How To Get Into IIM Calcutta? – 3 Step Plan By An IIM C Student

IIM Calcutta is one of the most desired b-schools and thus entry is rather arduous. But with some strategic preparation, it can be easily done. I will shed light on the entire process, step by step –

  1. CAT percentile: IIM Calcutta requires very high percentile scores. The typical percentiles over past years can be looked up online for different categories. For someone starting out one’s preparation with IIM C in mind, best place to start is with a few mock tests. That gives you an idea of where you stand and how much effort needs to be put in. It could be a year or it could be 2 months. Depends on you and what amount of time you are able to put in everyday. Design a plan for yourself and stick to it, with regular mock tests to see how you fare vis-à-vis remaining candidates.
  2. Interview: An interview is a rather curious affair. It does not need any specific preparation as such. It may go very poorly despite a lot of sincere effort. But the one thing that you can take with you and rely on in an interview room is confidence. I would divide interview prep into 3 parts:
    1. Personal questions: These are questions ranging from “tell me about yourself” to long-term goals. These questions generally fill candidates with distaste since it seems rather cliché and fake at times. A lot of people are unable to do well in personal interviews because they are uncomfortable with their own answers that they have prepared. It does not ring true to them. And believe me, under some sustained questioning, it will not ring true to the interviewers either. So what is the way out of this quandary then? The middle path is to reflect on your true answers, albeit in a clear and convincing manner. This can only happen when you have repeated mock interviews or sessions in front of the mirror. A mock interview can be with a friend or family too. When we say that we are not clear about our long or short-term goals, it is not a completely honest answer. We do have some inkling of what we would want our future to be like. We just need to flesh this out with introspection or during mock interviews. Of course, this is easier said than done. But such practice definitely makes one’s answers more authentic and the interview then on is more of a conversation and less of an interrogation. I can vouch for this based on my own interview.
    2. Work experience or undergrad education (in case you are a fresher): Read up on your work or education. Prepare answers for expected questions such as “what was your work?” or “what impact did it have?” or “why are you doing an MBA?”. Practise these multiple times. It is quite possible that the exact questions they ask are different from these and unorthodox. But when you have clear answers to the fundamental questions, you will be well placed to answer any tangential question as well. Most importantly, it will convey that you understand yourself very well and have taken a well-thought decision to come for an MBA now
    3. General knowledge: Read newspapers regularly or download a news app. But do not overdo this. There is no point catching up with news every 3 hours and then going into depths. Catch up on news once a day and give some specified time for it. Go into depth only if it is a recurring topic or one that you have no idea about
  3. Essay: There is an essay which one has to write just before one’s interview. It is usually something like 300-400 words in 20 minutes. The past year topics will be available on the candidates’ FB group created by the IIM Calcutta ER Cell post interview calls. It would be a good idea to practise writing essays on these topics. Write 5-10 essays depending on how well you are doing. It is important to get an idea of how to begin and conclude a topic while ensuring that you get 3-4 major points in ( in the form of paragraphs). Get these evaluated by someone who is good at essays

All of this should be enough to get you into IIM Calcutta! Best of luck!

Niranjan Jha

More than anything else, it is stories that I am captivated by. It could be about cops, animals, Test cricket or Colonial India. Reading, writing or listening to stories livens up my day. I am looking to help people out with their career decisions and MBA options. I am a chemical engineer from IIT Bombay and entered IIM Calcutta immediately after that. I am from Bangalore. I am currently a member of the Student Team at InsideIIM.