Akshita Jain, a second-year student at IIM Bodh Gaya, Bihar, was toying with the idea of joining a top private B-school but she plumped for an IIM, even though the one she joined is among the newer IIMs. Says she: “As an MBA aspirant I had private colleges in mind but the IIM brand is something that no other institute can offer.” The networking opportunity that an IIM provides also influenced her decision.
Vasundhara Tiwari, a student of IIM Udaipur, also endorses this view. “While there are many private institutes that are doing exceptionally well, the IIM tag matters a lot not just in industry but also in personal circles among family and friends. These IIMs boast of best faculty and getting education loans is also very easy,” she explains.
Like Akshita and Vasundhara, a number of students are zeroing in on the newer IIMs, depending upon their CAT scores. There are 20 IIMs in India and the newer ones are in Nagpur, Sambalpur, Amritsar, Sirmaur, Bodh Gaya, Jammu, Visakhapatnam, Ranchi, and Trichy.
The relatively lower fee structure and the ‘brand IIM’ seem to be drawing an increasingly large number of students towards these newer IIMs. A number of them have been witnessing a rise in the number of applications from candidates on a year-on-year basis.
According to Dr Mahadeo Jaiswal, Director, IIM Sambalpur, there has been an increase in the number of candidates seeking admission to the institute. “The response (from candidates) has been very good. We follow the combined admission process and we have seen an increase in the number of applications,” Jaiswal told BusinessLine on Campus.
The affordability factor
The IIMs conduct admission to their MBA/PGP programmes post the declaration of the CAT result. In 2021, approximately 2.31 lakh CAT applications were received, which is almost 10,000 higher than the previous year.
The admission process includes shortlisting of candidates based on their CAT score, performance in written ability tests, and personal interview. The final selection is based on various parameters including academic records and work experience.
While the top IIMs conduct admissions for MBA/PGP individually between February and April, the newer IIMs have a common admission process (CAP). Under CAP, the selection process of the participating IIMs is common. It is done by one of the nine IIMs on rotation.
The average fee structure, including hostel and boarding charges, of some of these new-age IIMs, range between ₹13-16 lakh while some of the premier private institutes charge anywhere between ₹20-22 lakh.
The lure of an IIM
“In India, up to higher secondary level, parents prefer private schools but for higher education, they want government institutes. The new-age IIMs have a much lower fee structure as compared to some of the premier private institutes. They are also government institutes and are now deemed-to-be universities. All these have been attracting more students,” Arindam Banik, professor at IMI Delhi, said.
According to Prabhat Ranjan, Chairperson, Admissions, IIM Bodh Gaya, the institute, which has close to 180 seats, had called close to 15,000 to 17,000 candidates for interviews last year.
The brand IIM plays an important factor in encouraging candidates to apply for the institute. Even if the newer IIMs are not yet in the same league as the older, established IIMs, its brand IIM after all and that makes the difference for students.