The Ultimate Comparative Guide – IIM Ahmedabad vs FMS vs IIM Bangalore vs IIM Calcutta

The dream colleges of every single aspirant who cleared CAT, and of those who write CAT every year. Everyone dreams of going through the gates of these elite management institutes as a student. These are some of the oldest, some of the best, and some of the most revered colleges not just in India, but also across the globe. So what sets them apart from each other? How do you differentiate between the best institutes of the country? In this report on IIM A vs IIM B vs IIM C vs FMS, I have compiled some information about their Full-time two year MBA/PGP programmes.

Ranking 2018, 2017, 2016 (Financial Times, Ministry of Human Resource Development, InsideIIM, Business Today) 

  • Financial Times offers a global comparison and ranking of the top-100 B-Schools.
  • MHRD – NIRF offers domestic rankings of Management Institutes, Universities, Engineering Institutes etc.
  • InsideIIM released its first-ever list of the most desirable B-Schools, purely based on how MBA aspirants perceived a particular Institute.
  • Every year, Business Today ranks the top Management Institutes in the country based on various parameters.
2018 Financial Times InsideIIM
IIM Ahmedabad 31st 1st
Faculty of Management Studies NA 2nd
IIM Bangalore 35th 3rd
IIM Calcutta 78th 4th


2017 Financial Times Ministry of HRD Business Today
IIM Ahmedabad 29th 1st 1st
Faculty of Management Studies NA NA 7th
IIM Bangalore 49th 2nd NA
IIM Calcutta 95th 3rd 2nd


2016 Financial Times Ministry of HRD Business Today
IIM Ahmedabad 24th 2nd 1st
Faculty of Management Studies NA NA 6th
IIM Bangalore 62nd 1st NA
IIM Calcutta NA 3rd 2nd

Admission Process
The following are the parameters for 2017-18 selection processes and are subject to change. An updated version of this report will be released as and when the relevant colleges release their latest parameters.
 IIM Ahmedabad:
1. Applicants have to register in the month of July/August on the official website.
2. After CAT, candidates are shortlisted on the basis of their past academic performance (Xth, XIIth, Graduation), as well as academic diversity (Science, Commerce, Arts). IIM-A also has different academic streams (AC1-AC7) based on which the composite score of a candidate is calculated. Selection is done in two phases: a) Candidates who have excelled in their streams are given calls, b) The rest of the shortlisted candidates are given calls.
3. After the AWT-PI round, the candidates are given admission calls based on their Final Composite Score (FCS).
1. Applicants have to register in the month of September/October, for a registration fee of Rs. 1000.
2. After CAT, the shortlists are based on sectional cut-offs. (For 2017, this was 30% QA, 30% DI-LR, 40% VA-RC). In 2018, FMS also considered 5% of both 10th and 12th marks for shortlists.
3. Based on your performance in the PI, GD and Extempore, your composite score will be calculated and admission offer will accordingly be extended.
IIM Bangalore:
1. Applicants have to register in the month of July/August on the official website.
2. Applicants are shortlisted on the basis of their CAT score, past academics (Xth, XIIth, Graduation), gender diversity, and work experience (Scored out of 36).
3. Following the WAT-PI round, candidates are given admission offers based on their performance (CAT score, WAT, PI, Past academics, Work experience).
IIM Calcutta:
1. Applicants have to register in the month of July/August on the official website.
2. Applicants are shortlisted on the basis of their CAT score, past academics (Xth and XIIth) and gender diversity.
3. For the final selection, candidates are given admission offers based on their performance (CAT score, PI, WAT, Academic diversity, Work experience).

Note – Historically, all three IIMs prefer those with stellar academics. IIM Bangalore focuses highly on past-academics and work experience (as explained below), which makes the Institute elusive for most freshers. FMS has only just started considering past-academics but gives very little weightage to these and relies more on your performance during the interview. So if you have less-than-stellar academics, FMS is the way to go.

