B-School Selection
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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 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 — OA—VA-RC—DI-LR—QA



















































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.

X Marks 10 20 10 NA 34 25
XII Marks 10 10 15 10 40 15
Grad Marks 10 20 15 10 NA NA
CAT Score 65 40 56 60 20 45
Work Experience 5 8 NA 10 NA 5
Gender Diversity NA 2 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 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 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 Criteria
Unlike 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 = 8*(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 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
Only 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 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.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 possibly the biggest waste of time. Your job is to get the best score you can, let them do the Math! 

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%!

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, C and I have no weightage for work-ex, only A, B, L & K give 5, 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 A, B, L, and K 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, provided they score in excess of 99.50 (GEM).

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.

Later this year, the IIMs will announce their criteria for the next 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. 2,00, 000 and average salary in excess of Rs.25,00,000 — that has close to 85% weightage for CAT score 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 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, SSN, or SRM (the biggest colleges other than IIT-M in Chennai)

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



  1. Upshant Saini says

    Sir, I graduated in 2020 from Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, University of Delhi with finance specialisation. I have converted IIM Indore & IIM Kozhikode, and I want to specialise in Marketing. Which B-school should I join? Please I request you to reply soon as last date of initial fee submission is approaching.


    • Hi Upshant,

      Both colleges were started at the same time and are more or less in the same league.

      IIM-K seems to be doing quite well even with the new courses it has launched — my former reporter is doing a PhD. there — and the campus is also great.

      So, personally, I would suggest IIM-K; you will not be making a huge mistake if you choose Indore as well for any other reason.

      All the best!


      • Upshant Saini says

        Thanks a ton sir! For me, your guidance is always substantial for final decision making. even, your specialisation videos also helped me a lot in deciding marketing as my specialisation. Thanks again.


  2. Aravindraj S says

    Dear Sir,
    I graduated in Mechanical Engg. from CEG, Chennai in 2018. I have X marks (96.4), XII (89.25), and Graduate (83.5). I have 23 months of work experience in one of the largest agrochemicals company in India. Currently, I am with our family business (not so active) and a stock investor. I have GMAT scores of 750 (online) and 730 (center-based). I want to pursue MBA with much focus on Business Strategy. Can I get a call from IIM A, B, and C? which college in India is one of the best in Business Strategy at the Asia level? I’ve already started my CAT preparation. is worth dedicating my time for CAT preparation? or to apply to abroad universities with my GMAT score? I’m looking forward to an admission consultant. How can I pursue with IMS for abroad admission consulting?


    • Hi Aravind,

      Always good to hear from a good CEG student (I was taking care of IMS-Chennai and have had a lot of good students from CEG).

      To answer your query, there are no specific business strategy programs, all flagship MBA programs offered by major schools are business strategy programs since the whole course is devoted to that! Schools offer specialised programs in Analytics, Sustainable Management etc.

      Given your academics and work-ex, you can definitely get a call from the IIMs, quite a few CEG students in the past have as well. the old IIMs are all competitive at an Asia-level in terms of outcomes.

      The choice between GMAT and CAT is not one of better colleges but of what kind of career you want to build and how much financial investment you are ready to make.

      You should take the GMAT if you want to build a career abroad and have no plans to return to India since only that will make the huge investment in terms of the fee you would need to make to do an MBA abroad.

      Do not stop your CAT Prep, go ahead and give CAT 21 the best shot.

      Do not waste your GMAT score, apply to good schools in India (ISB) and abroad and see what comes of it (if you are okay with the financial spend)

      You can take a call once all the results are out — around this time next year.

      You can write to dipti@imsindia.com with my reference. She heads our Consulting Business and will be able to guide and onboard you to an IMS Admission Consulting program.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  3. Vas says

    Sir what about extracurriculars and PORs?

