How B-Schools Evaluate Students for Admissions into MBA Program.


Many times you might have come across people who score well in various MBA entrance examinations but fail to secure a seat in a good B-School. Have you ever wondered what might have gone wrong or what was on the mind of the selectors at the time of selections? If the answer to this question is ‘Yes’ , then let us try to understand the evaluation procedure that the selection committees of  B-Schools  generally follow to assess a candidate and select them for admissions into their MBA programs.

Mostly B-Schools follow the ‘Composite Score Technique’ for evaluation. Composite score in simple terms is nothing but an aggregate score. Let us look at the various parameters on which the scoring is done, which form a part of the aggregate score of the candidate:

  • Admission Test Score: The first step that B-Schools take to screen the students is conducting an admission test. Good performance in the admission test is very crucial, and it is the key parameter to proceed further. But it is also important to understand that it is not the only parameter. Clearing the cut offs or scoring a high percentile is only half the battle won, in fact less than half.  The admission test score of a candidate gives B-Schools a fair idea about his/her logical reasoning, comprehension and analytical skills.
  • Performance in GD/PI: Group discussions and personal interviews are a vital part of the selection process. It is very important to perform well in these rounds in order to maximize the chances of getting through the doors of a good B-School. These rounds are meant to assess various traits of a candidate. Group discussions are used to check if a candidate is a team member or not, whether he/she possesses leadership qualities and decision making ability, whereas personal interviews are a test of confidence, thinking ability, communication skills etc.
  • Academics: The candidate’s academic record is also taken into account during the selection process as it gives the selection committee a hint of how well can a student cope up with their rigorous MBA program.
  • Work Experience: MBA is a program after which students are usually absorbed at the middle level of an organization, where they need to manage entry level resources and supervise them. Someone who has worked previously can understand the work and mindset of people at entry level in a better way. B-Schools also believe that candidates with work experience also bring in the inputs from their work life into the classrooms during case discussions offering in the program. This is beneficial for everyone in the class including people without any prior experience. Hence work experience is also a parameter which is considered during selections.
  • Diverse Background: MBA is a program which not only equips a person with professional skills but also with personal skills, and these personal skills are acquired by interacting with many people from different cultures and backgrounds. Majority of the B-Schools believe in having a batch with a good mix of students from a variety of backgrounds, educational or cultural, so that experiential learning takes place among the students while working together on various projects and assignments.
  • Extra Curricular: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, and no B-School wants to produce dull managers. Every B-School likes to produce managers who are charismatic. In fact, MBA is a program which aims at shaping up the overall personality. B-Schools always look for interesting candidates who have done something extra, apart from their regular studies or work; it might be taking up any hobby passionately or devoting time to any social activity or doing something innovative. 576048_393366877361385_563829695_n

Now, that we have seen the key parameters which constitute the composite score, let us understand the importance of each parameter and how these parameters can affect your candidature at the time of evaluation.

To make the process of understanding less complicated, let us assume that a B-School evaluates a candidate on a maximum composite score of 100. This score of 100 is the aggregate of the scores of a candidate on key parameters. Every parameter is given certain weightage in such a way that the maximum score of all the parameters put together adds up to 100.

In general the weightage given to each parameter ranges from 5%-50%, although it may be more or less in some cases. However the weightage allocated to the parameters differ from B-School to B-school. For example, one institute may allocate 10% weightage for work experience whereas some other may allocate 15% for the same. This difference in weightage is a major cause that makes the same candidate’s profile strong for one B-School and weak for the other.

Although, admission test score and performance in GD/PI are major parameters i.e. the parameters which are given more value, there are many B-Schools which take into consideration some other parameters like work experience, academics, diverse background, extracurricular before giving a candidate a call for GD/PI if he/she has cleared the cut offs.  In such cases, it is also quite possible that a candidate who has done exceedingly well in the admission test and has cleared the cut offs by a huge margin does not receive a call for GD/PI.  But for the B-Schools which give calls for GD/PI just if the cut offs are cleared, a candidate has a chance of making it through the doors even if he/she does not perform that well in GD/PI when compared to the other candidates, if the scores in the other parameters are high enough.

Now, that you have understood to a certain extent about the evaluation process that most of the B-Schools in India generally follow, I hope you will not be surprised next time onwards to see that a candidate, who just cleared the cut off in the admission test, secure a seat in a B-School when compared to someone who has scored exceedingly well.

However, the most important point for you to understand here than anything else is that even if you clear the cut off by a narrow margin, or if you are a fresher with no work experience, if you have got a well balanced profile you stand a great chance to get into your dream B-School. Always remember “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”.

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Contributed by Rohan Jain ( Class of 2009-2011IBS HYDERABAD )

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