School Expert Q&A: IIM Ahmedabad (IIMA)

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Dr. Dheeraj Sharma recommends on next steps for IIM Ahmedabad.

Dr. Dheeraj Sharma is faculty in Marketing and Organizational Behavior Area and Admissions Coordinator for PGPX programme at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, India.

Dr. Sharma earned his doctoral degree with major marketing and double minor in psychology and quantitative analysis from Louisiana Tech University, USA. He has taught and presented research at numerous education institutions in North America, Europe, and Asia. Dr. Sharma has received many academic and professional awards.

Dr. Sharma is American Marketing Association Doctoral Consortium Fellow and National Conference of Sales Management Doctoral Fellow. He was nominated for Clifford J. Robson Excellence in Teaching Award and nominated for Erica and Arnold Rogers Excellence in Research Award for year 2009-2010. Dr. Sharma is also past associate editor of Journal of Marketing Channels and past editor of the Academy of Marketing Science proceedings. He is an active member of Academy of Marketing Science, Society of Marketing Advances, American Marketing Association, and World Marketing Congress. As a member of the aforementioned associations, Dr. Sharma has served as a session chair, discussant, track chair, and executive member of organization committee.

About the Program

Name of the school? Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA)

School location? Ahmedabad (Gujarat, India)
Ahmedabad is a city of tradition as well as modernity. It was adjudged the best city in India last year by the Govt. of India. It is more than 600 years old and is a candidate for the UNESCO World Heritage Cities list. The old city (on the eastern bank of River Sabarmati) is an architectural delight. The ‘pol’ structure of housing in this part of the city has been talked about much by UNESCO and National Geographic Society. Today it is the 7th largest city in India by way of population and the largest city of Gujarat state, on the western part of India. It used to be ‘Manchester of India’ with more than 100 composite textile mills. Today it has a very vibrant services based economy. Real estate sector is also good. Ahmedabad has some of the best hotels and restaurants in the country. Quality of life in Ahmedabad is one of the best. The Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) in Ahmedabad has been adjudged one of the best in India and Asia. Ahmedabad is home to some of the best institutes of higher education in India. Other than IIMA, Ahmedabad hosts ATIRA, CEPT, ISRO, NID, PRL, SAC, CEE, VASCSC, Gujarat University, St. Xavier’s College, VIKSAT, CHETNA while the nearby capital city of Gandhinagar hosts institutions like NIFT, IIT-Gandhinagar, DAIICT, PDPU, IIPH, GNLU and CUG. People of Ahmedabad are friendly, love business and festivals.

Year school started? IIMA was established in 1961.

Any global ranking? IIMA, the Institute as a whole and individual long duration programmes as well have been ranked prominently in several Indian and international surveys undertaken by various media such as ‘Which MBA?’ (Economist), FT Global MBA Rankings (Financial Times UK), QS Global 200 Business School Rankings (QS Group), etc.

The PGPX has been ranked 1st in ‘Career Progress’ surveyed by Financial Times FT Global MBA Rankings 2011, 2012 & 2013 and 2nd in 2014.


Name of the program? One Year Post-Graduate Programme in Management for Executives (PGPX)
This is a one year full-time residential course which requires the candidate to stay on campus during the course of the study. Our batch size is 85. Participants with diverse backgrounds come from all over the world and today it has over 800 alumni members. Some take sabbaticals for one year (with or without pay) if possible. Others resign from their jobs to join this programme. They sit for placements at the end of the programme with a hope to change their career tracks. Some multinational companies have sponsored candidates or have nominated their employees from programme within their organisation. These nominations are executive they have chosen for fast-track leadership. About 10% are entrepreneurs. Please look-up http://www.iima.ac.in/pgpx  for further information on the programme.

Admission Criteria?

GMAT® score?

Applicants have to submit their GMAT score obtained between April 1 and November 15 of the previous four years for those applying for PGPX. (E.g. For those applying during round one of PGPX 2016-17 season, we will consider only those GMAT scores of tests taken between April 1, 2012 and September 13, 2015. And for those applying during round two of PGPX 2016-17 season, we will consider the GMAT scores of tests taken between April 1, 2012 and November 15, 2015)

Work Experience requirement?

We do not ask for a minimum work experience as criteria for application but a minimum age of 27 years at time of application. Adhering to a minimum age of 27 years at the start of the programme, a normal graduate should have 6 to 7 years of post-qualification, full time work experience. Similarly, a post graduate should have 5 to 6 years of experience. A PhD/MPhil can be evaluated on case to case basis. We do not consider any part-time work experience. However, since the PGPX is a ‘get-ready-for-top-management’ programme the Admissions Committee looks for relevant work experience in the candidates who would be a good fit for top management roles.

English Proficiency requirement?

