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Indian Institute of Management (IIM) – How to get in

The Indian Institutes of Management, often referred to as IIMs, are a prestigious group of management schools in India. They specialize in offering various management programs. Here’s a quick rundown:

History and Establishment of IIMs

The first IIM, IIM Calcutta, was established in 1961. Since then, more IIMs have been set up across India.

  • The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are institutes of management education and research in India. They primarily offer postgraduate, doctoral and executive education programmes along with some additional courses in the field of business administration.
  • The establishment of IIMs was initiated by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, based on the recommendation of the Planning Commission of India.
  • The first two IIMs, IIM Calcutta and IIM Ahmedabad, were established in 1961 with the help of the Ford Foundation and the Harvard Business School.
  • Between 1973 and 1996, four more IIMs were added to the list: IIM Bangalore, IIM Lucknow, IIM Kozhikode, and IIM Indore.
  • Later, during 2007 and 2016, 14 new IIMs were founded in various cities across the country, bringing the total number of IIMs to 20.

Autonomy and Governance in IIMs

IIMs are autonomous institutions, meaning they have a degree of independence in their operations. Each IIM is governed by a Board of Governors, which oversees its functioning.

  • The IIMs are institutes of management education and research in India, which are considered to be institutions of national importance by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).
  • The IIMs are governed by their respective boards of governors, which consist of members from various sectors, such as academia, industry, government, etc. The boards are responsible for setting the vision, mission, goals and policies of the institutes.
  • The boards of governors also appoint the directors and chairpersons of the IIMs, who are the chief executive officers and academic leaders of the institutes. The directors and chairpersons report to the boards and oversee the administration, management and academic affairs of the institutes.
  • The IIMs have various committees and councils, such as academic council, faculty council, student council, etc., which deal with different aspects of the functioning of the institutes. The committees and councils are composed of representatives from the faculty, staff and students, and they provide inputs and feedback to the directors and chairpersons on various matters.
  • The IIMs have a high degree of autonomy in handling their day-to-day operations and deciding their courses, fees and other related matters. This autonomy was granted by the Indian Institutes of Management Act, 2017, which also declared the IIMs as institutions of national importance.
  • The IIMs are accountable to the government, the public and other stakeholders for their performance and quality. They have to follow certain norms and standards set by the MHRD, the University Grants Commission (UGC), the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), etc. They also have to undergo periodic accreditation and ranking processes by national and international agencies.

Programs Offered by IIMs

The flagship program at IIMs is the Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGPM), which is equivalent to an MBA. IIMs also offer other programs such as the Fellow Programme in Management (Ph.D.), one-year executive MBA programs, and short-term management courses.

Some of the key courses offered by IIMs are:

  • Post Graduate Program in Management (PGPM): This is the flagship program of IIMs and is equivalent to an MBA. It is a two-year full-time course that covers various aspects of management, such as finance, marketing, operations, strategy, etc. The admission to this course is based on CAT scores, academic performance, work experience and personal interviews.
  • Executive MBA (EMBA): Tailored for working professionals, EMBA programs typically span one to two years. They are designed to enhance the skills and knowledge of managers and executives who want to advance their careers or switch domains. The admission to this course is based on GMAT or CAT scores, work experience and personal interviews. Some of the popular EMBA programs offered by the IIMs are EPGP, PGPX, PGPEX, etc.
  • Fellow Program in Management (FPM): FPM is a doctoral-level program aimed at producing top-notch researchers and academicians in the field of management. It is a four to five year course that involves rigorous coursework, comprehensive exams and thesis work. The admission to this course is based on CAT or GMAT or GRE scores, academic performance, research proposal and personal interviews.
  • Other Courses: Apart from these courses, the IIMs also offer various other courses, such as undergraduate programs (e.g., IPM by IIM Indore), certificate programs (e.g., EPGC by IIM Bangalore), online programs (e.g., IIMBx by IIM Bangalore), integrated programs (e.g., IPBA by IIM Rohtak), etc. These courses cater to different needs and interests of the students and professionals who want to pursue management education from the IIMs.

