A lot is being said on selection criteria of B-schools especially IIMs and most people seem to oppose the change that management selection processes have undergone in last 2-3 years. However one should also look at the logical thought-process that directs these changes.

Good old days??? ……What was happening then?: Earlier apart from IIM Bangalore, all IIMs were selecting students on the basis of CAT scores; general trend was A-B-C-L-I-K, which implied that IIM I &K were not getting the CAT top rankers anyway. Later on all the IIMs had rapid seat increases, because of reservation norms and MHRD directives all the IIMs nearly doubled their intake. Apart from this many new IIMs also started their operations. The old approach appears to fail here because of administrative problems as well as problem of getting candidates filtered out by old IIMs.

Diversity:  Industry is giving a lot of importance to diversity these days. Organizations are trying to enhance their talent pool by maintaining a diverse workforce. The penchant for diversity is not only driven by Research from Academia but  within industry itself:- See Ernst & Young & Mckinsey & Co. Recruiters are given targets and Human resource department continuously endeavors to maintain certain gender ratio and other diversity indicators. B-schools which boast themselves for dynamically improving their processes to cater the industry can’t remain passive in such case.

The push for non-engineers & female Continuing the above argument on diversity, every B-school prof. around the world will vouch for the fact that diversity enhances classroom discussions and learning. Diversity can be in form of gender, education, work-ex, nationality etc. Even if one focus on placements, in each placement season Placecomm members rack their brains to somehow showcase diversity in the brochure.  As mentioned earlier companies try to inculcate a healthy diversity among the students recruited across the campuses. Additional marks that are given to some backgrounds/female is statistically arrived at after analyzing the applicant pool and is very much similar to extra marks given to people with work-ex.(anybody for fresher v/s  work-ex debate?, after all quality of experience/profile is not checked at initial stage)

Individual IIMs cannot modify entrance test as per their own philosophy: In this highly competitive scenario and with increase in number of seats/institutes IIMs can’t afford to produce assembly line managers. Each institute develops its own identity and expertise and hence caters to a special segment, like IIM-C in finance or IIM-A in Strategy. In order to find right student mix for such approach, ideally each institute should have different type of entrance test, but IIMs don’t have this privilege. If one explores the entrance exams of MICA, TISS, XLRI & (FMS & JMET earlier) one can easily understand that how these tests are made in a way to select aspirants as per their philosophy. This is also the reason why many institute give unequal weight to different CAT sections. In any selection process validity (construct and concurrent specially) is very important.  Many studies in IITs/IIMs and other top institutes have repeatedly showed that “there is strong correlation of performance in b-school with previous academic performance and none with scores in entrance tests.”

The Application rating & ‘69-71’ problem: Just a small gap in 10th/12th marks and a big difference in application rating. Well on surface the problem seems to be big and can drive emotions. But that’s not how business decisions are made. Consider the application pool, among them how many would have 69/79 types of marks, among them how many will actually score the sufficient percentile to get a call and among these how many will actually lose a call because their application rating was poor (i.e. other factors didn’t compensated for this rating loss). The number of such cases will be very small and their occurrence is statistically not significant enough to alter a policy. Rules are not made by exceptions. Additionally Rating is a yardstick, it’s just showcases academic & professional quality of applicants and it doesn’t matter how much you score, until you are above a certain rating point.

The Normalization of grades/percentages:  Most of the institutes (e.g. IIM-K & S) use statistical tools [mainly mean (µ) and standard deviation (σ)] to compare and standardize the scores across boards/streams. Standardization and normalization are very important for equitable treatment of candidates exposed to different condition. Think this way; your own 99%ile in CAT is effect of a normalization process. IIM-A application rating however uses absolute score, but it should be kept in mind that it can be compensated by other parameters and as mentioned earlier and it doesn’t matter how much you score here, until you are above a certain rating point.  It should be noted that people who got marks in higher 80s or 90s and got less scaled score in IIM-K scorecard, it’s just because your percentile in your respective boards is less. IIM-B has been using similar scaling process for long time; only thing is they don’t have such high weightage for 10th/12th    marks.

Why not profile screening like foreign B-schools: One simple reason is IIMs receive far more applications (that too with 100% overlap) than the Ivy-league. One way to overcome this could be profiling of applicants who obtain a minimum score. SPJain-Mumbai selects candidates on similar lines, but if someone explores the SPJAIN selection forums for last 4-5 years in websites like Pagalguy one would find hundreds of posts from students who got rejected, writing about their profile and showing discontent with selection policy. Same is true with Foreign B-schools also, only thing is most of us don’t visit such forums. Now imagine IIMs following the similar process, multitude of RTI applications and court cases will be in pipeline after the selections. However institutes like SPJain & ISB Hyderabad are immune to RTI. This forces IIMs to go for an objectively quantifiable profile screening.

The struggle after entering the B-school: The significance of consistent academic performance can be understood only after entering a B-school. People with poor academics, either earlier or currently struggle to get good offers in summers & final placements. Keep in mind that even in same campus for each guy going to BCG and Mckinsey, there is a guy going to a god-damn company I don’t want to name here. The Guy who generally gets these coveted offers is from the “academically consistent” category. People who are keen to get into “hallowed portals” or get a brand attached, please understand the harsh realities of B-school placements. Once you enter a B-school you will also realize that criteria used by companies for selection is apparently much more random. Why most educational websites & coaching classes are telling you a poles-apart fairytale (and also opposing the changes in selection criteria), it’s just because their incomes depend on you, but as you mature professionally you will realize that “There is no such thing as free advice”.

Notes: Some of the terms used may be technical in nature and readers are requested to visit the hyperlink if required for complete understanding.

