Interview with Director of Admissions at IMI, Professor Himadri Das, featured on Pagalguy

Following the diversity-wave hitting Indian b-schools, Delhi-based International  Management Institute (IMI) too is comtemplating using relaxed CAT cut-offs for students from commerce, economics and arts backgrounds, says Admission Director Prof Himadri Das. In this interview, he also announces IMI’s thought process behind opening new campuses in Kolkata and Bhubhaneswar.

What can the incoming batch of 2011-13 can look forward to at IMI Delhi?

The new batch can look forward to an updated curriculum, keeping in mind the needs of the industry. For each functional  area of management, we have industry advisory boards or councils whom we meet regularly to  learn about the industry’s latest needs. The new batch can also look forward to a more vibrant corporate interface. Mr. Sanjiv Goenka who is the Chairman of the “Board of Governors” has  promised us that he will get personally involved in helping us strengthen our corporate interface. That will significantly mean better placements and a wider cross section of companies from across different sectors coming to the campus.

imi director. story on imi admissions

Admission Director Prof Himadri Das

Are you looking at increase the intake for your two-year programs? No, there is no increase in intake. Like last year, it’s going to be 120 seats for PGDM, 60 for PGDM-HR, 60 for PGDM Executive and 60 for PGDM Part-time. But we have extended the deadline of submitting admission applications to December 12, 2010.

What sort of weightages are you looking to give to each parameter of your admissions process in this season?

We believe that only the CAT score is not enough to decide who is good enough to be  in a b-school. We did a research on past  IMI students in which we discovered based on hard data and running regressions, that there was no correlation between CAT scores and academic GPA performance at IMI. But there was a strong correlation between past academic perfornance and the GPA. So we give strong weightage to past academics.

Until last year, we used the overall CAT score along with sectional cutoffs to decide who to call for the GD-PI. Once we called people for GD-PI, we threw the CAT scores completely out of the window. Then we gave 50% weightage to things you bring to the table before the GD-PI.  That is, we gave 40% to your past academic performance, with highest weightage for the graduation performance and lowest for class X scores. The remaining 10% of the weightage went to relevant work experience. On the GDPI day, you controlled the rest of the 50%.  Of that, 10% we gave for the essay you write while on location, 10% for the GD and 30% for the interview. This year too, the process will be similar, but may not be exactly the same. I mean that  we might change the weightages a little bit between the various components.

But we will continue to throw the CAT scores out of the window once we’ve shortlisted the GD-PI list. In addition, we are also seriously considering using differential CAT cut-offs and corresponding sectional cutoffs for people with different educational backgrounds.  For example, we might put a higher CAT cut-off for people with engineering background, and a comparitively lower cut-off for people with economics and commerce backgrounds and a still lower cut-off for social science graduates. The objective here being to have a diversified class composition, which we believe is not only better for learning, but we also have indications from recruiters who think it will bring better job performance.

Many of the professors here at IMI regularly teach internationally and we have observed during our teaching experience abroad that the learning process is significantly improved because of diversified peer interaction. Some of  our recruiters have also expressed a similar feeling, that a diversified class will give them better recruiting choices.

Does diversity come at the cost of meritocracy?

For the record, we have not finalised using differential cut-offs yet. We are only contemplating it and we might do it, but it is not final yet. But let us assume that we are going ahead with differential cut-offs, I still want to answer your question. The way to handle the meritocracy issue is that we will use the CAT cutoffs only to create a heterogeneous pool of people called for the GD-PI.

But just because we have called them doesn’t mean that we have to select them just because they are economics and commerce students. Then in the remaining stages of essay writing, GD and the 20-30 minute long interview, we can gauge the merit aspect that you raised. At that stage we will also get to look at their academic record on an individual basis and find out what kind of courses, colleges and universities they’ve gone to. It goes without saying that we’ll not compromise on meritocracy. But we want to get meritocracy in a more diversified classroom rather than in a homogeneous engineer-only classroom.

Are you going to hike the fees for PGDM?

Yes, There is a 10% increase. Right now we’re charging Rs 8.9 lakhs over two years, and for the batch joining in 2011 the fees will be Rs 9.8 lakhs over two years.

