All you wanted to know about Shortlisting Criteria of Top Business Schools in India for the Class of 2013-15 (CAT Based)

Prerna Lalwani

Shortlisting Criteria for CAT 2014 – Class of 2017 can be found here.

Given below is the criteria for CAT 2012 and Class of 2015.

‘Beyond this place of wrath and tears
looms but the Horror of the shade.
And yet the menace of the years,
finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
how charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul..’

The end of XAT marks the end of yet another entrance-exam season. I am sure all of us have had our highs & lows.. Putting them behind us, Henley’s words remind me, there are more battles ahead!

Well, with CAT results less than 24 hours away and consistently dipping temperatures, I have got goose bumps & nervous chills thinking about how things will change, for better or best, after the 9th of January 2012! So in order to get rid of the butterflies, I thought, what better way to distract myself than to delve into analysing, optimistically, the shape of things to come!

While I am sure most of you have already racked your brains & had extensive discussions & even debates about the admission criteria, a quick & simplified refresher wouldn’t hurt, now, would it?

(Do remember to check out our pertinent observations below this table..!)

Before getting a GD/ PI/ WAT call, here’s what you need to know: After you’ve earned the call, here’s what you need to know:
IIMA CAT score plus Application Rating (AR) score (in the ratio 7:3) is considered. AR score is based on 10th & 12th boards marks, bachelor’s & master’s degree marks & work experience.No minimum overall CAT percentile mentioned but it is unlikely that any general category candidate with a percentile lower than 95-96%ile overall and 90%ile in each section will be shortlisted. This is based on the number of candidates called by IIM A and track record. PI & CAT score are assigned weights 70:30 respectively.
IIMB CAT score plus adjusted scores of 10th & 12th boards, bachelor’s degree & higher of the scores of professional degree or work experience is considered.Also, the top 10 candidates as per each of the 5 parameters above automatically qualify for a PI. Minimum 90%ile overall for a general category student with 90%ile in Verbal and 80%ile in QA&DI. The PI will be used to evaluate the candidate’s motivation & ability to fit in & benefit from the PGP. Letters of Reference may be required.
IIMC Adjusted CAT score plus points allocated for scores in 10th & 12thboards & gender diversity factor (3 points) for females are considered.PI & WAT shortlist will be based on the weighted average of these scores. Minimum 95%ile overall for a general category student with 90%ile in Verbal and 90%ile in QA&DI. CAT score (35), PI (44), WAT (10), Academic diversity at bachelor’s level (2), Academic diversity at Post-Graduate/ Professional level (1), Work experience (8) =  Total 100 points So clearly, in the second phase, the PI matters & a post-graduation work experience of 31-36 months will earn you the highest (8) points.
IIML Adjusted CAT score plus points allocated for scores in 10th & 12thboards, bachelor’s degree, work experience, academic diversity & gender diversity are considered. PI & WAT shortlist will be based on the weighted average of these scores. Minimum 90%ile overall for a general category student with 85%ile in Verbal and 85% in QA&DI. WAT, GD & PI are assigned weights 10:10:30 respectively.
IIMI CAT score is just hygiene. If you are a general category candidate all yu need is 90 percentile overall with 85 percentile in each section. That helps you make the cut. Beyond that its 100% acads for your Composite Score (CS). CS is based on is based on 10th & 12th boards marks & bachelor’s degree marks in the ratio of 35% 35% and 30%.Minimum 90%ile overall for a general category student with 85%ile in Verbal and 85%ile in QA&DI. After the WAT & PI, candidates will be selected based on:10th boards marks (17%) + 12th boards marks (17%) + bachelor’s degree marks (16%) + PI (35%) + WAT (15%)
IIMK CAT score (overall cut-off, no sectional cut-offs mentioned) plus adjusted 10th, 12thboards marks & bachelor’s degree marks are considered in the ratio 50:15:15:15 respectively. Also, 5 marks are allocated to gender diversity.Minimum 85%ile overall with NO sectional cutoffs After the WAT & PI, candidates will be shortlisted based on:Adjusted CAT score (20%) + adjusted 10th boards marks (7%) + adjusted 12th boards marks (7%) + adjusted bachelor’s degree marks (6%) + PI (40%) + WAT (20%)
SPJIMR Profile based calls are made based on the admission form. CAT, XAT & GMAT scores based calls are made thereafter. Group interviews are conducted in two stages.
FMS Not Available Not Available

Some of the things that we observed in this context are as follows:

Importance of Acads and low importance of CAT:

1)  IIM Ahmedabad continues its highly past academic record skewed criteria. There is a multiplicative function to the academic record making the other factors literally irrelevant. So yes, you’d need a high CAT score (98+) but a 79% in any of your big past exams and you’re out of the game. IIM A generally calls 600-650 general category candidates, so get 80+ in 10/12/Grad and 98+ percentile and you’re through but a 99.9 percentile with 90,90 and 79.9 is unlikely to make it. And since there is no domain wise or board wise normalization, it is unlikely most Art and Commerce graduates in India stand any chance.

2)  At IIM Indore, CAT score is irrelevant once a general category candidate gets 90%ile overall. Its the candidate’s academic record that rules the roost. So don’t be surprised to see candidates with 93%ile overall with 85+ in each section getting a WAT/PI Call from IIM Indore.

3)  IIM Bangalore has never given too much importance to CAT and their shortlisting criteria has been consistent over the last 7-8 years since it has been made available publicly. Like Indore, they too have a basic filter but they do give a 20% weight to CAT in the first phase shortlisting formulae. Also, their basic filer asks for a higher verbal cutoff.  Acads though are very important again.

4)  At IIM Kozhikode if you’re a male you are already -5 as girls get a bonus 5 marks! The CAT score is again very deceptively irrelevant. One would look at 50% weight and get excited but it is not very heavy. Since it is scaled to 50 points a 99 percentile is 49.5 and 94 percentile is 47.5 narrowing the gap to 2.5 points. Now the acads and your gender take over and make all the difference! So a 100%iler male and 90%iler female are almost equal! Because females get 5 marks for being females! Apart from that, graduation is more or less irrelevant as long as you have 65% in your grad final exam. SSC/HSC + your gender hold the key. IIM K does not mention the requirement of clearing sectional cut-offs in CAT. Only an overall minimum percentile requirement is mentioned.

5)  At IIM Calcutta, if you’re a male you are already – 3 but you have a greater chance of covering up for that difference through your CAT score and acads as the CAT weight is still 77%. In fact its the highest among all the old 6 IIMs.  This is the first time IIM C has moved away from its tradition of CAT only or CAT weight of 90%+ in order to boost diversity.

6)  IIM Lucknow uses multiple criteria to boost diversity and gives CAT a weight of 38/50 for shortlisting candidates for GD/PI.

7) IIM Ahmedabad allocates marks to applicants holding a Master’s degree. IIM B gives marks to certain special professional courses/degrees only. The other 4 IIMs give no weight to your masters degree at the shortlisting stage.


  1. Sorry boys: IIM C, L & K are certainly giving points for gender diversity to females
  2. Academic diversity: If you’re a dentist, CA or journalist, IIML gives you more points
  3. As for females from a diverse discipline applying to IIML with work experience, there’s a whooping 7 out of 50 points for you!

Post-call procedure:

  1. IIM A & C conduct PIs
  2. IIM B, I & K conduct WATs & PIs
  3. IIM L conducts a WAT, GD & a PI
  4. FMS conducts a GD and PI and has an extempore round. We don’t know this year’s process yet.
  5. SPJIMR conducts group interviews in 2 stages.

All IIMs have given at least some weightage to work experience at some stage or the other in the selection process. IIM C gives weight to diverse candidates (non-engineering) fulfilling their List Y in the final phase of selection.  This is another first.All in all, there’s no doubt that the PI itself is of utmost importance to earn the coveted seat!

May the Universe conspire to bring you contentment! All the very best..

– Prerna Lalwani, with inputs from Ankit Doshi

[Prerna is a talkative Chartered Accountant who graduated from NM College of Commerce & Economics. She enjoys dancing, writing, cracking poor jokes & clicking random photographs. A self proclaimed geek, you might catch her engrossed in her phone, smiling at strangers or ranting about Mumbai..]

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