Current Batch size

IIM Ahmedabad FMS IIM Bangalore IIM Calcutta
441 217 407 463

Student Profile

IIM Ahmedabad:
1. 58% of the students of the 2016-2018 batch have work experience within a bracket of 1-4 years.
2. 94% of the batch is from an Engineering background, followed by 3% from Science, 2% from Arts and 1% from Commerce backgrounds.
3. The maximum number of those with work experience are from an IT background.
(The figures here are an approximation of the actual figures)
1. Close to 170 students are from an Engineering background.
2. Close to 70% of the students have work experience ranging from 1-4 years, in domains such as Engineering, Operations, Marketing etc.
IIM Bangalore:
1. Currently, 28.26% (i.e., 115 ) of the batch of 2016-2018 are women, while 292 are men.
2. Close to 89% of the batch is from an Engineering background, with 22% from IITs and 20% from NITs.
3.  Freshers constitute approximately 23.5% of the batch, while close to 57% of the batch consists of those with 1-4 years of work experience.
4. The average age of the batch is 24 years, with 88% of the batch in the 20-25 years age bracket.
IIM Calcutta:
1. Over 70% of the batch has work experience ranging from 1-4 years.
2. Over 91% of the batch consists of Engineers, followed by backgrounds of Commerce (4%), Science (1.7%), Arts (1.3%) and Others (1.3%).

Note – All the above-stated institutes have a good mix of students from all backgrounds, but it is evident that the majority of their batches consist of Engineers.
Also to be noted is the fact that freshers are quite few in number as compared to those with work experience.

IIM Ahmedabad:
IIM-A formed the Indian Placement Reporting Standards (IPRS) for b-schools across India. The IPRS was formed so that member Institutes can produce uniform reports and data regarding placements. It would also provide media and ranking agencies with accurate data so that they can release appropriate news and research reports and help aspirants make a well-informed decision regarding their careers.
You can find the list of members that adhere to the IPRS here.
You can refer to IIM Ahmedabad’s placement reports here:
a) Class of 2018 ;  b) Class of 2017  ;  c)  Class of 2016  ; d)  Class of 2015

FMS is not an IPRS member and produces autonomous Placement Reports.
You can refer to FMS’s placement reports here:
a)Class of 2017 ; b)Class of 2016  ; c)Class of  2015

IIM Bangalore:
You can refer to IIM Bangalore’s placement reports here:
a) Class of 2016  ; b) Class of 2015

IIM Calcutta:
You can refer to IIM Calcutta’s placement reports here:
a)Class of 2017  ; b) Class of 2015


2018 Fees
IIM Ahmedabad Rs. 21,00,000
FMS Rs. 60,480
IIM Calcutta Rs. 19,70,000
IIM Bangalore Rs. 20,10,000

Note – In terms of Return on Investment (ROI), FMS is far ahead of the three IIMs and almost every other Indian B-School. The only Indian Institutes that come close are TISS and JBIMS.

IIM Ahmedabad:
IIM Ahmedabad’s pedagogy is based exclusively on case-studies.
1. The 1st Year’s curriculum covers courses in:
a) Accounting and Finance; b) Behavioural Science; c) Communication; d) Economics; e) IT; f) Marketing; g) Personnel Management and Industrial Relations; h) Operations Management; i) Law; j) Strategy; k) Quantitative methods.
At the end of the first term, a student must intern for 8-10 weeks with an organisation.
In 2nd Year, students choose their subjects of specialisation along with some obligatory subjects.

The 1st Year at FMS consists of 2 semesters, at the end of which the students must undergo Summer Training in between the end of the 2nd semester and commencement of the 3rd semester. The first year subjects include Organizational Behaviour, Quantitative Methods, Managerial Economics, Marketing Management, Human Resource Management, Business Communication, Management Science to name a few. Admission into the 2nd-Year will only be granted if the student passes in 12 out of 16 papers.
In the 2nd-year, a student will study a total of 8 subjects : 3 compulsory and 5 electives. Students also get Internal Assessment grades based on class tests, mid-terms and quizzes.

IIM Bangalore:
IIM-B’s pedagogy is a mixture of Case-studies, Seminar and Lectures.
The curriculum of IIM-B is as follows:
The 1st year has 15 compulsory Core Courses. IIM Bangalore is also the only B-School in the country which offers electives to students in the 1st itself.
Students have to register for 3 elective courses in the final semester of the first year. The first year’s curriculum includes subjects such as Financial Accounting, Managerial Economics, Operations Management, Competition & Strategy, Entrepreneurial Learning etc.
Following the 1st year and prior to the commencement of the final year, students with less than 34 months of work experience are required to undergo Summer Internships for a duration of 8 weeks.
In the 2nd year, students can choose from electives. PGP students also carry out projects (15 on an average). IIM B also offers language courses for Mandarin, Japanese, Spanish etc.

IIM Calcutta
Like IIM-B, the pedagogy adopted is a mix of Case Studies, Lectures, Group Exercises, Class Projects etc.
The curriculum of IIM-C includes the following areas:
a) Economics; b) Organization and Behaviour; c) Finance and Accounting ; d) Management Control; e) Marketing; f) HRM; g) Information Systems; h) Quantitative methods.
At the end of the first year, students join summer training for a duration of up to 10 weeks.