(The author is an HRM student at XLRI –Jamshedpur. A 99-percentiler in XAT, Anusheel is alumnus of MANIT-Bhopal.  After graduation he worked for a leading oil & petroleum sector consultancy.  He has profound interests in Training & coaching. Anusheel is also a freelance photographer and writer)

Other Articles by Anusheel : XLRI – The B-School with a Social Heart

You may also like to read articles by other XLRI alumni:

Miti Vaidya : What makes XLRI Jamshedpur so special 

Meet Kachhy : The CFA conundrum

Sowmya Srinivasan : Summers Prep – Finance roles

Other articles by Miti Vaidya here


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Agree with diversity point. Also agree with the point that there is a strong relation of B school acads with X , XII Acads. What are left unanswered by CAT & this article are

a. how were raw score scores converted ?

b. How where marks across diff boards / streams / states normalized ??

These 2 questions have taken the sheen away from the reslts this year ..



a) that's beyond the scope I have dealt here
b) by using mean and standard deviation of the junta who have applied in past 3-4 years (already explained above)

The terminator

Man…I dont want to start a new argument over here but what u have written makes no sense to me….
Are IIM's Placement agencies that they are only taking students who they think can be easily placed….???

I am a Day trader (FOREX) and i just want to go to A,B,C to learn the nuances of Trading from some of the best profs. of INDIA.

WHAT AN IRONY BUDDY that IIM's earnestly take 50% of reserved category candidates with 70%ile in CAT and 55% in 10,12th without any Fuss and when it comes to general category people they start mourning about Acads and diversity and Non-engineers and placements & what not….!!!

And u are advocating the criteria quoting Placements as one of the reasons
.oh!! come on dude…Are IIM's only about Placements…if that is the case…Then y students dont say placements as the sole reason for doing an MBA during Interviews.

This is INDIA,god dammit,Not every child had got the privledge to do his schooling from a respectable school.I have done my schooling from a village where no one has ever crossed 75% in boards.
That doesnt mean i am inferior,in any respect,to one who is from DPS and has scored 95% in boards.

I didnt expected this nonsense article from an XLRI guy…..!!!!


Just want to learn nuances of trading do a short term course from IIM they offer many…..
Want to use PLACEMENTS of IIMs ….. go to IIM & DO PGP
your choice


I dont this article makes sense…CAT is a total disaster.. just one simple question to the author..What is CAT testing in a candidate? well i think its a best indicator of luck of a particular person,that he registers on a particular day and slot..
If you agree on the above point rest of your article has no logic


most of the justifications given here are based on the fundamental assumption that the IIMs don't have the necessary resources to screen a larger pool of applicants. Maybe. Does that make the selection process correct ? No way.
You talk about BCG/Mckinsey. Let me ask you this: how many students do these types of firms recruit from A/B/C? They will anyway get the "consistent" students, you don't have to tweak the criteria for that. IIM-C so far doesn't have a problem to attract these firms, even after putting almost zero weightage to acads in the selection criteria.
And the process of normalization of 10/12 scores is so faulty that there can be an entire article written on that. Different years of passing, different boards, different scoring patterns. How can all these factors be normalized to give a reliable data?IIM-K's criteria are as ridiculous as it gets. IIM-B at least gives a certain weightage to work-ex which can offset a somewhat moderate acads. But in K, nothing! Shortlist based on only 10/12 scores. At least give the chance to students to appear in the interview!
And lastly, if some of the IIMs want to act as placement agencies, then they should declare that. Why the hypocrisy?



If you are not Happy with IIM-A or others then criteria of IIM-C cannot be justified either.
Facts speak louder then emotions.
As far as normalization is concerned, you can raise questions on CAT as well, which uses normalization (and in which one has scored 99%ile)
why not question that 99%ile in first place


Guess defending/trying to defend actions of certain IIM admission policies doesnt make sense< c'mon application rating..69/79!, unnaturally high weightage on 10th & 12th!!>, couple of them are frankly without logic/baseless<call its whatever!> to the layman..Academic consistency/profile/diversity/what not's! The point is after all this randomness what relevance does the CAT score have?It's just a test of ur luck…at this rate in a couple of year's its gonna b no better dan a game of darts/pure arbitness!

And using stats to say that rules aren't made for the exception< 69/79 rule..> isn't the hallmark of a great selection process….


"how many people are affected by this criteria change…Court asked to the lawyer, last year when one of my friend/batch-mate filed PIL against IIMs….(those active on PG may know about this initiative )… That's why I say Rules are not made by exceptions…..If you want to change something you have to give logical arguments to authorities…..

AND PEOPLE from next year AIEEE will have 50% weight of 12th exams….I will share the link in some time….

IIM I student

I think even your facts are wrong. Last person in the general category in the Class of 2009-2011 at IIM Indore was 99.2%ile where as there were a lot of people with 98+ percentile at IIM A in the same batch (CAT 2008 was the first time IIM A started using acads along with CAT scores) and IIM B has even given calls to 96 percentilers as early as CAT 2004. IIM L has been calling people based on profile too since CAT 2006. So assumption that IIM I and K never got CAT toppers is wrong. So the filtration point is not completely valid. Placements is alumni driven. I dont think percentiles ever had anything to do with it or will have anything to do with it in the future. Companies are happy taking 85 percentilers from reserved category from say an IIM C as against a 98 percentiler in IIM Shillong from the general category. Most of the times companies arent even aware

CAT ka mara

I am a general category student, with 90% marks in 10th and 12th., B.Tech from IITK with 9 CPI and very good work ex. I scored 96 percentile in CAT and did not receive any call from A,B,C,I or L. IIMK asked to fill up another application, but got a rejection from them based on a weird scaling process. Even if I had 100 percentile in CAT, I would not have made it to IIMK. They gave me 5/10 points for boards and 5/10 for undergraduate CPI. Dude – do they even understand how difficult it is to score a CPI of 9 at an academically competitive place like IIT Kanpur. Had an interview call from IIM Shillong, but gave it a miss. I'd rather go abroad and get a good MBA rather than go to IIM Shillong.


