IIM Admission Process | How to get into an IIM?

Updated on 4th January 2024 | 3:26 pm | #IIMAdmissionProcess

Indian Institutes of Management, popularly called IIMs, are the top institutes of management education and research in India. There are 21 IIMs and these mostly offer post-graduate, doctoral, and executive programs. Every MBA aspirant hopes to get into an IIM for a management program and therefore we get a lot of queries on how to get into an IIM and the IIM admission process.

Getting into an IIM requires various steps and plenty of hard work to crack the entrance exam and clear the interview rounds. Based on the performance of a candidate in these stages along with your academic and professional portfolio, a final offer is made.

To get into an IIM you have to clear some stages before a final offer of the seat can be made.

Eligibility Criteria of Top MBA Entrance Exams

IIM Admission Process: Stages

  • Stage 1- The first stage is appearing for the Common Aptitude Test or CAT Exam conducted by the IIMs (GMAT for international candidates).
  • Stage 2- After clearing the required cut-offs and the composite score, a candidate is called for a Written Test/Group Discussion and Personal Interview (PI). The candidate must provide 2 letters of recommendation from people who know them closely for academic and professional validation.
  • Stage 3- The final offers of admission to candidates in each category will be made strictly on the basis of the final aggregate score, taking into account various weights such as work experience, gender, school board, etc.

Stage 1: Common Aptitude Test or CAT

If you are a candidate searching for how to get into an IIM, the CAT exam is the first step on this journey. Common Aptitude Test commonly called CAT is an entrance exam conducted by IIMs for admission into their management programs. CAT is a highly competitive exam written by around 2 lakh candidates competing for approximately 5000 seats in the IIMs. Candidates should focus on getting a good overall and sectional score to meet the IIM cutoffs.

Stage 2: WAT/GD and PI

Candidates who meet the cutoffs get a call for further GD/PI/WAT rounds. Personal Interviews (PI) at IIMs are usually taken by the IIM faculty, sometimes ex-faculty or even alumni in some cases. This round checks your various soft skills and interpersonal skills. Questions may vary from personal details to work and academics. Along with PIs, the IIMs also conduct a Written Ability Test (WAT) to check your writing ability and comprehension of the topic given. Group Discussions (GDs) have become obsolete amongst IIMs except for IIM Shillong, which conducts GD in its 2nd stage of the selection process.

Final Selection in an IIM

The final selections are based on certain parameters that may be different for each IIM. Different marks are assigned based on your composite CAT score, past academic performance, work experience and performance in WAT/GD and PI. Based on these final scores final selections are made.

It is now easy for you to know which IIM is likely to shortlist your WAT/GD and PI round and at what CAT percentile. Visit IIM Profilizer and get your own IIM shortlist ready.

IIM Admission Process: Eligibility

The eligibility for IIMs is the same as the CAT eligibility requirements. However, here are a few added points to be kept in mind.

  • The minimum requirement is a graduate degree with 50% for general, EWS, and NC-OBC categories or 45% for SC, ST, and PwD categories.
  • Candidates in their final year of graduation are also eligible
  • Candidates must meet the minimum cutoffs to participate in the WAT/PI rounds and expect interview calls.

IIM Admission Process: Scores and Weightages

IIMs hold their individual interviews and admission processes after the CAT results are released. Thus, the details of the admission process can change from one IIM to the other. However, the IIM admission process is not limited to the CAT scores and WAT/GD and PI rounds.

IIM admissions are based on a Composite Score for selections to the WAT/PI stage and a Final Composite Score that a candidate secures during the final admission process. The weightage of parameters for these scores varies as the process is not centralized. Thus each IIM offers weightage to parameters such as work experience, 10th marks, 12th marks, WAT/PI score, CAT score, etc.

IIM Admission Process: IIM Cutoffs

CL' Rank

IIM

Qualifying CAT Cutoffs 2021 (Percentile)

IIM Info

1

Indian Institute of Management (IIM-A) Ahmedabad

80%ile

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2

Indian Institute of Management (IIM-B) Bangalore

85%ile

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3

Indian Institute of Management (IIM-C) Kolkata

>=85%ile

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4

Indian Institute of Management (IIM-K) Kozhikode

85%ile

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5

Indian Institute of Management (IIM-I) Indore

90%ile

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6

Indian Institute of Management (IIM-L) Lucknow

90%ile

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7

Indian Institute of Management (IIM-Rai) Raipur

>=92%ile

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8

Indian Institute of Management (IIM-T) Trichy

>=92%ile

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9

Indian Institute of Management (IIM-U) Udaipur

92%ile

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10

Indian Institute of Management (IIM-R) Ranchi

94%ile

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11

Indian Institute of Management (IIM-S) Shillong

85%ile

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12

Indian Institute of Management (IIM-Ro) Rohtak

95%ile

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13

Indian Institute of Management (IIM-Ka) Kashipur

92%ile

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14

Indian Institute of Management (IIM-N) Nagpur

85%ile

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15

Indian Institute of Management (IIM-SB) Sambalpur

92%ile

16

Indian Institute of Management (IIM-AM) Amritsar

85%ile

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17

Indian Institute of Management (IIM-SR) Sirmaur

94%ile

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18

Indian Institute of Management (IIM-BG) Bodhgaya

92%ile

19

Indian Institute of Management (IIM-J) Jammu

93%ile

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20

Indian Institute of Management (IIM-V) Visakhapatnam

80%ile

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How to Get into an IIM: Common Admission Process

All the older IIMs have their individual processes of admission following the CAT exam. However, nine new IIMs have a Common Admission Process (CAP) that makes the selection process common. Here are some key points to keep in mind-

  • The nine IIMs participating in CAP are IIM Udaipur, IIM Kashipur, IIM Trichy, IIM Raipur, IIM Bodh Gaya, IIM Jammu, IIM Ranchi, IIM Sambalpur and IIM Sirmaur.
  • IIM Rohtak was a part of the CAP group but opted out in 2020.
  • For 2023, IIM Udaipur was handed the responsibility to conduct CAP.
  • The Writing Ability Test (WAT) is not being conducted for CAP. So CAP will only consist of a Personal Interview (PI).
  • The admission offers are made separately by the IIMs after the final processes of CAP have ended.

How to Get into an IIM: CAT Preparation Tips

  • Revise your class 8 to class 10 concepts of Maths and English along with practice exercises involving the application of these concepts.
  • Invest in good study material from a reputed institute or you could even look towards taking classes at an institute.
  • You can opt for offline or online classes depending on your schedule and time constraints. Candidates can opt for programs based on their requirements as fresh graduates, in the last year of graduation, or as working professionals.
  • Master selected topics that are asked frequently. A few topics that hold high weightage in the CAT exam are; Arithmetic, Algebra, Numbers for Quant, and Reading Comprehension for VARC. Ensure that you practice them right from the beginning. 
  • Write a sectional test every week to solidify your preparation for each section as there are sectional cut-offs as well.
  • Give mock exams to test your preparation and understanding of the paper from the first day. Invest in good quality mocks or test series. Write a mock every 10-12 days and analyze these mocks qualitatively for at least 5-6 hours.
CAT Preparation Tips

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