B-School Selection
Comments 67

IIMs versus FMS, XL, MDI and other top schools

Now that the first round results of almost all the b-schools are out, we get regular queries about which b-schools to join. There is rarely any confusion about A, B, and C but after that, it seems as if aspirants are having a lot of trouble choosing between the IIMs L, I, and K and other top b-schools such as FMS, XLRI, MDI, and others. How does one go about making the right choice between the IIMs and other top schools? One of the terms thrown around a lot these days is ROI.

How you should really calculate ROI

A few years back, an aspirant I was speaking to after an ISB info session said

  • Sir, these days even IIM-A does not offer a great ROI, the average salary and fee are close to each other.

A lot of aspirants tend to use ROI to evaluate colleges. They tend to use ROI in conjunction with batch size to decide which college to join where ROI is simply taken to be the Average Salary/Cost of Education.

Well, once you do an MBA you will realize that more than an ROI, the better tool to use will be a Cost-Benefit Analysis since you are not investing in a purely financial instrument or land or gold.

Whenever one does a cost-benefit analysis one has to consider not just the tangible but also the intangible costs as well as benefits.

The intangible benefits or the benefits to which you cannot put a number are the ones that most aspirants on the verge of joining an MBA program, those who are doing their MBA and those who have just graduated are unaware of. This post will deal with all of these intangibles that might help aspirants to make a decision.

The three letters I-I-M carry more weight than you can imagine

Firstly, no aspirant should forget that the second most prestigious & valuable prefix that an institution in this country can carry is IIM. When most aspirants start preparing for the CAT, they do not tell themselves that they want to crack XL or MDI or FMS, it is always the IIMs that are on most people minds.

The same holds true for the rest of the business management fraternity — the word IIM carries a lot more weight than you can imagine. People evaluating you at your workplace are more likely to pull down an IIM grad at the slightest hesitation saying “How can this person be from an IIM-grad” than they are to say “How can this person be from MDI or XL”.

The IIM-tag predisposes people to think positively about you

When you introduce yourself as an IIM graduate, people’s perception of your ability becomes vastly exaggerated. People will tend to treat you as being good unless you yourself prove them wrong. Whereas those from other brands are viewed neutrally and they have to prove themselves. It goes without saying the same applies when people look at your resume.

An MBA is about a lot more than your first job

The problem with the ROI method is that it places unduly high importance on the short-term result — the first job you get out of campus. Don’t you think that is barely any return! Good investments yield returns over a longer time period and a good MBA is also supposed to do the same.

You might not get your dream job even at IIM-A

On-campus recruitments are very unlike recruitments off-campus and this difference is key to understanding the long-term value of an MBA.

During placements on campus, recruiters are constantly comparing you with a huge list of other candidates they have at their disposal. For recruiters it is like a buffet with many awesome things to choose from but with one constraint — time and competing recruiters!

So what do companies do? They start using various filters to ensure that they look at fewer people and somehow get the people they want before their competitors get them. What are the filters that get applied? They vary from company to company but to name a few

  • the brand of the college you graduated from (everybody wants to get into McKinsey but they can’t possibly interview everyone, so they use the college brand as a filter)
  • leadership positions held (so guys with big leadership roles on campus get filtered in over may be people with a better CGPA) etc

So intense is the competition among companies that this year one prominent consulting firm at IIM-A was even willing to forego the final interview round if the people who they shortlisted so far were still not picked up by others. Imagine, they were scared that by the time they finish their process, they will no have candidates left!

Compare this with an off-campus process. Firstly, it is not a 3-day affair, so companies are not in any hurry to shortlist and interview people as fast as possible. So you will end up getting a fairer shot and enough time to make a good case for your candidature.

Companies do not need people only at the time of campus placements. In fact, most fresh MBA graduates quit their first jobs within a year! There is a constant need for people all year round and they scour various portals and recruitment agencies to get resumes.

So you do not need to worry about the campus placements being final summit or crowning point to reach. In fact, it is just the beginning of the climb.

What the MBA gives you is a platform to reach the top over the course of your career.

It’s your peer network that will get you jobs in the long run

Campus placements last only a few days but your peer network, network of immediate seniors and alumni network will be the ones that will be getting you jobs over a longer period.

When you graduate from an IIM, you graduate with access to a network of people working in the best companies in the country. You will not come to know of openings through Naukri or other portals but from your peers since firms hire a lot through referrals.

Also, you get access to platforms such as IIM Jobs through which candidates and recruiters find each other. A student who just graduated from IIM-A told me that after graduating this March he was approached by three companies via IIM Jobs.

Can you place a monetary value to the opportunities that this network will open up for you?

If you want to start your own firm, the tag is invaluable to attract investors

Investors are always taking bets on people as much as they are on ideas. Even before you pitch your ideas, investors will be aware of all the hot ideas and opportunities that are present in the market. So, in essence, they are only evaluating the capability of the team and one of the things that goes a long way in boosting your credentials is the IIM-tag.

So keeping all of this mind how should you make your choices?

IIMs – L, I & K versus FMS, XLRI, S.P.Jain, MDI

Technically I would always place the old IIMs above all other schools purely for the reasons mentioned above.

The only exception can be FMS, for the almost low fees! How does one break this deadlock? Choose FMS over the others if

  • If you have already done your graduation as a fully residential program from an IIT, BITS, NIT etc. and/or
  • If you are sure you want to explore entrepreneurship options immediately after your MBA

What is the rationale behind this?

Firstly, If you have not studied at a premier national-level college, whilst staying on campus in the hostel, an education at FMS or S.P.Jain will be incomplete in terms of the experience.

You will do an MBA only once and the experience of studying in an entire awesome campus dedicated to MBA education as opposed to one building or a department in a college where the main program is not the MBA, which is the case with the FMS, S.P.Jain, NMIMS, and MBAs at IITs is something that you will cherish for life. You are not going to really enjoy life again (maybe for a few years after you graduate) 🙂

If you have already experienced the same during your graduation then you can go ahead and choose FMS, else the IIMs.