    Granted, they do not have any objective scores assigned to them, but if a candidate has done zero in both of them, it can only give off a negative impression to the interviewers (both in admission and summer/final placments), since quite a lot of candidates would at least have average records in these


  4. Omkar says

    Sir, I wish to complete either GMAT OG or RC 100 for practising RC. Last time I couldn’t perform well and scored 89%ile in VARC. Can you please suggest which one should I choose?
    I cannot choose to do both because of time constraints.

    Also, I want to know whether I can use Magoosh for vocabulary building. or any other source is better than Magoosh. Maybe Barron or Word Power Made Easy.
    The way Magoosh is structured, I find it easy to study. But I don’t know how effective will it be for CAT? I’ve heard it is good for GRE.

    Thanks in advance


    • Hi Omkar,

      If you have to practice one of the two then I would suggest RC 100.

      As far as vocab goes, it is not directly tested on the CAT as it is on the GRE, where the list more or less is the one from which words turn up — on the CAT and other Indian tests, knowing the list will come in handy in terms of improving your comprehension but not in terms of words directly turning up from that list, so in that sense, it does not matter which list you use.

      All the best!


  5. Aspirant says

    Sir I belong to SC category, Engineer, Male. My acads are 91/72/73 and fresher. How should I use these data w.r.t. my catagory? And what percentile in SIMCATs(and CAT thereafter) should I target to get into IIM ABC?


    • Hi,

      With respect to your category the only thing that changes is the sectional cut-offs presented in the first table.

      You should score around the 90th percentile on the CAT and between 80-85 on the SimCATs.

      All the best!


  6. HI SIR
    I my name is ravi. i want to ask at what percentile i can expect a call from BLACKI. my acads are 94/72/83 and i am a NC-OBC and a NON -ENGINEER{Bsc general} student.

    please tell seperat percentile target for ABC and KIL.


    • Hi Ravi,

      If you read the post closely, you will have deduced that an IIM-I call is virtually ruled out, given your XII marks.

      You would have also realised as far as calls go, it is not that ABC falls into one category and LIK into another.

      As a fresher, you will need in excess of 99.50 to get calls from the old IIMs.

      All the best!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. raviyadav2001 says

    HI SIR
    I my name is ravi. i want to ask at what percentile i can expect a call from BLACKI. my acads are 94/72/83 and i am a NC-OBC and a NON -ENGINEER{Bsc general} student.

    please tell seperat percentile target for ABC and KIL.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sandhya Varadharajan says

    Dear Sir,

    Thanks for the lovely post, it brought a lot of clarity to me as a fresher aspiring to crack CAT 2021. I am a general category student from Law background (Gujarat National Law University) and I have a 90/90/77 kind of profile (but IIMA seems to have different grad score slab points for people from different backgrounds which makes me get a 10 even with only 77).

    Though I am going to try and get the maximumhat should be my minimum target percentile to get a call from IIMA/C irrespective of whether the CAT is tough or easy?

    With 3 Presimcats and 2 Simcats down, I have been consistently getting in the range of 97-98%ile irrespective of whether it has been easy or difficult, and have been managing to clear the sectional cut-offs. Verbal is my stronger section, DILR is decent, but my Quant needs more honing. I would love to hear your suggestions, sir.

    Thank you very much!


    • HiSandhya,

      Given that you are a law student, you will get a call from IIM-A at a percentile close to 90 owing to education diversity. In the past, law students have got a call at around 87-88.

      For the rest of the IIMs as a fresher would need to score at least a 99.30 percentile to get calls.

      The posts on each of the sections will follow.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!


      • Sandhya Varadharajan says

        Thank you, sir!
        I have another doubt, does my CAT percentile matter after I get a call?


  9. Piyush kolte says

    Sir I belong to OBC category, Engineer, Male. My acads are 82/71/73 and fresher. I’m from Mumbai University, How should I use these data w.r.t. my catagory? And what percentile in SIMCATs(and CAT thereafter) should I target to get into IIM ABC?


    • Hi Piyush,

      Normally a percentile of around 96 secures a call for the NC-OBC category but since your X and XII marks are not that great you might need to score above 98 to get calls from any of the old IIMs.

      All the best!


