I am an IIM alumnus and what I write below applies to me as well.

If you have an interview call from the IIMs, thank god or whatever supreme power you believe in and get on with it. If you believe that just because you are an IIM grad you are superior allow me to burst your bubble.


The total population of India is 1.2 Billion (120 Crore). Even if I assume 100,000 unique people took the CAT each year over the last 10 years, that still amounts to 1 Million people. Now that is less than 0.1% of the population in the country. It would be foolish to be proud of doing well in an exam which over 10 years not even 0.1% of this country’s people have attempted!  You have not even competed with 99.99% of the country’s population. So all your jingoism about we are the best brains in the country etc. should be washed away in your kitchen sink. There are millions of children who were born in the same year as you were born but never got to go to school. Many dropped out after Class IV. Many more dropped out after high school. A miniscule of those graduated from college which is the minimum qualification to even take the CAT. Teach for India has a great presentation on this.

(P.S – Three people have written to me saying comparing CAT takers with whole of India is not fair. Compare with age group only. OK. As per UNICEF 26 Million people are born in India each year. I will take people 3 years older and 3 years younger as the sample that can compete with you. That is 182 Million people and not 1.2 Billion. Your percentage jumps to 0.55% of the sample. Happy?)

Let me add another angle to this. Most people who take the CAT are people who have access to the English language in their formative years. Take away English and you won’t be able to understand a single question. Only 20 Million children in India were in English medium schools in the country as of March 2012 according to NUEPA (National University of Educational Planning and Administration). That is 2% of India’s population. This figure in 2003-04 was less than 8 Million (Less than 1% of India’s population then). If we look at the whole country as per 2001 Census, less than 120 Million (12 Crores) people in this country claim to know English. This is people who treat English as their 1st,2nd or 3rd language. Does knowing English make you a better manager? If the CAT were in vernacular languages, most of you would not have even a 80%ile ranking score. The raw talent of millions in the small towns and villages in this country will blow you away. Our preference to English as a mode of business communication has blocked the progress of millions of our countrymen and women.

You are where you are only because you were born in the right family.  The fact that you got the opportunity to go to a school. The fact that you had exposure to the English language. You can’t even claim credit for having chosen this path for yourself. Even Lord Krishna could not choose where his upbringing took place so it is unlikely you were a special child who had figured out career choices as a 3 year old.

Selection Criteria

Call getters are lucky. Plain lucky. What are you so proud of? The fact that normalization of your SSC/HSC/Grad marks went your way ? Or that you were born in a state where scoring 80% was easier than in other states? Or that the CAT difficulty level normalization across slots favoured your slot? Or that you are a woman and hence you got extra points? Or that you have a certificate that ensures the bar is set lower for your entry? Be honest. The selection criteria favoured you. Deep in your heart you know that equally deserving candidates lost out for no real fault of theirs.

A lot of people I know have ‘spectacular’ academic records because they could memorize stuff better and vomit it in the exam. Evaluation is done in the most improper way across India. Students can get penalized if the paper checker didn’t get his tea on time or if the fan above her wasn’t working in the month of May. Sometimes office boys are asked to check board exam papers. I have personally seen people checking papers in crowded Mumbai local trains. I was once asked to write at least 15 lines per answer even if it didn’t make sense because I was told they measure length before awarding you marks.

So while I respect your consistent academic record, I really don’t see how the ones who didn’t do well in these farcical exams are any less. A lot many of them were learning skills that will end up helping their family or even the nation much more while you spent your childhood memorizing text books from start to end.

Even when people receive their final admits, you know that it is not a 100% fair selection. Personal biases and prejudices of interviewers (who are imperfect people) kick in. Some professors will favour candidates from their state. Some will be biased against the rich. Some will be biased against the poor.


So what’s the point of all this? Am I undermining your hard work over the years? Am I giving an easy escape route (sour grapes) to all those who didn’t work hard and hence failed?  No. The purpose of this piece is to remind ourselves that we are fortunate to get this opportunity. Let us know very well that getting admitted in a higher ‘ranked’ institution or bagging a job in a sought after company was equally a matter of  chance. The hubris should go. Rather than treating this as an achievement, you are better off treating it as a responsibility. There are deserving people out there who didn’t get the option to graduate from these premier institutions.  There is a lot one can do with the help of this platform. One may not always be in a position to give back to the society, community or the nation. The least we can do is be humble.

– Ankit Doshi


The writer is the founder of this website, an IIM grad and most recently a banker. He now runs KiRa9 Edumedia Pvt Ltd. which owns InsideIIM.com. He is consumed by the thought of democratizing access to quality management education.


Other articles by Ankit Doshi


Read this Warning to All IIM Aspirants


Ankit Doshi

Creator of InsideIIM.com



IIM Grad 2008

I can see how someone who can't operate Caps Lock key will find clarity in the warped logic of the writer. Please tell me you are not an IIM grad.

amit kumar

No…..I simply dont agree with u….u r simply intimidating the cat aspirants as well as underrating d IIM grads….If vernacular language had been the source of business communication,they also would have been read with that language n might have topped…..Its natural 2 follow the trend for an individual…..So,I think they have done their job perfectly who have cleared IIMs.You should appreciate their commendable work in spite of underrating them.


1. How is this post "intimidating" CAT aspirants? Most of it is true. Some states are easier to score in, women get preference, and SC/ST have reservations. All these are FACTS.

2. Note that the author is not in any way undermining the efforts of those who have got into the IIMs. He is merely asking us to be humble about it.

3. What "commendable work" have people who have got into IIM done by simply getting into IIM? Yes, it's a matter of pride that you got in. But that doesn't suddenly make you a messiah. If you've got into IIM, then you have a chance of getting a good position at a good company and THAT is when you have the opportunity to do something commendable. By just getting into IIM, you have not changed the world. You have not changed the nation. You've not even changed the bloody street your house is on. But NOW is the opportunity to actually DO something.