Admission process for IIMs

Admission to IIMs is highly competitive and primarily based on entrance exams. The most common entrance exam is the Common Admission Test (CAT), although some IIMs accept other scores like GMAT or conduct their entrance exams.

  • The first stage is appearing for the Common Admission Test or CAT exam conducted by the IIMs. CAT is a highly competitive exam that tests the candidates’ aptitude, reasoning, and verbal skills. The candidates need to score well in both the overall and sectional scores to meet the IIM cutoffs.
  • The second stage is getting shortlisted by the IIMs based on their CAT scores, academic performance, work experience, diversity, and other factors. Each IIM has its own shortlisting criteria and weightages for different components. The shortlisted candidates are called for the next round of selection.
  • The third stage is the final selection round, which comprises of Written Ability Test (WAT), Group Discussion (GD), and Personal Interview (PI). WAT is a test of the candidates’ writing ability and comprehension of the topic given. GD is a test of the candidates’ communication, teamwork, and leadership skills. PI is a test of the candidates’ personality, achievements, goals, and fit for the program. Some IIMs may not conduct GD or may conduct it in a different format.
  • The fourth stage is the generation of the final merit list, which is based on the weightages awarded to all the components in the previous stages. The weightages may vary from one IIM to another, but generally, they include CAT score, WAT score, PI score, academic performance, work experience, diversity, etc. The candidates who are ranked high in the merit list are offered admission to the IIMs.

Academic Excellence in IIMs

IIMs are renowned for their rigorous and industry-relevant curriculum. They have experienced faculty members who often use case-based teaching methods.

IIMs and Their Pursuit of Academic Distinction

Academic excellence in IIMs is a topic that reflects the high standards and quality of education that the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) offer to their students. The IIMs are institutes of management education and research in India, which are considered to be institutions of national importance by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) . There are 21 IIMs in India, located in different cities across the country . They offer various programmes in management, such as undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral and executive programmes .
The IIMs are known for their focus on academic excellence, which is reinforced by the Triple Crown accreditation that IIM Indore has achieved. Being the second IIM to receive this achievement and being among the top 1% business schools globally to have the Triple Crown accreditation, IIM Indore’s executive education programmes are contextually relevant to meet the demands of contemporary business challenges . The Triple Crown accreditation is a recognition by three of the world’s most influential and respected accreditation bodies: AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), AMBA (Association of MBAs) and EQUIS (EFMD Quality Improvement System) .

Cracking the Code

The IIMs also have a rigorous admission process, which involves taking entrance exams such as CAT, GMAT or GRE, followed by group discussions and personal interviews . The admission process is designed to select the best candidates who have a strong aptitude, reasoning, verbal and writing skills, as well as a good academic profile. The academic profile of the candidates is evaluated based on their marks in 10th, 12th and graduation, as well as their work experience, diversity and other factors. Each IIM has its own shortlisting criteria and weightages for different components .
The academic profile required to get a call from the top six IIMs (IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, IIM Lucknow, IIM Indore and IIM Kozhikode) is generally very high. According to a report by InsideIIM , nearly 90% of IIM Ahmedabad students/graduates possess more than 90% marks in Class 10th. Over 30% of them have 90+% marks in both 10th and 12th. More than half of them have acquired over 80% marks during their graduation. Similarly, for other IIMs, the majority of the students/graduates have above 80% marks in 10th, 12th and graduation. However, there are also some exceptions where candidates with lower academic scores have made it to the IIMs with a high CAT percentile or exceptional performance in other stages of selection .