Also, IIM K didn't call a 100 percentiler in CAT, 2011. Looks like they are open to people from Mars only 😐


I agree with @terminator.
article does not make sense IIM A has goofed up with Multiplication and IIM K has goofed up with division.If you don't get what i'm trying to say check there admission criteria.So much heavy weightage to X,XII.what will happen to a guy who has not got same privileges as a guy from good background.and also not all General cat. students are from rich or middle class families,for them iim's have shut the doors.

the point is not all want to use placements.those who want to use there is nothing wrong with that,but what about the others ?
anyways CAT has screwed up big time.It is luck based now a days.No point dreaming about iim seat.

Authors point of academically consistent does not stand,I have seen may of my friends with just 60% in engineering,which are studying in IIM C and doing well.many are there in XL too,
it does not matter all are not for placements.and even if they are they will prove their point at some time.

FrustratedNIT guy

I was hinting at something similar when I said you really can't use stats to generalize a small sample space. If I don;t perform in engg doesn't mean I won't perform at a B school. How many of us know what career we want to take esp in India when every 90+ score is expected to start preparing for JEE/AIEEE


Wish you were on this end, still looking to make it into one of the top B schools, wonder how that would have affected your logical albeit over the top dissections. The problem with articles like this is that you take a stand and then try to substantiate your point, instead i suppose, one should look and take on things in an objective fashion giving the respect to arguments and sentiments of both the parties involved here i.e the IIMs and the student fraternity. XLRI and i expected better. Anyone aspiring for an MBA and having a, if not explosive, atleast a good grip over the English language can churn out another equally good article that is opinionated, buttressing the views of one side. But, though we have a difference in opinion, I must say this article is a genuine and good effort. Godspeed.


The complexity of superiority. The entangled pride could not hide behind complementary "Godspeed".
"Don't take a stand and then substantiate". It is suggested you introspect your arguments in the light of your suggested way. I will help you a bit.
For many IIM starts with A and ends at C. (Wait…Okay L). Most of the XLRI students are IIMA/B/C rejects. But Majority rejected I,K,R,X,Y,Z…to come to XL. And why not? it takes a helluva efforts for IIM x,y,z to place their "batch of 450". The lexicon enriches with new constructs… "Rollover". So its not IIMs. Its IIM A/B/C/L. Rest soke the warmth of the brand and "rolls over."
3 days!!!! 72 Hours – It takes to place all XLRI guys. Check if any of the IIMs could do so.
"XLRI and i expected better." .. We will give you the best.
Rest Assured.


Normalization loses meaning if the best in each Board is not put on par with each other. IIM K has followed such a method. On a scale of 20 a student scoring 100% gets only 13 score and to get a score of 20 he should score 107%. All of us agree that this is not science but stupidity.


So in short what you are saying is…All the so called revolutionary moves like increasing diversity and academic consistency are coming across because of the demands of the recruiters and not because of intent from our education providers.

So instead of IIM's telling the recruiters, this is who we have, these are the best candidates from the entrance examinations that we conduct and you can choose, It is the recruiters who are arm twisting the IIM's by saying 'Bro we need more girls and non engineers in our corporate setup, so you fix your criteria accordingly'.

If that is the case, then it is really really sad.


well ya that exactly how things are…and "catering to the industry demand".."changing dynamically as per industry requirements".when you hear such terms, this is one of the things what Bschools are doing…


Why are they catering to the industry demand by shifting the admission criteria. Change the course curriculum, introduce new subjects, integrate different streams of learning that sort of thing and finally research. That is what you mean by catering to the industry demand. You don't change your admission procedure because xyz wants more such people.

By playing into the hands of the recruiters, you are giving them a hand in areas that they have no business in, which is admissions. Today they are asking you to select X type of people, tomorrow they will say, Y type of people are needed. Where will this end?

Know it is more like a doomsday conspiracy theory, but going by your definition of 'Dynamically catering to industry demand' it is very much a possibility


I can't comment on policy level, but ya that's what almost all Bschools are doing.
Actually there is an Irony, People go against institutes when a certain CEO or a NASSCOM head says they are not getting what they want & again criticize them when they try to do something different.


You know how ironical it is….The recruiter wants a diversified batch…. but, did the recruiter not mention that he also expects a talented batch…and not a batch where one half are in owing to some reason while the oher half are on the basis of percentile…….. Its ironical…..


Well the other half is also diversified and selected based on same criteria only thing is scores are lower…. and about reservation, it's government norm and a external force, on which institute has no control so I am not commenting on it


now you know how difficult it is to talk sense when no one is in a mood to do so…(as per most of the comments here)

but nicely least someone needs to stick the neck out and state things dispassionately… 🙂


if talking sense is defending your alma mater at any cost, then certainly you are doing that 🙂


@Sajal – I guess not everyone is lukcy enuf to make it thro a Top 10 b school….Its the law of numbers, u know…. for a few to win many must lose…… Am sure you would understand that….

Amit Sinha

A few harsh realities:
1. IIMs indeed are placement agencies and not learning paradise. The quality of professors is really poor. People who take an admission do not come here to learn but to earn money and respect in the society. So all you guys who think otherwise or want to project that you think otherwise its time to get honest with yourself, It will help you a lot in future; inability to know oneself is the biggest challenge in modern world and has been causing a lot of problems.
2. Since placements matters the most and diversity, consistent academics and lesser failures in life is what corp-orates want (I am a personal example, where I did not get many calls from companies due to being older and having a 2 year gap between 12th and Engg due to IIT Prep) the tweaking of criteria is completely justified, of course the change should be with right tools and mechanisms.
3. CAT is a 20-20 and selection based on consistent academics is a far reliable method than CAT. I hope all of you would know this deep in your hearts as scores in consecutive tests (TIME, CL) varies a lot, so you never know what would be your percentile in actual CAT. Again please appreciate!!!
4. Going forward the best way is to track a candidate for a longer time period as done by US Colleges. But I ma sure each one of us knows many non-deserving candidates getting into one of the IVEYs by sheer c rookery and fraud (projections of working in NGOs, professional help in essays). The current process seems random but after two years in IIMs I feel that given the existing constraints it seems to be the best system.


