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What does it take to get into IIM with a low academic profile?

While having poor academics severely hampers the scope of getting into some IIMs, it does not necessarily mean that it’s impossible!

Every year thousands of students apply to the top IIMs throughout India, and not all get selected. But, if you look at the lists you will notice that there are many candidates who did not have a great academic profile to begin with. If you work smart and target the right schools, you can definitely secure a seat with a not so great academic profile!

Sure, getting into IIM Bangalore or IIM Ahmedabad will be quite difficult if you are not one of the top scorers in your particular field. But, there are other top IIMs which should be your target if you have a low academic profile. And graduating from IIM Kolkata, IIM Lucknow, or IIM Indore will provide you with plenty of opportunities as well!

But, the understanding of ‘low academic profile’ can vary. Someone may call a score of 80% in their XII low, while someone may consider low to be 60%. The case is the same for CAT scores and graduation GPA. Each IIM has their own way of shortlisting candidates. Some may put more weightage towards X and XII scores, while others may consider graduation scores to be more important.

So, let’s take a look at IIM Ahmedabad and see if you stand a chance at one of the most popular MBA programs in India!

IIM Ahmedabad with a low academic profile

IIM Ahmedabad, which usually ranks in the top 3 IIMs, calls top 50 scorers from each academic discipline irrespective of their academic record. If you are an engineer, getting into top 50 scorers among the entire nation is going to be difficult! So, Anything below 99.96 percentile is unlikely to make the cut for engineers. And for non-engineers, 99.7+ percentile will prove to be a safe score.

For the normal shortlisting process, the average marks of class X and class XII must be at least 80%. So, if a candidate has an average less than that of 80%, they will not receive a call for the interview irrespective of the CAT score.

But if your graduation scores are above 80%, you will still have to rely on your CAT scores a lot! Even then, IIM Ahmedabad will be a difficult task for you. So, let’s look at other options!

Top IIMs that accept low academic profile

Calcutta is the most benevolent among the IIMs when it comes to academic history. IIM C does not consider your graduation scores for shortlisting. Nor does it consider work experience. Hence, if the class X and class XII scores are fine (above 80%), a fairly decent CAT score percentile can guarantee a call from IIM C! If the class X or class XII scores are not great, you will need to have to score a sufficiently high percentile in the CAT exam. A 99.8 percentile can prove to be a safe score if one of your scores (class X and class XII) is in the 70s.

IIM Lucknow does not consider class X mark for shortlisting. Rather, the weightage given to CAT score and work experience while shortlisting are high. Hence, aspirants can offset poor graduation scores with a sufficiently high CAT percentile and work experience. It gives 10% weightage to 12th and graduation scores, 60% weightage to CAT score, and 10% to work experience. If your work experience is more than 2.5 years, you have high chances of making it to IIM L with a good CAT score!

IIM Kozhikode does not consider class X scores while shortlisting. CAT score has a weightage of 75%, class XII has a weightage of 7.5% and graduation scores have a weightage of 7.5%. Therefore, getting a 99.8+ percentile in CAT can help you offset low academic records. IIM Indore has 36% weightage for class X scores and 40% weightage for class XII scores. The weightage for CAT score is only 20%. If you have scored less only in graduation, then you can expect a call from IIM Indore. If any of class X and ClassXII scores is low, it is unlikely to get a call irrespective of your CAT score. Also, IIM Indore normalizes the board percentages. Therefore, aspirants from boards known for mark inflation like TN and Andhra must take this factor into account.

For anyone with a low academic profile, these 4 are the top IIMs to consider. But, this is not the end of your options to get a top MBA in India! There are many other institutes that fall outside the IIM category that are considered to be great MBA destinations. Let’s have a look.

Top MBA from India with low academic profile

Top Indian B-schools like FMS, MDI, XLRI and JBIMS, do not place much emphasis on past academics while shortlisting. Getting a 99.7+ in the respective exams can fetch you an interview call from these institutes for sure with high chances of getting through.

So, instead of just pondering over how to get into IIM with poor academics, try to expand your options and concentrate on your preparation. Here are some options that you can consider!

College Location Score Accepted
XLRI Jamshedpur XAT
MDI Gurgaon CAT
SJMSOM, IIT Bombay Mumbai CAT

Irrespective of your past academics, prepare well for CAT (or these respective entrances) and try to score the best possible percentile to give yourself a shot at the top IIM, or any of these other B-schools. If you still think your academic score is too low to get into that particular IIM you always dreamed, just forget about the chances of getting into that and try to focus on maximizing your CAT scores and also improve your overall profile, so that you can face the interview and get into the best B-Schools!

Are you wondering whether the GMAT is a better exam to give instead of CAT, and do Indian B-schools accept the GMAT, watch this video to

For over 15+ years as an Entrepreneur, and India’s Top Educationist, Jatin has led a range of initiatives in the Education Industry. In this role, he has created many successful educational services and products geared towards generating success for professionals aspiring to join IVY League and global Top Tier Universities for MBA Programs, Masters Programs, and undergraduate courses. He is the Founder and CEO of PythaGURUS Education, and has been recognized as a thought leader in the Higher education sector. Economic Times, Hindustan Times, Times of India, India Today, Business Today, Tribune, and many other national newspapers have recognized his work, and have given him numerous opportunities to be a regular columnist. He has also served as a panelist for NDTV, and other national news channels.

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