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Get set as IIMs alter intake rules

While IIM lucknow has done away with the group discussion process, IIM Ahmedabad has removed minimum academic performance as the eligibility criteria for shortlisting candidates.

education Updated: Sep 30, 2015 18:05 IST
Gauri Kohli
IIM Ahmedabad was the first IIM to do away with the GD. In the subsequent years, IIM Bangalore followed by six other IIMs replaced it with essay writing.
IIM Ahmedabad was the first IIM to do away with the GD. In the subsequent years, IIM Bangalore followed by six other IIMs replaced it with essay writing.(Raj K Raj / Hindustan Times)

All those aspiring to take the Common Admission Test (CAT) this year and joining one of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) need to be prepared for some major changes. In the second and concluding part of our series on surprises in CAT 2015, we look at some of the IIMs, including IIM Ahmedabad and IIM Lucknow, and the changes in the admission policy.

Elaborating on IIM Lucknow’s admission details, Sai Kumar Swamy, director, Triumphant Institute of Management Education, Delhi, says: “IIM Lucknow’s selection criteria is a two-stage process. In stage 1, the merit list is generated for the Written Ability Test (WAT) and personal interview. The components used for generating this merit list are the CAT score, Class 12 marks, graduation marks, work experience, and other factors such as academic and gender diversity. Of these, the highest weightage is accorded to the CAT score – 38 marks out of 50 marks of this stage. The other components have weightage between two and three marks.

“The minimum CAT cut-offs for the sections has been set at 85 percentile and 90 percentile overall. The obvious implication for this is the massive weightage given to the CAT score at stage 1 for a shortlist for the second stage. The other factors are variables that cannot be influenced and aspirants should focus on the CAT and stop worrying about the other components. The second stage involves two components viz. WAT and personal interview which have a weightage of 10 marks and 40 marks, respectively. IIM Lucknow has done away with their group discussion component which is good news for all aspirants. The final shortlist will be based on the cumulative marks obtained in both the stages,” says Swamy.

With the group discussion being removed from the selection process, candidates would be wondering if it is a good move. According to Satya Narayanan, chairman and founder, CL Educate Ltd, “It is a positive move. This is in line with the general belief of almost all the IIMs that a group discussion may not be the best way to determine the managerial aptitude of a person. IIM Ahmedabad was the first IIM to do away with the GD. In the subsequent years, IIM Bangalore followed by the six other IIMs replaced it with essay writing. Usually, the more aggressive participants tend to dominate the discussion leaving no space for anyone else to make their point.

Thus, it does not necessarily mean that the person who wasn’t heard didn’t have any thoughts on the topic. The weightage for personal interview has also been increased from 30 to 40 marks. Till last year, the weightage for the PI was 30 marks and 20 marks were equally divided between GD and WAT. With the discontinuation of the GD, the weightage for the personal interview becomes 40 marks. PI is certainly a better way to judge a candidate’s attitude and to know his opinions in various things.”

IIM Ahmedabad has revised the admission process for the 2016-18 session, providing huge relief to aspirants, by removing the minimum academic performance as the eligibility criteria for shortlisting candidates under category-wise selection.

Narayanan, however, says that things are not as they appear. “IIM A first changed the eligibility criteria wherein say an engineer was excluded if he/she did not score more than 80% in Class 10 and 12 (average) and more than 78% in their BTech. Luckily, the criterion was amended to do away with the minimum requirements in graduation for most students. Students falling in the top 100 category across streams will, however, need to qualify based on this criteria. The institute shortlists students for essay and interview round in two ways – (A) through their academic credentials (given overall CAT percentile more than 90 and section-wise more than 80) under each set of stream (engineering, medicine, commerce etc.) and (B) through their CAT percentiles within each category (general, SC/ST etc). While the earlier version had minimum graduation requirement in both (A) and (B), the latest version has done away with the requirement for (B),” he says.

For the selection of exceptional performers across different disciplines, different cut-offs are set for each of the different disciplines of Class 12 viz. science, commerce, arts and also for the different streams of graduation. The cut-offs are irrespective of the category that the student belongs to. “At IIM Trichy, the weightage given to personal interview round has been brought down from 17% to 15%. The weightage given to gender diversity during the final selection process has been increased from 1% to 3%. At IIM Calcutta, the weightage given to CAT score during shortlisting for PI stage has come down to 67 from 77 points. The weightage given to academic diversity at the bachelor’s degree level during the final selection has increased from two to three points,” adds Swamy. At IIM Raipur, the minimum CAT 2015 overall percentile requirement has been reduced for differently-abled candidates from 70 percentile to 65. The six new IIMs (Kashipur, Raipur, Ranchi, Rohtak, Trichy and Udaipur) have decided to adopt a common process of WAT and PI to be coordinated this year by IIM Kashipur. If any of the older IIMs (Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Indore, Kozhikode and Lucknow) are willing to share their WAT and PI scores with the six new IIMs, the common candidates who have applied to new IIMs, need not to appear for WAT and PI process separately.

Key changes

1) IM Lucknow has done away with their group discussion component. The weightage for personal interview has been increased from 30 to 40 marks

2) IIM Ahmedabad has removed the minimum academic performance as the eligibility criteria for shortlisting students under category-wise selection

3) At IIM Raipur, the minimum CAT 2015 overall percentile requirement has been reduced for differently-abled students from 70 percentile to 65 percentile

4) At IIM Trichy, the weightage given to personal interview has been brought down from 17% to 15%