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IIM Mulls Admission Test Revamp

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On the threshold of their 50th year, the Indian institutes of Management, old and new, are thinking of overhauling the admission process in pursuit of diversity in the classroom.

The directors of five IIMs — Calcutta, Bangalore, Lucknow, Indore and Ranchi — on Monday voted for a change in the admission test for the premier B-schools to correct the gender imbalance and welcome students from more varied backgrounds.

"We need to ask why so many engineers, why so many freshers and why so few women," IIM Lucknow chief Devi Singh said at the directors' conclave organised as a part of IIM Calcutta's inaugural programme for its golden jubilee celebrations.

According to the directors, perceptions about the Common Admission Test (CAT) have led to homogeneity in the IIM classrooms.

Pankaj Chandra, the director of IIM Bangalore, referred to a study conducted by the institute in colleges in the IT city that showed women did not consider appearing for CAT because they were under the impression that the IIMs are biased towards those with quantitative skills. "The admission process needs to change… diversity adds value to the classroom," he added.

The IIMs have reduced the weightage given to CAT scores so that candidates who are "well-rounded and can think out-of-the-box" make the cut, but that is not enough, feel the directors.

Twenty to 40 per cent weightage is given to CAT scores. The rest is split between group discussions, personal interviews, marks in Plus-2 and graduation, and work experience.

"The admission process has become efficiency driven rather than being effectiveness driven," said N. Ravichandran, the director of IIM Indore.

"We have to look at creating diversity without resorting to quotas. Maybe we need questions based on emotional quotient. CAT may not be the only way to admit students to the IIMs," said IIM Calcutta director Sekhar Chaudhuri.

The directors refused to set a timeline for the revamp.

IIM fees: The Centre on Monday urged the IIMs to refrain from increasing their fees "arbitrarily" and introduce a system to determine exactly how much the fees can be increased.

Speaking at the valedictory function of the two-day convention on management education in India at IIM Calcutta, the additional secretary of HRD ministry, Ashok Thakur, said the IIMs needed to look at alternative ways to augment revenue.

(The Telegraph)