Tips to Get Into IIMs

Tips to Get Into IIMs

The Indian Institutes of Management are the most competitive B-schools in the world. Can you get in? Quite possibly! Here are some tips to get into IIMs.

Tip 1: Build Those Writing Skills

You don’t need to do any writing on the CAT itself. But once you’ve lept the CAT exam hurdle, there is an essay waiting on the other side. Specifically, the IIMs will ask you to take the Written Ability Test (WAT). The WAT is an essay exam that assesses your ability to do good, thoughtful academic writing in English. Know the WAT and be ready for it.

And if you don’t think of yourself as a “writing person,” know that you can still become a good writer. You don’t need to train to be a master author. Just practice essay writing and show your work to colleagues or mentors for feedback. To make yourself comfortable with writing, also practice writing about things you’re personally interested in, either in a journal, on an internet message board, or social media. Embrace your inner writer, and build the writing skills you need for the WAT.

Tip 2: Become a Master Interviewer

Learn to be the best interviewer you can. Or perhaps I should say the best interviewee. You’ll be interviewed by a panel of IIM instructors and administrators.

Does that sound scary? It can be. This is why it’s important to build up confidence, charm, and a sense of humor. Basically, cultivate the same traits you’d need for a highly competitive job interview.

You also should prepare to expect the unexpected. The IIM is legendary for its weird, surprising interview questions. You need to handle spontaneous, unusual questioning gracefully. If you don’t, you could get rejected for being under-prepared. (Read this article from India Today and this one from StoryPick to get a feel for the surprising twists in IIM interviews.)

Tip 3: Build Up and Play Up Any Work Experience

The IIM trains the managers of tomorrow, not just for India, but for the world. They want to see that you have a passion for business and foundational work experience that can inform your management style. If you have any experience, even an unpaid internship or helping with a family business, this can be relevant to IIM admissions departments. And if you’re a few years off from applying to an IIM grad school, don’t be afraid to start building your resume now. Look for relevant work opportunities in the business world, even if the work is only part time or temporary.

Tip 4: Dare to Dream

The IIM application process is intimidating. Are you really good enough to get in? It’s hard to know for certain. But it’s best to believe you are “IIM material.” Confidence is the cornerstone of motivation. Believe your goal of IIM acceptance is possible and boldly move forward. The worst that can happen is that you get rejected. and even then, you can always re-apply.

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