Secondly, if you want to start working on your own venture straight out of college then an education loan will always be an albatross around your neck, making FMS best option.

There is a case for choosing SPJIMR-Ops over IIM-I and IIM-K if you are really keen on getting the full range of core operations jobs to choose from, the IIMs might not offer you such a vast selection since they do not admit based on specialization.

Choose other colleges over new & baby IIMs

When it comes to the choice between new IIMs and other schools, choose other top schools over them since you will get the benefit of the degree only over a very long-term, when they are no longer considered new.

Also, everything else right from campus, to college culture and placements will just be beginning to take root and hence leave you quite a bit on the backfoot in the short-term. There will also be no large network of peers of seniors through whom you get access to jobs.

This caused a bit of agony to people who were studying at new IIMs. I will be posting first-hand experiences of people who studied in-person at the new and baby IIMs.

You are not investing in a college you are also investing in yourself

Most view the expenditure on an MBA from the what-am-I-getting-for-what-I-am-paying lens, making it the college’s responsibility to deliver. Well, unfortunately, the college owes you nothing.

The college deems you suitable for a career in management and has offered you a seat giving you access to

  • the learning that they can offer and
  • the best firms in the country

You are investing this money to acquire this education and this network to maximize your potential and your career opportunities.

Most of the time what you study during the course will barely be used in the first few years of your life as an MBA. It will only start making sense when you come into big decision-making roles later in life (even those subjects which you will find most useless on campus).

You are not learning subjects that will help you do your first job better. You are learning and developing the skills to lead a company later.

So it makes a lot of sense to view things not from an immediate placement perspective but from the perspective of maximising your chances of leading the best firms or starting a successful firm of your own.

A few years back this post elicited a lot of aggressive responses.

People accused me of favouritism in placing L over XL since the former is my alma mater. People have pointed out the average salary at XL being higher than the one at L, and so and so forth.

Firstly, I live by Groucho Marx’s dictum — I refuse to join any club that will have me as a member.  So, there is no special attachment that I have to IIM-L or any other institution. Wherever I have studied, it has always been a few teachers, the architecture, and the library that I have had an attachment to or fondness for rather than the school or college as a whole. It goes without saying that the moment I meet any person from IIM-L, I do not get particularly excited since that particular individual should be someone with whom I will get along (one has conversations with a person not a tag).

Secondly, yes, the average salary at XL is higher than that at L, but the fees at L is lower.  Higher average salary does not mean that every student at XL will get a salary more than every student at L.  Also, the average is a function of the denominator. If you take the salaries of the top 180 students at both colleges, I am sure the comparison will look different. Now if you feel that you will end up in the bottom 120, then it is a different matter altogether.

Thirdly, I am not sure if the everyone in the cream (the ones who score 99.5 and above on the CAT) of the test-taking population takes the XAT. IITians would always like to add a few more Is to their resumes instead of other alphabets. I myself eased off when taking the XAT since I was sure that I had aced the CAT. Also, XAT is verbal heavy than LR-DI or QA heavy, so the CAT ends up filtering out a different set of toppers. So as a batch goes, I feel the kind of peer group you are likely to find at the top at L might be different from the kind you will find at XL.

To validate my arguments we need to slice and dice a lot of data that only the b-schools can give us and they couldn’t care less. So readers can take “my take” with a pinch of salt and ignore it, instead of launching into tirades.

I am sure XL can be argued to be a better choice solely on the basis of its sporting rivalry with IIM-C and the events surrounding this rivalry. After a point, it always boils down to the premises that you use to reach your conclusion, with a different set of premises or criteria you can arrive at a different conclusion.

Since all of these colleges guarantee great outcomes, it finally does not matter one way or the other!

Another major accusation that a commenter hurled was that people like me perpetuate the Sharma Ji ka beta and elite college ke peeche bhaagne wala syndrome. Well, relying on labeling people en masse seems to be a major national malaise that starts at the top. It is any day easier to label and discredit rather than having to tease out the rationale.

Did I ever make a statement saying if you have to do an MBA, do it only from the IIMs? Nope. In fact last year, I convinced a student to take up NMIMS and not waste yet another year running after an IIM without a job in hand. In most of my replies to queries on this blog, I always ask students to take not just the CAT but XAT, IIFT, NMAT and SNAP. So the commenter was attacking an argument that I did not make!

All I am saying is that if you have the luxury of choosing between the old IIMs and other schools, my personal vote would be for the old IIMs, which you are welcome to crumple it and throw it in the dustbin.

The reason I am making these things clear is that I do not want to go through the drudgery of defending a personal opinion in the comments section. As Oscar Wilde said, people are either charming and tedious, one of my other dictums in life to avoid the latter variety as much as possible.

I hope this article goes some way in helping aspirants view things from a different perspective and resolve the queries in their mind.


  1. Vaishnavi says

    Hi Sir,

    Thank you for information. I have converted IIM B PGPBA and IIM K PGP. I was never interested in PGPBA and instead wanted to change my current IT field. So I have decided to go for IIM K. But I am being recommended a lot that placements are same for PGPBA and I should go for IIM B (the brand). Will you please help me in this or at least provide your opinion as I still feel IIM K will give me greater options.


    • Hi Vaishnavi,
      It is always tricky with the additional programs that IIMs offer.

      With the IIM-L ABM, for example, the options are sane as the PGP if you looking at Marketing and Ops. But if you are looking at Finance & Consulting it will not be the same.

      Similarly, you need to find out for which domains are CVs of students of both the PGDM program and the PGDBA program are sent. If those domains are your core area of interest then take it up. While placements might be same as per process, you need to find out exactly how it pans out. Since these things keep changing for year to year, it’s best to speak to someone who is currently in the PGDBA program or the placement committee. Take a call based on that.

