are interested in needs work-ex and you have a job in hand that is aligned to relates to it then take up, else prepare for CAT.

      Two years in an IT job, when you are not interested in IT, can kill whatever spark you have inside of you.

      If as a fresher, you do not take up your job, everything that I mentioned with respect to the quitting applies to you as well, you cannot just sit at home and do CAT prep.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!

      Like

  19. Yash Juthani says

    Hello Sir,
    X-93.67%
    XII-91%
    Grad-7.0 Economics Honours from Presidency University.
    How much should I get in order to get calls from the old IIMs?

    Like

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