  10. Kamal says

    Hello Sir,
    I am a BA History graduate. My marks in X, XII and Graduation are 93,93,65 percent respectively. At what percentile can i expect a call from BLACKI?



    • Hi Kamal,

      As mentioned in the post, freshers would usually need above 99.50 to get a call.

      Given that you have education diversity you are likely to get a call from IIM-A at a lower percentile provided you stand in the top 100 of the BA grads taking the CAT.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  11. Binita says

    I’m a General non eng female and my scores are 83/91/76. By the time I do sit for interview rounds next year, I would have completed 30+ months of workex. Is there a chance I can get an IIMB call? Asking as I will be having a gap of 8 months in my profile since I’d take a drop to prepare last year after 24months of workex in HR but things didnt work in my favor and hence had to start working again along with prep side by side since April’21.


    • Hi Binita,

      The gap in work-ex is not a problem, it is the quantum of work-ex at the time of application that counts. Anything above 24 months will be competitive and your marks are also decent.

      You will need to score in excess of 98.50 to get a call.

      All the best!


  12. Adarsh Kumar says

    Love reading your articles Tony! Keep it up!
    It would be amazing if you could write on how to handle the stress of a 2 hour CAT exam where even a slight fumble may hurt our chances. Thanks



    Hello sir,
    I am a general engg female with 88/87.33/88 as my 10th/12th/grad. I have 2 years work ex and this is going to be my third attempt for CAT. I was hoping if you could tell me what kind of percentile should I be aiming for sectional as well as overall to get calls from creme-de-la-creme calls. I have started my preparation from revising the concepts and practicing again. Also sir when I wrote 2-3 mocks my scores were stagnant, I haven’t shown any improvement so for I now I am refraining from giving any further mocks. Can please help me with a more organized plan for prep?


    • Hi Parul,

      With 2 years of work-ex, decent academics and gender diversity you can expect calls from old IIMs if you cross the 98.75th percentile, if you cross the 96th percentile you can expect calls from SPJIMR and MDI.

      As far as score improvement and prep plans go, there will be more posts coming up.

      You need to figure out for each section where your problems lie — concepts, question selection & time-management strategies, or execution. You will find videos on question-selection and time-management strategies in the CHANNEL Tab of myIMS.

      I will be doing the video solutions for a few SimCATs and Masterclasses as well.

      All the best!


  14. Vamsi karumuri says

    Thank You for the post sir,
    I got 90.25 95.1 90.4 scores . I am bit doubtful in varc but i can surely clear sectional cutoff .will it effect my selection process ? also could you please tell some tips to prepare for varc


    • Hi Vamsi,

      As long as you can clear the VA-RC sectional cut-offs you will get a call.

      For VA-RC, you need to look at how closely your processes/techniques to solve a question adheres to the processes & techniques followed in the video solutions of the SimCATs.

      In addition, you can open this blog on a larger screen and look at the page titled VA-RC Strat.

      I will be doing Masterclasses as well starting July.

      All the best!


  15. Sathvik Kappala says

    Hi sir,
    I have 93 in Tenth, 92 in 12th and 81 in Graduation and I hail from Arts background (BA). After graduation I did my PG (MA) for 2 years, prepared for Civil Services (and couldn’t make it) for 2 years and worked as a lecturer for 1 year. I am 25 now. I have 3 doubts could you please solve them?
    1. What are my prospects for entering an old IIM?
    2. What percentile should I be targeting in the CAT exam? I am a bit weak in QA.
    3. Given my academic background, I doubt if I can end up with a good placement even if I join an old IIM. How would I fare vis a vis young engineers from IITs and NITs during the placements?

    Also, I have been watching your videos sir. You are simply amazing. Thank you.


    • Hi Sathvik,

      Glad to know that you have seen the webinars and find them useful.

      To answer your queries:

      1: You know that the gap years while preparing for civils etc. does not have any bearing on your getting a first call since there is no quantitative penalty for the same. You will get as many marks for work-ex as a person with 1-year work-ex. Age is also not a consideration in any way.