      You will not be missing out on a lot of you choose K over B, a lot of that also depends on sectors you want to work in and your profile alignment for the same.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  2. Yuvraj says

    Hi Sir,

    I have converted IIM Kozhikode PGP program and there are very high chances that I will convert IIM Lucknow ABM as well.

    I am finding it really hard to decide one. I have done MSc (biology) from IISER pune.I do not have any work experience and a two years of gap. I did not wanted to pursue research further so decided to do MBA. As of now I do not have inclination to any specialization.

    I am getting very mixed opinions. Lot of people recommending to join IIM Lucknow for brand value and because placement are with PGP. While other are saying to join Kozhikode because of the flagship program and opportunity and flexibility I will get in deciding my career path.

    Will you please give your opinion on what should I consider.

    Thank you


    • Hi Yuvraj,

      Given your profile, the options you will get at both schools will be similar and the outcomes will also not be vastly different.

      The difference between schools always plays out in the number of roles offered in Consulting and Finance domains, in other domains, there is no difference across a broad spectrum of schools (and your profile is not really aligned to both).

      I would suggest joining L-ABM if you have a strong interest in Marketing or Agri-business roles, or take up the K program.

      Once again, you will not be making a mistake in choosing either. At this point, it will seem like a huge dilemma but it is not, you might as well toss a coin and decide 🙂

      All the best!


  3. Anupam says

    Hello sir,

    Thank you for such an insightful article. I have converted IIM Shillong and am positively waiting for IIFT Delhi and MDI Gurgaon’s results.

    If I convert the other two schools as well, what should be the priority order according to you?
    I am a bit inclined towards that ‘IIM’ tag but am concerned regarding the lesser number of FMCG companies (I know your first job after L was in this sector only sir :)) visiting Shillong as compared with the other two.
    As far as my research goes, Shillong has been doing quite well for the past few years and people have started using the term ‘BLACKIS’. Also, the number of dream companies visiting is increasing by the year.
    But, IIFT D and MDI G seem a rationale pick when I look at the companies visiting, huge elite alumni network, and constant corporate competition achievements’ of these two.

    Also, between IIFT Delhi and MDI Gurgaon, which should be the preferred choice?
    Please guide me, sir.

    I really appreciate your support, thank you so much sir!


    • Hi Anupam,

      As you would know the big difference between schools at different rungs comes when it comes to Finance and Consulting placements, when it comes to the rest of the domains there is little to choose from.

      If most of the premier FMCG recruiters HUL, P&G, Nestle, Asian Paints etc. are not visiting Shillong but only the others then it makes sense to ditch IIM-S in favour of either of the other two.

      Between MDI and IIFT there is really very little to choose from — choose the campus you like better. I do not look at batch size as a determining factor since that means one is looking at finishing in the bottom half!

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  4. Vikrant says

    Hello sir,
    (My profile: GEM fresher with 92/88/82 past acads)
    I have converted NMIMS Mumbai MBA Core program but I’m not sure if it would be a good pick considering its huge batch size.
    I’m also waiting for IIFT results but my GEM fresher profile and a relatively low percentile of 97.7 would make it very difficult for me to convert IIFT even after a good interview.
    Sir, should I go for a CAT retake or take up NMIMS? I performed as per my potential in DILR and VARC sections but messed up Quants. I do have a job offer in an IT firm as a backup option.


  5. Jignesh says

    Hi Tony!
    This post has elicited a few questions. Right now, my best calls are IIM-Shillong and MDI-G (Provided I make the cut). While on paper MDI seems to be a better college as it has been around for quite a few years and has a geographical advantage as compared to IIM-S.

    On the other hand, IIM-S is rising rapidly and is doing quite good. The batch is truly diverse. And it seems to be on the path to soon be with the BLACKI.

    I’m not sure if I should ditch IIM-S just because it is fairly new and the geographical impediment. The IIM Tag helps as well.

    What’s your take sir? How would you weigh these two colleges?

    I’m a GEM Fresher (7-6-8 ; 98.80%tile) interested in Sales and Marketing.

    Thank you!


    • Hi Jignesh,

      As you would know the big difference between schools at different rungs comes when it comes to Finance and Consulting placements, when it comes to the rest of the domains there is little to choose from.

      If most of the premier FMCG recruiters HUL, P&G, Nestle, Asian Paints etc. are not visiting Shillong but only the others then it makes sense to ditch IIM-S in favour of either of the other two.

      Given your acads, the big-name Marketing companies might not be easy to crack.

      Given that all FMCG firms are HQ either in Delhi or Mumbai, MDI has a huge advantage for sure.

      So it comes down to you how strongly you feel the need to crack HUL, P&G — the competitiveness of your profile for the same, the academics are on the weaker side — and your desire to get the IIM-tag.

      The rest of the firms will anyway be visiting Shillong, so you will technically be losing out if your profile would have gotten the same jobs in either school is the question you need to ask.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  6. Rakesh Kumar Panigrahi says

    I have converted XLRI BM and IIM K PGP
    Now I am confused about which one to choose
    Considering my background of having completed an architecture degree from NIT Calicut
    and being interested in marketing and consulting roles. The fee difference of 7 lakhs (IIM K being lower) and other things like alumni, brand, etc. The placement in the recent years where the average package of XL being higher difference was 1.5 lakh between the two and median was 3 lakh difference. The batch size of IIM K although being bigger.
    So based on all these which college should I choose
    I will really appreciate it if you could help me with this.


    • Hi Rakesh,

      I wish there was an answer to this question since even the stats are a bit deceiving, in the sense that it is not you specifically will get 1.5L lower or 3L lower in K over XL!

      As I keep saying you will not be losing out on anything by choosing either college.

