+91 9580 740 740 WhatsApp

Does IIM Require Work Experience? Find Out Here

Are you a fresher? Are you afraid that you may be disqualified even after a good percentile in CAT? Find out in this article by IIM Skills- online CAT coaching




After reading this article, you will have a complete understanding: Does IIM require work experience?


CAT eligibility requirements are not very complicated. The most common confusion regarding CAT among final year students is between provisional degree and graduation degree. 


But some students think work experience holds weightage in CAT. But this is not true. CAT is an objective type exam that tests only your aptitude for admission to a management course.


However, to the question: does IIM require work experience, we can say that there is some work experience weightage in IIM by the selection committee.


Let us first discuss the eligibility criteria for the CAT exam. 


CAT 2021 Eligibility Criteria


  1. The candidate must have a bachelor’s degree in any discipline with minimum 50% marks. In the case of CGPA, the equivalent percentage must be a minimum of 50%. For, scheduled caste(SC), scheduled tribe (ST) and persons with disability (PwD), a minimum of 45% marks or equivalent CGPA is required.


  1. The institution awarding the degree must have been incorporated as act of parliament or state legislation or any institution recognized by UGC or MHRD, Government of India. 


  1. In the case of final year students expecting the degree after the CAT exam, they can sit in the exam provided they produce a certificate issued by the registrar/director of their institute/university that states that the student will have completed all degree requirements at the time of admission.


  1. The minimum percentage requirements for CA/CS/ICWA candidates is the same as stated above. 


CAT Work Experience Requirement


Does IIM require work experience? To appear for CAT, it is not necessary to have prior work experience. Though the application asks for work experience details, it is not important to appear for the exam. There is no mandatory CAT work experience criteria. 


Find the list of CAT Coaching Institutes in Kolkata


Check out these courses offered by IIM SKILLS

Technical Writing Course

CAT Coaching

GST Course

Content Writing Course

Digital Marketing Course


IIM Work Experience Criteria


Many candidates are not sure does IIM requires work experience? However, during the selection process of your institution, like group discussion, WAT or personal interview, there is some weightage for work experience. This has been the experience of many applicants though IIM has not yet revealed any work experience criteria for admission to any of its courses. Also, the IIM work experience criteria vary from one IIM to another.


Is work experience required for IIM?


This is a common question among CAT aspirants seeking admission to one of the IIMs. And rightly so. Most management colleges or institutions like IIM have weightage for work experience.


Masters of Business Administration or MBA is a course at the post-graduate level that is intended to train candidates to become business managers. Therefore, some form of work experience is necessary to understand and make better use of resources in the program. This is why almost all of the best business schools in the world have mandatory requirements for a minimum duration of work experience for the MBA program.


However, it is not mandatory to have work experience for MBA in India in most programs, including the IIMs. This is because there are many students who apply for admissions in MBA program do not have any work experience whatsoever. 


In fact, almost 50% of the students in IIM, have work experience of less than 1 year, and about 25% have no work experience. A majority of students applying for MBA programs have only recently graduated from their bachelor’s degree program.


This is because, in India, it is a trend to complete education before a person starts working for good. Many students and their parents have this opinion. Most students do not expect to work for 3-4 years and then quit their job to pursue a higher degree. 


This will make it clear on does IIM requires work experience. IIMs look into the whole profile of a candidate before giving them admission to their courses. The profile not only includes the CAT score, but also your performance in secondary school, high school, bachelor’s program, and work-related achievements.


And it is certain that a suitable work experience enhances the profile of any candidate. However, you are not disqualified from admission just because you have no work experience. You will have to compensate for the score through excellent academics and past leadership roles in major committees or clubs in your previous college or school. You still have a great chance of getting admitted to an MBA in IIM without work experience. 


Now, let’s read some statistics that clarify even further does IIM requires work experience.


The class profile of students in IIM Ahmedabad


This is the class profile regarding the work experience of students at IIM Ahmedabad.


Fresh graduates: 25%

0-1 year work experience: 17%

1-2 years of work experience: 29%

2-3 years of work experience: 15%

3+ years of work experience: 14%


Here you can see that even though there are many candidates with work experience in an actual class at IIM Ahmedabad, there is a considerable number of candidates who are freshers. They joined the MBA program right after graduating from the bachelor’s program without any work experience.


And since they are in great percentage, we can say that it is very much possible for candidates to get admission in MBA in IIM without work experience.


However, if you need to keep your profile for MBA strong, you will need to emphasize other points of your profile. Some of them are:


  • Internships
  • Leadership roles
  • Projects in school or college
  • Roles in clubs or committees
  • Social or volunteer work
  • Extra-curricular activities
  • CAT score


These will no doubt enhance your profile and get you the highest possible score for admission into IIM.


