IIMA Has How Many Engineers In The New Class of 2009-11???

28 Apr

94%…yes you heard it right…94%…! Thats just 6% lower than a situation wherein a stressed-out parent enters the campus, approaches the reception and asks, “Madam (or sir…I dont mean to be sexist here!), I want to enroll my son for the engineering course.”

Figure this:

Out of 391 students in the IIMA Class of 2009-11:

# 369 are engineers

# 12 have a science background (which itself sounds so derogatory, as if engineering is some intellectual science and there is another field called science!)

# 9 have a commerce background

# 1 is from Arts background!!!

This basically means that in the 2 years that will follow, these 391 students will have diversity examples as follows

Professor: “Students, what is a code?”

Student 1 (Or rather Engineer 1): “Sir…code is what I wrote when I couldnt get girls, but a guy named Mark Zuckerberg offered free beer and I gave it to him”

Student 2 (Engineer 2): “Sir, code is what humans are made up of..the DNA code”

Student 3 (Engineer 3): “Sir, code is what I hate mode about software design”

Student 4 (Engineer 4): “Sir, code is a form of modulated wave whose amplitude is directly proportional to the wavelength when travelling at the speed of light”

Student 5 (Engineer 5): “Sir, code is a mathematical complexity that is so hard to comprehend that one can only hope of making a movie out of it and winning the oscar”

Student 6 (Commerce Student 1): “Sir, I am surely going to flunk this class”

Student 7 (Arts Student 1): “Sir, I think the commerce student and me are surely going to flunk the class”

This also means that irrespective of what students do in these 2 years, the one getting the most press coverage (and rest assured there WILL be a LOT of press coverage) will be the Arts student!

Oh..but there is more

Number of female candidates has dropped from 19% last year to 11% this year

WHATT??? Did the students know this, when they accepted the offer?

So let me get this straight, not only does the new IIMA Class of 2009-11 have more “super stud red underwear over pants” engineers, it has lesser of the “dumb good for nothing only know how to bitch and giggle” females!

AhA…now THAT is a perfect MBA CLASS! Undivided attention, no hormonal excitement at the age of 21, no world perspective from a lawyer or a doctor…but pure divine engineering based business education. Such joy!

But high WTFness emerges when you read such statements made by the Admissions Chairpersons

“We had a limited pool of candidates from arts and commerce backgrounds making it to the first round. On our part, we tried to include several combinations during the interview, but engineers scored well,”IIM-A admissions chairperson Diptesh Ghosh told ET

Aaah…that explains it. Its not their fault. We have just dumb Arts and Commerce students in this country! Engineers scored well!

Because hey, when we asked students what is the probability that you will take out a red ball from a box when you have thrown in 7 red balls in Box1 and 8 Black balls in Box2 and transferred 3 balls from Box1 to Box2 and then re-transfered 5 balls from Box2 to Box1, WE HONESTLY THOUGHT ARTS STUDENTS WILL GET IT!

Its a pity! Because the institute is one of the finest the country has. And yet, it remains blindly attached to fundamentals that fail to modify themselves as per the times. Students from IIMA perform well in life (statistically atleast) not because of the education they have received or the work-experience they come in with, rather the ability to work like crazy. They are fantastic when it comes to slogging and working hard and cracking the exams and the CATs of the world…but that doesn’t necessarily make them good business managers!

An MBA in India has been reduced to a “degree that will get you a job”, rather than a degree that will teach you business fundamentals. And admission processes that are skewed towards a certain section of society, especially in terms of numerical capability, defeat any attempt to change this attitude. You get number crunchers in your batch and give them sexy I-Bank/consulting roles at dollar figures…and the MBA dream just keeps getting bigger and bigger! Its another thing that the MBA itself did not do anything to that student, apart from making him/her marketable!


DNA: Engineer’s dominate IIMA’s new Post-graduate programme batch

Economic Times: It’s engineers galore at IIMA

27 Responses to IIMA Has How Many Engineers In The New Class of 2009-11???



April 28th, 2010 at 5:16 pm

I don’t know whether I should be happy that I AM an engineer by degree or be terrified that since I am now not doing anything even remotely related to engineering, I shall lose my ‘numerical capabilities’ and hence not be able to get in! :S



April 28th, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Shrey – tu kahaan ab engineer raha!! U have jumped over to the other side! :)



April 29th, 2010 at 11:50 am

While I agree with your diversity view in MBA colleges, you should also pay attention to this fact, that CAT has been rated the most difficult exam to clear in the WORLD by an Economist survey 2009, with over 600 students competing per seat. The exam stretches your data analysis and logical thinking abilities among other things. Then of course there are GDs and interviews. You miss a very important data element here which is how many non-engineers “apply” for IIMs and sit for CAT. I am NOT trying to diminish the acheivements of non-engineers, but it is a fair play after all that hey give a test, whoever clears it can get in, it is NOT skewed towards engineers. There is no engineering education required to clear that exam, they don’t test you on who well you write a software code, or how efficient you are in simulating a power plant. Regarding business acumen, numerous business leaders in India today are IIM alumni, so it can’t be said that they are ONLY been good at crunching numbers. While diversity should be encouraged, it does not mean that just to enforce diversity you relax your admission criteria and compromise on quality – something practiced by ISB to some extent, albeit only for a small percentage of students.


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April 29th, 2010 at 1:19 pm

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April 29th, 2010 at 3:26 pm

And if you are against the CAT exam, you might as well be against the GMAT exam as well, as both aim to test similar area – logical reasoning, verbal ability et al, only differing in levels of difficulty – which again is subjective. So then you should say that there should be a different way to select students, which is beyond entrance exams and takes into account only overall package of a student. Doing this might not be easily possible when you have lakhs of students aspiring to get into IIMs. Also, you could extend this argument to the Mckinseys of the world who like to hire students with top academic grades (of course with some outliers). Now how can grades ensure you have a great business or consulting acumen? (If you say that not ALL top graders get into mck like companies, then I can also say that not ALL engineers make it to IIMs – even after they crack the CAT). I also don’t agree to your remark that IIM guys are good only because they can slog, either your sample set is faulty or narrow, or you have some personal grudge against them :-). They do good because they have a logical way of thinking, and of course are hard workers and trained to think logically even under stress and balance multiple things at a time – something an MBA, a CAT or perhaps the stressful engineering degree teaches you.
P.S : I am not an IIM alumnus, nor am I against any other ISB or similar non IIM schools, just sharing my point of view, nor intending any personal attack



April 29th, 2010 at 4:34 pm

I love arguments with disclaimers! :)
I partly agree with your assessment, but I think you missed the point. One, just because I am an ISBian, I dont indulge in IIM bashing. Some of my best friends, whom I respect a lot, are from the IIMs and I personally think that the institute has done wonders for India. However, I dont support their continuing with the same thought process as they have for the past 50 years.
You are right that various IIMs alums are today business honchos, but thats the point. They are fantastic in analysis and judgement and numerical aptitude. Do you see the same number of IIM graduates as writers, or sports managers? They are all corporate guys, not lawyers, or politicians etc.
My entire pain is with the CAT exams….that is structured towards people with strong numerical capabilities. Plz dont compare it with the GMAT which even a 9th grader can score well in. How many people do you know who did not have math as a subject in their college and have scored well in CAT? Why should that be the case at all. Its a difficult exam for the 1:600 ratio, but its just not the right exam as well.
I am not endorsing ISB’s way of admissions too…that suffers from various gaps, which is a separate discussion all together. And so does the process of Harvard and Kellogg and what have you. But then, atleast they have taken the step in the right direction. Today a harvard MBA is as likely to be the VP of an I-Bank as he is the secretary general of the UN. The same cant be said of an IIM alum!



April 29th, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Some of the things I’d like to reply:

1. “…I am NOT trying to diminish the acheivements of non-engineers, but it is a fair play after all that hey give a test, whoever clears it can get in, it is NOT skewed towards engineers….”

Ha! You didn’t get that boxes-balls-probability example, did you? How many Engineers would clear if CAT has 20% of tactical law questions? Even then the test is common.

2. “CAT has been rated the most difficult exam to clear in the WORLD by an Economist survey 2009, with over 600 students competing per seat.”

By that account IIMs are the most sought after institutes….more than Harvard which receives 13 applications a seat. Hmm…so by this a student should prefer IIM K to Harvard. Statistics can be skewed by anybody. I’m not taking anything away from IIMs. They are still a force to reckon with. But unfortunately, like a lot of sarkari institutions, they are not keeping up with times. One IIM professor remarked, “There are two ways to get a good output out of an assembly line. You make sure that your line is exceptionally efficient or with just about a normal line, see that your raw materials are par excellence. IIMs follow the latter.” I couldn’t agree with him better.

3. “Regarding business acumen, numerous business leaders in India today are IIM alumni, so it can’t be said that they are ONLY been good at crunching numbers”

Google “Fallacy of composition”. It gives part of the answer. The rest is below:
By “successful” leaders, you mean people who are heading businesses now in their 40s or 50s, right? They should have passed some 20-30 years ago? How many B-schools in India could you count pre-1991?



April 29th, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Couldnt agree more with your assessment. No wonder your blog is called Brain & Digits! :)


Udit Khanna

April 30th, 2010 at 3:08 am

Totally agree! No wonder why the IIMs don’t come any close to matching their counterparts in the US and UK. The arts guys normally are some of the most creative and innovative managers.



April 30th, 2010 at 10:44 am

@Udit: Creativity and innovation in decision making is a new chapter all-together in the book of “Why CAT as an exam fails”! :)



June 14th, 2010 at 3:21 pm

I’m an Indian. I’m an engineer. And, jaw-drop, I work as a software engineer.

But I went abroad recently to visit some b-school campuses abroad. They let you sit in their class. Talk to their admission folks. And have lunch with students. Interact. See what you like. You can choose not to apply if it doesn’t fit your bill.

And have you seen the demographics of their class? Extremely diverse. Its crazy. The value addition of such b-schools is immense: you pass out almost a different being.

Compare that with IIMs. Whats the point of a case study, where you learn more from the students around you, if you’re all from the same background?

But I’m going to take a middle ground. I don’t blame IIMs for jacking it up: our education system prides engineers (and doctors) as the ultimate you can do. If you’re on the top of your class, its a no-brainer. So (generally) smart people don’t end up in alternate careers. And this seeps through the applicant pool of the IIMs.

I don’t know what you could do to help it. I don’t



June 14th, 2010 at 3:56 pm

“You miss a very important data element here which is how many non-engineers “apply” for IIMs and sit for CAT. I am NOT trying to diminish the acheivements of non-engineers, but it is a fair play after all that hey give a test, whoever clears it can get in, it is NOT skewed towards engineers”

This probably has a lot to do with one other trend that has been plaguing our education system. Kids(would be fair to include parents here as well) have a limited field of vision. That is about 10 degrees out of the allowed 360. 5 for engineering and 5 for Medicine. Education is seen just as a means to an end – the end being getting a job with maximum pay. So in a sense education is just an investment. I can bet that if in the future there’s some other job X(I dare not use a real job as an example and run the risk of appearing to be condescinding) that appears to have maximum opportunities and hefty pay package parents will have their kids focus all their attention and energy on getting into a college that would offer them a degree needed.

This is why you have more number of engineers taking up CAT, simply cuz there are more number of engineers. (What with every street in the city boasting of an engineering college with over 80% placements and all). So you have engineers only by the virtue of their having the required degree who are not really into their present jobs, and so don’t see themselves continuing in that profession and thus would in all seriousness not consider writing GATE. So by “logical deduction” – whats left is CAT. To be fair to this section of people they have atleast realized their mistake. There’s another section who hate their jobs as much, but have not yet realized what the real problem is. They go one step further – write GRE which does not test any of the qualities a qualified engineer, more often than not with some work experience, should have. So they fall into that debt trap again. Only this time the investment is much higher virtually sealing their fate once they are out of college.

Like I said, WE (yes I am part of the problem as well) can only look at the best possible option right now to try to fix what was broken four five years ago. And luckily for us the exam pattern probably suits us better than others. Sad But True – hope kids will have better peripheral vision in the future.



June 14th, 2010 at 4:04 pm


I’m an Indian. I’m an engineer. And, jaw-drop, I work as a software engineer. And, eyes pop out, am preparing for CAT :)



June 14th, 2010 at 5:14 pm

@Kaustuba: While i agree with your assessment that education (unfortunately) in India is largely limited to the Engineering/Doctors/Lawyers category…the question of why non-engineers dont sit for CAT is a little harder to respond to. Its a classic chicken first or egg problem. I dont think its a case of engineers being more in number. But thanks for your comments. Appreciate them

@Kartikay: I echo your sentiments…! Thanks for taking out time



June 14th, 2010 at 8:37 pm

@Ankur: Hmmm.. Are you suggesting that more engineers sit for CAT only because the exam suits them better? People with degree(s) in pure science and commerce too know their way around numbers, so the syllabus wouldn’t stop them from appearing for CAT.

But I do agree with you. The exam/selection process isn’t inclusive. Nor does it have much bearing on what will be taught in B Schools. Its just a way of filtering candidates.

Also somebody once told me, the exam tests your skill more than intelligence – Like playing video games. The first attempt you always die. But then with practise and you improve and win the game.


Miguelina Tapley

July 11th, 2010 at 10:52 pm

It would appear that research chemicals have become popular for todays generation. As soon as one is unavilable a brand new strain is back. What is the solution for this?



July 22nd, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Agreed that IIMs have a skewed ratio of engineers and women. Agreed that the diversity claims are just that, claims. Agreed, that there is absolutely no comparison that can be done on either the diversity front or the production of global leaders front with Premier bschools the world over, even with fewer people vying for each seat there than here.

But before we go on to glorify and deify the Ivy League B schools, let us get the facts straight: You can’t secure an admission into those schools unless you are:
1.) Already an exceptional leader having achieved prodigious feats
2.) rich, and already have the option of defecting to a family run business post MBA.

Either way, all the ivy league schools do is make them marketable, it is the raw material that is the key, just as the case is with IIMs. Why do we need to toe their footsteps?
The aim of IIMs is to develop quality managers – which it does, as much as I can tell. Managers are developed not in a classroom, but over the years through experience. Just go and see how much post-2000 IIMA alums have achieved. They may not be making the papers about their nobel prize winning achievements, or their booker prize winning novel, or their election to the Lok Sabha. But they are there in the background, providing wheels to an otherwise rusty system.
The system is not perfect, I would be the first to admit that, but it need not be on the lines of something that can only be described as the green grass of the other side.

(I am an IIMA engineer – pardon me for taking a side unabashedly)


Ankur Warikoo

July 22nd, 2010 at 1:46 pm

@Grenada: Thanks much for your perspective. If you may allow, I wish to disagree with your perception of what I meant through the blog. Having an admission process is one thing and how you use it is another. I cannot agree more with you that the likes that Ivy Leagues take it fit into your description. But that doesnt mean the process of admitting them is incorrect. Its what they do with the process which is not right.

My argument is that if the IIMS fret so much over the class profile, they have to change the process in the first place. AND USE IT IN THE RIGHT MANNER.

No one denies what the IIMs have achieved, but I argue that its not because of the classroom. So there, the IIMs are just as good or bad as the Ivy leagues. But atleast the Ivy-ies have a better class experience!



December 27th, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Being a non-engineer student, it feels very good to read such articles which unequivocally support what we have been trying to say for years.



January 10th, 2011 at 3:36 pm

excellent article..though nothing can be done about our system biased towards engineers..



January 31st, 2011 at 8:53 pm

I can only agree with half of your assessment. The part that I agree with is that 94% students should not be from engineering back ground. I will first present my view countering the people who are countering your article and then finally I will counter the part that I do not agree with.

An MBA college should not have 90+ percentage strength from a particular line of study, year after year. Also, the gender ration should be much better than what it is and has been. Note “year after year” is important. What this means is that the process of selecting students and the policy of nation in getting females well educated have both failed.

An analysis of this kind of stat to justify the result is wrong. In fact it is totally a display of one’s ineptitude to argue about a point without realizing that you are missing the obvious big picture. Since the original goal of getting variety into the campus has failed for years, there is definitely a flaw in the process. GMAT, like GRE is a qualifying exam but very little weight is attached to these scores.

Now coming to the part which I dis-agree with:

1. Of the best engineering talent in India that passes out each year, at least 50-60% (no data to back this but I can see this around me) of them are either working for high paying companies or have gone abroad to do a masters degree. So the engineers that are making to IIMs are really not that proud engineers and do not have engineering in their heart. They all know within that life is going to be tough in technical field for them and MBA is a good degree to have to spend their lives. So my point is that its just because they are bright they make it to MBA and not because they are engineers. Anyway most bright students take science and then do engineering.

2. The good engineers that are out there , go towards MBA for two reasons, a) They think they will get best results (girls/ money/ social approval and prestige) by doing that degree. b) They do not find good technical work to do that makes them feel their careers will accelerate. So many are fed up maintaining junk software, flushed on to their head by the US office.

In the end, do class 10, get into a prestigious coaching institute, get into IIT Comp Sci , then join a good institute in 3rd/4th year, get into IIM and get an MBA in finance is the only thing parents wish for in modern India, and hence the fad continues.



February 1st, 2011 at 9:46 am

@Saurabh: Strong views. Dont agree with all of them, but thanks for sharing nonetheless. Adds to the debate!



February 1st, 2011 at 12:30 pm


Came back to check this. Obviously you will not agree to me because I mentioned earlier that I do not agree with you totally. Becomes a tautology :) Cheers!

But I think overall most points have come out. And IIMs must be taking some note of it as there are many competent people working there. Wonder what they are contemplating.



February 18th, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Chetan Bhagat is an IIT+IIM (supposedly the creamiest of the lot) grad. We all know how that panned out.

*For those unable to decipher the sarcasm, you probably aced the CAT. Your hypothalamus probably got fried en route.



October 12th, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Bhai non engineers ko mana kisne kara hai IIM mein jaane se….ab unki aukaat hi nahi ki wo 99%ile la sake to isme humari kya galti hai….to be very frank agar non egineers ke liye alag se ek easy paper bhi bana diya jaaye na CAT mein to bhi maximum number of students engineers hi honge IIM mein…..



May 2nd, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Dude… each B-School is like a club with each one having its own rules for selection. If you like it appear and get selected else do not. There is no use writing such big articles ranting about why such a club has such criteria for selection. There are ‘n’ number of holes that people can point to in ISB’s own selection rules. And being the CEO of the Indian division of a company you cannot afford to have sexist remarks such as these
“, it has lesser of the “dumb good for nothing only know how to bitch and giggle” females”
in your blog. Hope you understand.



September 12th, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Probably too late to comment..its the first time really that I went through your post..but you’re good..some things that are so aptly put..and the education system is definitely going down the drain in this country with its failure to update itself..no offence to people bringing in change..they are trying their best but failing miserably..the reason-its misdirected…

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