      You can choose XL for the experience of a different state, you can choose K for the tag and campus — the rest is all FOMO.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


      • RakeshPanigrahi says

        Thank you sir, I did a thorough analysis and found XLRI to be the best for me as I have much more opportunities there. The student culture is also great here and every one is amazingly meritorious. I am looking for long term growth where the alumni reach becomes very important.


  7. Vatsal says

    Hello sir,

    I have converted NMIMS Mumbai MBA core program and have got a waitlist of 350 for the MDI Gurgaon HRM program. From past trends, I have a decent shot at converting it.

    Sir, what should be my priority order for these 2 programs? I am a fresher from an engineering background and at present, I haven’t really decided which specialization would be best for me.
    I am afraid that choosing an HR specific program may limit my options and restrict my career to this domain only.
    On the other hand, I am also sceptical about NMIMS due to its non-residential MBA program and its huge batch size.

    Sir, please provide your valuable insights regarding these two programs and if at all, should I consider a CAT retake?
    (Profile: 9/9/8 GEM fresher)


  8. Prasad Patil says

    Hello Tony Sir,

    I love reading your blogs and they have helped me a lot in this journey towards b-schools so far.

    This was my 2nd (and final) CAT attempt, my profile- GEM (94/78/8.1) with 2yrs IT work-ex and my best converts so far are- NMIMS Mumbai MBA core & IIM Trichy PGPM.
    Which one of these should I go for if the aim is to get into ProdMan/IT/Strategy/Consulting roles considering the fact that I live in Mumbai not far away from NMIMS and won’t incur additional living expenses/costs related to rent?


    • Hi Prasad,

      If you are from Mumbai, I suggest going out of Mumbai and experiencing something different.

      I feel those from Mumbai who end up doing all of their education here, end up having a different kind of limitation in terms of worldview and not being able to think beyond trains and commute! The long-term returns will far outstrip the cost.

      For purely placement-related reasons, NM will give you a wide range of options but purely for the experience, IIM-Trichy will be more enriching. I would suggest IIM-Trichy purely for that.

      The rest is up to you.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  9. Rakesh Kumar Panigrahi says

    I have converted XLRI BM and IIM K PGP
    Now I am confused about which one to choose
    Considering my background of having completed an architecture degree from NIT Calicut
    and being interested in marketing and consulting roles. The fee difference of 7 lakhs (IIM K being lower) and other things like alumni, brand, etc. The placement in the recent years where the average package of XL being higher difference was 1.5 lakh between the two and median was 3 lakh difference. The batch size of IIM K although being bigger.
    So based on all these which college should I choose
    I will really appreciate it if you could help me with this


  10. Hello, sir.
    Recently converted IIM B, C, K. But I am in a dilemma right now, I am currently a student at JBIMS, and have also received a coveted summer internship here.
    My dilemma is that, should I leave JB or not?
    My thought process goes something like, being at JB I would get pretty much similar placements here as I’ll get at any other top B school. But what JB lacks for is the campus experience, I have been learning online till now, and with the 4th wave approaching it seems like we might stay online. So I there is no campus experience as such. Another thing is if I leave JB, I’ll end up using another year. My long term goal is to join RBI grade B, keeping that in mind would joining IIM B make sense?

    I also have a poor profile academically, but due to a reservation and a 99.5%ile I got calls from top IIMs, how would this play out in placement scenario at top IIMs? Note: I am not looking for MBB, or any other highly coveted role like IB.


    • Hi Shubham,

      I do not think an online MBA compares even one bit to a regular MBA — I can give you the perfect analogy but I am afraid it would be indecent 🙂

      You have a pretty good percentile and I am sure you will do well at an IIM. If I were you I would take an MBA at the IIM as long as I do not have any draining financial commitment that requires me to contribute heavily to my family.

      If your JB experience was in person one could still think of this as an extravagance but I do not think of it as a year wasted but as an investment whose medium and long-term returns are higher and intangible.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  11. Hello, sir.
    I am xyz(can’t share name). Recently converted IIM B, C, K. But I am in a dilemma right now, I am currently a student at JBIMS, and have also received a coveted summer internship here.
    My dilemma is that, should I leave JB or not?
    My thought process goes something like, being at JB I would get pretty much similar placements here as I’ll get at any other top B school. But what JB lacks for is the campus experience, I have been learning online till now, and with the 4th wave approaching it seems like we might stay online. So I there is no campus experience as such. Another thing is if I leave JB, I’ll end up using another year. My long term goal is to join RBI grade B, keeping that in mind would joining IIM B make sense?

    I also have a poor profile academically, but due to a reservation and a 99.5%ile I got calls from top IIMs, how would this play out in placement scenario at top IIMs? Note: I am not looking for MBB, or any other highly coveted role like IB.


  12. Abhijit Jha says

    Hi Sir,
    I have converted SPJIMR ops, NITIE, MDI Gurgaon, IIM CAPs and Baby IIMs. Among SPJIMR Ops, NITIE and MDI Gurgaon, which one should I choose?
    My Profile is GEM, with three years of Manufacturing WorkEx in Unilever.


    • Hi Abhijit,

      Congrats on the converts!

      Given your profile and assuming that you want to look at Ops and Ops Consulting I would suggest choosing between SPJIMR and NITIE both are equally good and there’s little to choose from.

      NITIE might get an IIM-tag that is the only edge as of now. Else you can also choose the better campus.

      If you want a wider berth of domains, companies and roles — MDI-G without a doubt.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  13. Jainil says

    Hi Sir.
    I have converted IIM Shillong, NITIE, IIT B, and MDI IB. I have 2 years of workex as a Software Developer in a unicorn startup. My ultimate goal is to end up in good tech company with a role of product management after finishing MBA. Can you suggest me which college to choose among these? My profile – 84/92.2/74 and 99.2 %le in CAT


    • Hi Jainil,

      I think given your goals, IIT-B will be the best bet since it is likely to get the most roles in and allied to Tech. The placements over the last few years have been phenomenal as well. So I think you will not go wrong in choosing IIT-B.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  14. Reetika Singh says

    Hello sir I have converted both IIM Lucknow and FMS Delhi and am facing difficulty deciding on one. I have an average profile of 7/8/7 with almost 4years of experience. Which clg should I join considering I have an inclination towards consulting?


