CAT 2019: A golden chance for the non-engineers to get into IIMs

Are you from non-engineering background savouring the dream of joining IIMs? Then CAT exam is your golden opportunity. Read further to find out how!

Non-engineers in IIMs
Non-engineers in IIMs

For MBA aspirants hailing from non-engineering background, cracking CAT and making it to the top management institutes such as IIMs, is a dream come true situation. The very fact that IIMs remain dominated by the engineers despite their drive and efforts to increase the academic diversity in the classrooms is a well-known fact, and creates panic among the MBA aspirants from non-engineering backgrounds.

As a consequence of this approach, many non-engineering MBA Aspirants don’t even attempt to appear for one of India’s toughest entrance exam to pursue management degree.

However, the story has a flip side to it for the non-engineering background candidates aspiring to appear in the CAT exam. IIMs have put in considerable efforts to not only revised the CAT exam structure but also have tweaked their admission criteria.

Recommended Books for CAT 2019 Preparation:

25 years CAT Topic-Wise Solved Papers (2018-1994)

Quantum CAT by Sarvesh K Verma

The Pearson Guide to Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretation by Nishit Sinha 

How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT: This reference book by Arun Sharma

Check complete list from here

Lets us find out some more interesting aspects which makes CAT exam an exciting choice for the non-engineering MBA Aspirants.

Also Read: Vidit Garg’s 89.67 percentile not the lowest for IIM A admissions

1. IIMs prioritizing Academic Diversity @ Campuses

In a bid to increase the number of non-engineer students in classrooms, top IIMs such as Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Kozhikode are putting considerable efforts to respect the diversity. For an instance, from the year 2016 onwards IIM Ahmedabad has reduced the weightage on Common Admission Test (CAT) score for the final selection from 28 per cent in comparison to the previous year’s 35 per cent.

According to Prof Preetam Basu, chairperson admissions at IIM Calcutta, “Our objective is to have more diversity in classroom in any form. We, hence, made minor modification in our policy for the pre-interview phase of shortlisting candidates as well as the merit list prepared on the basis of the interview."

2. Increasing Ratio of Non-Engineers @ IIMs in last few years

Another motivating factor for the non-engineers to be on cloud nice is the increasing ratio of the non-engineers in the IIMs. Going by the fact file the top three IIMs i.e. IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore and IIM Calcutta have recorded in increase in the number of non-engineers enrolling in the PGP course.

Ratio of Non-Engineers

IIM Ahmedabad

IIM Bangalore

IIM Calcutta

2015-17 batch




2016-18 batch




2017-19 batch




2018-20 batch




Favouring the MBA aspirants from non-engineering background Mainak Dhar, managing director at General Mills India said that "Both analytical skills as well as soft skills are equally important to lead in the corporate world." IIMs are respecting the diversity of students and their backgrounds in the classroom because they have even realized the importance of other significant skills which an engineering candidate might not necessarily possess.

For an instance, if a student possessing graduate specialization in either of the courses such as History, Geography and Psychology wishes to pursue management degree, even they must get a fair chance if they excel in their specializations. Every field needs a par excellence future manager who has the potential to launch a breakthrough in the market. CAT exam should not ne the whole sole criteria for selection of a candidate.

3. CAT Qualifying Cut-off to be lower – An analysis

Lot of non-engineering MBA aspirants stay worried about their CAT score because they fear the quantitative aptitude section and the difficulty level involved in it.

But as per the recent guidelines, the IIMs have also reduced the qualifying cut-off for the MBA aspirants irrespective of their educational background.

CAT qualifying Score












VRC %ile






DILR %ile






QA %ile






This year as a result of decreased CAT Exam qualifying score, many non-engineering aspiring students were able to grab a seat in top IIMs.

4. Selection weightage for non-engineers hiked

Another good news for the non-engineers is that the selection wieghtage for these MBA Aspirants have now been raised by the IIMs. With this drastic change in the admission criteria, non-engineers have a high chance of getting selected in the top MBA institutes of India. 

It is important to note that each IIM calculate their own “Applicant Rating Score” according to their own criteria. This score is calculated on the basis of the candidates marks obtained in 10th, 12th (depending on the stream), and bachelor’s degree (depending on the discipline) receptively.

So, a student possessing non-engineering degree also holds high chances to get selected in the IIMs now!

5. Decreasing weightage of CAT Score

Moving over to the basic foundation of selection in the IIMs i.e. CAT Exam, in the last three years IIMs have redacted the weightage to CAT exam scores and are focusing more on the other critical aspects which remain unexplored in an MBA aspirant. A few of those aspects are measured in terms of academic profile, academic diversity, Writing Ability Tests and personal interview sessions.

Weightage for CAT scores

IIM Ahmedabad

IIM Bangalore

IIM Calcutta

IIM Lucknow

IIM Kozhikode

IIM Indore

PGP 2017-19 batch







As it can be seen from the table above, the CAT Exams hold importance for the MBA aspirants but only to qualify for the GD/PI rounds, not to decide their fate to get selected in the IIMs. Non-engineering MBA aspirants must seek this opportunity to make it to the IIMs and grab a chance to pursue management degree from best MBA institute of India.

Only because CAT is a quant-based examination, preference towards people from engineering background in the admission criteria seems unfair for the other aspirants. We want more candidates from non-engineering background and are gradually making the changes necessary in the admission process to have more diversity.

Do not feel surprised after reading these facts. IIMs are taking a step forward to motivate the MBA aspirants seek excellent quality of education. If you put in little efforts and qualify the prerequisites of IIM, then seeking excellence in the management degree will become achievable.

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