Dear Amit, do you know how many English medium schools are there in the villages? And the quality of the Teachers who taught English in schools located in villages? or even in small towns? If you don''t have an idea visit some villages.
I did study in village, started to learn A-B-C-D when I was in class V (and I cant explain you the quality of the English teaching). And till date I always feel if I were in an English medium school.

amit kumar

Hey JOON…..where the hell ur mind was @ the tym of reading ma comment???!!!!u simply misunderstood ma point…..leav it…..tell me 1 thng after reading the article fully……Is it a proper1 to be written here n dat also by sum IIM grad!!!!!!
& 4 u i ve sumthng 2 say…its nt d skuls which reflect d student…its d word"PARENTING"…..if u ve good parents who r educated & well civilized u r bound 2 get d privileges 2 study or 2 flourish….as u might have been flourished though u belong 2 a vernacular medium skul…..m saying it resting d cases of rarest of rare……

Vinay Chug

What did they do? Take an exam, solve some class 8 problems-Time speed distance or some ratio and proportion.Spent 9 months of their lives taking coaching classes, unnecessarily increasing their speed to beat the rest. In my opinion we would be better of learning some real skills and adding value to the economy.
IIM are so over hyped.I indeed respect the people who got admitted but most of the people I know did it for money or because they were frustrated with their previous jobs. I wish people start doing what they love rather than follow the band wagon so that they can make some money.Intimidating ? Its an exam not a war.


Dear Amit,
As writer has very well put, the purpose of this article is to ensure that IIM grads drop their air when they are at work/in-college. Its not the question of intimidating or getting intimidated, but being humble and responsible.

I can add more reasons to writer's line of reasoning. I have seen some bright folks getting married, being shifted to foreign locations by their companies, too much work pressure at job as other reasons why some of the brightest folks from the sample set of english speaking population, do not write CAT or get into IIMs.
Plus CAT doesn't tests your business skills which is totally different skill alltogether. So, if one thinks that having cleared CAT / graduated from IIM he is a businessman or a good business administrator : NO! NO! NO!

At the same time, this is not to undermine the hardwork of all the people who successfully pass out of IIMs.

IIM alumnus!


Hi amit,

ask everyone to be humble because thats the right thing to do. thats the right way to go about life.

and btw, your arguments in most part of the articles are wrong.

amit kumar

Yeah,santosh….m doing d rit thing…..starting from here….n i think u ve sum misunderstandings….my point was nt to make d author humble….bt to make him write on good n mature topic so dat it can be useful 4 d society….


Is it really that hard to use proper spelling in your comments?? It's hard to take anything you write seriously when you spell like a 5 year old. At least in this context, when you are writing about IIM graduates' brilliance and maturity, it would be nice to see you display a little bit of both

amit kumar

chalo chodo…….kuch nai bolne ko mila to spelling ko pakad k beth……I had sum doubt dat u r nt matured enough…bt i got assured 4m ur comment dat u r matured freak…..do hell with ur topic…..tympass krne ko bht jagah he to blogging kyn????he he he….


You really are a kid who needs to learn thing or two about life and of-course English.


interesting article..as one of my role models (who is also an IIM grad) once told me, "Wear the tag on your back and not your front". People should know you are a product of an IIM based on what you say and the insight you bring in rather than the brand that you get post studying there. The whole point of being an IIM grad is so that you can try make a change in the environment around you by using what you have studied and not by stating that you are in fact from an IIM.



IIM grads… the IIM tag will follow you right till your retirement. It will open doors and get you an invite to many a table…
It is worth gloating about


I totally agree with the author of the article on the issue of showing humbleness but have a slight difference of opinion on the vernacular language thing. Most of people coming to IIMs have done well in exams( other than cat) like AIEEE, JEE, EAMCET and other state level entrance exams(which is conducted in regional language also). So these people have proved themselves that they are good and have worked hard to excel in these exams( of course luck also played it part too) and we should not definitely take away this reward from them.


You were spot on with the vagaries of the selection process in cat.. This year, if there has been one single community whose plight has been rather conspicuous, its the male engineer community. Just because we are engineers, and just because our aptitude is supposedly strong enough to compensate for any other parameter, we are deprived of almost half of our chances of making a cut. They perhaps despise with us to some extent probably because we are a little too good to be taught..And the predicament related to the normalization across boards is also a very authentic and valid conjecture.. I guess selection to the iims is more about other things apart from cat than about cat itself. And I'll never understand how ssc and hsc marks help someone decide upon the adeptness of someone as a manager..There is a serious need of reforms and we need these reforms quickly before these discrepancies eat up all of our ivy league b schools..


How ignorant can one be! Seriously! Get out of your engineering college and see the world outside, you really need to.
And IVY league b schools in India? Do you know what 'ivy' in 'ivy league' means?


Ohh yeah…

A wrong calculation at the very start:

"The total population of India is 1.2 Billion (120 Crore). Even if I assume 100,000 unique people took the CAT each year over the last 10 years, that still amounts to 1 Million people. "… You have not even competed with 99.99% of the country’s population."

One competes with people in the same age group at least when one says so. Nobody inside any institute claims to better than the faculty there.

And wrt to board marks and all… ,mere excuses… and people willing to the best never seek excuses..



1) The CAT exam is open to all age groups who have a graduate degree.

2) Do you know how many people were born in 5 years before you and 5 years after? 26 Million (UNICEF) are born each year. so multiply 26 by 10. You have 260 Million people. Does that change the basic point the author is trying to make?


