Top MBA institutes like Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) get lakhs of applications every year, but fact remains that these top notch B-schools offer just a few hundred seats for MBA aspirants. No wonder that these coveted B-schools put in place multi-layered selection procedure to pick best quality students suited to their specific criterion.


So, what are the qualities that the top B-schools look for in a candidate? What distinguishes selected candidates from the rest of the applicants? Careers360 speaks to the admission officers of different B-schools to find out what they look for in a candidate at the final stages of selection process.


The admission offices of different B-schools suggest that MBA entrance exams like CAT and XAT are just a tool for primary level filtration process for B-school aspirants. The final selection of a candidate majorly depends on the next stages of admission process which include group discussion (GD), Personal Interview (PI), Written Ability Test (WAT) or related tools.


Prof Arun Kumar PaulAt different stages of the selection process, Prof Arun Kumar Paul, Faculty, XIMB, says, B-schools also assess “Relevant domain knowledge, personality traits in terms of strengths and weaknesses and the fit to the University’s culture and to the program requirement.”


According to admission officials at top B-schools, the core qualities that an MBA must possess includes a high level of confidence, good communication skills, some amount of quality experience and potential to excel as professional in the management domain. Further, Dr T J Kamalanabhan, Professor and Head at DoMS, IIT Madras adds that a few other qualities that the B-School admission panels looks for in a candidate include attitude, business aptitude and general knowledge; and relevant work experience.


Passion and Thought clarity:

Your passion and clarity of thought towards pursuing an MBA degree can take you closer to your dream MBA institution. Dr Gautam Sinha, Director, IIM Kashipur says “Motivation, and Maturity” is the deciding factors at the final stage.


Mareena MathewAdding to this, Mareena Mathew, Admissions Coordinator, Xavier Institute of Management & Entrepreneurship (XIME), says that candidates are also assessed on the basis of their  “Attitude, Outlook, and Commitment” along with their “Learnability and creative thinking ability”.


Many institutes first look at the integrity and mental soundness of the applicant and then specifically looks for a commitment to learning and a passion to achieve. The candidates are also evaluated on the basis of their vision in life. “A candidate is assessed for his/her scholastic aptitude, motivation in terms of what the candidate hopes to attain from pursuing and how he would fit into the requirement and rigour of the programme, maturity that is required to study a post graduate programme and what value addition the student is looking for and what he could bring to the programme,” says Dr Anil J Pinto, Registrar, Christ University.


Communication & Creativity Skills

Communication skill is the key to convince the admission panel on your ability to pursue management education and therefore, MBA aspirants need to express their passion in a way that leverages their chances.


According to B-school admission officials, communication ability influences your admission chances to a great extent. Presentation style and the ability to analyse given situation are also important qualities basis which aspirants are assessed at the final selection stage. Prof Arun Kumar Paul, Faculty, XIMB says, among other key qualities, “The ability to think and communicate (both verbally and non-verbally) and handle stressful situations is very important for final selection stage.”


Group Discussion and Written Ability Test are the tools which B-schools prefer to assess and analyse students’ verbal communication, analytical thinking pattern, and creative writing skills.  Therefore, at GD-PI stage, Dr. Sanjay Dhir, Coordinator - Stakeholder's Engagement, DMS, IIT Delhi, says that “The student must be able to present himself in the best way he can with appropriate communication skills and confidence.”


Dr Raghu Raman, Chairman, Amrita School of Business, Coimbatore adds that admission panels also look into reading habit and grasping ability of students while assessing their communication skills.


Also, demonstrating your abilities and achievements in front of the admission committee is important. It is equally important to not simply boast your resume, rather reflect what you have learned from each experience and your purpose for pursuing an MBA. Unless you are able to present your vision for pursuing a management programme you won’t catch the attention of the panel and that reduces your chances of getting selected.


Leadership and Team skills:

Leadership quality and ability to align with the team to produce a collective result is also the key parameter for admission officials. Many B-schools give special emphasis on group discussions only to see how candidates behave, communicate, and exhibit team spirit while aligning the group towards a particular direction.  


“The group discussions are specifically meant to highlight the team skills and leadership qualities of the Candidates,” says Dr. Sanjay Dhir, Coordinator - Stakeholder's Engagement, DMS, IIT Delhi.


Janak R. Brahmbhatt, Manager (Academics), Institute of Rural Management Anand says that a number of characteristic features combined together bring out the leadership quality of a candidate. The leadership quality is exhibited in “cooperativeness, tolerance, emotional stability, self-initiative, maturity, confidence, trustworthiness, enthusiasm, humility, and pragmatism” of the candidates.


Personality traits

B-schools do also lay emphasis on the personal traits and they also trick candidates to come transparent on their personal character and integrity. During personal interviews, admission panel exhorts candidates on past academic background and work experience to elaborate discussions on life. Particular emphasis is also given to extra‐curricular activities that the candidate has been involved in, indirectly related to whether or not a student will adapt to the institute culture.


Dr. Pratima SheoreyThe factors influencing the students' selection at this stage are based on their academic, personal and psychological backgrounds as well as on their values and ability to perform under pressure,” says Dr. Sanjay Dhir, Coordinator - Stakeholder's Engagement, DMS, IIT Delhi.