    • Hi Reetika,

      As I wrote in the post, it depends upon your interests post-MBA. If you are not interested in a start-up of your own or do not have heavy financial liabilities then choosing L’s fully residential program will be the best bet since the transformational effect of an MBA is something that will come through only in such an environment. Placement-wise there is little to choose between the two if you finish in the top half of the L batch.

      Apart from the fee, there is no USP that FMS offers.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


      • Palash says

        Hi Sir,
        I have converted IIM Shillong, NITIE and waitlisted 268 at IITB. I have 20 months of IT experience and eventually want to move towards a role of a product manager.
        Is NITIE advisable for me instead of IIM Shillong and from what I have been told that the IITB waitlist if it gets converted will be towards the end of June, by when my session would have started for IIM Shillong.
        What would you suggest for me to go forward with?


      • Hi Palash,

        These admission issues are always a bit tricky once the waitlist story comes in.

        I would suggest doing the following:

        1. Make a list of firms you want to work in the PM role — check NITIE and see if these firms are visiting, connect with students at NITIE and get more info. If NITIE fits the bill in terms of firms and roles — take it — you will not regret it.
        2. If NITIE does not fit the bill then you cannot take a chance on the IIT-B waitlist since things keep changing from year to year. Join IIM Shillong.
        3. If IIT-B gets converted then bite the bullet and forego the fee and join IIT-B if you have the financial wherewithal or risk-taking nature since IIT-B placements will more than makeup for the lost fee.

        Hope this helps,

        All the best!


  15. Alankar says

    Hello Tony Sir,
    Alankar here (GEM 95/93/90.8 32 Month Work ex in Civil-Structural Engineering Domain).
    I hope you are well and doing fine.
    I am glad to inform you that as of today, I have received offers for NMIMS for its core MBA program as well as from IIM Raipur for its PGP course. I’m not sure which of these two institutes I should choose. I am more inclined toward finance, operation, and consulting. In the above article, you have preferred other B-schools over new IIMs, but I am concerned about the batch size, total expense, and ultimate ROI at NMIMS. Also, NMIMS has a non-residential program, leading to additional expenses for food and rent.
    Sir, please provide your valuable insights regarding these two programs.
    Thanks in advance.


    • Hi Alankar,

      Purely from a placement perspective in the sectors, you have mentioned NM will beat IIM-Raipur.

      It will be costlier than IIM-R but do not worry about the short-term RoI you will easily get a much vaster pool of roles to choose from if you finish at least in the top half of the batch.

      NM will not give you the experience of an immersive residential program.

      So, we are not comparing apples versus apples. You have to make a choice as to what is more important for you — immediate short-term placements or the MBA experience. If it is the latter choose IIM-R and make the most of the opportunities that come your way.

      Decision-making is tough not because the two things are equally attractive but because it forces you to decide what you are willing to give up.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  16. Hemanth says

    Hello sir,
    Am fresher with CS background and 9/9/7 acads.
    I don’t have any specific inclination towards any specialisation.
    Between FMS and IIM K PGP which do you think is a better choice?


    • Hi Hemanth,

      As I have written in the post — choose FMS if you have clear goals to found a startup or have very strong financial liabilities.

      Otherwise, I feel, that as a fresher you will experience more personal growth from the program at IIM-K.

      One can always listen to a calculator but then the calculator is the tool, not the master.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


      • Hemanth says

        1) If you don’t mind, can you elaborate more on what exactly and how are you talking about personal growth in IIM K better than FMS?
        2) Also, I heard many people talking about missing campus life in FMS, but i spoke to few folks from FMS and they said they would be in campus till 10-11 p.m finishing the projects and assignments, and go back to flats for sleep. Isn’t the same similar to IIM K except that they finish assignments in rooms rather than clg. So may I know what exactly constitutes campus life and how will that enhance oneself to better?
        Thanks in advance


      • Hi Hemanth,

        As I wrote in the post, all programs such as the one at FMS, are such that an entire universe is not created around the program — the entire campus is not devoted to that one program or stream of programs.

        At K for example, right from the architecture to everything else is created for the MBA programs on offer. The campuses are usually not as sprawling as universities — instead of one building on a large campus, it is many buildings on a smaller campus — also they are located away from the city. When I was studying at L, even locals were not allowed to stay at home! Everyone had to live in the universe of the campus and the program with no other logistics involved.

        In the situation that you have described, your interactions are always limited to the people you are doing projects with and your roommates — the idea is to get the job done and get out. Whereas in a fully residential program you tend to interact with many more people and also interact with people not just from an academic perspective but also from a sports and cultural perspective which are huge on IIM campuses.

        The more diverse people you get to know in different scenarios over a two-year period the more will you be able to work with people from different parts of the country both in terms of peers, business partners and customers since your business operations will be pan-India.

        Finally, an MBA is not just about subjects and projects and placements (which is similar to becoming a techie) since you are supposed to emerge as a business leader who can take a lot of people together.

        Hope this helps,

        All the best!


  17. Ap says

    Hi Tony Sir,

    I had given cat in 2021 with not my best of preps, since I started late(July) and had a 12hr job along, got 98.8%tile.

    I have avg acads, all 80s, and will complete 2yr work ex in the coming July in consulting domain.

    I got calls from SPJain, MDI, IIT B SJMSOM, IIM Shillong, CAP IIMs, and right now my final options are IIT B Sjmsom, MDI IB Course, New IIMs like Trichy/Udaipur.