Amit – Your points are well taken……Just to add however, if ther are so many constsraints in the admission process, how come these constraints dont exist when it comes to issuing application forms to the prospective candidates …… And yes as someone, rightly points out, if a non-general candidate can easily walk in with a 55 percentile, and after 2 yrs at IIM C is more employable and in demand than someone with a 99 percentile at iim s, then what kinda crappy system is this……

Amit Sinha

Probably one more reality check I should have added 🙂
The placement is a pretty random process. Unlike conventional wisdom companies are not ready to look at your CV and know you in person. Recruiters seem to be as illogical as the IIMs selection committee. Ideally companies should have been able to distinguish between a 99%iler in IIM S and 55%iler in IIM C, but sadly they do not have the time and the intention to do that. And I Agree that due to this randomness they end up taking potentially less efficient employees. While applying no one calculates their weighted score based on the criteria published by IIMs as everyone has "Hope" a natural human belief. But at the end of the day we know that Life is not fair, Indian upbringing, culture and education is such that it harshly punishes your failures and gets you lesser rewards for success, probably a lot to do with our enormous population.


An MDI guy can also be 99%iler, it doesn't matter. There is huge gap between brand value of C & S. I believe this comparison is not relevant, we should talk about more equal colleges to compare.

A company ma target IIM-L XL & FMS for its demand of say total 15 Associates, it can always vary the number recruited from each campus depending upon talent available, this is where Campuses compete with each other.

I don't want to go into gory details but ya, bottom 10-15% of even ABC go to certain companies, which would not be dream companies per se even for a tier-2 Bschooler

Amit Sinha

IIMs or XL dont transform students into some ultra-humans. Talent is something inherent in people they tend to perform accordingly throughout their lives. This is something that companies try to assess during placements, based on their own methods of defining talent. IIMs outside the BLACKI group do get less opportunity as they are newer and upcoming with less brand recognition. Though by definition Branding means getting a price over and above the fair market value as charged by Nike, Adidas etc. This is something that is happening to the lower IIMs. But my personal take is given the 35-40 years career span of individuals , talent cannot be consistently dominated by sheer opportunity. Despite getting a raw deal If you are good that will get reflected in your career graph.


I have calls from the IIMs this year (so its not a case of sour grapes) but the problem really is not being fair to all candidates. IIM A and IIM K criteria is clearly against students of certain boards and certain streams. A Mumbai Univ engineer grad getting 79.9% would be a brilliant student with less than 5% students in the city above him whereas univs with CGPA system have an unfair advantage.

From all the 6 IIMs- IIM Calcutta and IIM Indore seem to have the best criteria. IIM Calcutta is fair and clear. IIM Indore on the face of it has done proper normalization.


i do not mind with your criteria, but only saying that notify us in advance abt the criteria to be followed well bEfore CAT & not keep changing it later.
Its as good as playing chess with CAT aspirant.
Like when CAT score comes & Alas !! all girls screened out !!
Lets make some new criteria !!


Just a simple point here…… You want the 95% getter of class X & XII joining your institute….Fine….you want them to be female and preferably non-engineers….Fine….
But atleast have the basic decency of putting out these requirements at the time of issuing the CAT Applications…..Not after the candidates have applied, got their 99 percentiles and are eagerly awaiting their call……
And then the easist way to wipe off this injustice, throw the blame on the recruiters and like…..Agreed, a lot fo this is casued due to the reservations system, but if there is an issue, then atleast admit it instead of decrying the individual under consideration (Read – The poor disappointed 2-3 years appearing for CAT and 99 percentiler) or throwing the blame on the recruiters preferences…..


@Anusheel – I meant explicitly declaring these criteria at the time of the application process…… I mean rejecting applications of prospective aspirants before sending them Hall tickets when you clearly know that given the profile the candidate would not make it even with a 100 percentile….. I mean letting them know of the situation right from the start and not after theyve nearly crossed the river and then you unleash a whirlpool on them…..


CAT is a Exam whose result is used by over 500 B-schools(at-least). One doesn't gives CAT just for IIMs and hence they don't have that much control at this stage. It's responsibility of aspirants to properly check the criteria and selection philosophy of each institute.


Am not arguing with you anymore on this point…..Specially since you just want to support your point for the sake of doing so…..:D


and what are you doin….. atleast I am giving facts to support mine


ok in the name of diversity you give weightage to 10/12 ….agreed..that gives a much better picture about consistency of a student. But that is being followed by all the IIMs but then why IIMA & IIMK have this application rating & ridiculous normalization , they could have also followed the method of IIM-C,L & I for that matter. But no …how can author ignore this difference….?


If one looks at the criteria properly and analyze it, as said by the author, the criteria designed is actually valid and is achievable. Each & every one of the IIMs had mentioned their admission criteria well before the actual exam and excpect for the goof up by K, they haven't changed them afterwards and used the same. Even K's criteria, had they used CAT score instead of percentile would have made a lot of sense.

If you consider IIM-A, according to this year's criteria a person with an application rating of 18 would have been called if he had a 99.7%ile(which is what happened before anyways when only CAT was used), but the criteria also gives the benefit that if you had a score of 27, you may even get selected at 99.4%ile, thereby satisfying both the academically performing candidate and the performance in CAT.