The author must be from the tier 2 IIMs so to say : I or K or Ranchi etc . ##Just saying 😛

abhishek agrahari

Dude.. think a bit deeply when someone comes up with an excuse. Sometimes what you think of as an excuse could also be one of the most pertinent reason for him/her not being able to do the thing that was desired.. stop using cliched things.


I feel the writer is also a bit proud of having an IIM tag! Agreed that humanity should be a part of ones life. By creating such above explanations, you can undermine any person's achievements. For ex – You can say Gandhi became the Father of the Nation because he was influenced by the treatment in the South African train. If he was not treated like that..there would be No Gandhi!


most of these facts are pretty obvious and well known to every one.simply doing the mathematics and showing the percentages does not make any real sense. coming to the point the IIM grads are not humble, i refuse to accept that. most of them are.

Sharing Thoughts

well the most basic thing – doing well at some logical reasoning and english isn't the measure of smartness.

A person with 90% is as good as 99% (percentile) – there is no way those logical reasoning and vocab skills are useful once you are above a decent level. The whole selection process of CAT sucks – we should follow a more subjective approach like Harvard, Stanford etc.


Subjective approach will be an even bigger problem in India. People will start creating conspiracy theories stating there is favouritsm in selection. It is not as easy it appears


I'd really like you to elaborate on this further. It's the most intriguing comment of all the 90 odd comments here for me. I am seriously interested in knowing your point of view and how you deduced this from my writing.


I truly agree with the author, about being humble in life. And infact I have seen people at IIM who help friends or aspirants in any possible way, at job are considered as very helpful and are not lost in some parallel world(as showcased by media).

As fas as gloating over the entry in IIM goes, I think it pretty much fades away within the first one week when First year kicks off… 😛

Anyways, a good job by author…. 🙂

John Galt

While the writer tries to cover his defeatist perspective of "everything is based on chance", it comes out very clearly. If Mr. Doshi was born in North Korea, a matter of chance, he could be the next dictator or miner – purely based on which family he belongs to. If he was born in Swaziland or Botswana, his chances of getting to the age of 21 would be pretty slim.

Furthermore, which mountaineer reaches Everest and who doesn't is dependent, to a great extent, on weather. Does this mean that mountaineer who reached the peak has no rights to his achievements? To talk about it? To show the pictures proudly? Of course he does!

Everything can be chalked up to chance. There is always a probability of failure/success due to factors outside our control. Does this mean we have no right to be proud of our achievements? Does this mean all human achievements are meaningless and just matter of chance?

Of course not! Our achievements are matter of overcoming adversities. Doing the best in any given situation. Not squandering opportunities because "what is the point, it is all a matter of chance!"

No, I am not going to be humble about my achievements. My achievements are hard earned and I will brag about them. I am not going to be my brother's keeper or victim of my own success or feel guilty.

– John Galt
Not an IIM grad

Bhavin Mehta

Mr. Galt. Its disheartening to see a 'High Achiever' like you can not distinguish between the intent of the article and the content of the artice. This one is meant for all those graduated from better 'ranked' institutes to not be complacent, keep working hard and above all BE HUMBLE for that fractional bit of luck that put them just ahead of the finishing line in this rat race.

And whats the point you are trying to make by giving north korea and botswana examples? Way off! Your arrogance is clear in the tone of your write up. I respect the author for the intent of the article and buy his explanation for no matter what you achieve – stay grounded, keep working hard. Its all a matter of time.

You go ahead. Brag about your achievements – if thats what makes you happy. You are always given a 'chance' to make your 'choice'. (If you dont get the intent my point to you, read the last line again, Mr. Galt and likes. God Bless.)

Bhavin Mehta

John Galt

Mr. Mehta,

When the intent and content do not match up, I point it out. The author says, "Call getters are lucky. Plain lucky." He also blames the system for its faults at length. Where is the point of be humble in this article except for in one last line? Which works more as an addendum than as a conclusion.

The point of Everest, N.Korea, and Swaziland is to show that an escapist can always chalk up everything to luck. You can always dissect any win until you reach an exogenous factors and then play up the "luck factor". That is typical of people who shy away from effort – chalk other person's wins and personal failures to luck.

I am not just proud of my achievement. I am proud of every human's achievement. When a person fight against odds and system to overcome adversity, I am proud.

You should read Atlas Shrugged. I am protagonist in that novel and have discussed by philosophy and thoughts on human endeavor at length in the book.


is it not a publicity gimmick. Create some controversy and attract some traffic 😛 .. Well it is working.. hmm

1st of all u got it wrong. I can not be compared with all people who were born at my time, as many of them have chosen different career paths. Only few chose management career they could be few lakhs all over the country, im certainly best out of them all.

schooling Language is not a deadend. People can change their medium of education like I did after my 10th.

Every life event is a matter of choice with a bit of chance(luck). U r magnifying luck contribution to unreasonable amounts. In that way ur argument is fallacious.


i think the whole post is about people like you. i am so glad you validated the points


Let's not complicate the argument…If a general engineer male doesn't make it to an IIM with 99 percentile and a woman SC manages to do it with just 90, its pure fortune right… and she would do well to be humble about it… About vernaculars..its true that English is a problem for many…but people either have the language ability or they don't. It cannot be guaranteed that a poor guy from the streets would perform if given equal opportunity…


lol… this is what an Indian girl thinks about the poor's?
and we want them to come forward in politics, business and education
u can not say its unfair or fair when there is an opportunity gap at the primary school level or even when a child is born (say it gender , cast or physical disability)

amit kumar

If u cant its unfair den how can u mention the entrance tests 2 be unfair,boss?!!!!!If u ve any process or idea about generalise all d people,den juz share wid us….we ll b glad…..