Note – The curricula for the respective institutes are very rigorous, with IIM-A considered to be the most rigorous of them all. There is a misconception that IIM-C and FMS are “relaxed” or “chill” when it comes to academics, but based on the testimonials of students, nothing could be further from the truth.

IIM Ahmedabad:
IIM A offers its 2nd-year students a choice of electives along with obligatory courses.
In the 2nd-year, 5 electives are offered out of 75 options, spread across 7 categories.
The full list of electives offered can be found here.
IIM Bangalore:
In the 2nd-year, IIM B offers 18 electives to its PGP Students:
a) 3 in the last term of the 1st year and 15 over three terms in the 2nd year. Even if a student goes on foreign exchange, he/she has to take 13 electives.
b) Students can choose out of 66 electives, spread across 9 categories.
IIM Calcutta:
In the 2nd year, IIM Calcutta offers its PGP students 60-80 electives to choose from, spread across 10 categories.

Exchange Programmes
IIM Ahmedabad:
Every year, a third of the second year IIM Ahmedabad students spend a term abroad at one of its 80 Partner Institutes. Some Partner Institute of IIM A are:
Manchester Business School, Columbia Business School, Australian Graduate School of Management, McCombs School of Business etc.
IIM Ahmedabad is also a member of the Partnership In Management (PIM), a consortium of Institutes which excel in the field of business administration. PIM provides an opportunity for business schools of various countries to co-operate and develop value-adding student exchange programmes. PIM also organises annual meetings (the next one being in October 2018) which facilitate networking amongst b-schools.
IIM A has also received the EQUIS accreditation, i.e., an award given by the European Foundation for Management Development for excellence in providing quality Management education.

At present, FMS does not have any official foreign exchange programmes. This is mainly due to the semester system followed by FMS, as opposed to the term/trimester system followed by other b-schools in this comparison. However, the Institute has strong international associations with colleges abroad.

IIM Bangalore:
In its 5th term, IIM Bangalore offers its students an opportunity to spend a term at one of their Partner Institutes abroad, which include the London Business School, Yale School of Management, Copenhagen Business School, Australian School of Business, Booth School Of Business, Fuqua School of Business, UCLA Anderson School of Management to name a few.
IIM B has also received the EQUIS accreditation, i.e., an award given by the European Foundation for Management Development for excellence in providing quality Management education.

IIM Calcutta:
IIM Calcutta offers its students to gain foreign exposure by allowing them to spend a term at one of its Partner Institutes abroad.
Some of IIM-C’s Partner Institutes are the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of Melbourne, National University of Singapore, Warsaw School of Economics to name a few.
IIM C has also received the EQUIS accreditation, i.e., an award given by the European Foundation for Management Development for excellence in providing quality Management education.

Note – If you dream of going abroad as a part of an exchange, IIMs have a clear edge over FMS Delhi in this aspect.

Alumni Network
IIM Ahmedabad:
The IIM Ahmedabad Alumni Association has over 33,000 members. The Institute’s Alumni & External Relations Committee organises talks by Alumni of the Institute. The Institute has also released an e-Magazine in 2018 called WIMWIan (Well-known Institute of Management in Western India), celebrating 50 years of the annual IIM A Alumnus Magazine.
The FMS Alumni Association (FMSAA) was formed in 1998 and actively invites alumni to give lecture talks at the institute. The FMSAA also organises annual alumni meets, the most recent one being the meet on 24th February 2018 in Delhi. FMS’s newsletter ‘FootPrints’ is effective in generating a lot of Alumni contacts.
IIM Bangalore:
IIM Bangalore has its own Alumni association portal, namely the IIM B Alumni Association (IIMBAA). IIM Bangalore also has a Student Alumni Committee (AlumCom), which organises Alumni meets amongst other activities. IIM B also organises the annual Alumni meet – Anusmaran.
It also has its own IIM-B Alumnus Magazine.
IIM Calcutta:
IIM-C has a strong alumni base. In 2015, the Institute’s Alumni Cell started the Alumni Mentorship Programme called “Rishtey”, wherein Alumni help freshers with their Summer Placements – From CV building to career guidance. Every December, IIM Calcutta also organises “Reminiscence”, a time when Alumni of the college re-unite and reminisce about the time they spent at ‘Joka’.