      2. Since your X, XII, and grad are excellent and you have eduction diversity, you can get a call from one of the old IIMs at a percentile of 99 and above.

      3. After that it just depends on how well you can make a case for yourself as a candidate for a degree in management and since both IAS as MBA have the A in common I would think it works perfectly, if not IAS then MBA. There are no right or wrong answers, only convincing and unconvincing ones.

      3. Lastly if only IITians and NITians are recruited by firms then most firms will not have any employees! A small portion of the jobs are likely to go to the small proportions of people from these schools that too if they are good.

      The universe is much larger than just the old IIMs and IITs and NITs.

      My advice would be not be narrowly fixated on the old IIMs and focus on a larger pool of colleges such as MDI, SPJIMR, and others. All of them offer a good education and a good start, after which it is completely upto your talent.

      Go ahead and give it your best shot, forget those two years and your age, if anything they are two years of more knowledge, if not wisdom 🙂

      Put your head down and prep

      All the very best!

      P.S: Where are you from, Satvik? Just curious because of your name, is it AP/Telangana?


      • Sathvik Kappala says

        Wow! I did not expect such a swift and detailed reply from you sir. The fact that you stressed on my worries shows that you understand your students and are empathetic towards them even if you know them just from comments. I know this because I have been reading a lot about Emotional Intelligence lately. You have answered all of my doubts. Thanks a lot sir. As you have said, I will focus on giving my best shot in the CAT ’21.
        And yes I am interested in knowing more about the MBA universe. Could you please guide me with an article/video to go through, to learn about the good colleges out there for joining an MBA?

        Lastly, you have hit the bulls eye sir! I am from Hyderabad. Kudos to you and thanks once again for everything.


      • Good to know my hunch was right 🙂 And good to know that you are doing some quality reading.

        The good colleges are actually only a handful. Take the CAT, XAT, IIFT, NMAT and SNAP and in addition apply to premier schools through these tests apply to schools such as MDI & SPJIMR.

        All the best!


  16. I hope sir, that your ruling out of IIM A and C for X and XII marks less than 90%, that was after the normalization process across all different boards, etc. My concern is I am from Rajasthan Board and scores are 87% and 89% in 10th and 12th respectively, as from past experiences of JEE mains i had got a pretty good advantage due to my Board as comapred to any CBSE student lets say with the same marks.


    • Hi Somesh,

      I have given a general benchmark. Each college says it normalises but I have no clue if they do it using the same process as the JEE does since, as I said, every college follows its own process.

      Either way do not spend any time worrying about whether you will get a call, ensure you get the best score on CAT and on the other exams you can and that you apply to the Top 30 colleges.

      All the best!


  17. Anonymous says

    Hi Sir,
    I am a general non engg female with 93/91/84 as my 10th/12th/Graduation marks. I will have 9 months of work experience till July 2021 and then I will quit my job. Could you please tell me what sectional and overall percentile should I be aiming to get a call from old IIMs? Also will there be any disadvantage of having a work ex of less than 1 year as I won’t be a part of both prominent groups of applicants – freshers and 2 years of work ex.


    • Hi Anon,

      The sectional cut-offs are mentioned in the post, overall given your gender diversity you can get calls if you get a percentile above 99.

      Your 9 months works is not a problem at all; you do not need to belong to either camp, everyone below 16 months is effectively treated as a fresher by recruiters.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  18. Hi Sir,
    I’m a general category engineer female with X/XII/Grad scores as 92/81/77 respectively and I have a work experience of 10 months as of July. I also have a gap year between clasa XII and graduation. Your blog is definitely extremely detailed and my question might be redundant, but since you mentioned it gets really tough below 80 percent in graduation, wanted to ask you separately. Thanks in advance.


    • Hi Shrestha,

      It does get a bit tough but one need not be completely despondent since the question of normalization is also there. Given the marks for gender diversity, you might be able to sneak in a few calls, B and K, for example.

