The Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Lucknow in its new Post Graduate Program (PGP) admission policy has made an explicit bid to admit a batch with diverse educational backgrounds.
According to the policy, candidates from non-engineering graduation backgrounds will receive an additional 2.5 points at the time of making the Group Discussion and Personal Interview shortlist. The list of graduation disciplines that qualify for this additional score include architecture, various sub-disciplines within arts, humanities and commerce, medicine, law, chartered accountancy, company secretaryship, journalism, dentistry and more (see screenshot from the policy document below).
“We have made the provision for two reasons. First, we want to increase the diversity in our batches,” Prof. Himanshu Rai, the Admission Chairperson for IIM Lucknow told PaGaLGuY. “Secondly, we have found that academic scores in disciplines such as Chartered Accountancy are such that the topper only gets around 60% while others get 50-55%. This automatically puts them at a disadvantage compared to other disciplines where scoring above 60-70% is normal.”
Justifying the case for diversity, he said, “An MBA degree is not merely about professors lecturing, it’s about a wholesome experience. We like many top b-schools follow the case-study method in which classroom discussions play a very important role in the learning and the discussions get enriched if you have a diverse set of students in the class.”
“B-schools worldwide go after diversity. In fact b-schools in the USA have a kind of quota system where X number of seats are reserved for students from Y background,” he added.
When asked if diversity would come at the cost of meritocracy, Prof. Rai said, “Everything comes at a certain cost. When we give additional weightage to someone with work-experience, it comes at the cost of losing someone without work-experience. Similarly in our wisdom, a class composition that is diverse will make for a richer experience for those participating in it and outweigh the cost.”
The batches of 2009-11 and 2010-12 at IIM Lucknow each have 85% students from the engineering background. Batches in other top schools in India follow a similar pattern, one with more than 70% engineers.
A look at b-schools across the world shows that an engineer-heavy MBA batch is a uniquely Indian phenomenon. Engineers form only 23% of the batch at Darden, 20% at Anderson-UCLA, 20% at Tuck-Dartmouth and 26% at Wharton-Pennsylvania.