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All About Management: Selection criteria of B-Schools after CAT

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CAT is over. What will be the next step? Well, this question seems to appear in every student’s mind and is apparent enough. With the disclosure of CAT result, the dilemma is to find the best institute which helps the student to grow potent on professional and at the same time on the personal front.


To choose a Best B-School: A Predicament?

Hunting for a good B-School is itself a task. A good business school not only helps you get through some of the premium jobs but also teaches you to be a more mature individual as you deal with the 3M’s of Management: Men, Material and Machines.

There are numerous factors which affect your choice of any good B-school. The common factors are like Quality of Faculty, Program type offered Accreditations, Ratio of students to faculty, Annual packages, Job placement reputation, Total fees etc.

But another challenge which is yet unachieved is to get through the admission procedure (modus operandi) of these schools. Getting a high CAT score can certainly land you in Big B-Schools, having said that you are self-acquainted with the eligibility criteria and selection plan of these schools. Once you receive the shortlist from your chosen B-School (according to your personal preferences and CAT scorecard), the next phase is to face the second round of selection criteria.

Types of Selection Criteria in B-Schools

The basic selection criteria of any top B-School is followed by 3 important evaluation procedures. They are simple yet effectual to help the institutes gauge the best talent from a pool of so many candidates. Below are the selection criteria’s which are the forte for many B-Schools as their selection course of action.


Group Discussion

The most common and the first step in the selection procedure is generally a Group Discussion. Group discussions are used by the institutes to select the candidates on the basis of comparative perspectives. In a GD, the candidates are seated in round table conference position and are given any recent topic to speak on. The time duration is generally 20 minutes. There is a moderator who analyzes and moderates the whole discussion. The candidates are required to speak on different viewpoints of that particular topic clearly defining pros and cons of the same.

It is used to gauge certain personality traits/skills in the candidates who they want to be in their organizational team. The criteria’s can be:

  • Communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Team Building skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Reasoning skills
  • Initiative
  • Motivational Skills
  • Ability to think
  • Broader perspective and most importantly,
  • Decision-making ability
  • Gender and Academic diversity

The topics which are given to candidates for GD are the most recent topics covered on Current affairs, Geographical updates, General knowledge based topics, Political affairs, and Abstract topics. While sitting in a GD, the candidates should keep in mind that they should make a note of certain points once the topic is given so that they can frame good discussion content thus being in support/against of the topic. They should try to initiate the discussion and always speak politely and pleasantly. Being precise is the key to crack a GD. To prepare for a GD and be a strong contender, you should read voraciously.


Personal Interview

The second selection tool used by the schools is the PI round. Personal interview, also known as PI is a critical step in the selection criteria. After the candidates clear the first round of GD, they have to face the paramount round and be prudent enough to crack the PI. The aim of the personal interview is to know a candidate more personally and it is aimed at carrying out the candidates thinking ability, future goals and to assess their ‘fit’ for their school. At the same time, a PI is equally advantageous for the candidate also.

The candidates get a chance to prove themselves and allow them to demonstrate their academic and personal accomplishments and their ambitions, innovative thinking and a unique quotient.  The thought of personal interview could make a candidate nervous so to avoid ambiguity the candidate should not take the question answer round as ordeal but should enjoy the talk. It would help them to be stress-free. The key to this is confidence which strengthens one’s willpower to perform well in the interview. And yes, sometimes Luck can create miracles!


Written Ability Tests

Written ability tests are conducted by B-Schools as the third step of evaluation. It is generally a 15-20 min test which comprises of essay writing or case-let solving. Candidates have to write an essay in not more than 250-300 words but it should consider the brief understanding of the essay or the case let provided.

WAT bags a weight-age of nearly 20% in the final selection procedure of any B-school. Many schools skip the GD round and consider taking WAT before PI as they believe it to be more essential and effective enough to assess the candidates. According to the latest news, the new IIM’s have shunned the GD level and are depending on WAT to be ‘THE CRITERIA’.

The reason to abolish the GD round is sometimes group discussions goes wrong and becomes nothing less than a ‘FISH MARKET’. Also, it neglects the communication skills of soft spoken or female candidates who might be strong and have good points to share but are not able to speak because of overruling nature of some candidates. Comparatively, WAT gives an equal chance to candidates to present themselves individually.


Psychometric Tests

To know the candidate in much better way, B-schools go for some unique parameters. One out of them is conducting a Psychometric test. It is somewhat different to a traditional approach of selection done on the basis of GD, PI, and WAT. Some schools skip the GD or a WAT level (either of them) to conduct a Psychometric test after the PI.

Psychometric test is a mix of aptitude and personality related question round. Situational judgments are also a part being Spontaneous in answering the questions. This round is taken to know how strongly the candidate is responding and matching to his abilities and performance which he has claimed in his earlier rounds of evaluation.

In the case of Psychometric test, candidates should keep in mind that they are quick in giving responses as to ponder upon a question can be a trouble for you. You are advised to give the answer that comes to your mind the very first time, which is always considered the best approach to crack a psychometric test. Also, candidates are advised to keep their knowledge level on the upper side by reading about the current updates.


Group Exercises

Group tasks are another way used nowadays by the B-Schools to evaluate the candidates. They are generally defined as a set of activities that a particular group has to perform and accomplish the goals of the activity. Group exercises are the best

Situational analysis and thinking ability of the candidate can be easily gauged by the group exercise as the defined teams have to analyze the nature of the problem, the consequences and ways to deal with the situation. The various kinds of Group exercise or activity can be:

  • Presentations
  • Case-let solving
  • Situational Analysis
  • Outdoor activity such as collecting some small things given in a list from their surroundings.
  • Indoor practical task such as creating a business model
  • Creating a Business proposal
  • Performing Skits
  • Role plays
  • Selling a product

The candidates should keep in mind that they are constantly observed and therefore they should be attentive in taking notes and should pay heed to the task related information carefully. Also as the task is given to a team, therefore, everybody should act in a team as a whole and give fair chance to each candidate to speak, share their viewpoint before acting on the task.


Selection Criteria of top 10 B-Schools

Below are the criteria which the top 10 B-schools use for their selection procedure based on their internal weightage for each method of short listing candidates to be a part of their 2-year PGDM Curriculum.

B-School Group Discussion Personal Interview Written Ability Test Profile(Past work experience & academic record)
IIM Ahmedabad ×
XLRI Jamshedpur ×
IIM Bangalore ×
SIBM Pune × ×
IIM Calcutta ×
NMIMS Mumbai × ×
IMT Ghaziabad ×
IIM Lucknow
MDI Gurgaon × ×
SP Jain Mumbai ×



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