IIM – A Vs B Vs C – A Comparative Guide

After spending sleepless nights preparing for CAT or dreaming about getting a call from IIMs, you have finally made it. You cracked the CAT, aced the GDPI and managed to convert the holy trinity of b-schools in India – IIM A, B and C. Firstly, congratulations to you! I know it’s not over yet, but you must take a moment to give yourself a pat on the back for making it so far. And now, you have to choose between Options A, B & C. You have to make this choice on your own and you don’t get a lifeline. It’s easier to choose between good and bad. But how do you pick one from the best? We have compiled some information about them to help you in the decision-making process.

There’s very little difference in the 3 institutes when it comes to fees, faculty, infrastructure and placements. There are various scholarships available in all the 3 IIMs and bank loans cover all the expenses. The infrastructure and campus in each IIM are marvellous and disabled friendly. The faculty is experienced and deploy the most effective pedagogy in their courses. These professors also teach at other IIMs as visiting faculties. All the top recruiters of the country visit the 3 IIMs for placement. The sector of companies may vary with the interest and preference of each batch. Although IIM-C has the strongest presence in the finance sector, the percentage of companies from consultancy firms and other sectors have been increasing over the years. All three campuses get the top consultants and FMCG companies for placement.

Since there’s little difference between IIM A, B & C, you may want to consider the factors below while making your choice.

  1. IIM  Ahmedabad

City – Ahmedabad is located in a dry state so the parties may not be similar to other IIMs. Also, the weather during the summers may get unbearable (since there’s no AC in the hostel)

Curriculum – All courses are mandatory in the first year and the second year has all the elective courses. IIM A also offers a specialisation in Food and Agri-business Management which has been ranked no. 1 by Eduniversal, Paris for 3 years in a row.

Evaluation Criteria – In a few subjects, class participation gets as high a weightage as 40%. For students who are introverted or are allotted a seat right at the back, find it difficult to score and have to cover up in other areas.

Students Profile – IIM A has many freshers but the number of experienced students is increasing over the years.

Alumni Involvement – There are various informal and formal discussions held with the alumni at IIM A. They are also eager to help the current batch in the college events and festivals.

Campus Life – There are plenty of clubs and councils for various activities to choose from. The pedagogy at IIM A also promotes self-learning so students spend most of their time on academics or other activities on campus.

Students Involvement – At IIM A, the student council and the management are at par when it comes to decision making. The decisions that directly affect the students are mostly taken by the student council and the institute related decisions are taken by the management.

Dual Degree Program – IIM A has agreements with 6 institutes for a dual degree program. However, some of these programs coincide with placements and Graduation ceremony so most of the students don’t opt for it.

USP – Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) helps students start their own company by providing mentorship and funding support.

  1. IIM Bangalore

City – Bengaluru is the startup hub of India. The campus is located in the heart of the city which gives the students a chance to explore the city. Since there are many startups and venture capitalists in Bangalore, frequent informal discussions are arranged between students and founders of these firms. Many students choose to work part-time with startups for their assignments to diversify their options for sectors. Also, Bengaluru has the best weather compared to Calcutta and Ahmedabad.

Curriculum – Unlike IIM A & C, IIM B offers a choice of 3 elective courses in the first year itself to prepare the students for the summer placements.

Evaluation Criteria – Professors have the liberty to design the evaluation criteria as per their subject. The credits are also evenly distributed in both the years.

Students Profile – IIM B has the maximum percentage of students with work experience. The students are also from diverse backgrounds. Although candidates with work experience may gain an edge over the freshers in placements.

Alumni Involvement – Alumni interactions take place during talks and discussions organised by the Institute.

Campus Life – There are many clubs and co-curricular activities at IIM B for the students to indulge in. Many students work on their startups as well with the help of NSRCEL. They also spend plenty of time having discussions with professors after the regular classes. 

Students Involvement – The student council is involved with the management but it’s restricted and the majority of the power remains with the management.

Dual Degree Program – There are several student exchange programs but no dual degree option as yet.

USP – NSRCEL is the hub of entrepreneurial activities at IIM B. By organising events and bringing in startup founders, venture capitalists, researchers, etc. they have created an ecosystem that encourages entrepreneurship. They help students convert their ideas into a venture.

  1. IIM  Calcutta

City – The campus is located far away from the city so the students have limited access to the city. The weather of the city is extremely hot and humid.

Curriculum – It’s similar to IIM A with core courses in the first year and elective courses in the second. However, IIM C doesn’t offer any foreign language credit course unlike IIM A & B. The curriculum is also known to be more intense quantitatively (even for HR).

Evaluation Criteria – Professors are at a liberty to decide the evaluation criteria and credit structure for their courses.

