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Benefits to Non-Engineers Over Engineers in IIMs

Last Updated - August 13, 2018

CAT 2018 could be the best ever opportunity for Non-Engineers and female candidates to get into one of the top IIMs. With the classrooms in top IIMs continue to be dominated by engineers and males, the IIMs are trying to add diversity in to their batch.

In order to strategize this, the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have decided to revise and relax admission criteria and to offer higher weightage to non-engineers to increase academic diversity. So, the expected modified selection criteria and CAT 2018 exam could benefit non-engineers.

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Although Common Admission Test (CAT 2018) will not see any major changes in pattern, however, the type of questions being asked might be framed to create a level for students from all backgrounds including arts, commerce etc. Moreover, the IIMs have also decided to give more weightage to non-engineers in their selection criteria.

How are engineers filling up IIM seats in great numbers?

During last 5-6 years, IIMs have graduated most engineers and this trend is still going on. In current scenario, if you walk into a typical IIM classroom, there are high chances that you will find more than 50%  students from engineering background. IIM Calcutta which is ranked amongst the top management colleges in India, has a big number of 88% students from an engineering background.

These figures may be similar in other top IIMs as well, such as IIM Ahmedabad has 68% engineering graduates. One of the reasons behind this is that engineers dominate the list of top scorers in the CAT exams. There were only three non-engineers who scored 100 percentiles in CAT 2017. Which is why IIMs have been planning to bring some changes in CAT exam.

Changes in IIM Selection Criteria

As per reports, IIM officials do not want the CAT Pattern to be biased towards engineering students, so they have decided to bring some changes in CAT as well as in selection criteria. Over the last few years, the IIMs have made many efforts to bring more academic diversity, not just through the CAT pattern but via the selection process as well.

The top IIMs like IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Calcutta propose to give more weightage to non-engineers. IIM-Calcutta and IIM-Lucknow have been even offering 3% weightage to students from non-engineering backgrounds.

Furthermore, during the 1st stage shortlisting IIMs have increased the weightage to the candidates coming from non-engineering background. For example, if engineering student is awarded full weightage at 80% and above marks in class 12 or graduation, a candidate with humanities will get the same weightage at 70-75% marks.

IIMs have also decided to give less weightage to CAT score. For example, IIMC gives only 15 points out of 50 to the CAT score while personal interview (PI) and written ability test (WAT) receive almost double the weight. So, a candidate who can write well has a higher chance of getting into IIM Calcutta than someone who is good in Maths but has poor writing skills.

Next in line, IIM Bangalore wants its applicants to be the best in PI. The weightage they give PI is 30 for PI while for CAT, there is only 25 points. Similarly, if you are applying to IIM A, a science student has to score at least 55% in class XII to get 1 point in the screening process while a commerce student needs only 50% and a candidate from arts needs 45% only.

Since there is a need for academic diversity in India’s prestigious b-schools, so with these changes in admission criteria, more non-engineers will be able to get into IIMs this year.

Changes in CAT

CAT’s two sections consisting 60 questions have almost 40 questions based on pure mathematics and its applications, which makes it a bit harder for students form Arts background. So, IIMs have decided to bring some changes in their exam pattern as well.

IIMs has introduced 30% Non-MCQs questions in each of the 3 sections since CAT 2015. The good thing about these non-MCQs is impact of this change is that they don’t have negative marking. So, candidates from Non-engineering background have the opportunity to attempt more Non-MCQs in their weak areas. And if the answers go wrong, they need not worry as no mark will be deducted.

Importance to Gender Diversity

Apart from engineers, classrooms at IIMs are also deprive of fair gender diversity. That’s why all the IIMs are also trying to ensure the women representation in their batches. Some IIMs have even said that they are concerned over the low number of female CAT applicants.

About 24% of students in India do engineering and technology courses and among them there are only 20%-25% females, which reduce their number in IIMs eventually. So, the efforts have been made from IIMs by offering some benefits to female candidates in CAT selection criteria. The female candidates are given more weightage at IIM-Calcutta and IIM-Lucknow during admission process.

With such efforts, the female’s admission in IIMs during the last three years has shown an increasing trend. As per reports from union ministry of human resource development, the total number of women admitted in IIMs went up from 881 in 2015 to 1211 in 2017. IIM Ahmedabad’s flagship PGP course witnessed 28% females in 2017 as compared to 14% in 2015. IIM Rohtak has been the most successful in male female ratio with over 50% women.

Thus, CAT 2018 could be the best opportunity IIMs for non-engineers to take a shot. IIMs are trying hard to bring academic and gender diversity in their classrooms. So, it is now high time for Non-Engineers to prepared and get into top IIMs.



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