The official notification for applying to the Indian Institutes of Foreign Trade, Delhi and Kolkata is already out. The first step of the admission process is the written test which will be held on November 28, 2010. The shortlisted candidates from the test will appear for a group discussion and personal interview
Here are some of the Frequently Asked Questions about the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), Delhi and Kolkata admission process.
Now that the notification is out, can I apply to these institutes?
If you fulfill the following criteria, you are eligible to apply.
i) Anyone who is in the final year of his Bachelors degree (of minimum 3 years duration) from a recognized university/college. The thing to remember is that you should be in possession of your Degree Certificate latest by October 7, 2011.
ii) Anyone who has passed his Bachelors degree from a recognized university/college.
How do I apply to IIFT?
Three ways --- by visiting IIFT, by post or Apply Online.
Is there a minimum percentage required in school or graduation marks?
There is no minimum percentage for application eligibility. However, according to IIFT Registrar Dr LD Mago, the school will consider class X and XII marks while creating the final shortlist.
How many seats are there in IIFT Delhi and IIFT Kolkata?
There are 120 seats at the Delhi campus and 60 at the Kolkata campus.
What proportion of the seats are reserved in IIFT?
Reservation is as per Government of India regulations. 25% is reserved for Other Backward Classes, 15% for Scheduled Castes, 7.5% for Scheduled Tribes and 3% for Physically Handicapped candidates. The remaining seats are open for the General Category.
Is an MBA(IB) from IIFT different from a general MBA?
As the FAQ section of the IIFT website says, "The MBA(IB) is a general management course with special emphasis on International Business. This means, besides doing a general MBA (as is done in other b-schools), IIFT students are exposed to the international perspectives of various subjects by virtue if their doing courses like international marketing, international finance, international strategy and the like."
As far as specializations go, here is what the site has to say: The first year, consisting of three trimesters, is a core course which encompasses all the basic functional areas of management. In the third trimester students are taught the nuances of international aspects of these functional areas. The second year is when students get to choose their preferred area of specialization --- marketing, finance, trading or systems.
How is the exam different from other management entrance tests? What is the pattern of the paper and are there any sectional cutoffs?
The trend of the past few years shows that the IIFT paper is known for being unpredictable in terms of both the number of sections and the marks per question. The paper typically has a separate General Awareness section.
The test consisted of four sections with the Verbal Ability section split into 2 subsections --- one for Reading Comprehension and the other for grammar and vocabulary related questions.
The sections along with the marking scheme were as follows.
Marks per question
Number of questions
An unattempted question did not carry any negative marks and every wrong answer would attract a penalty of 1/3rd of the marks allotted for the question. There were no sub-sectional cutoffs for the Verbal section. The cutoffs are on the basis of the scores released by IIFT.
The paper was divided into six sections.
No. of questions
Marks per question
There were no marks deducted for unattempted questions while each wrong answer would attract a penalty of 1/4th of the marks allotted for that question. In 2008, IIFT had not mentioned anything about there being sectional-cutoffs.
IIFT Registrar Dr Mago told PaGaLGuY, As of now the pattern is similar to what it was last year. But the paper will be made in September. So, it can change. Also, we have been having sectional cut-offs for the last few years and it might continue this year too.
We at PaGaLGuY.com had a chat with some PaGaLGuY stalwarts --- Varun Ramamurthy, Alnoor Venkani, Rohit Mittal, Kalika Jain and Sriram Rajagopal who successfully converted IIFT last year to know their experience of the IIFT 2009 process. Here is what they had to say.
How different is IIFT from other exams?
According to Alnoor Venkani (FMS MBA-FT batch 2010-12), IIFT is different from other exams because it is notorious for its changing paper pattern. Last year for the first time they considered sectional cutoffs. The paper also has variable marking for questions hence one's strategy to ensure that they attempt questions with greatest Return On Investment. Compared to the CAT, IIFT gives a lot more importance to vocabulary-based questions. There is a general knowledge section as well which is manageable if you read a good newspaper daily.
Varun Ramamurthy (he cleared IIFT till the last stage but joined IIM Calcutta) says, When compared to CAT or XAT, IIFT had a lengthier paper. As the pattern of the test is not known beforehand, the instructions must be read very clearly before the start of the exam. IIFT is very dynamic and the pattern most often does not remain the same in consecutive years.
For someone preparing for the CAT, how difficult is it to crack the IIFT written test?
According to Alnoor Venkani, In terms of difficulty level of questions, I would rate the IIFT 2009 paper as the second toughest of all the entrance exams in 2009, with XAT being the toughest. However, the competition in the IIFT entrance test isn't as intense as for XAT.
Varun however differs, The (IIFT 2009) paper was not tough. The question types get repeated more often than not and hence solving previous years' question papers is a must. Since the no of questions is higher, there is a wider range to choose from and one can target only their strong areas.
Any specific sections to look out for?
According to Sriram Rajagopal (IIFT batch 2010-12), the General Awareness section is the one to look out for. He instantly recollects, GK... don't take it very easy. I have seen many friends clearing the overall cutoff by a sizable margin but missing out on an interview call because of a low score in this section.
Alnoor adds, The Data Interpretation section was very calculation-intensive. One had to be very good at approximations and mathematical shortcuts to get a very good score in this section. Choosing the easier questions to solve was almost half the job done.
According to Rohit Mittal (IIFT batch 2010-12), even though the Quantitative Aptitude section was comparatively tougher than the rest of the sections, it had lower cutoffs.
Varun says, Reading Comprehension is one area where a lot of marks can be scored. Since many questions are direct, one can sometimes mark the answer without reading the passage and this saves a lot of time.
According to Kalika Jain (she cleared IIFT till the last stage but instead chose to join MDI Gurgaon), having a good hold on vocabulary helps as it takes comparatively lesser time to answer the grammar questions and the returns can be quite high.
Preparation and test taking strategies
Siddharth Mishra (IIFT batch 2010-12) says, To prepare for the general awareness section we need to be thoroughly in touch with current affairs and I suggest that people read The Economic Times and Competition Success Review. It will help not only in the IIFT test but also other entrance tests that have a general knowledge section and also at the group discussion stage.
According to Rohit, one should try to maximize their score in the written paper as last year it accounted for 65% of the weightage in the final evaluation of the IIFT admission process.
Sriram has some words of encouragement, "Don't give up until you are done with the paper. I had hardly attempted 10 questions in the first 20 minutes of the exam. I stayed focussed, gathered myself and started afresh. I ended with a score of 44.19 in the written test. As they say, 'It's not over till it's over'.
Kalika says, "IIFT has a differential marking scheme, so one should choose questions with the aim of maximize their score. But it's not a good idea to get stuck on any question just because it has a higher weightage. It's better to solve two to three low weightage questions correctly in that time. Take my next statement with a pinch of salt. IIFT has some higher-math questions as well, but I have never attempted even a single one of those and still managed to crack IIFT twice."