And for people talking about Mumbai University, how much percent of the total applicants are from Mumbai university? In India with more universities than districts nowadays, how can there be a way formed to normalize them. How would you calculate which university has a strict checking and which has not?

And to add a point, IIM-K tried to rectify Mumbai University's problem with giving a score of 10 to all above 65%. How many people here are happy about that fact?

Rahul Janani

I think its recruiters who need to realize that these days going to IIM AB they are probably not getting the best candidates but 'lucky' candidates. Its almost like you write the CAT and keep praying. Just hope your profile suits someone's criteria. Recruiters need to know that there are bloody smart people in MDI and IIM S and they should go there to recruit the best than the lucky mediocre ones (not even in the top 50% in their batch) in the institutes above it. It is just stupid.

And @Anusheel – You need better acads to be in IIM S than in IIM L or FMS Delhi (Look at the criteria). As per your arguments above, recruiters should be flocking to IIM S because they have diversity and have people with consistent records and all that. The truth is that it is an unfair system. And there is such a huge difference between IIM ABC and the rest that when a selection criteria goes against you it makes a huge difference to one's career! And that is why so many students are up in arms.


a reply which i gave earlier, re-posting it

A company ma target IIM-L XL & FMS for its demand of say total 15 Associates, it can always vary the number recruited from each campus depending upon talent available, this is where Campuses compete with each other.

I don't want to go into gory details but ya, bottom 10-15% of even ABC go to certain companies, which would not be dream companies per se even for a tier-2 Bschooler


"the number of such cases will be very small and their occurrence is statistically not significant enough to alter a policy. Rules are not made by exceptions"

Kasab only killed 20 people which is less than .000002 percent of population which not statistically significant enough therefore no need to punish kasab unless he go berserk and kill 10million people.


such sweeping statement can't be used to make any decisions and shows lack of maturity on the part of person.I am re-posting one of my earlier replies…….
"how many people are affected by this criteria change…Court asked to the lawyer, last year when one of my friend/batch-mate filed PIL against IIMs….(those active on PG may know about this initiative )… That's why I say Rules are not made by exceptions…..If you want to change something you have to give logical arguments to authorities…..

FrustratedNIT guy

@Hitman LOL!
But I agree with Anusheel that ur argument makes no sense over here unless you are on comedy circus 😛
But I definitely njpyed reading ur comment! Thumbs up 😛


Very superficial comment I would say…. I have given references from reputed reports along with theoretical backing from subjects of statistics and Selection. what else you want????
about paid …..huh, I am an XLRI student and kind of rivalry/ego clash XL-IIM have, you can't understand until & unless you are part of one …. even then I have supported their cause because it's a step in right direction


Even i fail to understand the ego clash that you are referring to….. XL is great no doubt…but comparing it to any of the ABC is foolishness……The kind of international plcements seen in ABC is something that XL is far off from….. Plus, if ego is what you are talking off then what about Harvard grads and Stanford grads…. They should be living on the clouds not the earth…..


Mr Anusheel, you are not only gibberish in your logic, statistics or anecdotes but also VERY pugnacious. Educated people does not talk about being egoistic. Anyways, you seem to be getting what you want thru this post. LIMELIGHT!! Really sad to find a XL guy being so cheap.
You can really justify even a bank-robbery!! Keep it up.


what I am going to do with Limelight. I am no politician/movie star,only reason why I have written this article is to educate people on thought-process of B-school profs. and recruiters as well, and ya about ego stuff, it's real and it exists, you can continue to live in a world of goodness where these things don't exists, but that will be far from reality. If you want to know more about CASTE SYSTEM in INDIAN corporate world, read an article with similar keywords by owner of this website


@ Amit Sinha: please can you mention whether you had any work experience prior to joining the college for your MBA.

Amit Sinha

Yes 3 years of workex again something which is not appreciated by the industry at all. People with 3 or more than 3 years of workex please be cautious while applying for 2 year PGP courses as probability of getting a raw deal is very high. People with 4-5 years of workex find it extremely hard to get placed even in random companies. Indian Industry and B Schools are way different than those in the west. Ideal workex for Indian B Schools in 1-2 years, not more than that. Though I agree with Anusheel that consistent academic background does makes more sense even with perspective of final placements.


The point is, this article is well written…but to enforce your point on the rest of the junta here or try and justify acts of injustice done to some/many due to the warped rules and criteria that none else can justifiably explain with a hundred percent certainity is plain wrong…..I still say this is a great article, but to sit and force it on others is wrong…..


Why I am writing all this is to create a logical thought process, even if you want to change the system you have to give logically/statistically convincing statements. Many people here have no idea of research going on 'selection', as an XL guy I have exposure to some of those concepts. Additionally I have given an example of a PIL against IIMs earlier, where court asked similar questions ( The guy who filed it, is my batch-mate and a good friend). Point is first understand the philosophy and then try to ask for a change. If you just say IIMs are stupid and things like that, no one is going to listen to you.


America! Thank heavens for the land of opportunity and more importantly, second chances 🙂


The B schools need to do away with the 'weightage' allocation and move to profile based screening and adopt a subjective approach to evaluating a candidate.

The concept of just having some Z score and normalization of scores is UTTER NON-SENSE. By saying that they can judge a student by looking at his 10, 12 and graduation marks, the IIMs have indicated that they can judge a book by looking at its cover, the number of pages, and the price.

The IIMs should first conduct the CAT and then allow all above 95 percentile or say 90 percentile to send their resume. A panel of experts should scan the applications based on the overall profile and not just some board or graduation marks.



when you say profile based it sounds good but when a RTI is filed against IIMs and later on if a case is filed on them how will they justify profiles. eg. "A guy with 10 papers published in various journals V/s a guy who has won several national level debate contests V/s a guy with great profile in some MNC" how can you give more marks to one and not to other.

