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IIMs cut CAT score weightage to attract more non-engineers

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The Economic Times | Prachi Verma, ET Bureau | Sep 02, 2016 |

Most old IIMs including those in Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Kozhikode are actively looking to bring that down..

NEW DELHI: Indian Institutes of Management are tweaking their admission criteria, by giving less weightage to the Common Admission Test score and focusing more on personal interviews, in a bid to increase the number of non-engineer students in the country’s premier business schools. Classrooms at IIMs have always been lopsided towards engineers who account for 90-95 per cent of students in these B-schools. Now, most old IIMs including those in Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Kozhikode are actively looking to bring that down. For instance, this year at IIM Ahmedabad, the weightage on Common Admission Test (CAT) score for the final selection is down to 28 per cent from last year’s 35 per cent. “One of the goals is to increase the diversity in the classroom without compromising on the quality of the students. Past data suggest that this goal is best served by giving relatively more weightage to personal interviews,” an IIM-A spokesperson told ET in an emailed response. The weightage given to the interviews at the B-school has gone up to 50 per cent from 40 per cent.   “CAT is a quant-based examination biased towards people from engineering background. We want more candidates from non-engineering background and are gradually making the changes necessary in the admission process to have more diversity,” said Preetam Basu, chairperson admissions at IIM Calcutta.

Saugata Gupta, managing director at Marico, welcomed the B-schools’ diversity drive. “Both gender and diversity in educational background is critical to enhance the leadership talent pool in India. It will be good to see more representation coming in from the social sciences and liberal arts in IIMs,” he said. While the B-schools did not share any target for this diversity drive, some IIM insiders on condition of anonymity said bringing down share of engineering students to 85 per cent would be a healthy ratio. Even that would take some time, they said. It is only in the last few years that most of the IIMs have been working towards diversity by bringing in more women and non-engineer candidates. “We look for diversity not only in terms of non-engineering background but also in terms of gender,” said Sony Thomas, professor at IIM Kozhikode that gives 5 per cent weightage for both non-engineer background and women. “A candidate will not get both though,” he said. That is, a non-engineer girl candidate will only get the same 5 per cent weightage that a non-engineer boy candidate and an engineer girl candidate get.

These efforts are making a slow progress. The share of non-engineers in IIM-Kozhikode batch of 2016-18 hit double digit at 10.5 per cent, improving from 9 per cent in the 2015-17 batch. “Those coming from the engineering background have always been high. It is also based on the pool of students taking the CAT where engineers form the major chunk,” said Thomas. IIM Bangalore and IIM Indore are still working out new admission criteria for batch of 2017-19. But one thing is clear: most IIMs are keen to bring in more non-engineers. Mainak Dhar, managing director at General Mills India, said the move is in the right direction. “Both analytical skills as well as soft skills are equally important to lead in the corporate world,” said Dhar who passed out from IIM Ahmedabad about two decades ago. – Courtesy


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