Academic and Research Prowess at India’s IIMs

The academic excellence in IIMs is not only reflected in their admission process but also in their curriculum design and delivery. The IIMs offer courses that cover various aspects of management, such as finance, marketing, operations, strategy, etc. The courses are based on global best practices and are updated regularly to keep pace with the changing business environment. The courses also involve case studies, projects, simulations, field visits and other pedagogical tools that enhance the learning experience of the students .
The academic excellence in IIMs is also evident in their research output and faculty quality. The IIMs have a young core faculty who are doctoral graduates of the top schools in India, Europe and North America. They are experts in their respective fields and have published their research in reputed journals and conferences. They also engage in consulting and training activities for various organizations and sectors. The faculty-student ratio at the IIMs is also favourable for effective teaching and learning .
The academic excellence in IIMs has resulted in producing successful leaders, entrepreneurs and professionals in various fields and sectors. The alumni of the IIMs have made significant contributions to the society and economy through their achievements and innovations. They have also been recognized and awarded by various national and international bodies for their excellence .

Diversity in IIMs

Diversity in IIMs is a topic that refers to the variety and representation of different backgrounds, disciplines, perspectives and experiences among the students and faculty of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). The IIMs are institutes of management education and research in India, which are considered to be institutions of national importance by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) . There are 21 IIMs in India, located in different cities across the country . They offer various programmes in management, such as undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral and executive programmes .

The IIMs have been striving to achieve diversity in their classrooms for various reasons, such as:

  • To break the homogeneity and monotony of having mostly engineers as students, which has been the case for many years. Engineers have traditionally dominated the CAT exam, which is the main entrance test for admission to the IIMs. However, the IIMs have realized that having a diverse batch of students can enrich the learning experience and foster creativity and innovation .
  • To reflect the diversity of the society and the economy, where managers and leaders have to deal with people from different backgrounds, cultures, values and beliefs. Having a diverse batch of students can help them develop cross-cultural sensitivity, empathy and communication skills, which are essential for effective management .
  • To enhance the quality and relevance of the research and teaching at the IIMs, which can benefit from having faculty and students from different disciplines, such as arts, humanities, commerce, science, law, etc. Having a diverse academic profile can help them bring new insights, perspectives and methods to the field of management.

The IIMs have adopted various measures to promote diversity in their campuses, such as:

  • Giving weightage to academic diversity in their admission criteria, along with CAT scores and other factors. For instance, some IIMs give extra marks to candidates who have a non-engineering background or a master’s degree or a professional qualification.
  • Introducing new courses and programmes that cater to different interests and needs of the students and professionals who want to pursue management education from the IIMs. For example, some IIMs offer undergraduate programmes (e.g., IPM by IIM Indore), certificate programmes (e.g., EPGC by IIM Bangalore), online programmes (e.g., IIMBx by IIM Bangalore), integrated programmes (e.g., IPBA by IIM Rohtak), etc.
  • Encouraging student exchange programmes and international collaborations with other reputed business schools and universities across the world. This helps the students to gain exposure to different cultures, practices and opportunities in the global arena .

The results of these measures can be seen in the increasing diversity of the student profiles at the IIMs over the years. For example, according to a report by InsideIIM , nearly 90% of IIM Ahmedabad students/graduates possess more than 90% marks in Class 10th. Over 30% of them have 90+% marks in both 10th and 12th. More than half of them have acquired over 80% marks during their graduation. Similarly, for other IIMs, the majority of the students/graduates have above 80% marks in 10th, 12th and graduation. However, there are also some exceptions where candidates with lower academic scores have made it to the IIMs with a high CAT percentile or exceptional performance in other stages of selection .

Another report by InsideIIM shows that DoMS IIT Madras, Welingkar and SDA Bocconi Asia Center come out as the most academically diverse b-schools in India this year, with more non-engineers than engineers in the Class of 2021. IIM Shillong and IIM Rohtak emerge as the most academically diverse IIMs in the country .

A third report by Economic Times reveals that at the country’s premier B-schools, the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), MBA classes are getting more diverse than ever. Where once the student ratio was heavily skewed in favour of engineers, the Class of 2025 has a significant percentage from other backgrounds including arts/humanities, commerce, science, law, among others.

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