Such things can be done at interview stage, but if they start giving calls on these basis, they will have to face 100s of court cases" Foreign institution & Domestic ones like ISB & SPJain are immune to such cases (as already mentioned in article)……


A guy P who got 90% in class 10 but cleared NTSE and Maths Olympiad is obviously better than the guy Q with 93% and no other achievement.
A guy P who got 79% in class 12 but studied Electrical Engineering from IIT Kanpur is obviously better than the guy Q with 90% who got admission in the local Jai Maa Durga Engineering College.
A guy P from IIT Kanpur who got 75% but had 10 international publications and won many national level competitions during his bachelor's degree is obviously better than the guy Q from Jai Maa Durga Engineering College who got 90% by copying during exams, assisted by his college.

Sadly, under the present circumstances, P will be rated far below Q, which is an absolute shame.


P, who cleared NTSE and Olympiad, studied Electrical Engineering in IIT Kanpur, had 10 international publications and scores of national level achievements, who was a brilliant student but was not very marks oriented, WILL "NOT" GET THE IIM CALL.

Q, who is a very average student and has never even thought of having a national level achievement, but studied only for the upcoming exam and did nothing else, WILL GET THE IIM CALL.

This is why India is not the right place for talent. It is a direct statement that only mug-up-and-vomit-out attitude is respected in India.

And yes, the IIMs have STANDARDIZED the prayer for all GEMs (General Engineer Males) of the country— "AGLE JANAM MOHE BITIYA HI KIJO"…


what was the earlier scenario, the guy with all these great profile will not get a call if he doesn't score well in CAT, while a average guy who screwed his grades and only prepared for CAT will get a call, how can that be justified by your logic.


There was no pretense of Comprehensive Profile Evaluation before, no bias against anyone. Now there is this sham of an intelligent selection process which picks out people with decidedly mediocre brains and inflated grades and actively discriminates against people with unconventional, but resoundingly more impressive, achievements.

I can identify with P somewhat, I've never really cared about my grades rather about my achievements- NTSE, NSO, will graduate a 7.99 pointer from one of the best colleges in India. But of course, that makes me a terrible student because I won't graduate with an 8.00- why oh why did I choose to spend that time doing stupid things such as representing India at international fora, running my own column in a national daily, and publishing papers, getting research scholarships.

But no matter- let IIM's have the 'cream of the crop', the guys who scored high in the board by mugging up, whose concepts were so poor that they couldn't get into anything other than a Tier III college. Topped the college, by mugging up, once again, still wasn't smart enough to get a high paying job, and somehow managed a 99%ile after 4 attempts at CAT. And according to IIMs these guys are the best candidates we have. God please save us all.


Dude honestly if you're this awesome you should try to become the next Einstein or Bill Gates and do something that will help the world. Why do you want to become another corporate slave? All for a few rupees you want to throw your talent away?


AFTER I published this article 4 more education/MBA prep sites have published articles on similar lines. Well I think I am getting some followers here. 🙂


Dear Anusheel,
Its great for your ego, you go so much reaction..
Lets get in to some minute details. Is getting 3-4 percent marks in 10 th, 12 th and graduation is better than getting 2-3 percentile cat score.
IIMK and IImI, IIIA….. while arriving total score, some absurd is done.

qualiy difference between a 98 peecentile and a 99.5 percentile is much more than marks difference in academics of say even 5%.

A person geting 77 % marks and other geting 82 % marks. and their respective cat score being 99.6 and 98.1, who is beter candidate.. It is as simple as this. This criteria is being done by prof in IIMs, who prefer ratus than rebellious analytical minds.
so its it.


It has nothing to do with my ego or anything. If other websites are also coming up with similar articles after I published this one, that means there is an obvious acceptance for the same.

When you say "obviously better than .." what empirical proofs you have, it's just something what you feel. Bschool profs have repeatedly published reports (even in IITs) which says people who score good in acads are better performers.

About your argument, the B-schools have move ahead with "composing the the class in a certain unique way" rather then "selecting as per your entrance exam scores" All the B-schools in country (which are worth mentioning here) have move ahead with this, so it's our time to move on and not to keep on delving on same issue.

vishakha sharma

Granted companies want consistent performers. But in 2017 the weightage to CAT has dropped to 20% or 25% in some IIMs and rest is 10th/12th score. Seriously? Where are you even conducting an exam if you have no faith in its ability to filter out students? Simply call people who have scored graet in 10th and 12th through mugging and then conduct a small aptitude test for them. I don’t think anybody aces CAT with pure luck. Luck can make the difference between getting a 99%tile or 100%tile. Rest is your hardwork, discipline and how mentally strong you stay ton that day. DO you know where I scored 90+ marks due to luck? In school. As the luckiest student who consistently got 90+ till 10th without much effort but had to burn her ass for a national level competitive exam I can vouch for that. While I can understand some weightage being given to acads, how can it be more than the weightage given to CAT? School exams test you r ability only to mug the same thng from 6th to 10th for a whole year with a hundred test conducted by teachers before the final exams. CAT preparation requires, discipline, focus, and most of all your persistence and mental strength to be able to handle all kinds of surprises and not lose it if a surprise comes when the stakes are so high. People who are good at mugging may perform better at B schools. How does that guarantee they will perform better in corporate world as well? I think the very metric used to justify , namely , just their performance in B schools is wrong. DO you want people who can think on their feet and not be taken by surprises or those who need to mug things for a year to do well? Yes they are consistent and I give them credit for that. Have some weightage for it. Not completely go in their favour. Ther are many reasons people can’t perform well in life. If somebody failed once but then had the ability to get back oon track and get a great CAT score, such a person can’t just be discarded as useless. Like they say they want a mix of all kinds of candidates. Then why to just discard candidates who may have made a mistake once but then overcame it and did well in a national level exam ? Don’t their learnings count? DO only people who have never failed have all the knowledge and expertise? I think in reality it is more of a way to get more non engineering candidates because for the 12th scorematters a lot but engineers are busy getting into IITs or cracking AIEEE and don’t focus as much on getting 95+ in 12th. And companies would not keep 90+ as shortlisting criteria for interviews if the pool of candidates selected by the college did not have such a criteria in the first place.