My parents warn me not to waste the food i am supposed to eat.But i don't understand the reason and raise the Q:Any way they are not gonna get the food i am wasting.So what's the big deal.I am sure they have seen more needy people in their life and i am very lucky to have it.But I have seen people who are more intelligent than me but discontinued their education due to their financial status.Now I understand this case and warn some people, who take the privileges given by these top most institutes for granted.I am pretty sure many others who haven't gone through my situation don't even understand this and raise a Q:Why shouldn't we take it for granted? and I am damn sure they don't even understand the case I was mentioning before.Anyway the analysis only gets understood by people who have respect for education and who have earned it at very high cost.I know some very very popular ROCK bands(NIRVANA) who don't even want to commercialize their songs, only because they have respected their profession(music) very much and they are ready to give it for free.All their video tapes are made only on their manager's pressure.

Now I have Q:I am sure people who have passed out from IIMs who run coaching centers for cracking CAT and other MBA exams have shared this on their Facebook wall as if they are supporting you.I am sure they fall in to the case i was mentioning before and I am also sure that they didn't understand the epitome of this passage u have written. What do u say to them? They are deliberately crashing our chance of finding the right guy with the right idea.INDIA's population is four times the US population.If we can find a bill gates and a steve jobs in them we must find atleast 8 of those kind in INDIA.After all every one must have gone through their statistics classes.


Believe it or not, most IIM grads, aspirants are all 'Fooled by randomness'. As the writer puts it, you are plain lucky. Right family, right education, right values, performance evaluated at a favorable time, right opportunities all lead up to a person calling herself/himself an IIM Grad. Show some respect for the system around you that has lent its favorable randomness in getting you where you are. IIM Grads/IIM Aspirants, all of them have to understand this!

John Galt

Chadian – I guess you wake up every day and thank some God of Chance or Lord of Randomness? Because after all, it is chance that taught you English, a system that got you access to Internet, and a random chaos that resulted in right to free speech? None of it was earned by you, right? It just all fell in your lap, because of a random, chaotic system. You have no choice or free will, correct?

Emm Kay

So what if there's an element of luck involved? So what if there are 'a few' who got left out in spite of deserving it? BOO HOO.. that's life.. it's not about IIMs.. it applies to every single thing in this world, every single position of responsibility, every single MBA seat (in any B school)
If your intention was just to stir the conscience of IIM grads, well that's a different story then, which you could have portrayed in many other ways, rather than questioning their achievement. Achieving more doesn't rid anyone of their responsibilities and duties as a human being.. and being aware of that is a quality which you're either born with or you're not – it can't be taught or enforced


Words = 1000 , message = iota.
Should have devotes the time in cleaning up the message instead of plugging in unrelated data points.

Emm Kay

Oh and btw sir, it's a humble request as a fellow IIM alumnus to take this article down lest recruiters generalize and assume the mathematical prowess of every IIM grad to be as good as yours.

Thanks a lot


I feel ashamed that people would judge IIM grads by Mr Doshi's anlytical and reasoning abilities. What a hollow article!


iim grads dont have any mathematical prowess compare urself even with the worst iitian and u will know that u are nothing


what if the iim grad is an iitian too and not the worst one…

B tech (CS) IIT K


I disagree. My father was born in one of the most remote backward villages in India where people didnt believe in education.Unlike his friends who chose not to study high school or pursue higher education, he chose to study engineering, even if it meant he didnt have a penny in his pocket or the support of his family. All the people who the author is giving example of, those who dropped out before reaching graduation(to highlight the miniscule percentage who gave CAT) dropped out because of their own choice, because they chose not to fight any more or give up or chose to accept the diktats of the elderly. Or even made the choice not to be masters of their destiny. So to compare a person who chose to give CAT year after year and slog to win over someone who chose to drop out is unfair. Secondly, not everyone in India wishes to be a manager. Lots choose to do jobs, to be expert engineers, doctors, fashion designers, teachers etc. Many choose to do MS or PhD. Do u want us to compare with someone who chose to be a doctor and feel ourselves lucky because he didnt want to do MBA? If you want us to be humble because 99% doesnt give CAT that is a fallacious reason; 99% might not be giving CAT because of the reasons highlighted above. If a guy gets through into IIM despite the normalisation or reservations, I thing he should be commended because he succeeded against all odds. Luck is a big factor I agree; but luck is a big factor in all significant human achievements. Whether Edmund Hillary climbed everest or Amundsen reached south pole, they had luck favouring them. Your logic is like saying Sachin Tendulkar should not celebrate a triple century because en route an opponent fielder missed his catch.

All arguments aside, I do agree one should be humble. Because it is the right thing to do. Because IIM is a door to quality education which will compliment your skills and make u a better manager, entrepreneur or employee. But just feeling proud because of the IIM tag isnt worth it.


excellent views and well put across – now that's logical reasoning, unlike the non-constructive ghetto the main author tried to put across.

another IIM alumnus.


The point is: If Sachin scores a triple century, would you discount it because luck favoured him in the form of opposition fielders missing his catch? Would you say he doesnt deserve the triple century because he got lucky?


I feel the same. Humility is a virtue. People writing comments (including the author) come with their own set of beliefs.I think Pride and Pain are two sides of the same coin. Humility lessens both.

Abhimanyu Bose

Thank you so much… It is good to know that people are thinking things with reality! I wish you all the very best in the near future for you pragmatic endeavor for the people who so dearly need it.

IIMB Alumunus

A nonsense time-pass article, filled with obvious facts and calculations! And yeah, of course undermining hard work of lots of people who clear CAT despite being from a Regional language school or lack of facilities and similar hardships. But as one guy pointed out, it sure is good for traffic.

