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Home > Business > Business Headline > Report


IIMs go slow on foreign student admissions

Archana Mohan in Ahmedabad | May 28, 2007 17:00 IST

Lack of adequate infrastructure, faculty and an India-centric view is preventing the Indian Institute of Managements from admitting more foreign students unlike their counterpart ivy league schools worldwide.

Consider this. Nearly 80 foreign students and NRIs applied for admission to IIM-Ahmedabad, and IIM-Bangalore through the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) this year.

Of these, the institute officials have confirmed that not more than two or three students will ultimately get through for the final list.

At IIM-Lucknow, 14 applicants had been selected on account of their GMAT scores and just two of them, both NRIs have procured admission at the institute.

Similarly, two or three NRIs have got through the admission process through the NRI quota at IIM-Kozhikode which has not received a single application from a foreign national this year.

IIM-Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Calcutta have been receiving anywhere between 60-100 applications over the last two years, yet the batches have very little international representation since they would have to be accepted in the place of Indian students.

"The IIMs are basically for Indian students and already there is a such a huge number of applicants for very few seats. If we start accommodating more number of foreign students just to create a diversity in profile, we will lose out in terms of quality and will also have to face a backlash from students in the country," said a professor at IIM-Ahmedabad.

As a result the GMAT cut off scores for these students have been pegged quite high. While IIM-Lucknow has clarified that its GMAT cut-off score is above 85 percentile rank, the other IIMs do not have fixed cut-offs but say that they accept only those students who have a score of above 750.

In fact IIM-Ahmedabad's Post Graduate Programme in Management for Executives (PGPX), which accepts only GMAT scores to encourage foreign nationals has a much lower cut off at 699.

An official at IIM-Lucknow while justifying the high GMAT cut off said that just as students in India have to appear for Common Admission Test (CAT), considered one of the toughest to crack, similarly, students applying through GMAT will have to procure the topmost GMAT scores in order to be called for the interview.

He also added that in spite of having scores of 790 and above, applicants have been rejected since the GMAT score is just one of the inputs used in drawing up the shortlist.

The other inputs used are past academic background, achievements and post-degree work experience.

Ideally, an international candidate is expected to have two years of experience in a reputed organisation which is unlike the criteria for Indian students for whom work experience for the two year post graduate programme is welcome but not mandatory.

Usually the selected batch in the IIMs have 40-45 per cent of freshers and 15-20 per cent of students with around a year's work experience.


  • Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and foreign nationals fall under the overseas candidates category. To qualify as an Indian resident abroad, a candidate should be an Indian who expects to live, work or study outside India for at least 12 months continuously.
  • Overseas candidates who expect to be a resident in India during a pre-defined period, usually between July to December, however, have to take the CAT.
  • In case a candidate is shortlisted for the group discussion and interview round, he or she is expected to make their own travel arrangements and produce evidence of having qualified for the overseas candidate category.

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