April 20: A score of 50 per cent in the bachelor’s degree will now be a must for IIM aspirants, with the institutes deciding to bring back the cut-off that was lifted in the mid-nineties.
“The idea is to discourage non-serious aspirants. Those getting less than 50 per cent marks in bachelor’s actually do not get admission anywhere,” said Bakul Dholakia, director of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, defending the move that might leave many unhappy, especially those advocating reservation.
Human resource development minister Arjun Singh is yet to respond to the decision, taken collectively by all six IIMs.
At present, all graduates are eligible to take the common admission test (CAT) for entrance into the IIMs. When the institutes invite applications in June for this year’s CAT, to be held on November 19, the cut-off will be mentioned.
Dholakia insisted the decision “has nothing to do with the quota controversy”.
The B-schools have been unhappy about a proposal to bring in 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Classes in all central government educational institutions, and the cut-off is being seen by some as a ploy to skirt the quota. A 22 per cent quota already exists for Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe students. Arjun has said a decision on reservation will be taken after the ongoing Assembly elections in five states.
“We have only re-introduced the old eligibility criterion for IIM aspirants that existed,” Dholakia stressed, but declined to say why it was lifted in the first place.
The decision was taken at a meeting of IIM directors in Ahmedabad on April 10, but the suggestion had come up during an earlier meeting in October, Dholakia said. It required the approval of the faculty, and when the directors met this month, the teaching staff of five IIMs had given their nod.
The IIM Bangalore faculty was the last to approve, “which is why we could not announce it the day we took the decision”, Dholakia explained.
“It was a joint decision taken by the IIMs in view of the difficulty in handling the increasing number of applicants,” said Prakash Apte, IIMB director. Last year, 1.6 lakh aspirants took CAT.
Apte, however, clarified that no decision was taken on the cut-off for Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe students which had earlier stood at 40 per cent. “That decision has been deferred for the time being,” he said.
An IIM Calcutta official said: “The 50 per cent cut-off will not apply to them; it will probably be between 5 and 10 per cent less.”
Professors say that the probability of someone who has scored less than 50 per cent in their graduation exams doing well enough in CAT to get a call from the IIMs is low.
“Such a student may get a call from a good institute, but the chances of getting a call from an IIM is quite low, simply due to the fact that their score has to be amongst top 1 per cent, but they will have to undergo a gruelling interview session as well,” an IIM Calcutta faculty member said.