The top IIMs or B-schools can read your CV, but what they want is to know how much you know yourself, your education, and your work experiences. Dr. Pratima Sheorey, Director, SCMHRD says, “The focus during a PI is on the candidate’s self-awareness about his work experience/academic background and general awareness.


Ravi Shankar“During such assessment admission panels also seek applicant’s views on current events in his area of interest, and check whether the views are influenced by facts and logic or a position taken without relation to reality,” Ravi Shankar, Training & Development - Programs Officer at IFMR.


Extracurricular excellence

According to Dr Raghu Raman, Chairman, ASB, Amrita School of Business, Coimbatore, extracurricular excellence is one of the criteria for admission which brings out insights on the diversity of candidates’ personality.  Besides this, all established business schools have their own unique culture. So, their take on admission also depends on how you fit into their culture and broad vision.

Other Feature Stories on B-School and MBA:

GD-PI-WAT Topper Interview

Top B-schools MBA Fee

Life @ B-School Campus

Top B-schools Admission Criteria

MBA Internship Series

B-School Placements


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Showing 8310 out of 8310 Questions

My class 10th cgpa is 9.4,whereas my class 12th percentage is 94.6 and, graduation (b tech) Cgpa is 7.6. I am planning to appear for CAT in next exam. Is there any chance that i can get good IIMs Or any other good management clg, if I do well in my CAT exam.

ADIL KHAN Student Expert 2nd Apr, 2020

Hi Shivam,

Yes, absolutely. You have good academic scores apart from your graduation score. You can get call from some of the top colleges/universities like FMS, IIM Calcutta, Kozhikode, Shillong and other cap IIMs. Older IIMs are still a bit dicey in the matter and all the admissions will be mainly based on your CAT score. Given you are a Btech student then you should target a score of 99+ percentile to get a call from these B-school.

You can follow the link below for more information

You can reach out to us for more information regarding admissions entrance tests etc.

Hope it helps.



I scored 93% in 10th (CBSE), 74.2 % in 12th (Science) (CBSE). Im in my final year of BA and would finally score somewhere between 70-75% though from a reputed distance university. Do I stand any chance to get into IIM A/B and what should be the score I should be aiming for in CAT?

Manidipa Kundu Student Expert 1st Apr, 2020


see iim evaluated your academic score besides your cat score and there is also separate percentiles to clear like quant, verbal, reasoning. since you have already graduated right now you need to focus on your cat exam, need to work on your communications skills, the cutoff score is comes different for different category of students. I suggest you to regular practice. previous years IIM ahmedabad overall cutoff percentile was as follows,

general- 80




iim bangalore:

general- 85




for more details you may follow the below link,


is droping a year after BBA for preparation of CAT is good option.

ADIL KHAN Student Expert 1st Apr, 2020

Hi Isha,

Don't take a complete drop instead work part-time/full time and prepare alongside for the Common Admissions test - CAT. Prepare step by step or get yourself enrolled for a weekends program with a good coaching institute depending on your preparation level. This will not only give you an edge over other freshers who will be applying but also will give you an idea on the stream/domain in which you want to pursue your MBA in.

For starters appear for a mock test or do a sample paper and access your preparation level as of now and then decide.

For more information on eligibility/entrance test/admission you can reach out to us.

Hope it helps,



hello everybody please help me i am from up obc category 1. should i get the benefits of state qouta in neet 2021 ?? 2. at least how many marks(rough idea ) i have to score to get government medical college mbbs in up ??

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 1st Apr, 2020

In 2019, under State Quota, 573 marks secured a seat in Bahraich Medical College under OBC Category. That was the cut off. This is in sharp contrast to 429 marks being the cut off in 2018. This is a proof that cut offs change every year. Cut offs change every year depending on various factors such as no.of Candidates appearing for the exam, no.of Candidates qualified, top NEET score and difficulty of the exam. So to be able to secure a seat in any GMC in UP, you need to score atleast 600 and above. Regarding reaping benefits of OBC benefits, if you have all the proof of documents in place, you are eligible for 27% of reservation by the virtue of belonging to OBC Category. To help you with your NEET preparation, we have NEET Knockout packages that you can check at: To help you during admission and counselling, we have


Is it possible for me to get into anyone of the IIMs if I have completed my bachelors degree from a tier 3 college with 85% & have 76% in 10th, 53% in 12th & no work experience?

Manisha Gupta Expert 31st Mar, 2020

Hello Aspirant,

You have an average Academic record so you need to target a little higher percentile than the closing cut-off.

After CAT result, Every Institute including IIM prepares a merit list to call students for next round of interview and WSAT which is based on your aggregate score which comprises of many factors such as CAT marks,
10th 12th and graduation percentage, work experience etc. with different weightages for different IIMs.

If you are targeting to get top IIMs like IIM A, B, C then try to score more than 99 percentile and for new IIMs try to score 95 percentile in CAT Entrance Exam. Other than IIMs, To get into top private colleges like FMS, JBIMS Mumbai, S.P Jain etc. You should have more than 96-98 percentile other than this for other private colleges you can get with 90+ percentile in CAT Entrance Exam.

Good Luck!

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