Can Past Academic Record Really Affect Your Chances Of Getting Into A B-School?

“I scored 99.5 percentile in CAT and did not get a call from IIM A, B, and C”

 “I was so proud of my 99.8 percentile but somehow had no shortlists”

 “IIM calls and CAT are so unpredictable”

All of us have come across news articles and blog posts with such sentences in bold. If you are someone who aspires to get into one of the best b-schools in the country and have been reading up past experiences of others, such statements form a major chunk of the information you stumble upon.  The reason they give is majorly related to the past academic scores of the candidates. Thus, while preparing for the entrance exams, you are subconsciously analysing your own past academic performance (paap, as they call it).

Do IIMs give a lot of weightage to academics? Can academics really matter a lot?

There is no YES or NO answer to this question but there sure is some explanation for this confusion. Yes, academics are given due importance while considering a candidate’s application. No, it’s not impossible to get into an IIM with not-so-impressive acads. Every institute allots a fixed weightage to different components (namely, CAT score, SSC, HSC, graduation score, GD-PI performance and so on), while shortlisting candidates. Almost all the top b-schools have a predefined cut-off for the CAT scores, but there are other factors that come into play, at least during the initial shortlisting for calls. Understanding these criteria can help us figure out how to target the right b-schools.

Let us analyze the shortlisting criteria to understand the significance given to acads by these b-schools:

  • IIM Ahmedabad
    Here are the shortlisting criteria for 2018-20 batch explained in simple words:
    As seen in the article above, the Composite Score of a candidate has 70% weightage to the CAT 2017 score and 30% for the Application Rating (AR) score. The AR score has further components such as your 10th, 12th and graduation marks. Efforts have been taken to ensure fairness by again dividing the pool of applications based on the 7 different academic disciplines. Institutes are essentially looking for consistency and academics are a way to display that. Thus, if you have done consistently well in most of the academic exams, 30% weightage should not create a huge problem. However, if there is huge inconsistency, one needs a stellar CAT score to balance things out. Also, these institutes are looking out for sincere people with interesting profiles. For eg, I know of a candidate who had done well in the field of fashion designing getting into IIM A with a decent percentile.
    Now let us compare and contrast with another IIM that has slightly higher weightage for components other than the CAT score, say, IIM Indore.
  • IIM Indore – Shortlisting Criteria
    It is quite clear that there is a considerable difference in the selection procedures of both these IIMs and thus, it is not correct to generalise that academics are the make-or-break factor. In case of IIM Indore, the Composite Score gives only 20% weightage to CAT score as opposed to 70% given by IIM A. Academic components make up to 76%.You can perform your own analysis of different b-schools to understand where your profile fits well. Most of the b-schools have already shared their criteria and though they have some weightage given to academic scores, there is a considerable difference. Thus, it is wrong to believe that bad academics = no scope of good b-school.

    Following are the general observations:

B-schools that do not give a lot of value to acads –

IIM Calcutta, IIM Lucknow, XLRI, FMS Delhi, MDI, NMIMS are some of the prominent names.

Worrying about the academic record is not a wise thing to do at this juncture because the only component that you can change now is your CAT score. Maximising your CAT score and working towards a well-balanced profile is the key to fulfill your dreams!

Mayuri Jadhav

Mayuri Jadhav is currently a PGP1 student at IIM Indore. She has previously completed Computer Engineering from Mumbai University. She loves singing, reading fiction and penning down her thoughts.