A top secret, highly classified document has just been released. Not by the CIA, but IIM Bangalore.
The cloaked in mystery, shrouded in enigma, super secret selection procedure to one of the most elite management institutes in the country is now a matter of public record. A 5 page document outlining exactly how IIM B admits candidates into its flagship 2 year PGP program is now available on the institute website.
All those of you giving CAT this year will no doubt be excited by the contents of the release. Like the CAT RC section, it's a bit of a daze to read so let me sum up what it says:
a) Stage 1 shortlist: This is prepared solely on the basis of performance in CAT. You need to achieve certain minimum cut offs in each section. Of course these cut offs vary from year to year, depending on how test takers have performed as a whole.
No big surprise here, we've kind of known this.
b) Stage 2 shortlist: Here is the real bombshell.
For all candidates in the first shortlist as stated in Table 1, the weighted total of the five components namely (a) work experience or professional course, (b) CAT, (c) 10th board, (d) 12th board, (e) bachelor’s as stated above was used to prepare a pre-GDPI rank list for calling candidates for the GDPI.
This means having a high CAT score is not enough to get an interview call to IIM B. Your past academic performance matters a hell of a lot.
How much? Well, the weightage is as follows:
CAT = 20
(If you have not completed Bachelor's your marks in undergrad years will be considered instead).
Weightage for work experience and/ or professional course was assigned as 10. Interestingly, CA is the ONLY professional course eligible for weight under the criteria 'professional course'. And the formula for work ex gives the highest score to candidates with an experience of 36 months duration.
Thus the profile of the candidate most likely to get a call from IIM B is as follows:
* High CAT score, cleared all sectional cut offs
* Consistent academic performance across 10th, 12th and graduation.
* 1-3 years work experience.
* A CA with good CAT scores and impressive academic record could have a small advantage.
However there are always exceptions to the rule and IIM B ackowledges that.
For all candidates in the first shortlist as stated in (1), the top 10 candidates in each sectional and total score in CAT, adjusted SSC, HSC, Bachelors and professional (CA) (from the first shortlist, as created in Table 1) automatically qualified for GDPI.
IIM B explains: These candidates were given a chance to appear for GDPI due to their exceptional performance on one parameter.
At the end of the process, however, they were treated like any other candidate and had to qualify on the basis of 'composite aggregate score'.
For each of the three elements of evaluation during the GDPI process – Group Discussion, Group Discussion Summary, Personal Interview - the average of the scores given by the two interviewing faculty was considered.
Weights as follows:
GD score - 7.5
G D summary - 7.5
Personal Interview - 20
Frankly, I never knew 'G D Summary' was important!
During the interview 'work experience quality' is evaluated on a 5 point scale (0 – 0.5 – 1 – 1.5 – 2) by each member of the panel. The average quality of work experience score was multiplied by the pre-GDPI work experience score and accordingly revised in Phase 2.
The Group Discussion score, Group Discussion Summary score, Personal Interview score, after standardization within interview panels, were added to the pre-GDPI total (with revisions in Work Ex Score, if any) to arrive at the final aggregate score.
And that is the basis of the final ranks. The 'total' scores were out of 105.
There is a separate note on candidates admitted through GMAT which is around 3-4 students a year.
# When the IIMs started revealing percentile scores, one layer of secrecy was peeled away. Now, IIM B has gone fully public.
The revelations come following an RTI application filed by a disabled candidate who was not called for interview. However IIM B says it will reveal the 'formula' for this year's selections (which is tweaked from year to year) before CAT 2007. Wonder if other IIMs will decide to go 'transparent' as well!
# The subject of deepest debate re: the IIM B admit procedure is the amount of importance it gives to 'consistent and high performance in past academics'. This makes your class 10 boards one of the most crucial milestones in life!
The coaching class guys will have a lot of explaining to do. No matter how well you do in the present ie in clearing CAT, your past can and will will drag you down!
# Of course once you are shortlisted for an interview your communication skills in the GD and the impression you make in the interview do play an important role. The vague explanation given about what the panel looks for in the PI clearly indicates there is a level of subjectivity.
Each faculty used the Personal Interview to comprehensively evaluate the candidate’s motivation and ability to fit in and benefit from the PGP program.
Sounds like the 'X factor' rating to me. A bit of extra currics,confidence minus cockiness and wide eyed earnestness should see you through. Clarity of fundas on your undergrad subject also matters. Also...
All candidates were required to provide three confidential reference letters from their employers or faculty and this was also used in the personal interview evaluation.
Never knew about that one! But a positive step, in building a more 'complete picture'. Overall the subjective part of the admisson process - GD & PI - make up 33% of the aggregate score. That means there is a chance to play catch up relative to the ubergeeks who've made it with you so far!
# The other interesting thing is the amount of detailing involved at each stage. For example:
For all candidates in the first shortlist as stated in Table 1, the candidates’ percentage scores in the 10th and 12th board exams are standardized by dividing each score by the 90th percentile score obtained in that board. The database of 10th and 12th scores of all CAT applicants of the past two years was used for identifying the 90th percentile score for each 10th and 12th board for this purpose.
Ah. That's a lot of number work!
# Another point to note: OBC qualifying cut offs were specified although following the SC judgement OBC candidates were not actually called for interviews separately It's heartening to know the OBC cut offs were pegged very close to General cut offs.
eg In Data & Logic section General candidates needed to score 85% while OBCs neededt 75%. The qualifying score for SCs, STs and disabled was 50%.
# There is no mention of any 'quota' for people of different academic streams, or gender. Those from elite institutions don't get preference except that they are more likely to have been toppers in class 10 and 12 to begin with.
There is some debate on this subject going on here.
# Lastly, the mathematicalness of it all is astounding. This 'multi variate analysis' or whatchamacallit is very impressive and very Greek to the general public. Transparency cloaked in invisibility - Shri Harry Potter would have been pleased!
A current PGP at IIMB remarks: It can’t be proved that it’s the best way to process admissions, but it sure is the only way that is objective and looks successful, from the outside, at least.
In the final analysis I would say IIMs are designed to attract well rounded geeks. But emphasis on the geek aspect is higher, the well rounded bit a happy coincidence.
There are a lot of 'been a topper throughout my life' on these campuses. The exam and subsequent process is designed to admit this profile.
Someone should now study the co relation between ranks at the time of admission and ranks while on campus. And ten years later, co relate the same two ranks with the individual's performance in the corporate world.
I am sure some formula taking into account size of company, designation, pay packet, role, reporting relationships and so on could be figured out as a metric of 'success'.
The analysis should include a 33% weightage to an interview where personal satisfaction and that elusive thing called 'quality of life' is factored in.
And on a more philosophical note, I wonder when we will be freed of past patterns of thinking. Yes, the past can predict the future but it can also constrain it. The 'yesterday predicts tomorrow' line of thinking discounts the power of the human spirit to achieve and overcome. To rise to new challenges.
Regardless of what IIM B might say, you gotta shed the baggage of the past, live in the present and dream for the future!