Tales of CAT aspirants and IIMA stories: What you know and don't know about IIM Ahmedabad

Tales of CAT aspirants and IIMA stories

It's a tale from the students about CAT and IIMA. I shall be bringing in success stories from different students, their focused CAT preparation strategies. Also, posts will be there on the life and culture at IIMA, that you may be keen to know. It's an insider's view!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

What you know and don't know about IIM Ahmedabad

Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad - IIMA
IIMA, like any CAT aspirant, was my dream and it's a dream come true for me to be studying here. Well, it's not an ordinary blog about CAT in general - it's not only about the strategy: how to crack CAT and enter this coveted institute? It's also about how to survive in the institute! Yeah, surviving here is more difficult than clearing CAT! If you don't believe as any IIMA alumni you know. You won't get such personal first-hand information from any other blog - I am going to tell the inside story of IIMA, ranging from nightouts to studies. If you have any question or suggest me some topic to write on, drop a line at For the outsiders view of IIMA, please visit

First, Why IIMA?
Because IIMA is the best business management school in India. Simple! No other degree will offer you such coveted salaries. All questions about salaries and placements - don't be impatient! I'll post everything here. Wait for future posts.

Second, Does IIMA teach different from other b-schools?
No! Here they teach basically the same material. But, the teaching pattern is case study based (which I'll discuss subsequently) and the pressure is enormous here. I'll discuss about the pressure and how people handle it well to have all the fun and still study.

Third, What are the degrees offered here?
Basically four degrees are offered here.

1. PGP - Post graduate programme in Business Management. It's the flag-bearer of the institute. It's a two years diploma (yeah, diploma! But with better value-addition that other MBA degrees). First year is loaded and no time chill - second year is quite chill, because second year CGs don't count. For details please visit the IIMA page. Batch size was 250 nearly but need to check this year after the new quota regime.

2. PGP-ABM - Post graduate programme in Agribusiness Management. It's a very good opportunity for the Agri graduates, though now it's not mandatory for all students to be from agri background. Same 2 years duration as PGP, but in second year pressure is more as they are supposed to learn agribusiness subjects too. First year course work is same as those of PGPs. Only they have a couple of subjects extra. For details, please visit IIMA page. Batch size is 25 currently.

3. FPM - Fellow Programme in Management. It's the doctoral programme. Earlier it used to be equivalent to doctorate, now it's full fledged doctoral programme of 4 1/2 years duration. First year course work is the same as PGPs, with two subjects extra. From second year onwards, the FPM courses primarily aimed at reasearch starts. Stipend is Rs. 12,000 per month with a contingency grant of Rs. 100,000. Eligibility is a 4 years bachelors degree or Masters for non-technical degrees. Details are available at IIMA page. There is no batch size, in general 20-25 students are granted admission each year.

4. PGP-X - One Year Post-Graduate Programme in Management for Executives. As the name denotes, it's a one year programme. Mainly software engineers are the participants in the first batch. The participants are provided with a really good residence (AC, TV, refrigerator, etc.). Details can be found here. This year total 60 students (who are mid-career executives) were admitted but the number of seats are supposed to increase soon.

The latest programme to be launched next term is the
PGP-PMP: One-Year Post Graduate Programme in Public Management and Policy. It seems to be primarily aimed at the IAS/State service commission officers. Details about the students' profile will be known only when the first batch arrives.

These apart, a number of management development programmes are offered here. I can get the details if the readers want and post it here.

Fourth, How to apply?
Three strategies are there:
1. CAT: Common Admission Test, held every year on second Sunday, every November. Forms are distributed between July-August from any SBI branch and from the IIMs. A detailed discussion of CAT will follow is available here. I got entry through CAT.
2. GMAT: Please visit for detials of GMAT. Average score required is above 700. I know 3 guys who took admission with scores in the tune of 720+.
3. GATE: GATE clearance can help you skip CAT for FPM programme and directly appear for the interview. But, you have to fill a separate form for that.

For FPM programme, along with CAT you need to fill a separate form. That form can be obtained online here. Right now it's not available. But once the application time comes, it will be available online.

Fifth, What's the teaching strategy at IIMA?
Here the teaching or pedagogy is very unique. Primarily it's through case-study method. Now what's that? The institute will provide you a bunch of case-materials or cases. These are real life stories about some companies in distress or in need of a new challenge. Your job is to study the case and analyze, then present your analytical view in-class. Here the students speak more - rather than taking notes in boring lectures. They do, what is known as, Class Participation. It means that students are asked to present their views in-class and others share their opinion too. The professor intervenes only when the discussion is going no-where or digressing from original topic. Marks are alloted to each and every student on the basis of class participation.

Add to it, there are surprise Quizes. Yeah, surprise! You never know when a quiz will strike you. At the end of the class sessions in the afternoon, there will be quizzes at least 3 days a week. We had a week in which we had quizzes all 7 days. Quizes are primarily based on learning and intelligence and not memory - thank God! I will discuss about the weightages in near future.

Also, there are announced mid-terms and end-terms every one-and-half months, to test the overall learning.

Sixth, What about placements?
Final Placements usually happen in February-March. There are companies coming to campus offering six or seven figure salaries to students. Three day placements take place - Day 0, 1 and 2.

  • Day 0 (zero) is mainly for investment banks & big consultancies. Almost 40 students get placed during day zero which runs for 2-3 days.
  • Day 1 is mainly for banks, consultancies and HR related jobs. Almost 90% of the batch gets placed during day 1.
  • Day 2 is for marketing/sales jobs. Hardly 10% students are left. This year only 5 students were left on Day 2.

Each day runs for minimum 2 days. 2 days? Yeah, that's what the lingo here.

Summer placements also follow the same line. The process has already started, students are making CVs etc. Here the CVs have a specific format and it's very crispy and attractive. Every year some hopes are made, some are lost during summers. The main training lasts about 8-10 weeks during April-May. In June, the classes start again.

Please keep checking this blog everyday. I'll post something or the other about the life here. Mail your questions to me and I'll put the answers in my blog. All the best to the CAT aspirants. May your dream come true. Post your queries at


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Blogger equilibrium said...

CAT is usually during november na? Or has it changed?

2:20 AM  
Blogger Boss@IIM said...

Sorry typo! Changed it to November. This year it's on 16th Nov.

2:31 AM  

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