IIM-B and IIM-S shun most CAT 2011 toppers, leave them perplexed

Kolkata’s Vishal Kedia, one of the nine 100 percentilers of CAT 2011

It’s like pumping in whatever you have and still being left empty-handed. The 2011 Common Admission Test’s (CAT) nine 100 percentilers are going through a similar situation. Hoping to have been flooded with calls from all the top Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), most of them are still waiting. Some who have, are wondering why IIM Bangalore (IIM-B) or IIM Shillong (IIM-S) have given them a miss.

Vishal Kedia, a commerce graduate from St Xaviers College, Kolkata, one of the nine 100 percentile scorers of CAT 2011, is a little surprised about not getting a call from IIM-B, which he was keen on joining. Maybe the criteria is different this year. I am preparing for my other calls but have not yet decided on my stream as I want to discuss about it with my seniors first, he says.

Others like Soumyajit Sanyal, a TCS employee from Kolkata, is not too baffled because he did not get a call from IIM-B and IIM-S. He got calls from all the other IIMs, and is aiming for an MBA in finance from IIM Calcutta (IIM-C). I will be appearing for these interviews from Calcutta itself, though the final dates and location have not been declared yet.

Shashank Prabhu, one among the 100 percentilers club, got calls from IIM Ahmedabad (IIM-A), IIM Lucknow (IIM-L), IIM Kozikode (IIM-K) and IIM-C, but not from IIM-B. A rather surprised Shashank told PaGaLGuY, IIM-B considers board examination, graduation marks and work experience as well. It’s not that I am depressed for not getting through IIM-B, but it’s just that I got a 100 percentile and there is nothing more one can do than that.

Shashank Prabhu

Shashank, who is currently pursuing his MBA at Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) is still not sure if he will leave FMS for an IIM degree or not. Most probably I will not leave FMS because I have bagged a good summer internship. I appeared for CAT this year because I did not do well last year, and just wanted to better my score. I will appear for the GD-PI of only IIM-A and IIM-C. It’s two months away, so am still weighing my options.

Bringi Dev, from IIM-B’s media cell said, “I have no knowledge about who all have not got a call from here. We would not like to comment on why a few 100 percentilers were not called. We have a different admission criteria than the other institutes, which is mentioned in the website.”

The IIM-B website reads, “IIMB has internally developed an admission process that seeks to identify the most promising candidates for the PGP programme. This process has been progressively refined over the years based on cumulative data on the Common Admission Test (CAT) applicants and on the academic performance of the candidates that were admitted at IIMB. The process arrived at is based on the relationship of academic performance in IIMB to past academic performance, CAT score, performance in interview and prior work experience. The selection criteria and weights given to various parameters are based on data from previous cycles as well as on inputs from the IIMB faculty body and other relevant stakeholders and are usually revised every year. The admission committee fixes these criteria and weights at the beginning of each admission cycle before looking at information pertaining to candidates applying in that cycle so as to avoid any bias.”

IIM-B believes that students who perform well in the academic programme are typically those who have a consistently good academic record through school and college. Therefore IIM-B uses multiple parameters, namely academic performance in school and college other than candidates scores in CAT to judge the suitability of candidates for the PGP programme. Relevant work experience, if any, is also given weightage in the selection.

Srikanth Lanka, a final year student of chemical engineering from the Institute of Chemical Technology, who has got calls from IIM-A, IIM-C, IIM-L and the six new IIMs, feels ditched. “I am definitely targeting to convert my calls from IIM-C and IIM-A though I am a little disappointed for not getting a call from IIM-B, but I did expect it because of the criteria mentioned. It is a b-school that gives lot of weightage to academics and work experience. I am a fresher and scoring in my college is a bit difficult as there is no grading system, it is based on percentage,” he says.

Though not a 100 percentiler, scoring a 99.99 percentile definitely puts Bangalore’s Ravikiran Sastry in the top bracket by any IIM. He says that maybe his not-upto-the-mark Class 12th marks affected his call from IIM-B. “I got a call from IIM-A, IIM-C, IIM-L and IIM-K but not IIM-B. All the IIMs are autonomous and have different admission criteria. IIM-B, I believe has a more rigorous curriculum and they require more consistent performers. I was really looking forward to the entrepreneurship programme in IIM-B, but now I think I will opt for finance or computer management in IIM-C,” he says.

But there are a couple of happy 100 percentilers too, who have managed to get a call from all the IIMs. Ajinkya Deshmukh who works in a business analytics firm in Mumbai got the perfect score and has got a call from all the IIMs, including IIM-B. “I am looking forward to the GD-PI. I have enrolled into T.I.M.E. coaching centre to prepare for it and aiming for a finance or operations stream in IIM-A,” an ecstatic Ajinkya said.

Another lucky one to crack all the IIMs is Sreeram Prasad from Nellore. Though he has managed to get through the next round of all the IIMs, he seems quite annoyed at the admission criteria of IIM-S and calls it a ‘cruel joke’. “IIM-S’ criteria states that one should have a normalised graduation Score of +1.5, to be eligible for being considered for admission. This translates into 84.3% marks for engineering students. Personally, I feel this criterion is vague as each college/university has it’s own way of marking/ranking the students. There are some universities where a cumulative grade point average of +9.00 (90%) is common, whereas there are colleges where the topper of the department/university does not have the above mentioned score (84.3%). Though the importance of graduation score is undeniable, the way the same is included in the admission process should be logical,” Sreeram complained.

When PaGaLGuY contacted IIM-S about why they did not give a call to few 100 percentilers, an official said, “How can you be sure they have not restricted themselves only to IIM-A, IIM-B and IIM-C? Maybe they did not even apply to IIM-S.” When we pointed out that they did, the official refused to comment further on it.