What curriculum changes are you implementing before the incoming batch of 2011-13 joins?

I will speak about the finance and marketing areas as they are IMI’s departmental strengths. In finance, we have introduced new electives in financial engineering and risk management. This is a very contemporary topic the world over.

We’ve introduced electives in investment banking and valuations. We are toying with the idea of introducing an elective in Behavioral finance. It’s a very contemporary topic internationally and is being used to explain a lot of trends in the financial markets lately. It explains why the rational models and efficient market hypotheses have failed and also hopefully help in predicting how things will go forward from here. Similarly, in the marketing area too we are looking at things that’ll make sense in a contemporary way. Some of the electives we’ve introduced in the recent past include retail marketing and rural marketing. We’ve moved away from the traditional advertising and communication elective and changed it into the Integrated marketing communications elective. That’ll get updated as we go along to also include newer ways of marketing such as social media.

We have also cut down on the number of compulsory courses and broadened the basket of electives to give students the flexibility and choice to do what interests them more. Sometime back, the AICTE reduced the number of minimum contact hours for PDGM. We cut those extra hours from the compulsory courses and balanced it out by increasing the pool of electives. PGDM-HR was launched in 2006 and lately it has undergone a significant curriculum change based on industry feedback. It started out as a very hardcore organizational behaviour plus HRM kind of course focusing almost exclusively on HR barring a few basic 101 courses in accounting, marketing and finance.

Now after recognising the industry feedback that an HR person has to first understand the business well and then manage HR as one of the resources, we have increased the focus of general management in the PGDM-HR. So the first years of both PDGM and PGDM-HR are more identical to each other than they used to be, though not completely. So that at the end of the first year, the PGDM-HR students have a strong general management grouding, on which to build the core HR specialization in the second year and in part of the first year too. That should make them better HR managers in terms of understanding the business they are in better.

Why is IMI expanding to two new locations?

We are opening two new campuses in Kolkata and Bhubhaneswar. We believe that there is a huge demand-supply gap of good quality schools in the eastern sector of India. There’s a good concentration of good b-schools in north and west India. But if you looked at the east, there’s nothing in Orissa apart from XIM Bhubhaneswar. If you looked at Kolkata, there’s nothing of the stature of IIM Calcutta or even IIFT Kolkata. Slightly northwards, there’s XLRI Jamshedpur which is top quality. But that’s about it.So we’re going to bridge the gap in that geographical area.

Opening an IMI in Kolkata was a natural progression because the IMI board’s Chairman is based out of Kolkata. They already had the land for the campus and we plan to launch that school in June 2011 subject to AICTE approval. In Bhubhaneswar, we were able to get institutional land from the government right next to IIIT Bhubhaneswar. We’ve got a huge 16-acre campus there and we plan to run all our residential Executive Development Programs (EDPs) there.

We are limited in terms of land in both Delhi and Kolkata, but not in Bhubhaneswar. So we plan to run all our EDPs from there apart from the standard PGDM courses subject to AICTE approval. Each of the new IMIs will have independent directors, all of equal seniority level, but the overall board of governors will be common. In terms of governance, these schools will be independent b-schools. For the start, IMI Delhi will help these two b-schools to get off the ground in terms of visiting faculty and curriculum.

Do you think there’s enough of a student market in eastern India for more b-schools, considering that it contributes the lowest proportion of applicants to exams such as the CAT?

I think there is a market for us because after north India, the maximum response to IMI Delhi comes  from applicants of Kolkata. It’s even higher than Mumbai or Bangalore or Hyderabad. So obviously there’s a big gap there due to which people travel from Kolkata to Delhi to join us.

How will you persuade good faculty to come and work for you in lower-profile cities such as Bhubhaneswar?

We obviously feel there will be a good response from faculty which is why we are opening these branches. But the real test will be when we look to hire people. Only last week have we put up the advertisements for hiring faculty so we’ll known soon how tough it’ll be. But in
Bhubhaneswar it’s going to be a residential campus where we’ll provide nice housing for the faculty in a gated sort of community, away from the hustle bustle of city life.

