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How Important Are Past Academics To Get Into IIM


How Important Are Past Academics To Get Into IIM

We usually abstain from answer the question, “How Important Are Past Academics To Get Into IIM?” or “I have low 10th & 12th marks, can I get into Top B-School?

The reason is quite simple. What’s done is done. There is nothing you can do to improve the past academics, so what’s the point in dwelling over it. If you really want to turn your life around. If you are really aiming to get into Top B-Schools of the country, then focus on what’s coming next.

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.

Gautama Buddha

Here is the part of an interview of Mr. Pankaj Mishra taken by our beloved VARC Expert, Mr. Surya Pratap Singh.

Mr. Pankaj is CEO of APIS INDIA, an IIM Calcutta Alumnus, and a childhood friend of Surya Sir.

In this interview, he has answered the question, “How Important Are Past Academics To Get Into IIM” with his own experience.

SURYA SIR: How important is academics? A lot of students think that if the results in class 10th and 12th were not great then nothing can be done. What is your class 10th percentage?

PANKAJ SIR: I did not top the class in 10th. I have been an average student across my life.

SURYA SIR: The percentage was more than 80 or less than 80?

PANKAJ SIR: Less than 80.

SURYA SIR: What about 12th? Because I know it!

PANKAJ SIR: Less than 80. Yeah, this is because I never got a chance to score more than 80.


So is this true that if the results in class 10th and 12th were not great then nothing can be done?


No, it is not like that. If your academics is good then it is a good thing but if you did not score well like 80 percent or 90 percent, your life is not doomed. And especially if you intend to go for higher education like you intend to take the CAT Exam and go to B- School then 10th or 12th marks are not the only criteria to get the call or to convert the interview.

What you need to understand is that, whatever your past academics were, if you really wish to get into your dream B-School, then you must score a very good percentile. You need to fill that void created by past academics with your CAT or XAT or IIFT or whatever other B-School Exams you are going to take.

With below 80 percent in 10th & 12th, I got into IIM Calcutta. You can do it too.

Plus, all these things can help you to a certain level, you know, academics. If you go for a job interview also the company will not hire you or even today when I take interviews, I will of course prefer someone from a good B- school. That would be a preference only for an interview. That would not be the criteria for selection. And I will be least bothered to see what kind of number he scored in 10th or 12th, which is immaterial for me.

If I am looking for a guy in my company, what he scored in 10th or 12th is immaterial. So, these criteria help us only to create filters because there is a lot of people who are going to B- School, a lot of people who are doing engineering, and technically, you cannot interview everyone. So you create filters, okay, the guy should have 60 percent, at least 60 percent, or first-class across, in graduation, in 10th and 12th.


I feel somehow that 10th or 12th also tells you the fact that a person has been disciplined in life. 10th and 12th does not mean that a child is intelligent. It means that you were disciplined, you did your allotted tasks.


True. A percentage is never a sign of intelligence. It is a sign of hard work that someone has worked hard to score those numbers but of course, it is not a sign of intelligence. It is discipline and hard work.

Few Important Tips if you have poor academics:

  • Don’t get riled up if you have poor academics. Compensate it with the Entrance Exam Score. Score 99+%ile in the CAT Exam/IIFT/XAT. You will definitely be able to fetch a good number of calls for the interview from Top B-Schools.
  • List out the number of colleges where weightage to past academics is less. Try to score a percentile required to get a call from those colleges.
  • If needed, after graduation, take work experience. This will help you in tackling the Interview Questions as it will then be focused on our exposure to the corporate sector/ industry.


There is an opportunity for us to renew ourselves. There’s an opportunity for us to leave the past behind and present something different for the future.

Jay Weatherill

Hope this helps!!

Here’s the FULL Interview!!

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