Students Profile – IIM C usually gets students from engineering backgrounds and IT sector with strong quantitative ability. Many students who have math anxiety may not choose the program at IIM C due to its reputation of being equivalent to a degree in Mathematics. IIM C also gets the maximum percentage of freshers as compared to IIM A & B.

Alumni Involvement – Rishtey- a unique program where each fresher is assigned a mentor from the alumnus till the third term to help students build long lasting relationship with the alumni is one of the highlights of the first year at IIM C. Students find this extremely effective and choose to continue the relationship beyond the third term. There’s a strong alumni presence in the college events and festivals as well. Many events are sponsored by the alumnus at IIM C.

Campus Life – Students have an extremely busy life at IIM C. There are various co-curricular activities happening all the time. There are various clubs for music, sports, dramatics, etc. Students also have an option of creating their own interest group which can be converted into a club if needed.

Students Involvement – It’s a student-run campus. The student council plays an important role in policies and decisions related to students with minimum interference from the management.

Dual Degree Program – IIM C offers a double degree in association with ESCP Europe. Full placement support is offered to students opting for the dual degree by the institutes.

USP – IIM C has a state-of-the-art finance lab that supports applied research in financial markets and equips students with mathematical and conceptual theories that can facilitate in the creation of innovative financial products.

Each institute has its own strengths and weaknesses. You need to set your goals and pick the institute that would get you closer to your goals. There’s no right or wrong decision in this case. You just have to make a choice and turn it into the right one. No matter which IIM you choose, don’t forget what a privilege it is to get an opportunity to study at an IIM. Make the best use of this opportunity and most importantly, don’t forget to have fun.

We wish you all the best for what will probably be the most memorable 2 years of your life!



Saneeya Agrawal

Thank you, Nitin! We are working on a series of b-school comparisons. We will surely cover FMS in future. Thank you for your suggestion.

ramji yahoo

awesome and very useful, informative, practical post, this reduces the confusions by 90%, no body could remove the confusion 100% since all the 3 are marvelous institutes.

Nikhar Mattu

IIM-A does have two electives in the first year. Plus, “Professors are at a liberty to decide the evaluation criteria”, this is obviously true for A as well.

Saneeya Agrawal

IIM-A offers 2 flexicore courses in the fields of Operations Management and Human Resource Management (as per their website). Electives are offered in the second year.

Atul Kumar

As an IIMA Alumni, PGP 2001, I found this review very comprehensive and balanced. I was fortunate to have offers from most IIMs including A,B,C in 1999. As the only student with an undergraduate degree from Bihar ( BA in Economics from AN College, Patna, Magadh University), it was amazing to be a part of the best and brightest of Inda when I joined IIM Ahmedabad. It was an obvious choice at that time at least purely on the reputation and success of Alumni, even my father also would excuse me or not insist that I prepare for IAS only if do my MBA from Ahmedabad. In the current age, purely on the strength of alumni, A is much much ahead of B, C and others. However in the new “connected economy” where which institute you went to doesn’t matter as much except for becoming a passport for jobs, access to alumni. Once you go outside India you realize that rest of world doesn’t even know about IIM or care about the A2Z ( except for consulting firms, i-banks and large global firms). A person on streets of Manhattan or London or Shanghai knows more about global brands like Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Wharton, Columbia than he/she knows about IIMs. To solve that problem, some of us have been working on creating an institution called IIM Society since 2004. We also have very vibrant local chapters in India as well Americas, Europe, Singapore etc. We had IIM Europe started by few alumni, we also have IIM Americas and so on. Currently we have, http://iimsociety.org under development but our Linkedin Group, https://www.linkedin.com/groups/36556 has 5500+ members, recently started Telegram Group has 1200+ members and we have dozens of industry, domain, city specific groups too on Telegram, Whatsapp, Facebook, Google etc.


Hi Saneeya. Great attempt here to compare the three. However, I would like to point out a few corrections for the benefit of future readers.
Curriculum: At IIM A, there is no specialization called “Food & Agri-Business”. That is a separate course and is not connected to the regular PGP. Also, the flexi-core courses are actually electives. One has to take 2/4 there in HR and Ops. I suspect IIM B is similar. Also at IIM B the electives cannot prepare you for summers as they are in term 3 ie after summers. IIM A does not offer foreign language courses for credit.
Evaluation Criteria: At all the three everything is at the discretion of the Professor and not only in B&C.
Student Profile: While certain perceptions exist for each IIM, truth be told, the profile is more of less the same across the campusses in terms of experience. However, A&B have >20% non-engineers while C has <10% (for batch of 2018).
Alumni Involvement: Both A & B have their equivalent of 'Rishtey'