IIM Admissions - How Important Is Work Experience?
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IIM Admissions - How Important Is Work Experience?

There are many versions of this important question and some aspirants ask how do the IIMs give weightage to the work experience and some ask how much does it count for? Some ask does IIMs always prefer experienced candidates. Also, some candidates ask how much more fresh graduates should score to gain a better edge over fellow applicants with experience.

Here are some details in this regard based on anecdotal evidence:

  • Reports state that there is no objective normalization process to account for experience.
  • Also, it is found that IIMs do not have a separate scoring system in place for awarding points to experienced candidates. It is believed that the selection committees generally go with an idea of how they want the batch to be structured and accordingly they conduct interviews with this backdrop.


For instance, when it comes to IIM, Bangalore, the B-school might have around 60-80 fresh graduates, while 60-80 with one to two years experience and around 50-60 graduates with more experience is selected. So, approximately, the school might get applications from 300 fresh graduates, 300 with minimum experience and around 200 applicants with more than 2 years of experience.

Once the institute makes this kind of plan, candidates falling under all these three groups will have to compete for the admission and so there cannot be any way to say that if you have 4 years of work experience, you can have a lesser admission test and qualifying examination score as compared to a candidate with no work experience. But, it can be said that the median and mean score of shortlisted fresh graduates will be higher as compared to that of applicants with more experience and this is why it is stated that experience can add value when it comes to applying to IIMs with work experience.

Does an experience of 1-2 years can count more?

No concrete answer can be given to this question. The reason is that applicants with less than 2 years of experience generally constitute a higher proportion. The fact of the matter is that the experienced applicants might not have a clear understanding of either their organizational dynamics or their industry to make a huge impact.

Does a particular type of experience add value?

Generally, B-schools look for diversity and so any candidate with a unique profile will always count better as against fellow applicants.

Will the IIMs give preference to candidates with more experience?

This trend is likely to happen and the reason is the present shift to round-the-clock examination to be conducted by an external body, the IIMs will be forced to give better value to applicants with work experience as against fresh graduates.

Will IIMs avoid fresh graduates?

No, this will never happen as elite institutes like IIMs always look for attracting the best talents to educate them. For instance, among the top 10 qualifying candidates, nearly 70% of candidates will fall under the category of applicants with 0-2 years experience and 40% will be fresh graduates. There is no proof to state that fresh graduates will get little value when it comes to MBA admissions.

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