    I will consider taking a repeat over MDI IB and new IIMs, since i believe I can do better this year with more prep, but given the uncertainty of CAT and GDPI, I am confused if I should go with SJMSOM itself, since now people have started putting it in tier 1 bracket/top 10-12 colleges, and not to waste another in the whole cat study and interviews fiasco.

    My reservations are:
    Although Sjmson might get me a placement monetary equal to IIM I, K, MDI, etc, but will get me the post mba brand tag as these colleges might have?
    Will I have as good a learning experience at sjmson as these dedicated b schools?
    But then are all these worth fore going a good mba option still to risk all for next year, when I would have 3yr exp, also considering my avg acads and then my demanding job, that act as a hindrance.

    Yours perspectives would be really appreciated sir!


    • Hi Ap,

      I suppose you are working for ZS in Pune!

      So given the work hours and the nature of the CAT it can get very unpredictable so unless you have a lot of mental energy and fortitude, a retake might be risky.

      I have dedicated an entire post on the retake here — https://thecatwriter.com/2022/02/28/to-re-take-or-not-to-re-take-the-cat-5/

      Please read that so that you know what it takes for the third time.

      I would suggest keeping it simple — if SPJIMR, IITB & MDI give you access to firms and roles that you want right now, then join because the current brand value will continue post-MBA as well.

      If I were you I would take up one of these brands, given your situation.

      I would take another shot if I had a year of experience and an 8-hour stress-free job.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  18. Harry says

    Hello Sir,
    As you said choose FMS over Indore either if financial constraints or post MBA startup idea.
    But I heard a lot about Indore not performing at par with BLACKI and I personally know people who weren’t placed well and even in summer internship had to get stipend of 15/20k ik 2020 and 2021.
    Few say batch size and IPM is a constraint to Indore .
    And with the war, high inflation rates, uncertain economy is it worth taking Indore as no matter what but placements and package do play a key role after spending 22 lakhs


    • Hi,
      Indore has had a bit of a bad rep over the last few years. I did not single Indore out but was speaking about I-K as a group.

      I will not comment on Indore based on individual cases (since even in the best placement years there will be individuals who might not get good offers or roles) but look at Indore’s overall stats and look at the firms visiting. If the trade off is very huge then you can go ahead and choose FMS.

      Initial jobs out of campuses are not as important as it is made out to be – provided you have quality. For example, 2009, following the sub-prime crisis was may be the worst time to graduate in recent years. Good profiles graduated with sub-par roles and salaries even from IIM-A (they invited IMS to placements that year) but once things improved they immediately got great jobs and packages.

      The RoI will get really big only after 5-7 years of working.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  19. Dipti Sawant says

    Hello Sir,
    I have converted both IIM Indore (PGP) and SPJIMR (IM specialization). Product management and Consulting are the roles that I am keen on working in post MBA. I have an academic record of 9/9/7 and work ex of approximately 2.5 years at Deloitte as an Analyst. Wanted to know your opinion regarding which college will be a better fit for me considering my profile.
    IIM Indore is an old IIM but it has definitely lost its sheen since the past few years and the huge batch size is also something that I am apprehensive about. I am that concerned about the placements as the figures for the top 25 and 50 percentile at indore are better than the average figures at SPJIMR but the reputation of indore has deteriorated. Really skeptical if the IIM tag on my CV will really make a difference if its IIM Indore. Kindly help !


    • Hi Dipti,

      I can understand your concern but to look at things from the narrow lens of batch size might be too limiting.

      ISB has a batch size of 900 but still quality students and is not easy to get into!

      Given your profile and gender diversity you should easily be able to land jobs in the top 50 percentile in the batch.

      Whatever bad reputation that is being bandied about is not about the quality of firms visiting the campus or quality of teaching or quality of course structure or quality of infrastructure – batch size should ideally affect all of these as well.

      The only inference one can draw is that those who finish in the bottom half have an issue with the IPM students being clubbed together with them. If two-years at a premier school can transform students then five might do so even more. So I am sure the competition from the IPM students is stiff.

      You choose which camp you want to fall into depending on how you see yourself. If you feel your profile and skills are not competitive and might fall into the bottom-half of the batch then go ahead choose SPJIMR, else without a doubt IIM-I.

      Do you really want to passover the chance of getting two IIs onto your resume?

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  20. Shaunak Gaikwad says

    Hi Tony! Hope you’re doing well,
    I am currently very confused between taking IIM-Shillong right now versus taking a drop and having a shot at CAT again.

    My profile:
    – GEM Fresher
    – CAT: 98.80%tile
    – B.Tech: 8.46/10
    – 12th: 68.15%
    – 10th: 77%
    ECs :

    – 2x Cycling Nationals
    – Black Belt in Taekwondo
    – Triathlete
    – Drummer

    I am interested in Sales and Marketing. Considering my poor academic background, is taking a drop a feasible option? I think I can push the score to 99.6+. Will that percentile any more colleges for me provided I take a drop?

    Also, sir, I would love to know your take on IIM-Shillong.

    Thank you sir!


    • Hi Shaunak,

      Given your Acads, BLACKI, is more or less ruled out at higher percentiles as well.

      I took some time to double-check with the data we have of past students.

      So, go ahead, take Shillong, and make the most of it!

      All the best!


      • Sir what about the B-Schools like FMS and XLRI? Would you say taking a drop would be advisable or would it be advisable for me to join IIM-Shillong? Thank you!


      • XL will be tough, FMS has a low weightage for Acads but given that you have to thread the eye of the needle in terms of percentile to crack it, I am not sure if the odds add up.

        Probability is low but does not mean that it is not possible, so it depends on your risk appetite and mental strength.

        Hope this helps,

        All the best!


