The Early Decision Round At IFMR – Tailor Made For Working Professionals

How important is it for working professionals aspiring to join business schools to have an early clarity on their professional goals? And at the same time ensure there are enough opportunities in hand before quitting work. Schools abroad offer a plethora of options to professionals under the umbrella of early admissions. This practice is gradually gaining ground in India. The Institute of Financial Management and Research, Chennai offers one such opportunity- The Early Decision Round –  specially tailor-made for working professionals aspiring to apply to their flagship 2 Year PGDM Program. Team InsideIIM caught up with Prof Suresh Venkataraman, Chairperson Admissions at IFMR to know more about the Early Decision Round.

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What is Early Decision Round? We have not seen this at any other B-School?

This is new to India but very common in the USA. The applicants to the Early Decision Round apply ahead of the General Round, and they receive their admission decision well in advance.


What is the intent behind introducing Early Decision Round and how do you think it will help working professionals?

Last year we had some very good applicants who kept asking for permission to join late, because they had to fulfil the notice period with their employer, and when this grace time could not be extended, they did not join us.


If this Early Decision Round is only to deal with a notice period, is it open to everyone?

No, it is open only to applicants who have at least 12 months of work experience.


When you say ‘Early’, how early is that? 

The deadline for applying to the early decision round is Jan 15th. We will be conducting the selection process for the Early Decision Round in February itself, while the General round is done in March 2017.


If you conduct the selection process in February, when will you declare the result?

The first merit list will be declared on 5th March and the first Waitlist on 19th March.


Either way, the applicant of the Early Decision Round will get the result in March?

Yes; and the applicant can serve two-month notice and still join by 1st June 2017.


What happens if an applicant does not serve notice with his/her employer?

Most employers will require the employee to pay them salary equal to the notice period. Also since the employee may be part of some important project, employer may not agree to this payment option.


What if the applicant just leaves without serving notice period or paying in lieu of the same?

You mean run away? The employer will not issue experience certificate or relieving letter – both of which would be needed to join a job after completing the course.


Is there any advantage in serving notice period instead of paying the company money in lieu thereof?

By leaving on good terms, the employee can tap the former boss as a reference for a post-MBA job or even get a recommendation on Linked IN. It is a small world and the same company may come to IFMR for placement.


Apart from dates, is the selection process in any way different for the Early Decision Round?

The interview panel for the Early Decision Round will have managers from corporates and the emphasis of the questions will be on the work experience.


Where are you having the selection process for the Early Decision Round and Why those places?

We are limiting ourselves to 10 major employment centers viz. Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Pune.


For the applicants with work experience, is there any relaxation on CAT cut off score?

We do not limit ourselves to CAT score to fix a cutoff but the average of the lowest 25% (in terms of CAT percentile) in our 17th batch was 80 percentile. We have students with us who had only 75 percentile in CAT last year but had very impressive credentials from their employers. It could be appraisal ratings of Outstanding or Excellent or Exceeds Expectations, or Recognitions by the company like Chairman’s award, Best GET, Employee of the month award etc.


What happens if a fresh graduate without work experience or a final year student applies under the Early Decision Round?

Our process is fully computerised. He /she will automatically be shifted to the General Round, and informed accordingly. Upon shortlisting, he/she will have the selection process in March.


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