Every IIM guy has a right to gloat/brag about it – add to that the fact it sure opens doors (as one guy pointed out). Only thing is when you gloat, you back it up with your actions on field – that's all.

– An IIM Alumunus


Seriously? The Ivy league will have you for breakfast. But yeah, IIM guys can gloat about it as far as they are no better than the frog in the well. Get some perspective.

Kumar Rahul

The author makes a valid argument that only a minority of Indians attempt the CAT. The competition excludes a vast majority of the population, who in other circumstances could have come out on top instead of the intended readers of this post. However his argument is incomplete.
The author states that a number of deserving people could not attempt the examination. He does not explain the basis of his categorization of people into deserving and non-deserving categories.
It is suggested that since many deserving people were absent, the basis of the accomplishment is diminished. The author's argument can be extended to any field and to any accomplishment. It can be said that the author would react in the same fashion when someone achieves an honor (say an Oscar, a Nobel or the Bharat Ratna) since the award can be attributed to a large number of people not participating.
The author fails in his understanding of human psychology. Sense of achievement is felt with respect to one's peer group. It is diminished if his peers have an M.B.A. from Sloan and he makes to IIM Rohtak.
The author's treatment of pride as something to be avoided does not hold ground. His suggestion of treating an achievement as a responsibility towards others defeats the individual's will; advocating for the same is akin to putting psychological barriers to a person's right to the pursuit of happiness.


the same holds everywhere ? can u say the 11 players playing in interation ODI are the best?there may be talent who went unnoticed or did not have sufficient finances to support or politics ruined them.Same hold for IIT .are IItians best in india ? there may be some ppl who couldnt afford costly tuition classes but were intelligent enough

SO comapring 2 lakh candidates wid entire india is utterly FOOLISH


arguements like we compete wid 0.1% of total population is quite meaning less considering this is one of the exams in which largest number of participants take place

there are many vernacular candidate who succeed in cat even have topped cat

So the point is CAT scorers be humble don't be arrogant but finally achievement is achievement


Intent of the article was good…you can say title is catchy….but article wrongly implies that all the candidates who clear CAT and get into an IIM are lucky. I wrote CAT 5 times and know how much I had to improve to crack both rounds i.e. written and interviews. Thus I would say….good intention but very flawed article.

IIM Alumnus!!


Humility is not a virtue. It a sophisticated form of lying, like diplomacy. It is a tact. It is an acceptable social conduct. Humility is attributing your achievements to luck or chance or environment. Humility is also dangerous cause when it pervades into your mindset so deep that you start believing it for real, your decision making power suffers. You lose self confidence and your ability to trust your instincts gets damaged. This post makes me sad, not just because it is superficial and based on a faulty premise but also because most of the people will mindlessly forward it.
The author advises not to gloat or think that you are in the top two percentile of the country cause a lot of people do not take the test. This caveat though well meant is useless and even damaging. It belittles an accomplishment. Being in the top 2 percentile among one million students is an accomplishment. Getting selected from the high scoring pool, on the basis of your educational background is a bigger accomplishment. Being an iim grad the author knows how to crunch numbers, but he also knows how to avoid the numbers that tell the whole story. The number of students getting selected, i.e the batch size is increasing every year to accommodate "diversity".
The author will have you believe that just because you are in an iim, it doesn't mean that you deserve to be there. It is horrifying that he thinks that there is someone who doesn't deserve education and opportunity if they managed to fulfill the selection criteria of a very selective test.
No one says that people who do not make it into the selection lists of iims are undeserving or less talented. CAT is not an I.Q test. It doesn't show how you stand w.r.t rest of the nation. It tests a specific set of skills which are pre requisites of the kind of academic environment that the iims have. Privilege, Opportunity, Luck are ingredients of every success story. They come in one time or another. Look at any competition or test, look at any quiz, any game, a beauty pageant , a photography competition, the winners will always have a history of good opportunities, family support, or sheer dumb luck in some proportion. But they will also have talent and hard work.
If you are an IIM Grad or have an IIM call, do not think any less of it. You have performed really well in a fairly large set. Plus, you have managed to accomplish what you wanted to. Revel in it. Take pride in it. Have no doubts about it, that you did some right things in your life. You acknowledge your roots, acknowledge the system, acknowledge all the good luck, but also acknowledge your own worth, your own mettle. You very well deserve to.


Having read the article and the comments below, I see a point on either side of the debate. I believe the article was meant primarily to serve as a reminder.
While it is indisputable that everything we can achieve is a game of chance (as one reader said, if you'd been born in Swaziland, the chances that you'd hit 21 were quite slim), we have for centuries (about three now) been persistently pursuing a more egalitarian society. And so, being humble and accepting the fractured nature of our socio-economic plateau would go a long way in securing the longevity of the equality ideal.
In any case, being at the top of a 100,000 people requires quite a depth of conviction and I believe it is nobody's intention to paint that effort in flimsy colors. Yet, the tag that a turbocharged institute like the IIMs provide has a limitation in scope. It can open doors and grant invites in urban, professional settings. Perhaps not so much if one were to travel into the rural heartland where english is a rarity. Living in the heirarchical society as we do with power and wealth concentrated in the urban pockets, the opening of doors in urban india probably does the same in rural india. But the social fawning and superficial climate of the elite would probably be missing in the rural side.
Appreciating both sides of the coin rather than providing emotionally charged commentary would be a quality that can take us forward as a nation. Nitpicking while retaining the intelligence to see the true intent of the author simply lays bare our own insecurities and our feeble attempts to comfort our souls.

John Galt

There are no two sides to reality. There is only one, objective reality. As Snigdha aptly puts it, humility is not a virtue. It is lie – to the world and to yourself. Monuments are not built by chance, there is a design. Wars are not won by chance, there is a strategy. Companies don't grow by chance, there is a plan. So my friend, there is no "other" side of the coin. That is just a way to fool yourself into a sense of security that you will blame your failures on luck.

