Non-Engineer - Benefits in MBA Selections


It has long been a myth that engineers are favoured while selecting in a B school and have an edge over non-engineers in the most prestigious MBA exam that is CAT. The trend in the past years showed quantitative aptitude is the toughest section and test-takers felt that it is in favour of the candidates from an engineering background which is not at all based on facts. The fact is that the number of engineer candidates appearing for CAT is more than that of non-engineers. Also, many colleges have changed their norms related to selection procedures to increase diversity in terms of academic background.  The exam is designed in such a fashion that a student who studied well from class 6th to class 10th would do quite well in the quant section. To plan out the strategic diversity IIMs and other top B schools have relaxed their admission criteria. For example – IIM-A reduced the CAT score weightage from 35% in the previous year to 28%.


Busting the Myth – 

The most common myth between the aspirants is that CAT is just like a walk in the park for the engineers whereas for non-engineers it is like climbing a mountain and that’s where all the problems start. This can be shown with help of statistics that it is not true:

  1. Most of the CAT quant syllabus is covered till Class 10th. Even CAT has simplified the quant section in the last few years.
  2. A common myth on the internet and among aspirants is the number of students ending up getting good B-school are mostly the engineers this is because the number of aspirants appearing for CAT is engineers – which is around 63%.
  3. Even top B-schools are looking for diversity, so they usually give interview calls to non-engineers with a lower percentage in undergrad than engineers.

So, all you need to do is to brush up on your basic concepts and Practice! Practice as much as you can, then it will not matter whether you are an engineer or non-engineer, you will achieve your goals.

Selection criteria of Colleges- 

Many top IIMs like Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Kozhikode, and Kolkata have tweaked their selection criteria to accommodate students from various academic backgrounds such as Science, Arts, and humanities, Commerce, Law, etc.
IIMs now have their own “Applicant Rating Score” which is created to provide additional weightage to the candidate from a non-engineering background.
Rating ScorePercentage in Undergraduate degree
MedicalProfessionalCommerceEngineeringArts and Humanities
1<=55<= 50<= 55<= 60<= 50
2> 55 and <= 60> 50 and <= 53> 55 and <= 60> 60 and <= 65> 50 and <= 55
3> 60 and <= 62> 53 and <= 55> 60 and <= 65> 65 and <= 70> 55 and <= 60
5> 62 and <= 65> 55 and <= 57> 65 and <= 70> 70 and <= 75> 60 and <= 65
8> 65 and <= 70> 57 and <= 63> 70 and <= 80> 75 and <= 85> 65 and <= 75
10> 70> 63> 80> 85> 75
Apart from changes in the selection criteria, many IIMs including other top B schools such as SP Jain, FMS Delhi, NMIMS, etc have reduced weightage given to CAT score and balanced it out by exploring candidate’s overall profile such as past work experience, academic score, achievements, academic and gender diversity, etc. Also, weightage has increased for Written Ability Test and Personal Interview for converting the calls from various B schools.
CAT score weightage (21-23)
Trends Observed in the past – The enrolment in the CAT examination has increased in the past few years, and so has the seats. If we look at the trends in IIM-A, B, C we see that the enrolment of non-engineers has increased, which is an encouraging sign. Another similar data shows us that out of total CAT takers about 67% were engineers and the rest were non-engineers. Aspirants from varied backgrounds like Agriculture (0.42%), CA (0.21%), Pharma (0.68%), Architecture (0.45%) etc. has opted for CAT exam.

The Batch of 2018-2020 in IIM-B had a total strength of 430 students, out of which 46 students were from a non-engineering background. This mix comprised of 4 students with a degree in medicine, 6 from a science background, 9 from Arts and Humanities, and 27 students from a commerce background.

Percentage of Non-engineers


With so many efforts taken towards increasing the diversity in academic background, we can safely conclude that students from a non-engineering background stand a fair chance to get selected in the top B schools of India. The number of engineers was increasing tremendously in B schools. This led to an increase in the number of engineering profiles in the placement process. The demand from corporates shifted from giving preference to engineers towards non-engineers. Hence, the shift in the preference in premier B schools. Students from the same academic background are like-minded and bring in less dynamism. To face various challenges in the management sector it is important to include people with a diverse academic profile. 

This is a great opportunity for students from various academic backgrounds who want to move into the Management sector. Similar efforts can be seen to increase the number of female candidates in B schools to increase gender diversity. This effort will also encourage peer learning experience. With conscious and diligent efforts, students can fulfil their dream to be a part of top B schools. Students should focus on their writing ability and  
Communication skills and work on building up their profile as many colleges have profile-based shortlisting. Also, it can be seen that the level of difficulty in the quantitative aptitude section has decreased to a good extent. 

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Nihar Mehta
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