Winds of change are blowing through the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA). For the B-school premier will witness the highest-ever occupancy since its inception — close to 30% — in the number of girl students in the 2014-16 batch of the Post Graduate Program (PGP) in management.
Of the total 394 students admitted in the two-year course, as many as 116 girls have registered at the institute. Compared to last year, the number of women students has increased by nearly 8% this year. The 2013-15 batch of 380 students had 82 girls, that is 21.58%. Also,women representation has almost tripled since the 2011-13 batch of 372 students comprising 11.02% girls.
The rise comes as a pleasant surprise to the institute. For, according to IIMA director Ashish Nanda, they had not established a quota for women students and neither did they give them additional credit in the selection process because of their gender. This only indicates that the women students had to prove their mettle to secure a berth in the mecca of management.
While talking to dna, Nanda said the women alumnae and students were totally against granting preferential allotment to women applicants. “They wanted to ensure that the women joining IIMA felt confident that they had been selected; were seen to have been selected, entirely on merit. We took three steps, each of which may have contributed to the increase in the proportion of our women students.”
In the first step, they reached out to colleges and encouraged girls, especially bright and capable ones, to apply at IIMA. During this process, they supplemented Common Admission test (CAT) and the academic performance merit list from five academic streams. Many of the academic streams had a high percentage of women students at the top of the class. In the second step, they encouraged diversity in academic background and the third step involved the process of selection on the basis of written analysis and personal interview (WA-PI). At this stage, they would form a holistic perspective on candidates’ eligibility for the PGP evaluation, keeping academic performance, written analysis, interview, extra-curricular activities, awards and work experience in mind, added Nanda.
Nidhi Jain, one of the students who received admission this year, said she had started preparing for CAT, keeping her six-month-long career with TCS aside. “I thought work experience was important. However, when I learnt that freshers, too, have a chance at IIMA, I started preparing for CAT. It is going to be challenging as students are asked to do a number of things that test their capabilities,” she said.