(Read Ayn Rand and you will know what I am talking about.)


There are a lot of reasons for being humble but this article definitely does not dig into any reasonable ones. Poorly written piece. Overtly arrogant and preachy.


lol.. the fact that you think you understand the world so well that u can be so preachy shows that you yourself aren't a humble IIM grad.. naive article.


Most of my friends/colleagues from top schools are extremely humble, thoroughly professional in the work they do, are extremely creative, serve the society in one way or the other and are PROUD of themselves. While i also know people who are from 'average schools' , poor performers at work, and think they are the best.

Lets not generalize. I would have expected a 'humble' article from an IIM grad. As others have already pointed out:

– Typical b-school grad analysis, through some numbers to suit the conclusion rather then deriving an inference. I expect better.
– Respect people who have worked hard and were simply not plain lucky to get through an IIM.
– Luck is everywhere isn't it? Let's not berate our fellows just because they went to IIM's.
– Now that you have graduated from an IIM and are earning handsomely, 'create' luck for unlucky people.
– Be practical and matured in your thoughts then being emotional.


Some logic, that!

Ok, so let's say I'm Steven Spielberg. I've just won an Oscar for best director. I should be reasonably proud. But hang on a second. Is that such a big deal? Even if every country in the world has on an average 1000 movie directors, that would place the number of directors in the world at around 2 million. So I've won a prize for which not even 0.003% of the world's population contested. Shit man, I might as well throw it away.

Or let's say I'm Alex Ferguson. Manchester United have just won the Champions League under my coaching. But, should I be proud of that? Hell, no! We won only because the match was played in Russia, where it rains in the month of May, and the pitch gets wet and slippery, and that's why John Terry missed a penalty and that's why we won. It's all down to our 'luck' you see. No mate, I better not be celebrating!


OMG. I do hope you are not comparing getting into an IIM to the achievements of any of the people you mentioned above. So sad! I gave up on IIMs to get into the Ivy league. Oh, by the way, just to cut to the chase, in the simplest terms – MBA are freakishly overrated. Period.


what a sullen piece! Just goes on to show the immaturity and the lack of clarity in the author's thought process.
It's like saying every parent in this world should stop celebrating the birth of their new born, simply because they were lucky and the selected sperm happened to be at the right time and at the right place! what crap!

another IIM alumnus

IIM alumnus

Don't agree. The author has given random arguments to create pubilicity is all I can say. Hitting hard at the ego of IIM students..If you torture statistics, they can pretty much say what you want.

Note the Article starts with "I am an IIM alumnus". (even if it is to indicate that he is criticizing IIM grads despite he being one – which is trying to get cheap emotional connect)


What in god's frigging hell is the purpose of the article – a self righteous post aimed to get some sympathy votes or assuming the moral high ground or is it that you think you can go around preaching coz you are superior to other IIM grads. holy jesus… writing just for the sake of it has a new example!!

Ram Mohan Adibhatla

The entire article reeks of self-righteousness and condescension. This guy is your top candidate for esteemed Sophistry. Very easily identifiable one at that..

So, whatever strength one person has can be neutralized by the fact that he/she was lucky. Then, let's get rid of Math, Logic -and we have absurdities flowing in. To wit, Steve Jobs was lucky that he dropped out of college. Branson was lucky because very few in the world start an Airliner. Gandhi was lucky he got kicked out of South Africa.

If he had been frank and had said that his is the kind of caliber that top B-Schools have, we would have at least respected his integrity(Even then, he woulds have been utterly wrong).

All he has done commendably is to show a distinct proclivity for foot in the mouth diseases.


Just say "Be humble". A two word message expanded into >1000 words?

I'm happy to say I'll be proud to win a 100 meter race even if only 5 people are running. Or be the first one amongst my friends to finish that pint of Kingfisher ultra. But needless to say, I should still remain humble.


Though I would not agree completely with you but overall, very well said and a properly framed article with data wherever required (assuming it to be true).


Just cribbing all the time about the criteria and shortlisting measures, its better that you provide a solution. There are a lot of people who indeed because of just one bad day lost out on scoring well in CAT. Between a 95 %iler and a 99%iler, there is a difference of a question or two max which doesn't make the former less intelligent and the letter more. Please provide a solution rather than just writing blogs to attract people.


I am not cribbing about anything 🙂 Though the above article is not about shortlisting criteria per se you would be interested to know that I have submitted a possible solution to the admissions committee of one of the top IIMs. Cannot share it publicly at this stage


Its insane! Are you saying that every person who has struggled let it be for Harvard, Stanford, IIM, IIT are jus bunch of fools to get lucky enough to get into..you are so wrong Mr. Doshi. This case applies everywhere it doesn't justifies the point. Argument is pointless for sure. Hope I can meet you in person & clarify your all doubts & misconception.


sayeth a man who owns the website 'insideiim.com'… If getting into an IIM isnt really tought, then take down your website and stop ranting about it … The title message 'Stay humble' is fine though – but the lengthy piece of statistics and comparison indeed prove that u got lucky – wonder how u cleared DI


Lets assume everything is luck. That my achievements are all due to my good luck. Shouldnt I feel proud that I am so lucky, that I have luck favouring me all along?


Outside IIMs millions do not know about IIMs. most of them in villages and in the workshops of the metros know only two meals a day as the ambition of their lives. They contribute to the GDP when they add value through their work and their farming. Buying whatever they need to survive they pay for as much as any one. Rice is not cheaper to them and costly for the urbanite. Who is humble and what are these statistics we are ' Rat' tiling about ' Cat' s???


