It may appear strange that a website called 'InsideIIM.com' has come up with such a headline. But, the concept of 'Brand IIM' requires serious examination.
The first question we need to answer is whether admission in an IIM requires an individual to be subjected to any standard. For years, the only standard to get an interview call from an IIM was the person's percentile score in the Common Admission Test (CAT). Over the last decade, it has evolved to include a person's past academic record and work experience history. But the old standard of the CAT percentile hasn't been done away with completely. MBA schools across the world follow some standard. For e.g. the GMAT is used by majority of the schools across the world.
Now, if one believes that standardized tests like the CAT or GMAT are good measures to determine a person's acceptability to join a business school, what is a minimum acceptable standard on these tests to be offered admission?
If you represent the 'premier' institutions in the country offering top quality management education, what is the minimum acceptable standard in the CAT to offer admission? 45 percentile? 60 Percentile? 80 Percentile?
Have a look at the various cutoffs for giving out interview calls for the new IIMs for the Class of 2012-14
source: New IIM websites
The numbers for the Class of 2013-15 will be similar
The case of the older IIMs is not very different. IIM Kozhikode does not have a sectional cutoff at all. General category candidates require an overall CAT score of 85 percentile. Cutoffs for various category candidates are 75,65,55 and 55 with no sectional cutoffs. Read here.
IIM Lucknow and IIM Indore have identical cutoffs for General and NC-OBC categories with a 90 percentile overall score and a 85 percentile sectional score. Around 50 percentile is the sectional cutoff for other categories at both these schools. IIM Bangalore has very similar cutoffs to IIM L and IIM I.
Generally, in the case of the older IIMs, the actual cutoffs are a touch higher than those declared earlier as more than enough candidates meet them. However, with the thrust on diversity and the increasing batch sizes, the gap between actual cutoffs and those announced is reducing or has vanished.
In order to probe this deeper, we had written to the admission committees of all the older IIMs to get similar figures as released by the new IIMs for 2012-14. We got a response only from IIM Indore. You can read it here
Questions we want to raise
1) Do minimum percentile cutoffs have any impact on brand IIM?
2) If yes, why can't the minimum percentile cutoffs be higher? Why is it so important to fill up seats such that criteria for selection is relaxed to such lows?
3) Does this mean that the CAT percentile score is irrelevant ?
There is no definition of a 'Low Cutoff'. However, we believe that some of the cutoffs are so low that it is affecting brand IIM. We believe that those seats should go unfilled instead of being occupied by relaxing minimum standards in such a manner.This is a career focused website and we speak to a lot of recruiters. Although, most IIMs prevent their students from revealing their CAT percentiles in their resume, it would be foolish for the IIMs to believe that recruiters are not aware of the state of affairs. Although the efforts towards promoting diversity are appreciated, the relaxation of cat percentile standards has also been noticed by them. There will be consequences that schools will face in the long term.
(People commenting on this topic are advised to exercise caution. This is not a debate on reservations but on minimum acceptable cutoffs)
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