Note – IIM Ahmedabad and Calcutta are considered to have an edge here over IIM B since they were established over a decade before IIM-B.
FMS, established in 1954 (7 years before any IIMs), also boasts of an Alumni base that is comparable to the top 3 IIMs.

Campus Life
IIM Ahmedabad:
IIM A is known for its academic rigour but offers its students a chance to step-out of academics and be a member of various student organisations.
As a WIMWIAN, you can be a part of IIM A’s Media Cell, Forum for Industry Interaction – a consulting body managed by students, Placement Committee etc.
IIM A’s Cultural Committee also conducts T-Nite (Talent Nite), an annual inter-section event for First Years.
‘CHAOS’ is IIM Ahmedabad’s annual cultural festival, and has seen performances from artists such as Jagjit Singh, Shankar Ehsaan Loy and other notable artists.
‘Confluence’ is IIM Ahmedabad’s annual business summit.
FMS Delhi has various Student student cells, namely Vihaan (Social Service Cell), Media Club, Entrepreneurship Cell, Mark Soc (Marketing Society of FMS), Finance Society, The Consulting Club etc.
‘Fiesta’ is FMS’s annual cultural festival, which began in 2005.
Apart from this, since it is located around the best colleges under DU, FMS students also get an opportunity to participate in the cultural events of these colleges.
FMS also conducts an annual leadership summit which consists of the Annual Conclave and Annual Convention.

IIM Bangalore:
Outside of the classroom, IIM Bangalore has a lot of student committees namely, Student Affairs Committee, Placement Committee, Cultural Committee etc.
There are various clubs as well, such as Orator’s Club, Dress Circle – Video and Photography Club, Anveshan – Adventure and Mountaineering Club, Dhwani – The musical club etc. to name a few.
Unmaad is IIM Bangalore’s annual festival that takes place in the early months of the year and has performances from notable artists such as Indian Ocean, Shankar Ehsaan Loy, Strings, Zakir Khan etc.
IIM B also organises Vista, an annual business summit.

IIM Calcutta:
Apart from academics, IIM Calcutta has a lot of student organisations. Some of them are Adventure Club (which hosts a biathlon of running and cycling called “Tour de Joka”),  Choreography club, Dramatics cell, Initiative for Community Action (a student organisation which provides free management consultancy services to NGOs) etc.
Carpe Diem is IIM Calcutta’s annual Cultural Fest and had more than 12000 participants from over 100 colleges in 2017.
IIM C also hosts Intaglio, an annual business summit.

Note – The campus life in these institutes goes beyond Fests and Business Summits. Every day is different from another and there are elements you discover only when you are a part of these great b-schools. Testimonials by students in the Campus Life archives on are a great way to get more insight into these elements.

IIM Ahmedabad:
Ahmedabad is a city which sees a temperature spectrum ranging from 12C to 41C. This gets worse since the hostels (mandatory for PGP-I students) at IIM A do not have ACs. It is also a dry-state, so your parties (If you get the time) will have to be alcohol-free. The city is majorly vegetarian. Although IIM-A is self-sufficient in terms of infrastructure, some great places to hang-out and relax in the city are Vastrapur, Prahladnagar, IIM Lane etc. Public transportation and infrastructure are quite good in Ahmedabad.
Delhi, as the national capital, is the hub for booming businesses, great (and cheap) street food, and a reasonably good nightlife. Safety, however, is a major concern in the city. The temperatures are extreme. The rent can go very high, depending on the locality you are in. Also, the city is very large so the distances can often become an issue. The Delhi Metro is the best and most preferred mode of public transportation, along with DTC Buses. Locations such as Kalyani Nagar, CP and Khan Market, Lodhi Garden are great places to explore and relax. Furthermore, Cyber City in Gurugram is host to some of the top IT & Fortune 500 business houses.
IIM Bangalore:
Bangalore is the Tech hub of the nation and is known as the Silicon Valley of India. The Institute is located in the heart of the city, and tech hubs such as Electronic City (Corporate Head Office of Infosys is here) are only an hour away from the city centre. However, traffic in the city is a really huge issue. Additionally, the travel time from the city to the airport is close to 1.5 hours. Nightlife was restricted earlier, but now pubs are open till 1 AM. Locations such as MG Road and Koramangala are great for outings and relaxing.
5 years ago, the weather of Bangalore was to be envied but severe pollution makes the city a little bit more stuffy. But the weather is still preferable over the other cities in this list.
IIM Calcutta:
In case of IIM Calcutta, the city analysis may be irrelevant since the Institute is 18+ km away from Calcutta and is located in the town of Joka (hence the nickname). However, it is the closest major city to the Institute.
Kolkata, as a metropolitan city, is very well connected in terms of transportation and the cost of living is relatively low as compared to other Metros. The weather is known to be extremely humid and sometimes unbearable. There is a stretch of winters which lasts for only 2-3 months before the humidity returns.
The city of Calcutta is connected with Joka by the Diamond Harbour Road. The only form of transportation to reach is by Bus or taxi. Metro Railway stations are also under construction and should be operational within 2018.