Hi Ankit
I am sorry but I could not find any central idea in your article, even more could not understand what you want to convey. Comparing someone with the rest of the country is stupidity, in fact comparing any two individuals is stupidity because you can never consider all the parameters that define the individual. If the main aim of the article was to inspire IIM graduates or IIM aspirants to bring about some changes in the society (from the last few lines of what you had written it appears so…) then I guess you would agree with me that there are many better ways to inspire people rather than comparing them with rest of the country and calling them exclusively lucky. Well, I wasted my time reading your post for I thought an "IIM Grad" would write sensible; still I would never criticize you. You are making an endeavor through this website to help people which is rare nowadays. Do some more reading about your country, her history (of modern India) , try to understand what song she sings and then reach out for the masses.

— Sourav


…And the trend continues.. Write whatever you want, raise the controversial topics for cheap publicity.. The author simply forgets that the people who appear for CAT (or those who crack it) are mostly established ones.. The flawed statistics he uses forgets that it is a case of conditional probability not a simple %age.. No arguments about dropouts but even they will have to be taken as per the average national quality of students.. If the author thinks that mugging and vomiting is all what it takes then I pity him for his disappointingly small set based upon which he produced such a theory..
By the way, I belong to the category which struggles all the way through.. And I am a gold medalist at an IIM..


r u an iim grad ? i seriously doubt with this shitty piece of argument that you have put…

Muskan Tayal

got extra points in cat because u were a gal ? since when did this start happening ? way biased…


Complete bullshit..
even i am one of those unlucky people who didnt get a call even when i scored a gud percentile..
but still…i knw d value..!!

IIMB alumnus

Still fail to understand the point of this article!
Isn't humility a trait to be imbibed by everyone and not just IIM grads? That statement somehow reeks of arrogance implying that only IIM grads have something to be so proud of that they should exercise humility. Totally disagree! Humility is something one should exercise irrespective of academic background, achievements etc, but being humble does not mean one should give up credit for whatever he has achieved in life..!!

Guess its true that empty vessels make more noise in your case..!! And I don't even want to get started on the incorrect and irrelevant data analysis you have done!
Coming from an author who writes in his very first line " I am an IIM alumnus and what I write below applies to me as well", but has his Linkedin profile scream details of his CAT as –
"CAT (Common Admission Test – 246,000 test takers)
Score: 99.7 percentile, November 2008
Last paper pencil CAT in 2008 ( 3 sections, 90 questions, 2.5 hrs).
95+ in all 3 sections "

The whole article sounds just so lame!!! The least you could do is practice what you preach. Shameful !!

– IIMB alumnus (And I say that with pride and humility. Yes, both traits can co-exist!! )

Honey Singh

I think by writing a controversial article, the author has ensured a lot of traffic to Inside IIM. Nice move i say..


idiotic write-up … most people in villages are uneducated and have difficulty in understanding and following simple written instructions let alone solving numerical/geometry problems… I guess the author has never been to any village


Are you yourself not obsessed with CAT?

Or is it a stunt to attract eyeballs to your website?


Aptly agreed with you Ankit….. I have come across many people who have graduated from IIMs and wearing the mask of "I am something because I have a degree from IIM" ….. I hope this article will be an eye-opener to all those people and they start respecting every individual on earth without getting biased about the banner of the institution…. Kudos for writing this article.


The author must remember that along with "luck" which he seems to constantly pointing out in his article..regarding education , English medium etc..still "hard work" and "intelligence" have their own place..and not all privileged people have the ability to crack CAT and make it to IIMs…it seems that author is either challenging the assessment process or the ability of the candidates..but he is not realizing that those institutes have become a brand only because of the performance of the "students" which they nurture and polish…also as far as question of English is concerned…..is it students fault that english is global language of business and it is the only language which is most read, understood and adopted throughout the world for communication??It seems that author is challenging the pattern of cat exam..then he should propose the solution also…


I agree with most of your points but i feel that the point about English being a part of CAT becoming disadvantageous to students does not make sense. English does NOT make one a good manager! But proper command over english is needed if one is to be able to handle the case studies, course material and whatnot which are all in only english. The purpose of having a verbal section in CAT is to identify only those students who can handle the courseload in english.
If CAT were in vernacular language, then what will a telugu medium student suddenly cope with the huge courseload in english. So you point about english seems nonsensical.

So Lame

This article is really lame! Lamest logic used in the "statistics" with useless lines meant to just defend the author in case of criticism. Somehow, it lacks to portray any sense of Honesty. And assuming all IIM grads are in need of humility is again, lame!

Humble Observer

According to the author's logic:

Neil Armstrong should not be proud of being the first man on moon because he competed only with White American citizens who were employed by the US Air Force as jet pilots in the 1950s. Therefore, he did not compete with 99.99999 of humanity.

The author's surmise is correct: one must be humble even after achieving an IIM education..
But his premise is wrong: It's not because you competed only with a sliver of your country's population. Achieving a 99%ile among 3 lakh students is nothing to sneeze at. Anybody should be proud of an IIM admit. The applicant to acceptance ratios are far more favorable at the world's top B-schools.

However, as others have pointed out, this pride should never manifest itself in arrogance or disrespect towards others. An IIM brand alone is not a guarantee of success. After graduation lies 30-40 years of career where you have to live upto the brand name through hard work and perseverance. Many have been able to do it and several others have simply burned out. Hence, the humility.


I agree with your general message but I feel it hasn't quite come out right. I think IIM grads have earned everything they have got. Saying that they have competed with only 0.55 % of the population doesn't make sense. According to that line of reasoning a person who has been to the moon has nothing to be proud of as he has competed with even lesser number of people [as not everyone has tried]. i believe everyone who has excelled in their field deserves to be proud of his/her achievements irrespective of how many people he/she beat on the way. Having said that I do agree that thinking u are better than others who are in a different field is wrong. Anyways humility never hurt anyone !!