      All the best!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Chandan S says

    Hi Tony Sir,

    CAT 20 was my first attempt and I secured 91.87%ile (VA 93%ile, DILR 64%ile, QA 93%ile), maybe you remember me from when I shared my D-Day experience with the horrible DILR attempt. You really helped me understand what happened wrong and motivated me for other upcoming tests. Nevertheless, with similar DILR performance in other tests also, I was able to secure PI calls from NMIMS Mumbai, XIMB and IIFT but didn’t convert any of them.

    I’ve started preparing for CAT 21 while reflecting upon last year’s mistakes. I completed my BBA last month and have some questions around my workex situation.

    First, given the pandemic situation and definitely a less than 12 months experience till CAT or the PI, should I go for a job or focus on maximizing my scores meanwhile doing some relevant finance courses on Coursera, Udemy, NSE etc. (I will not do them just for a certificate) and also continue trading/investing in the market ?

    Second, If I go for a job, I am getting a job at a financial accounting/tax consulting firm along with which I will be able to manage my preparation, but do you think the “accounting” part in the job will hinder my aspirations for analyst/investment banking roles in the future or my profile in PI ?

    I’m getting confused with all this and it would be really helpful if you share your thoughts and help me decide.

    Chandan Sakargayen


    • Hi Chandan,

      I think I recollect our conversations in the past.

      Well, it is best to keep things simple — your work-ex in accounting will not at all hurt your chances of getting a Fin job that you like, CAs are the most sought after profiles by Fin recruiters, if their accounting work-ex was a hindrance then they would get those plum Fin jobs.

      So, your decision to take up a job or not has to be solely based on your ability to manage work and DI-LR Prep, if you feel you cannot then do not take up a job and do the certifications, taking CFA L-1 in December will be the best thing you can do in case you are taking a break since it is not that tough, the only reason to not do it will be if you want to do it with your own money later.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  20. Kartikeya says

    Hello Sir, I am in the 3rd year of my engineering with 80% in X and XII. I have a Best Delegate in an MUN and quite a few work with NGOs along with Yoga participations (If included in Sports spike). I was wondering if Extra Curriculars can make me Eligible for IIM A or B (Really tense after reading this).


  21. Kartikeya says

    Hello Sir,
    I am in my 3rd year of my Engineering. I have 80% in X and XII, but I have really good Co curricular. I have a Best Delegate at an MUN, Yoga participations (If considered as sports). Also a lot of NGO Work. Will my Co Curricular make me eligible for IIM A and B.(A bit scared after reading this)


  22. Rahul Sharma says

    Hi Sir,
    I am an economics major from the University of Delhi class of 2020. I have 90%+ in both class X and XII. I will be writing the CAT 21 exam. I am currently an active part of my family business. There are a lot of different opinions about family business work experience being considered as a valid experience or not, so i wanted to be clear about it as the CAT registration form is out. Also, what kind of questions should one be prepared for in PI in such a case?


    • Hi Rahul,
      As long as your work-ex with the family business has all the formal elements of a professional work-ex – pay slips, bank statements – it will be considered work-ex, without these it will not be.

      The questions will not be any different, they will be about your role, your firm, your industry.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  23. Nikhil says

    HI SIR
    My name is Sai Nikhil Studying at NIT Andhra Pradesh. I want to ask at what percentile I can expect a call from BLACKI. my academics is 93/97.5/8.87 and i am an NC-OBC and a computer science engineering student. I am a fresher with 0 experience sir. And how much percentile should I get in proctored simcats sir?



  24. Nikhil says

    HI SIR
    My name is Sai Nikhil Studying at NIT Andhra Pradesh. I want to ask at what percentile I can expect a call from BLACKI. my academics is 93/97.5/8.87 and i am an NC-OBC and a computer science
    engineering student. I am a fresher with 0 experience sir. And how much percentile should I get in proctored simcats sir?



    • Hi Nikhil,

      For the NC-OBC category candidate a percentile of 96-plus will get BLACKI calls.

