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No quota, yet IIM-Kozhikode admits 33% women

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NEW DELHI: For nearly five decades, Indian Institutes of Management have been a male bastion with barely 10% women making it to the premier league till IIM-Kozhikode showed this year how one-third women can be taken 100 out of 300 that too without any reservation.

The provocation, as Debasis Chatterjee, director of IIM-Kozhikode, says, was a general remark by HRD minister Kapil Sibal about fewer women students in IIMs.

"We are happy to be the first IIM to have more than 30% women students. It is the worldwide trend among Ivy League and other top universities," Chatterjee says. IIM-Ahmedabad, the oldest IIM, has taken only 10% and others also hover in that range.

"An analysis of CAT applications showed that while 25% women take the test, only 8-10% make it to the final round. The simple question is why do they get screened out," Chatterjee says.

The reason, he says, was not difficult to find. "We are only looking at narrow levels. Therefore, IIM-K decided to introduce new parameters at the level of group discussion and interview," he adds.

Therefore, a new factor of consistency was brought in. "We looked at academic consistency from class X and higher secondary onwards. It was found that girls are more consistent than boys. So they did better than boys," he explains.

In the interview, Chatterjee says, the stress was more on gauging the student's social skills, emotional and cultural maturity as well as compassionate nature. "The model of a good manager has changed in the past few years but the examination has not changed. There is no relation between the test ability and a good manager," Chatterjee points out.
According to Chatterjee, when the final list was prepared, keeping in mind the two new factors, it was found that women candidates had done exceedingly well.

Just over 12 years old, Chatterjee says, and IIM-K is already a trendsetter. He points out how the institute was the first one to implement OBC reservation even without waiting for the formal government order. Besides, he says, his institute is the only IIM to train SC/ST and poor children to prepare for CAT.





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