How do you see IIM Rohtak affecting some of the more established b-schools in Delhi?

In terms of competing for students, they are going to grab the market share. Whether it’s new or old, not knowing what faculty or curriculum they have, the IIM brand sells among MBA aspirants. Students are going to think that regardless of what infrastructure they have, what quality of faculty they have, 15 years down the line they will have the IIM Rohtak tag on their CV. So it is going to draw people. So in terms of the student quality we get, everybody here us going to be hit. Apart form that, in our space and every space, competition is always good. It makes you fight for every inch, it makes you up the ante and forces you to improve across all dimensions. As they say, you’ve got to run in order to keep standing. So it’s all good.


‘Don’t think about your CAT scores’ By Himadri Das, Chairperson Admissions – International Management Institute (IMI)

Once upon a time, not very long ago, it was possible for you to step out of a test centre after taking the CAT and predict within a few hours, with a reasonable degree of accuracy, what your CAT score was going to be. You could then decide which B-schools to apply to based on your predicted CAT scores.
All you had to do was to look at historical CAT cut-offs for these B-schools and if your predicted CAT scores indicated you were in contention, then you applied, else you saved yourself the application fee. You also did not need to waste money and apply to B-schools lower down just as a back-up if you were confident about your CAT score prediction.
This prediction was no rocket science. You had a decent feel of how many questions you answered correctly and informed your coaching institute about this. They would compile this information from many candidates and calculate a percentile score that would be a fairly good approximation of your actual CAT score.
However, things have changed. Last year CAT went high-tech and the test was conducted online on multiple dates. The same applies this year with even more test taking dates than last year. CAT now has a large question bank with questions of different complexity levels. The day you take the test, a randomly generated set of questions from this heterogeneous bank gets selected. On some days the test may have more questions of high complexity and on some days it might have more questions of low complexity. This necessitates the process of normalisation, where your score is adjusted either upwards or downwards based on the complexity level of the test you took.
If you end up taking a high complexity level test, your score will get normalised upwards. On the other hand, if you take a low complexity test, your score will get normalised downwards. This means that any kind of predictability of your CAT score after taking the test goes out the window.
Consider what happened to Ashima Chatterjee and Naresh Singh (names changed) who took the online CAT last year. They both came out of their CAT centres feeling very low thinking that they would have to be very lucky to even touch the 90 percentile level. They had been targeting their dream B-school in Delhi which had a historical cut-off of 95 percentile. They had already applied to this B-school before taking the CAT and were regretting having done so as the application fee would be wasted.
When the CAT scores were declared they jumped with joy to see 98 percentile scores. They are now first year students in their dream Bschool in Delhi.
So what do you do? After taking the CAT do not think about what score you will get. Apply to a wide range of B-schools with different historical cut-offs ranging from high to not so high and then keep your fingers crossed. Good luck!

The writer is a professor and chairperson,
admissions, International Management
Institute (IMI), Delhi

Ready reckoner for admissions 2011-2013

The notification for admission in International Management Institute has been released. Admission to the program is through the Common Admission Test (CAT) conducted by Indian Institutes of Management. The last date of application is November 30, 2010.

What courses does IMI offer?

IMI offers two Full time 2-year Programmes –PGDM and PGDM-HR. Apart from these two Programmes, IMI also offers a 15 month Executive PGDM, a 3-year PGDM-Part time and a FPM (Fellow Programme in Management).

How do I know if I am eligible to apply for IMI, Delhi?

• To be eligible for admission to the PGDM or PGDM-HR Program, you must posses a Bachelors degree or equivalent, with a minimum of 50% aggregate marks or equivalent in any discipline, recognized by the Association of Indian Universities for admission to post-graduate programs.

• The bachelors’ degree or equivalent qualification obtained by you must entail a minimum of three years education after completing higher secondary schooling under the 10+2 system or equivalent.

• Candidates appearing in the final year of their bachelor’s degree or equivalent are also eligible, provided they furnish the proof of having met the minimum eligibility criteria by September 30, 2011.