There is a reason why we have listed the CAT score on the bottom of the list. This is because it is only because of the CAT score that you have been invited to the group discussions and personal interview stages. Most of the purpose of your CAT score is already served.


Before admission, every institute has certain criteria for admission in MBA programs. They give weightage to CAT during admission in MBA but there are also other factors given weightage in the MBA, especially the IIM.


There are many questions among the applicants regarding the IIM work experience criteria. One of them is: does IIM require work experience? There are certain benefits of work experience:


Experiences at a job may expose you to some interesting and challenging situations. This will help you develop strengths and skills. This is the reason why many employers or MBA colleges prefer candidates with prior work experience. Many employers think that a candidate with no work experience is unlikely to give a satisfactory performance at work and would not stand a great chance for landing the job.


Work experience also helps you map a career plan and outline your future in that industry. It gives you more insight into the industry than is possible to learn while sitting in a classroom. You can get a deep understanding of your industry by working for a few months an intern or working full-time for 2-3 years. This will help you decide and clear goals of what do you want to achieve in a graduate program like MBA at IIM.


You will get to talk to other employees and your superiors and understand and learn so much about the industry. They can give you their insights and knowledge gathered from years of working which you can utilize in your career. You can not learn that in a class or from a book.


There is another advantage of work experience that gives weightage to work experience in IIM. Working in your field shows your passion and interest in your field of interest. It gives your credibility and shows that you have clear career goals. It shows that you are serious about your occupation and not joining a reputed college just so you can get any job with a good salary.


On the other hand, if you now work experience and you are not a fresh graduate, it shows that you sole goal has been to clear CAT and get admission in a good college, which is not bad, but certainly not as good as a student who used that time to get a year or two of work experience, even though in a junior role.


A candidate who is passionate about a field in which he has no work experience has shaky grounds for his/her passion. All their knowledge of the field has come from external sources like people, or the internet which is not really credible sources to base your entire career on.


Besides, there are a lot of other skills to learn in an office. You have to complete tasks in the deadline, work projects under pressure, manage people and assignments and deal with the office politics successfully. Successful work experience shows that you have a good idea about an average work environment.


If you want to be a leader in the workplace, it is not wrong to expect that you have experience in the workplace.


Work experience also helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses and areas where you can work and improve. It teaches you professionalism, work ethics, and people skills. Your communication skills are sometimes more important than your technical skills since you’ll be a manager, in order to succeed in the workplace and the industry.


The last big advantage of work experience is networking. Since you meet actual employees and superiors who have had years of experience of working in the field. They probably know the industry inside out and know upcoming trends and history of the business better than any book can tell you. You will also make contacts with your colleagues who will likely sit at important positions in the future and will become a great asset to you, and you to them.


This is the reason why does IIM requires work experience and gives weightage to work experience in MBA admissions.


Now let us learn about the common questions in the minds of candidates regarding the IIM work experience criteria.


We need to clarify first that no IIM has released any information about what parameters they use while admissions to their MBA program or what are the criteria for MBA in IIM. We do not know for sure how much weightage does IIM give to work experience. But owing to our years of experience and accounts of many candidates, it is clear that there is an advantage of having work experience.


The selection committee for admissions for MBA at IIM gives weightage to many different criteria like academics, secondary school performance, high school performance, extra-curricular and volunteer activities. These are strong indicators of a future leader.


As is repeatedly said, the job of the selection committee is not as much to select the right candidate but to screen out the wrong candidates. And since there is so much competition in CAT, their measures are necessary to differentiate between the candidates, especially the ones who score really high marks in CAT.


During the personal interviews, there are marks allotted to different points of a candidate’s profile or CV. So, there are some general conclusions that can be drawn by seeing the selection pattern for some years:


  • Other factors remaining the same, a candidate with 2 or more years of work experience scores higher marks in the personal interview
  • Other factors remaining the same, a candidate who is not an engineer will score more marks in the personal interview than an engineer.
  • Ideally, IIMs maintain a class profile with an adequate percentage of employees with different categories of work experience. Different IIM have different work experience criteria.


IIMs take these steps to maintain diversity in their classes. This is because engineers have strong technical skills and would probably always core more than a non-engineer from a non-technical background.


Many applicants are not certain does IIM requires work experience. Some IIMs would target to keep 25-30% of each of fresher candidates, candidates with 0-3 years experience and candidates with 3 or more years of experience. So they would call the candidates for a personal interview in that proportion. This means that if you are a fresher your competition is essentially among other freshers.