While most of the bschool Junta,specially in the first year are busy with their acads,some limelight seeking people start a useless,illogical discussion which they think will be supported by equally job less so called "living in Bschool and Know all" Junta,and trying to fool some "logically brilliant but deprived of luck" non-B school people….

You know what this is, just for a CV point during placements….
"Wrote numerous articles in various online forums,with more than 10000 followers"

I also belong to "living in Bschool and Know all" kinds..


@ Anusheel: Looks like the article didn’t convince too many. Counter arguments form a majority of the comments.

Personally, i feel sad that an a written test, GD and PI (or whatever new versions are been used nowadays by some)are not enough for the instiutes to measure the capability and talent of a person. They still trust different boards using different ways of scoring students ability in science, arts, commerce, engineering etc. rather than their own management education specific process.


Well this is a transition phase and obviously stakeholders will not be convinced with it. I suggest you to read articles/interviews by B-school profs/directors/deans/admission in-charge on published in various websites and analyze them. You just name one college from top 10 who is not backing up this philosophy.

AIEEE (which now includes IITs also) has included weightage for school marks. Scenario are changing my friend

Also nearly all MBA prep websites have published independent articles endorsing the same.


@Anusheel : Agreed to everything that you have to say and I understand that because stats are used to predict the bigger picture you really can't take care of the tails in the normal distribution curve ( "exceptions"). A person like me who scored a 94+ in X CBSE, screwed my XII cuz I thought it would be cool to take some load off me and try out various things but since I am born in India I cannot do this because OI have to be a consistent performer because some statisticians figured out that board exams were a good indicator of how you will perform in a B school. I bet every guy who cleared IIT/AIEEE would have scored a 96+ in CBSE if board marks were given due weightage during our time, good that now things have changed but I believe it is unfair to people like me who on an unfortunate morning, out of the blue hear a news about the new selection criteria at IIMs. If I don't like engg how can I study it how can I score marks in engg?
So basically I screwed my life cuz I didnt scr in my grad, XII while trying to explore what might be the best career option for me?
Shameful and ironic, don't you think so?


@Anusheel plz don't tell me that IIMs are incompetent to ask a student abt his/her college pref in the CAT form

An average IIM C guy

Mr. Anusheel, I would have expected better from a fellow management graduate.

'Many studies in IITs/IIMs and other top institutes have repeatedly showed that “there is strong correlation of performance in b-school with previous academic performance and none with scores in entrance tests.”'

To start with, could you provide references to these "studies" before I tear apart each and every "logical construct" you have tried to create in this article?


The only thing which unfortunately IIMs don’t consider while normalizing is the dimension of time. I know a lot of boards where the scoring pattern have changed drastically in a span of 4-5 years. And so the “older” students lose out when they are given a percentile for their 10th & 12th scores.


Well…..this was also in my mind. UP Board is a typical example. Both major state parties are very careless of exam standard. On the other hand, there was a dreaded Nakal Adhyadesh some 13-15 years ago which made student life tough. However there is a remarkable difference between passed out students from both times (even a 60% guy is better than 75% younger guy). IIM tried to normalise this but again, there are hell lot of things which was overlooked. This is why it is critised.

– A non-IIM guy

wise statements

hey man

Is this the management of so called iim- a ?????

u mean there is a lot of diff. b/w a student getting 80 and a student getting 80.0001 ………….

if u want to taking students on the luck basis , so why are you using this cheap system ?

u can a playing cards game to get in iim – a…. at least it won’t cost lot…………



Everyone understands that. Why do you not ask this question when some IIM keeps a cutoff of say 99 percentile and someone with 98.99 percentile does not get the call. Do you think there is a lot of difference between a 99 percentiler and a 98.99 percentiler? A 75 percent gets a distinction while a 74.XX % gets a mere first class. Do you think there is huge difference between the two.

There has to be a line drawn somewhere. The ones who cross the mark will rejoice while the ones who do not will crib.

Vishal Thakur

"Consider the application pool, among them how many would have 69/79 types of marks"
Probability of a student to score between 69/79/89 is 0.06 i.e 60,000 students out of 10 lakhs who takes Board exam every year , do score in this range.Please keep in mind that this probability is calculated considering all the percentages being considered equally probable to score and we all know its is less probable to score below 60 in boards than to score above 60, so this no. of students is far too feeble estimation. Actually no. must be many times more than 60,000. But even if we consider these 60,000 students , they are the brighter bunch. You can't consider this no. of students and that too quality students , just a niche of exception . Apart from that , how can u normalize the academics different boards, colleges have different marking and grading scale. Even you would agree that scoring 80% and above in one college can be way different than scoring the same in another.(Ask any engineering student about it , he/she will explain it to you). Is IIMs oblivious of these facts or is it just bigotry of them


A few years down the line when only CGPA would be handed to students in 10/12 how would this system differentiate?If 10 and 12 matter so much why don't the recruiters/b schools invite applications from people straight after the class 12 and select them then and there.Place your bets gentlemen.
Frankly saying this system of selecting on board marks is a pathetic one to say the least.Let me just ask you one question"Do you honestly believe that in all the years(lets say the 90's) gone by when CAT was the sole criteria the people who got in and had poor/average acads are/have been poor managers?Don't engineers/men have a difference of opinion when discussing a case?
India is a diverse country dear friend and how can you so easily discount the fact that people from a diverse cultural background applied and got into IIMs before this wave of "diversity" took over.The batches were diverse even then.
So you want to tell that people who score consistently are bound to be great managers(this is what the management instis are supposed to produce) while those with poor/average acads are most certainly bound to be bad ones?
If a person can't cope up to the acad pressure in b schools he/she would fail there,might wake him/her up to the fact the they need to study,and there are provisions that say that failure to perform sufficiently might mean you have to leave the course or repeat the year.

nikhil arora

entirely agree wid dis post ….most of these so called toppers mug up the subjects and get high percentages….so they get the right to be top managers ??