Note – Delhi and Bangalore clearly have an edge over the other two cities as they are both metros. However, all four have their own sets of pros and cons which must be considered. 

IIM Ahmedabad:
The Institute has a very large campus, including the Vikram Sarabhai Library, the famous Louis Kahn Plaza (where the convocation ceremony is organised. Read: 2 States), the Harvard Steps Main entrance, The Promenade etc. Some alumni do however feel that the condition of the infrastructure is worn and has room for improvement, attributing it to the age of the Institute. However, this in no way diminishes the grandeur of the IIM A campus.
You can have a look at the campus in a 360-degree view.
The Institute also has dormitories for 1000 students, including a hostel for Married students. The Institute will increase the number of dorms to 3000 in the years to come.
The college does not have big infrastructure. However, it is centrally located on the North Campus of DU which makes it a great place for inter-college student interaction etc. The North Campus sports facility, which has been used during CWG, is an excellent facility accessible only to DU students. There are no hostels provided by the college, but hostels under Delhi University have vacancies for FMS students, which are allotted based on merit.
IIM Bangalore:
Spread over an area of 100-acres, the campus consists of a Sports Complex, a huge football ground, Fitness Centre, Open-Air Theatre etc. amongst other things. Like IIM A, there is accommodation (studio apartments) for Married students.
IIM Calcutta:
The campus is spread over an area of 135-acres, with a 750-seat Auditorium, the  B. C. Roy Memorial Library and a Financial Research and Trading Lab (the Finance Lab). Hostel facilities are not considered to be world-class, but the basic amenities are available. The rooms of the new hostels are considered to be good. There is a huge focus on sports in “Joka”, and the campus has a swimming pool, a football court, a basketball court, a volleyball court and a gymnasium.

Note – If you are looking for campus life, IIMs can provide you with some of the most self-sufficient campuses in the country. FMS provides no such offerings. However, it is located in the heart of Delhi University and provides you with great facilities that students of other colleges under DU enjoy. This makes up for the lack of a big campus. 

IIM Ahmedabad:
Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) helps students start their own company by providing mentorship and funding support.
Shanti Prasad Jain Advanced Management Research Centre (SPJAMRC), under FMS, was established in 1982 for the promotion of management research, education and training of managers. It has now come up with Executive Development Programmes in Public Enterprise Management and Public Systems Management, Entrepreneurial Development, Strategic Management etc., which are of importance to the economy and which have not so far been benefited from Management education.
IIM Bangalore:
NS Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (NSRCEL) is the hub of entrepreneurial activities at IIM B. By organising events and bringing in startup founders, VCs, researchers, etc. they have created an ecosystem that encourages entrepreneurship. They help students convert their ideas into a venture.
IIM Calcutta:
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.
IIM Calcutta also has a not-for-profit company called IIM Calcutta Innovation Park (IIMCIP). This has been established to promote innovative entrepreneurship.

Even though there may be certain differences, the Institutes that have been compared are some of the oldest and finest Institutes, not just in the country but also globally. Anyone who holds an IIM or FMS tag is branded for life and is guaranteed to go through one of the most rigorous and one of the best educative experiences of their lives.

IIM A vs IIM B vs IIM C vs FMS

If you have any suggestions or want to point out any discrepancies in this report on IIM A vs IIM B vs IIM C vs FMS , let me know in the comments below.

For B-School comparison suggestions, let me know in the comments below.

(This report on IIM A vs IIM B vs IIM C vs FMS was made solely on the basis of Secondary Research)

Chirag Shukla

Aspirant. Writer.



Abhay Singh

I have a poor profile .X & XII above 86 just 5.8 cgpa or 58%.2 months work experience.4 academic gaps.Thinking for MBA now.Exhausted all bank attempts and rejected in 100 MNCs mostly in final rounds .Help me please.I am under depression.

Abhay Singh

I have a poor profile .X & XII above 86 just 5.8 cgpa or 58%.2 months work experience.4 academic gaps.Thinking for MBA now.Exhausted all bank attempts and rejected in 100 MNCs mostly in final rounds .Help me please.