What Qualities do top b-schools want in you?

All top ranking management institutes like the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) receive lakhs of application every year. However, the selection process into these coveted institutes is no cake walk. These institutes have a rigorous, multi-layered selection approach to enable them to select students that match their requirement criteria.

Many B-schools have CAT as their primary tool of selection of aspirants. Once you have cleared CAT, you will have to go through the other selection process such as group discussion (GD) and Personal Interviews (PI) and more.

So what do these institutes look for in a candidate? Given below are a list of qualities that an institute will look for, in an aspiring candidate.

Consistent Academic Record

MBA is a highly demanding course in terms of academic rigour and discipline. Your ability to multi task will be put to test. On a single day you may be attending two classes on subjects you have never heard off, preparing a presentation or participating in a quiz.

The institute is also interested in knowing about your quantitative abilities. Are you comfortable with crunching numbers? This question becomes more relevant for people from non-quantitative background such as art, medicine etc.

Having a consistent academic record, gives the selectors an insight into your academic acumen to persist and achieve your study goals.

Excellent Communication Skills

You should be able to articulate your thoughts and views clearly. Being able to engage in a meaningful conversation or a debate is a critical personality trait that any B-school will look for in a student. Not only should you be able to lead a conversation, but you should also be able to listen to what others are saying as well.

When studying, you are expected to participate effectively in classroom discussion, be adaptable and work with your fellow students as well.

Your group discussions, essays and personal interview are areas where you should demonstrate your communication skills.

Creativity and Diversity in Thinking

B-schools look for candidates who are able to take into consideration multiple variables and provide different perspectives to a problem or discussion at hand. Diverse thinking is the precursor to creativity. Thinking of different ways to a problem make you explore many possible solutions as well.

How you process your thoughts, analyse a situation at hand and how you provide evidence that you have applied your analysis, thought about an action plan and more importantly thought about how you will execute the plan play a big part in how you will be perceived by the selectors.

Passion and Vision

Are you looking at a MBA program just to get a degree or is there something more to it? B-schools look for how passionate you are about pursuing your MBA and why. You should be able to express your passion is a manner that can inspire and project energy onto those that are listening to you. You have to ‘think big’ and demonstrate that you are applying with a specific plan in mind.

Leadership Qualities

If you are looking to enter into the best institutes, then ‘leadership’ is an important element to check. Institutes are interested in candidates who are passionate about going out and making a difference. They will check to see if you eager to accept new responsibilities, or if you are someone your peers or others would look up to. They will look for evidence to see if you have managed teams, events, or resources effectively, and if you are good at conflict resolution and can handle pressure.

You must exhibit leadership potential either at work or at your academic level.


B-schools want people who can stand out, not just blend in. You need to demonstrate that you can initiate a conversation, and spark an idea or thought rather than just being participative in nature.

Work experience

While this is not a must for many Indian institutes, if you have been working in the past and are applying to a B-school, the institute would be interested in checking how you progressed at your workplace. Some of the points they would look for include, were you moving faster than your peers? What kind of experiences did you encounter? Was there anything unique about what you did? Did you proactively seek out new opportunities for growth etc.

Social Activities

Having an activity that you have actively pursued outside your academic or work background will definitely give you an edge over others. B-Schools will be interested in knowing if you were involved in any community work or social activities. If you are a part of any social organization or have participated in any charitable events or have organized any CSR initiatives, then it is important that you highlight the same.

Take care about the above mentioned points to better your chances of getting into the institute of your dreams.

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