Grrrrr….. An MBA is an academic course. So someone who has shown consistency in academic performance in the past ought to be rewarded.


Not entirely true,it is not an academic course "only",and like I said if people are so confident in the abilities of people who have scored great marks in class 10 and 12 recruit them from there only.Give them a standing offer,that as soon as you graduate you would be admitted to insti XYZ.
Had management been only about the top grades,then the story would have been very different.
Rewarding the past in this case means penalizing others who might not have had the means or motivation to perform at that point of time.
To judge a person more thoroughly interviews are there,where any good sincere candidate can be adequately judged.Or are you suggesting that over the years people have fooled the recruiters or the profs that interview them?


Agree on that…. And it is not like everyone who has good academic performance makes it to IIMs. They have to prove their mettle in the CAT as well. Well, out of such a pool of say 1000 – 1200 candidates, around 400 make it to an IIM A or B. Reagrding recruiters, well get into a BSchool and you would realize that recruiters shortlist only those people who have done well in academics. Even take example of IIMC. Students with great academics make it to the best firms.. Only when people with good academics are out of the placement process, do people with average acads get an opportunity. In short, recruiters seek consistent academic performers.


Dude FYI I am in a b school(IIM C to be precise 🙂 ) and yes firms visiting do have a preference for high acads but they also have a preference for IITs,NITs,students with UG from abroad,so by this logic we should have them as a criteria,right?
Do these institutes serve the students or the recruiters?
And even though over at C we haven't had acads as a specific criteria still we get UG gold medallists,how?If you have been very good with acads then why can't you study for CAT,crack it and come?Why should an avg acads guy,who might have shown a flair management be punished and denied admissions???


when you would join a campus(assuming that you haven't),you could have all the acads in your profile but the recruiter prefers some dude for IIT with below average acads or some random chic from DU.
You can have all the acads in the world,but won't stop them.
If 10 and 12 are the demands of today's industry what will you do when they say only IITians or NITians need apply??Would the doors of these hallowed portals be shut for others?They would be able to cope with all the "academic" part of the MBA course,they have shown it in the past that they can cope with it,reward them for cracking a test some 4-5 years back.


Well, not everyone from an IIT or NIT gets a shortlist from top firms.. Many non-IITans, non-DU chics get shortlisted for top consulting firms/I Banks/FMCGs while some IITs do not. Well, prior acad. performace is the differentiating factor there.

nikhil arora

i was 14 wen i appeared for X and 16 wen i appeared XII . never thought iims will go crazy abt these marks .
okayh …so hang me …rght ? ?
To Err is Human and to forgive is Divine ..i m not seeking forgiveness here but there should always be a second chance to whitewash past sins …iims should change the entrance pattern ..introduce subjectivity or do wateva …UPSC also conducts xam every year and they dont compulsory want 95% getters and do mind they select the ADMINISTRATORS of our country …now if administrators can be selected in such a fair way …cant the managers ? ? ?


I agree. If I get 70% in UPTU (infact I passed with 72%), why should I not be given a chance. Afterall, One ois judged three times (CAT, GD/WA and PI).


Here are my two cents, not on this article but on this website as a whole.

Firstly, for an MBA/IIM/CAT/B-School based website/forum, you need to have creditable authors and articles. By creditable I mean that it should be accepted by a majority of readers. I accept there is a vast diversified audience but you just cannot have 75% of the people against a particular topic and the author arguing against every comment. This is not the mark of an author who has written a great article.

Another point of view, maybe its not the authors fault. Because when everybody is bitching about the IIM's selection criteria, its a wise idea to write a supporting article to gain publicity. Infact, this could be one of the few articles on the internet in support of the topic, this itself says the whole story.

So Team InsideIIM, you need to put up more GOOD article to maintain a level of readers.

PS: It is just for Team InsideIIM to know (please read it as a generous review). No need for the author to reply on it and develop a chain of arguments.

Thanks much

Shiva Jena

A good article. To all those crybabies who are being critical, I would say that just focus on your goals. Yes, the selection criteria fails up to a certain extent mainly at the 10th and 12th normalisation and graduation also. But if you performed brilliantly in a good quality graduation level, you have good chances of getting into a decent b-school. Then you can work your way up the ladder if u truly have it in you ( ref. Satya Nadela). Exercise your options well with whatever resources you have got. Pursue your goal with perseverance. I have the experience of being let down by a few #### every time I tried to focus and work hard on my dream of getting through to a good b-school. Those who always cried around me about the selection criteria failed miserably in the entrance exams whereas I believed in myself and have a few good calls which they envy now. Even if I dont get through, I will still go for one more time given that I already have a workex of 30 months. So just shut your ears for all the discouraging things and try focussing on yourself. I started with a 9 percentile in VA in the mock tests and ended at 94 percentile in CAT with just 14 attempts as I planned. I am not boasting, just trying to give a perspective that things can turn around slightly your way, not greatly. But it can definitely change your life. Believe yourself.

Sakshyy Srivastava

hello sir, i have 56% marks in 10th, 60 in 12th and 70 in job experience. i know its impossible for me to get a call from iims even if i get 100 percentile, i want to ask you which are the other top b schools possible for me that don’t have this stringent criteria?

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