  21. Hello Tony sir, as most of the commenters I’m also confused between 2 b schools. IIM Trichy vs MDI G’s IB program.

    I have a very average academic background(85/64/75 Btech CSE) with 17 months of work ex in Accenture. I also have 5+ years of gap due to UPSC. In short term, I’d like to go back to the IT industry albeit in a different role.

    My dilemmas are :
    1. If I go with MDI IB, I feel my 5-year gap would make my prospects of getting a foreign internship even slimmer. It already is very tough with all that is going on in Europe. I feel it’ll be very difficult to make foreigners understand why I have that gap and what exactly is UPSC.

    2. If I go with IIM Trichy, I get the feeling that I’ll be leaving a much bigger brand name with an established alumni base which may come back to haunt me.

    Everyone I asked has given a very solid answer in favour of one of them and has asked me how can I even think of the other. Some say how can I even compare MDI, which competes with BLACKI, with a “lowly” Trichy. they ask me to look at MDI’s placement report (they didn’t publish one during the pandemic times). Others are of the opinion that I shouldn’t be comparing a secondary course with a fast-rising IIM’s flagship.

    please help out sir.


    • Hi Rishi,

      To keep things simple – your goal – going back to IT/Tech in a business time is the easiest to achieve in any b-school.

      And all of these roles very soon translate into a posting abroad since most of the clients are abroad.

      Given that IB is an expensive proposition, I would definitely say IIM-Trichy will more than be able to get you to your career goals.

      On the other hand if you are looking at a completely different domain and want a wider bouquet of roles to choose from you should take the financial risk and go for MDI.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  22. Srishti Sharma says

    Hi Tony sir! Hope you are well. I have been selected for MDI IB and waitlisted at IIM Trichy which would get probably converted looking at the past year trends.

    I have talked to a lot of MDI IB students and they have always given positive feedback about the course explaining how the one year stay and search for internships abroad, the pedagogy from one of the best business school in Europe and completely different peer group will be a Transformational experience and how MiM Degree from ESCP Europe and its network could help in the long run.

    IIM Trichy on the other hand, provides the brand ‘IIM’ and is the fastest growing new IIM today. The fees at IIM Trichy is almost half that of MDI IB but the Final placements at IIM Trichy vs MDI cannot be compared. If we are able to fetch a paid internship abroad, the fees would come down and be similar to those in core Programme of MDI or maybe even less if we get a good stipend. MDI also provides a strong alumni base and this Programme started in 2006, which means it is older than the new IIMs.

    MDI also falls in the Tier 2 bracket of B Schools in India after ABCL, almost comparable to IIM K, IIM I, SPJIMR, whereas, IIM Trichy doesn’t exist in this cluster.

    I am currently working in an IT Consulting firm, having an experience of 19 months and my profile is 9/9/8 and I graduated from one of the premier Engineering colleges in India. I want to explore different fields like Consulting and Finance and not just be restricted to IT. I don’t enjoy working in IT Consulting Services but open to Product Companies.

    What would you suggest sir in this scenario?
    I would be grateful if you could pen down a post on MDI IB Programme and post some experiences of the students graduated or pursuing it.


    • Hi Srishti,

      All decision-making is tough because we want to maximise all variables at the same time!

      In the case of MDI-IB, you would not be asking me this question if the fee were low right?

      So, precisely the part that makes is expensive is where the value of the program lies and that is the cost we must be willing to pay!

      Since you want to explore a wider range of domains and not be restricted to IT, MDI-IB will be a the better choice.

      Whenever you are stuck ask yourself the question, am I trying to maximise all variables at the same time!

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


      • Srishti Sharma says

        Thank you sir for your insights. Sir could you please write down an article on MDI IB based on your research or some interaction with a student of either core programme or IB, so that we can get a better picture of it because I feel the IB students will anyway never criticize the programme or try to hide the cons of the programme, since it is a general human tendency. Some core programme students suggested me to give one more attempt considering my 2 years of work ex. So I was a bit confused whether the programme is not that good.

        Also sir I have a waitlist in SPJIMR in IM specialization which may or may not convert. In case it does, should I prefer it? Is SPJIMR as a brand better than MDI? Would it provide me some flexibility to switch domains in the long run? I heard Consulting firms are open to all students during final placements and I am open to Product Management as well.


      • Hi Srishti,
        I do not have enough info on MDI-IB to write an article on the same and no students I know of personally have taken the program.

        SPJIMR and MDI are on par in the sense that both schools will fall into the same tier. There won’t be any difference over the longer term in terms of prospects.

        SPJIMR-IM is an exceptionally good program and will give you stellar roles in IT services and Tech Product firms, in that space you cannot get better options than at SP-IM.

        Hope this helps,

        All the best!


  23. Raghu says

    Hello Tony Sir. Have gone through your wonderful insights . However I am stuck deciding between two schools namely IIFT- Kolkata and NMIMS Mumbai. I have gone through and contacted alum of both the colleges and each have their own preferences. In my head there are these two dilemmas :

    1. NM’s fee and batch size is way higher and there could a chance of better success with the smaller batch sizes at IIFT

    2. IIFT K might be a secondary preference for recruiters over IIFT Delhi and hence there might be discrimination even though they have common placements.

    It would be really helpful if you could help out clearing my Dilemma


  24. Rishabh Mishra says

    Hello Sir!
    I have converted IIM Udaipur and NITIE ( also good chances of converting SJMSOM) . I have only 9 months of work experience and academics of 83.5/91/90. I am not sure which college should I go for. Udaipur being an IIM has better infrastructure advantage and a general MBA program where as NITIE has the advantage of better placements and is an established B-School. I have talked with alumni of both the institutes yet I cannot decide which one should I choose ( could just be FOMO! ).
    If you could give some insights over this, Sir!


    • Hi Rishabh,

      NITIE has great placements, especially for Ops and Tech and SJSOM as well.

      I would say that if placements, especially in these domains, is your major criteria then join NITIE or SJSOM.