      This would translate to a percentile of 90-plus on the SimCATs.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  25. Kartikeya says

    Sir Kindly do reply to My Message

    Hello Sir, I am in the 3rd year of my engineering with 80% in X and XII. I have a Best Delegate in an MUN and quite a few work with NGOs along with Yoga participations (If included in Sports spike). I was wondering if Extra Curriculars can make me Eligible for IIM A or B (Really tense after reading this).


    • Hi Kartikeya,

      As you would have read i the post, ECAs have no role to play in getting you the first-call, which is the interview shortlist. Along with the interview call each school asks for a form which you will have to fill up – different schools ask for different things in the form – Sports, ECAs, PoRs etc. This form is then used by the panel during the interview.

      The first call in your case thus depends solely on the CAT percentile, X,XII, Grad marks.

      No need to be tense, get the best score you can and apply to the top 30 schools.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


      • Kartikeya says

        Thank you very much sir. A huge fan of the blog and your mentoring


  26. Saksham says

    Sir can you please help me with this dilemma that I’m going through now in my life? That is it good option to drop MBA at it’s start from one of the top IIMs like LKIS & go for CFA considering that one’s only field of interest relies on Finance & also not at all generating interests in other subjects that are taught in 1st year of MBA. Sir so now in this case what should I do?
    Should I go for CFA or somehow complete my 1st year & then pursue Finance?


    • Hi Saksham,

      Even if you do a CFA it does not mean that you will get to head firms in the future, it will only give you an entry into Finance and then you will find yourself stagnating since leadership roles in any domain need a wider set of capabilities than solely functional capabilities.

      Also, a CFA with an MBA will get you better options both in the shorter and longer-term than a CFA alone.

      So, if you are not looking at any long-term growth quit your MBA and look for Finance jobs via a CFA.

      The sensible thing will be to make the most of your two-year degree, take CFA-L1 in June 2022, and CFA-L2 in June 2023.

      All the best!


  27. Mayank Tiwari says

    Hello Sir
    My academic profile is:
    X: 9.6 CGPA
    Xll: 77%
    B Tech CSE: 8.54 CGPA
    I have scored less in my 12th so will this have a major impact on calls?
    I have some good participations in college and a state level participation in class X. I was also the science captain in my school. I am also about to complete a course on coursera on Brand Management by University of London & London Business School. What else can I do to improve my profile? I would like to pursue marketing preferably from FMS.
    And is my profile good enough for top colleges?
    Thank You!


    • Hi Mayank,

      The XII marks might pose a problem but there is little that can be done about it at this stage, barring scoring as much as you can on the CAT, to make up for it.

      The rest of the elements in the profile play no role in the first call but only in the interview stage for which they will send out a separate form and ask you to fill in your certifications, ECAs, PoRs and stuff. This will be used during the interview stage.

      FMS has a very low (may be the lowest) weightage for all things apart from CAT Score, so you stand a chance if you get a good CAT score.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  28. Saksham says

    Sir can you please help me with this dilemma that I’m going through now in my life? That is it good option to drop MBA at it’s start from one of the top IIMs like LKIS & go for CFA considering that one’s only field of interest relies on Finance & also not at all generating interests in other subjects that are taught in 1st year of MBA. Sir so now in this case what should I do?
    Should I go for CFA or somehow complete my 1st year & then pursue Finance?


  29. Hi Sir,
    My academic profile is:
    10th: 97.92%
    12th: 91.6%
    undergrad: 7.5 CGPA
    I was wondering if I would be eligible to get a call from A,B,C, with a Good CAT Percentile. COuld you please let me know?


  30. Rohit Magdum says

    Hello sir,
    Thank you for this post. This post and the post on profile building gave the realistic way to plan for MBA journey.
    I am a mechanical engineer (2021 passout). I want to do job for a year and go for CAT 22. I had a gap of 1year in my graduation so I am unable to find a job of good profile in my domain. I have opportunity to do job in IT domain(tcs ninja profile). Will it help to enhance my profile or create questions like why mechanical then IT and then management ?


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