Can we get admission in IIM without taking CAT?

MBA is a highly competitive course. And sitting at the top of that competitive pile are the various Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). The only path to find a seat at any of these institutes is to take the Common Admission Test (CAT) which is conducted across the nation and serves as the bar to select students for further rounds of selection.

To start off, let’s answer your question. No. It is not possible to get admission in any of the IIMs without taking the Common Admission Test. In addition to this, you cannot get admission in any of the top private business schools of India without appearing for one entrance test or the other, whichever is prescribed by the institute.

This serves as a warning for you to not get catfished by any person or group that claim they can get you admitted to any of these business schools. Chances are high that you will end up nowhere with your bank account a few lakhs lighter.

Here are a few key facts about the importance of entrance examinations for admission into the various business schools of India:

  • There are 20 IIMs in India. All of these business schools only see the CAT score of a candidate as a viable measure of their intellect. The Common Admission Test is conducted by the IIMs each year; mostly on the last Sunday of November and sometimes on the first Sunday of December.
  • There are 6 national entrance examinations for the MBA programmes: CAT, CMAT, GMAT, XAT, ATMA, MAT. According to the AICTE, all the business schools offering MBA courses have an option to consider a candidate’s score in any of these 6 tests for admission.
  • Most private universities which are on the top of the ladder exercise the liberty to conduct their own entrance examinations. While some only consider the candidate’s score in the said entrance examinations, many also accept the candidate’s score in one of the six tests mentioned above.
  • Business schools like Symbiosis International University and NMIMS Mumbai are among the private institutes that conduct their own private entrance examinations.
  • There are other universities like the OP Jindal University, Amity University, and UPES Dehradun who hold their own entrance tests as well. However, the students have the liberty to take these entrance tests any time after they have applied.

Exploring other options:

Though it is often publicised like it, IIMs are not the be-all and end-all of your MBA career. There are many other business schools, both government and private, which are renowned for their MBA programmes.

Some of them have specializations which rival those of the IIMs. You can get into quite a few of these institutes without taking the CAT. They are:

  • XLRI Jamshedpur, which is regarded as the best private business school in the country, offers its PGDM programmes on the basis of the candidate’s XAT score.
  • NMIMS Mumbai offers its MBA programmes on the basis of the candidate’s NMAT score.
  • SIBM Mumbai offers its MBA programmes on the basis of the candidate’s SNAP score.

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