      Choose IIM-Udaipur if you want the tag and an immersive experience in a college with great infrastructure.

      Read this post if you haven’t yet — https://thecatwriter.com/2021/05/22/my-mba-journey-iim-udaipur/

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  25. Mahek says

    Hello Tony sir. Hope you are doing well.

    I have already withdrawn from IIM Shillong after converting MDI core. But now after doing some analyses I have some apprehensions about MDI. Let me list them:
    1. Their placement reports show core and IB stats together. Now this would mean that they have directly converted IB students’ packages from euros to INR, and based on that they calculated average, median etc.

    2. Some coveted companies like MBB, Microsoft, Google they come to MDI only during summers and offer PPO, not for final placements. This makes me skeptical as I am all in to give my best in academics, PORs, case comps everything in the 2 years. But summer placement happen so early, i am afraid i wont get even shortlisted based on my current profile.

    Apart from this, the fees is really high. Given my financial situation i really need to earn a decent income post mba(at least 1.5L in hand) in order to cope with my living expenses in a metro city plus loan emi of roughly 30k per month and family expenses. I really wanted FMS for this reason but couldnt make it.

    I am a GEF, 9/8/7 profile and having 1.5 years of IT workex and this was my second attempt.
    I am thinking of giving another shot at CAT, but I really struggled through DILR this year in mocks. The 97%ile that I scored in DILR this year was 80% luck as I chose the right set. Also this year WFH is as good as dead for my company so will get lesser time to prepare. Scored 98.22 percentile overall. I think if i take another shot i can make it to IIM L or FMS next year.

    Really torn between taking MDI and giving another attempt . What would you advice sir?


    • Hi Mahek,

      You have managed to really convert a straightforward choice into a super-complicated one and stress yourself out by the look of things.

      Going by your logic — anyone who graduates from MDI-core without a job in MBB, Microsoft, Google should not be able to make ends meet in a metro! And thus they should be up in arms about the high fees and poor returns but that is not the case right?

      Secondly — if your CV is not good enough during summers for particular firms (they go wth graduate college brands and blue-chip names) it might not be good enough by Finals as well (and if I am not wrong very few of these firms visit campuses for Finals).

      Also, remember that while your EMI will remain fixed, that is what the E in EMI means, your salary will jump from the end of the first year onward and within three years the EMI won’t even pinch.

      Lastly, if it was a bit of a fluke last year, then with no work form home and pressure of leaving MDI for another shot the odds of making it won’t be very high.

      So, stop worrying, and join MDI!

      All the best!


      • Mahek says

        Thank you so much for your help sir. I realise I was really stressing out at the thought of making a wrong decision. But now that I see the fallacies, I understand where I was wrong.
        Thank you. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  26. Hi Tony! Hope you’re doing well,
    I am currently very confused between taking XIMB right now versus taking a drop and having a shot at CAT again.

    My profile:
    – GEM
    – 34 months workex (resigned)
    – CAT 21: 91.37%tile
    – B.Tech (ECE): 80.21%
    – 12th: 76.8%
    – 10th: Cgpa 10

    I am interested in Product Management. Considering my background, is taking a drop a feasible option?

    Also, sir, I would love to know your take on XIMB vs IIM Visakhapatnam in case taking a drop is strictly not advisable.

    Thank you, sir!


  27. Hi Tony! Hope you’re doing well,
    I am currently very confused between taking XIMB right now versus taking a drop and having a shot at CAT again.

    My profile:
    – GEM
    – Workex 34 months (now resigned)
    – CAT: 91.37%ile
    – B.Tech: 80.21%
    – 12th: 76.8%
    – 10th: CGPA 10

    I am interested in Product Management. Considering my background, is taking a drop a feasible option?

    Also, sir, I would love to know your take on XIMB.

    Thank you, sir!


  28. Akshit Yadav says

    Hello sir,
    Just read this very informative post.
    I converted all cap calls, Mdi ib and a borderline chance at IIM Indore. I have 25 months of workex in product management and 1 yr gap post job. Do you think mdi ib is worth joining over new iims if I don’t convert Indore?
    I would like to go into product management or consulting role post mba.
    Also is it wise to place mdi ib over indore if we don’t consider roi?



    • Hi Akshit,

      Without a doubt between Indore and MDI, I would choose Indore RoI or not.

      As far as the new IIMs and MDI-IB go, I would say MDI overall.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  29. Hi Tony,

    Recently received an offer from IIM Udaipur, till now I am joining Sjmsom IIT B.

    In a deep conundrum considering the fast growth of Udaipur and it’s chances of coming under top iims in say 10yrs time, me wanting to have domain options open (since iit b will mostly offer ops roles).

    But then looking at the placement reports, the figures are miles apart and thus it doesn’t makes sense to take a college solely on IIM Tag and let do an placement avg difference of ~10L and probably the level of roles offered.

    For profile reference, i am a Gem with 2yr workex in consulting and have avg acads (which makes me think that small batch of sjmsom will be good for me).

    Pls help, need to pay udaipur fees by tomorrow.


    • It will take a some time before IIM-U reaches the level of IIT-B and other schools in terms of placements. I would say, don’t panic, stick to SJMSOM, the rest as they say, is FOMO!


  30. Hello Tony sir. I was checking out the course Fees for SIBM pune and it will amount to somewhere in the range of ~25-27 Lakhs and that doesn’t even include the living expenses. Now I am not so sure if I should even fill the form, given that the placements there will not be in the range which justifies such a high fees. Not only that , looking at the current economic climate, I don’t think taking such a huge loan is a wise idea at this point. I will be giving CAT this year, obviously and not sure if I will get a high enough percentile for older IIMs/MDI/SPJ(also GEM candidate) . It will be my third attempt this time and I am convinced a score of 99 percentile or up isn’t realistically possible for me. Your thoughts?


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