Both Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, and Indian School of Business, Hyderabad are the premier business schools of the country attracting top-tier talent from across the country. While IIM-A was founded in 1961 and has built its reputation in a span of 50 years, ISB is a young institution founded in 2001 and has quickly risen through the ranks to become India’s No.1 business school for a 1-year MBA. It is a common question among MBA aspirants about what differentiates the application process of both business schools and what should you consider for yourself?

Here’s a 5-Step breakdown of what goes into the admissions of ISB and IIM-A:

RequirementsISB (PGP)IIM-A (PGP)
Academic GMAT or GRE required, a good score of above 700 is recommended.CAT required. After qualifying CAT, Applicant Rating Score is calculated= Class 10th rating score + Class 12th Rating Score + UG Rating Score + Work Experience
Essays2 Essays are required along with the application. The word limit is fixed at 400 words.AWT (Academic Writing Test) or WAT (Written Ability Test) is conducted after the personal interview and CAT screening.
InterviewAll selected applicants are required to give a personal interview. A personal interview takes place after CAT and academic screening for all qualified applicants.
Work ExperienceMinimum 2 years is recommended, exceptional candidates are offered a deferred option.No minimum work experience is required.
Letters of Recommendation2 letters of recommendation are required.No letters of recommendation are required.

What should you aim for?

The Indian School of Business and the Indian Institute of Management are completely different business schools in terms of the class profile, vision and school’s approach. While the ISB PGP is a 1-year program aimed at young industry professionals with work experience, IIM-A is a 2-year program aimed at young students with a strong academic profile. 

Profile MetricISB HyderabadIIM-A
Work Experience4.3 years of average work experience.39% freshers, 16% between 0-1 years, others having >1 experience.
Gender Representation38% female32% female
Academic67% Engineers75% Engineers

While one cannot label an institution based on what will be easier to get into, it can be said that you should apply to IIM if you have a strong academic profile and CAT. However, the Indian School of Business, on the other hand, evaluates your profile more holistically by measuring your personality, leadership and professional skills. Since both business schools are top ranking institutions in the country, the competition is tough and the journey to getting in starts early from the school itself. For more guidance on cracking the GMAT for ISB, visit:


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