As per the new criteria of selection effective for the 2014-16 academic session, work-experience of prospective candidates will assume lesser weightage and preference will be given to the most recent academic score; marks obtained in the class 10 and 12 examination will be given less importance. Read on for details
The Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A) has altered its selection criteria for admissions to the PGP batch of 2014-16.
From each of five academic disciplines covering the arts, commerce, medicine, science and engineering defined by IIM-A (see Table 2) the top 50 or 1 per cent (whichever is lower) of the applicants with the highest Common Admission Test (CAT) scores within each category, will get a direct pass to the written ability and interview rounds.
For the rest, the school will use 'composite scores' (combining their CAT scores and 'Applicant Rating (AR)', a cocktail score of past academic grades) for interview shortlisting.
That should ensure that at least 200 non-engineers stand to interview for admissions and perhaps reduce the unusually high proportion of engineers that the IIMs are criticised for admitting (the class of 2015 is a whopping 95 per cent of them).
Traditionally, due to differences in the scoring patterns between engineering colleges and arts or commerce colleges and also due to the comfort with math, engineers tend to garner the highest composite scores, pushing applicants from other disciplines out of the interview round at the qualifying stage itself.
Owing to the higher numbers and CAT scores of engineer-applicants, the battle to be in their top 50 will be hard-fought.
However, the going might be easier for non-engineering disciplines which have lower applicant numbers and scores (among the CAT 2012 toppers eight were engineers).
Until last year, the AR score used to take into account the marks obtained in the master's degree and the work experience, in addition to scores obtained in class X, XII and undergraduate study.
The new system of selection, however, eliminates work experience and the master's degree grades from the AR. This change will bring freshers on a level-playing field with candidates having work experience.
Not that this means a disadvantage for experienced candidates, because the admissions process will now mark the quality of work experience during the interview round.
The weight for this component has not been disclosed by the institute but qualitative stress might be actually an advantage for someone who has a higher quality of work experience in lesser time.
The CAT scores will still be used as a cut-off qualifier in the first stage of the application process but the overall emphasis on the exam has reduced this year.
Earlier, in the final round of selection, the interview accounted for 70 per cent of the weight whereas 30 per cent was carried by the CAT scores.
This year, apart from the 70 per cent weight to the interview, 30 per cent of the weight is assigned to the composite score and not the CAT score alone.
The CAT scores form only 70 per cent of the composite score. This means, effectively, in the final round of selection, the stress on CAT scores is reduced to 21 per cent, down from the earlier 30 per cent.
Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters