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Does your profile really matter?

Your profile plays a major role in three things:

  • The probability of you getting a call from premier institutions
  • The conversation you are going to have in your PI
  • The shortlists you are going to get during your summer & final placements

But all of the elements listed in the profile factors do not equally influence all the three things mentioned above.

Getting a call from premier business schools
Each Business School has a different set of criteria based on which it gives out calls. The usual elements that come into play are

  • CAT Score, Academic Profile & Work Experience

Each b-school gives each of the three components a different weightage and in some cases no weightage at all.

IIM-A for example no longer gives weightage to work experience but Academic Profile (especially your Graduation Marks) play a major role. IIM-B gives weightage to work experience, IIM-C does not consider Graduation Marks and gives, IIM-I gives more weightage to XII marks etc.

Freshers need not worry most b-schools take in a healthy percentage of freshers — please understand that for colleges that consider work experience calls are not given out only to those who have work experience. The weightage for work experience will make it easier for working professionals to get a call — they can get in with a lower percentile when compared to freshers.

Also, for the first call it is only the quantity of work experience that will play a role and not the brand of the firm that you are working with.

What is important to note is that these criteria might change from year to year.

Do not worry about what you cannot change — your marks in the past — let the IIMs decide their weightage and give out calls based on their calculation, focus on what you can change.

Those who have graduated and have poor graduation marks need not worry since IIM-C does not consider it at all in their process; get a good CAT score and you are in!

Also please note that Academic Pedigree plays no part in this stage of the process.

The conversation you are going to have in your Personal Interview
Most top colleges send out a form to be filled out along with the call the next round. This form will ask you to fill out not just details about your academic profile  and work experience but will also

    • ask you to list achievements — co-curricular, extra-curricular and work-related (if applicable) and
    • ask you to write answers to questions such as:
      • why do you want to do an MBA
      • what are your career plans
      • what are your strengths and weakness
      • what is the biggest challenge you have faced in your life so far
      • what is your biggest failure and what have you learnt from it
      • what are your hobbies and interests

The panel will have your filled-up form when you go into the interview and you will be asked questions based on what you have filled up. This is where the achievements and interests element of your profile come into the picture. You can have a look at a sample form, that of S.P.Jain last year, here.

Even if a college does not have a form and starts off with a tell me about yourself, the interview will be based on the things to tell about yourself that are not captured in the CAT application.

The two elements — brand value of the college where you pursued (or are pursuing) your bachelor’s degree and the brand value of the firm that you are working for are not evaluated objectively, which means that there are no marks allotted to the same separately based on any criteria.

The panel will make it a part of the overall marks it awards to you in your PI, based on how you perform in the PI. So a good college brand by itself does nothing unless you do a good job in the PI.

Getting interview shortlists for summer internships & final placements
You will be having your summer placements 3 to 4 months into your MBA. So this means that your resume will not have changed at all. So the profile you have before getting into the b-school is what you will have while applying for summer training.

It is at this stage that the brand value of the college where you pursued (or are pursuing) your bachelor’s degree and the brand value of the firm that you are worked for, are more important.

Firms will have loads of resumes from all b-schools and they tend to make their jobs easier by giving out shortlists to those with big brand names on their resumes. So this is where the real value of the IIT-tag kicks in! Also, all firms do not do this, only the real big consulting firms tend to do this.