How can I apply to the institute?

You can obtain the IMI Brochure and Application Form by one time payment of Rs.1900/- for one program and Rs.1000/- for every additional programme through following means:

• By cash payment from IMI Campus in New Delhi
• By post (enclosing demand draft or pay order drawn in favor of IMI payable at New Delhi)
• On-line application can be accessed through (payment by Credit Card/ Demand Draft in favor of IMI, payable at New Delhi).

Applications, complete in all respects, should reach the Admissions Office of IMI on or before November 30, 2010. Incomplete forms are liable to be rejected entirely.

How many seats are available?

Total number of seats: 180
PGDM: 120

Are there any reservations in the Admission Process?

No, there are no reservations. The entire admission process is based on merit.

What were the cut-offs last year for the different programmes?

The following cut-off percentile in CAT was used to short list candidates for the GD/PI process.


Overall: 95
Verbal Ability: 75
Quantitative Ability: 70
Data interpretation and Logical Reasoning: 70

Overall: 90
Verbal Ability: 70
Quantitative Ability: 60
Data interpretation and Logical Reasoning: 60

What is the weightage given to CAT score for final selection?

Last year the weightage given to CAT score in the final selection was zero.

What are the parameters considered in the final selection process?

Last year the following weightages were given to the different parameters:

10th marks: 10%
12th marks: 10%
Graduation marks: 20%
Work experience: 10%
Essay writing : 10%
GD/PI process: 40%

Given the fact that I have not scored well in one of my board or graduation examinations and considering the high weightage given to academics by IMI, is it suggestible to apply here?

Yes, IMI does give high weightage to the academic scores. But as you can see 50% weightage is for the essay and GD/PI process. So bad scores in boards/graduation, if any, can be compensated by doing well in the essay and GD/PI process. You can go ahead and apply for IMI.

What are the test centers for the GD/PI process?

Besides Delhi, the selection process is normally conducted at other centers including Bangalore, Bhubaneshwar, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Nagpur & Trivandrum. Candidates should mention their preferred center(s) for interview in the application form and will be placed accordingly.

Any more questions?

Don’t panic! It is completely suggestible to be well informed before taking any decision. For any further details contact the undersigned:

Admissions office
International Management Institute
B-10, Qutab Institutional Area,
Tara Crescent, New Delhi – 110016
EPABX: PR Line 47194100(30 Lines), 47194200 (30 Lines), 46012729/ 46012730, 2696 1437/6143/9089, 2686 3701, 2652 923 /9
Fax: 2686 7539


Dont get discouraged by lower percentile scores on mock CAT tests!

One of the fellow students mailed me an intersting article on Pagalguy-this year a lesser number of students are taking online tests. Therefore, compared to previous years, for the same absolute scores you would be getting lower percentile scores.

If you are looking to join top business schools, dont get discouraged by lower percentile scores in the mock tests. Keep practicing.

IMI faculty wins case writing competition

As we start our admissions cycle this year, we were really made proud by the achievement of one our fellows. Prof Anup Singh and Abhinav Gupta won the ‘ISB Case Writing Competition 2010‘. Participating schools included ISB, IIMs, XLRI, MDI, etc. and over 7o entries were received.

More than the prize, what is heartening is that the top B-schools in India are coming together to create a rich pool of Indian MBA case studies on Indian companies.

This will go a long way in enriching class experience of MBA students who till now mostly did HBR case studies on international companies to understand management concepts and principles.

Congratulations Dr Anup and Abhinav.

IMI Admissions 2011

Greetings from IMI. We will be very soon kicking off our admission process for 2011 within the the next one week. The application window will be open till November 2011. During this time period I will be sharing with you advice, tips and assistance on applying and also more about IMI. Do bookmark this page to stay current with the developments.

And yes, All the Best for your CAT exam!

Application forms 2011

Dear all,

The application forms for 2011 will be available from September 17, 2010.

You can apply online by going to

The online application has been introduced on popular request. We hope it will make your applying to IMI just a few clicks away.

Good luck!

Best regards,

Chairperson, Admissions @ IMI

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