Anonymous IIM guy

This dude himself seems arrogant, as does this article, as if he is the one "ENLIGHTENED" IIM alumnus. I too know there are some people out there who's only aim in life is to flaunt about their intitutes, but i am very sure that the percentage is small. Furthermore, the examples and stats you have used are seriously ridiculous.


i gotta doubt… my academic performance of hsc/ssc were guite not so good, i got 69 in 10th and 61 in 12th, right now i am studying 4th year in cse stream, and will be giving cat next year, my academic record of engg. is quite good now avg cgpa 8.6 out of 10… so if i crack the cat exam or get good score in gmat, will i get selected, will i get a call letter from iim??? is cracking the interview of iim is so hard???
guys need your advice so that i can decide what to do in future, ?? cant decide what to do… its now or never… for me…


bye the way, the message you wrote , you are theoritically right, but if you see in a practical way its a bad joke…


Yes i may agree to some points by author but would like to add a few more also before commenting i want to make a note we are not talking of litretaure or grammer here but abt top b schools so forget abt spel’s and comprensions n focous on what this web is all for,
For already IIM grads and pursuying good place to share ur ideas thoughts knowledge and help IIM aspirants to get close to their dreams n for IIM aspirants this web is to get answers help and may their way easier by help frm experts who hav already made it
Now yes IIM gonna consider ur 10th marks So 28 states CBSC n ICSE
We all know now easy its ther to score good in some of Indian state n if u are unfortunate enough to be a part of a metro city then god will help same goes with ur 12th marks i hav seen pple dont wanna mention the boards name, students who dint even appeared the exam can score 90%+ n we struggle for 75%
And the best part is abt your Graduate percents
All IIM give good weightage to ur grad marks
There are 500/institutes+ universities in India offer bachlers degree, I hav seen Engg graduates from Pune university the topper may score around 75%-80% that 2 very few can manage after realy working to hard on the other side i hav actually met people scoring 90%+ in engg from other university dont wanns mention name , with out sny extra efforts were an avg BE student could easily score 75%+ without any extra efforts, so in IIM’s giving weightage to your
SSC HSC Grad really doesnt make sense, bcos pple come from diffrent schools colleages states universitys and cant be evaluated on same platfrom, obiously Person with 3yr BA with 75% cannot be matched with a 4 yr BE 75% cos its way difficult to score that much in engg than arts all this needs to be understood by selectors
Also one more very week aspect abt selection criteria
World top US b schools specially for MBA give very good weightage But IIIM doesnt, they prefer more academic records will make to stand a MBBS together witha BE which is no way comparable
Last but most important Fees
Most IIM fees are more than 10L for a poor person who has not seen 20k in his life can he really think of IIM or food gor two times and support his family
Lot needs to be worked ?


I do agree on some points by author but would like to add that this does not apply to all. And this is not the only matter of concern that how much proficient you are at English language.Many more things are considered before one is declared eligible to get into IIM . There may have more number of students among the rankholders whose upbringing took place in an elite or well educated family but still there is bunch of aspirants who never got a chance to study in english medium school and inspite of this excels in CAT. What does it harm if those people feel proud on going beyond the limits and set an example.


Amit, I really appreciate your effort. At the same time there certain things were transparency is required.
a) Among all I felt few corners of your article lacks exact stats, to be more specific on arch we have now the literacy rate growing exponentially compare to other countries and I am sure with this pace we will on top pushing the upcoming talents not only to IITs or IIMs but to the abroad as well. I really felt proud when know some Indian holding Microsoft CEO chair, Ajay Bhatt- An Intel employee from India leading contributor developing USB technology and many more. Of course few among others do not have a book to touch in fact !!
b) We can not say its family member fault not pushing their genes to school, again it happened since there parent must not sent him school as well. The point of discussion thus goes void and here some one need to lead. This will come with what VIVEKANANDA said “Arise, Awake and stop not till the goal is reached”.
c) Living in India where en empty cup full of rice is nightmare for BPL (Below Poverty Line) people is a tough call to let them understand about IITs and IIMs.
d) India is country where every two people knows at least three languages. to bring them all under one roof we must required something called English.
e) Standing in kitchen does not let you know cooking, but yes at least this stand will provogue hunger inside. Institute like IIMs or IITs sharpen talent.

sushant pradhan

Ankit: Appreciate your thoughts on shedding of unwarranted hubris that IIM grads carry. You used the adjective ‘premium’ for IIMs, what makes the IIMs (or the IITs for that matter) premium institutes in the first place? Is it because grads of these institutions are BEST PAID in the market? I am sorry, in my opinion these institutions have failed miserably in their prime purpose – to prepare young minds who can solve (priority) problems of society. Having said that IIM(T)s are nowhere near to be honored as ‘premium institutes’.

If IIM(T)s deserve the adjective ‘premium’ then their grads also deserve the ‘hubris’.

Jai Hind

Atif Raza Akbar

The luck factor can be traced back to when your mamma and papa did the dirty and how the gametes interacted the way they did at the time of fertilization to make you such a special snowflake. How dare you say anything you do is an achievement!?

All human achievement is but a culmination of the gifts bestowed by the Luck God. Be humble and wallow in self-chastisement.

Om Prakash

Really true to single word,the admission criteria that IIMs have is not achieving what it was intended to do..it’s simply absurd and discriminating…

Om Prakash

I mean to say that IIMs are not producing a better manager than ias and ips…so why to not replicate the upsc likewise admission process…so everyone gets his/ her chance to show his/ her mettle..