So this might even contradict the theory that there are extra points for work experience in IIM. As far as we know, every IIM has different selection criteria and there is no certain way to know what is the work experience weightage in IIM.


Now how much is the weightage of 0-2 years of work experience in IIM? Well, 0-2 years of work experience is certainly better than no work experience but it does not suffice for the real benefits of work experience that come only after 3 or more years of working.


Candidates with less than 2 years of work experience are unlikely to have picked any major skills or learnings from their work.


It also matters what kind of work have you done. Is your work relevant to the field of your interest in an MBA? Have you had opportunities to use or display your leadership skills or any other skills useful as a leader?


However, fresher candidates need to calm down since IIM will continue to take freshers in their MBA programs and that too in large numbers. We cannot follow the same pattern as followed by American universities since there is a lot of variation among our societies and work culture.


It is also possible that if IIM stop giving sufficient weightage to fresher candidates, it will lose out on the young talent, which will rather prefer to study in other institutes that give them equal opportunity. Also, a large number of companies want to recruit young talent that they can train as per their preferences. 


But since the points of work experience are usually added in the personal interview stage, It is likely that the points are awarded due to some skill as a consequence of the work experience rather than actual work experience. Candidates with work ex have more to talk about their description, skills and talents, and their future goals.


They can handle personal interviews much better since they have the habit of conversations with bosses and clients. They have better skills to handle the group discussion. They will definitely be more knowledgable than a fresher. They will also have moe talking points about their job.


If you are a fresher, you can deal with this disadvantage by practicing extensively for GD and PI and working on presenting your case well. You need to focus on beating other freshers, not everyone. Make sure you have points in your profile that demonstrate leadership and communication skills. It is no point thinking does IIM require work experience.


Because the CAT score is not given a lot of weightage in the GD and PI or WAT. They are more likely to see your profile since you have already cleared CAT, just like every other candidate at the PI. So work on your communication and presentation skills and practice case studies very well. Be the most suitable fresher you can be.


Moreover different IIMs have different rules regarding the work experience criteria. Let us discuss some of these, on the basis of the interview of IIM Calcutta professor Sumanta Basu who has been the chairperson of the admission committee, about the criteria of the PI personal interview. This will make it clear on does IIM requires work experience.


The major point to note is that even f you score a very high percentile in CAT, but perform poorly in GD, you are going to scoreless. CAT does not hold much weightage once you have been selected for subsequent stages of selection. The selection panel is a board of experienced and trained individuals who examine candidates based on various parameters.


Here is a guideline on the weightage of different parameters at the top 3 IIM which will make IIM work experience criteria clear and tell us does IIM requires work experience.


IIM Calcutta


You require much more than an outstanding CAT percentile to get a call for PI and WAT at IIM Calcutta. 40% of the marks in PI is given to your secondary school and high school marks. If you are a female candidate, you get extra 2 points under the gender diversity initiative. 


Before final selection to the MBA course in the IIMC, you are judged out of 50 points. 15 points are given to your CAT percentile, 5 points are for your WAT, 4 points for work experience and 2 points for candidates with a non-engineering bachelor’s degree. A whopping 24 points are given to your performance in the personal interview. So do not assume that your high CAT percentile is enough to get you a seat.


IIM Bangalore


IIM-B also gives recognition to past academic performance like secondary and high school along with the CAT percentile in the initial first phase of selection.


In the second phase of selection of candidates for their MBA program, out of 100 points, 25 points are for your CAT score, your performance at the personal interview is 30 points, your work experience gets you 35 points and WAT performance gets you 10 points. Even here we can see there is a lot of weightage to work experience in IIM Bangalore while not much weightage to CAT score for MBA.


If you have performed to be in the absolute best in the CAT, but you think you have a strong CV and work experience to show, you may have an advantage in the selection criteria for IIM Bangalore.


IIM Ahmedabad


IIM Ahmedabad gives weightage to secondary school, high school marks, and bachelor’s academic performance along with your CAT percentile. Other points include your performance in the AWT ie analytical writing test. 


IIM Ahmedabad bases the final selection for their MBA program on the basis of many different criteria like AWT, PI score, extra-curricular and other roles of leadership.


IIM Ahmedabad is the most sought-after IIM in the country so the competition is tough too.


This was an article about does IIM requires work experience. We hope all your doubts have been cleared.


For more helpful articles like this, visit our CAT exam blog.

Gaurav is a Content Writer at IIM Skills. He has a B.Tech. degree but then he switched to the creative side by doing his master's in advertising and public relations. Gaurav is also a part-time blogger and graphic designer currently living in Mumbai

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Call Us