The candidate must be well-versed with the English language. We gauge this from the Analytical Writing Analysis (AWA) scores from the GMAT. We prefer a minimum of 3.5 AWA score. TOEFL/IELTS/PTE test scores are not applicable here.

Letters of recommendations
We do not ask for any letters of recommendation. Shortlisted candidates would be asked to submit two essays – the topics of which will be announced along with the shortlisting for personal interviews. However, successful candidates are required to give three references.

Interview/Group Discussion
About 3 times the number of candidates to be selected gets shortlisted for personal interview. The shortlisted candidates are interviewed by a panel consisting of faculty members nominated by the PGPX Admissions Committee. We do not conduct any Group Discussions.

Others? A potential candidate should have a:
  • Good GMAT score (We do not ask for a minimum cut-off score. The average GMAT scores of the selected candidates of the past batches have been in the range of 695 to 728.)
  • Good academic record (Candidates of the past batches have had varied educational backgrounds including in Accounts, Architecture, Arts, Banking, Civil Service, Commerce, Computers, Defence, Design, Education, Engineering, Finance, Literature, Medicine, Pharmacy, Police, Public Policy and Administration, Research, etc. Many have had professional qualifications and some also have had PhDs.)
  • Substantial work experience that shows evidence of a supervisory/managerial role in an organization that he/she has worked for.
  • A clear idea of why he/she prefers IIMA for doing the one year full-time programme and a leadership potential will also help.
What is the Application Process?

How does one apply for the programme?

To apply for the PGPX please undertake the following:
  • Please register at http://www.iima.ac.in/web/pgpx/apply (Application window usually opens by the end of April/First week of May.)
  • For 2016-17 season we will have two rounds of application.
  • For those who would like to submit during the first round, the completely filled-in applications should be submitted online by 6:00 pm Indian Standard Time (IST) of Sept 14, 2015.
  • For those who would like to submit during the second round, the completely filled-in applications should be submitted online by 6:00 pm Indian Standard Time (IST) of Nov 16, 2015.
  • At the time of submission of application, you will be prompted to pay the PGPX Application Fee (Rs. 3500/- during Round 1 and Rs. 5000/- in Round 2)
What is the Application fee? The PGPX Admissions Committee has decided to charge the following application fee for PGPX 2016-17 as follows:
  • Rs. 3500/- (Indian Rupees Three Thousand Five Hundred only) for those who apply during the first round i.e. on or before 6:00 pm Indian Standard Time of 14th September 2015.
  • Rs. 5000/- (Indian Rupees Five Thousand only) for those who apply during the second round i.e. on or before 6:00 pm Indian Standard Time of 16th November 2015.
Where do I get a copy of the Application form? To apply for the PGPX please undertake the following:
  • Please register at http://www.iima.ac.in/web/pgpx/apply (Application window usually opens by the end of April/First week of May.)
  • For 2016-17 season we will have two rounds of application:
  • For those who would like to submit during the first round, the completely filled-in applications should be submitted online by 6:00 pm Indian Standard Time (IST) of Sept 14, 2015.
  • For those who would like to submit during the second round, the completely filled-in applications should be submitted online by 6:00 pm Indian Standard Time (IST) of Nov 16, 2015.
  • At the time of submission of application, you will be prompted to pay the PGPX Application Fee (Rs. 3500/- during Round 1 and Rs. 5000/- in Round 2.)
When does the application process start? The application process usually starts by the end of April/first week of May.

What is the last date to apply? For the first round the submission of completely filled-in applications must be done by September 14, 2015. For the second round the submission of completely filled-in applications must be done by November 16, 2015.
What is the Admission Process?

What is the range of GMAT scores for accepted students? The average GMAT scores of the past batches/intakes have been in the range of 695 to 728. This compares very well with the average GMAT scores of top ranking international B-Schools.

Is there a requirement of 16 years of study prior to applying? Admission to the PGPX programme requires a Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent in any discipline. (Minimum 15 years of study as per the education system in India 12 +2 + 3 or 4 as the case may be.)
 
What constitutes work experience? Please note that the PGPX is a ‘get-ready-for-top-management’ programme. Hence the Admissions Committee looks for relevant work experience in the candidates who would be a good fit for top management roles. A PhD/MPhil can be evaluated on case to case basis. We do not consider any part-time work experience.

Is there a minimum cut off for TOEFL/IELTS/PTE test scores? TOEFL/IELTS/PTE test scores are not applicable for PGPX programme.

Who should letters of recommendation come from? We do not ask for any letters of recommendation. However, successful candidates are required to give three references.

When should I expect an invitation for an interview? Shortlisted applicants will be invited for personal interviews by the last week of September.

Who should I contact if I have a question regarding my application status? 

Manager, PGPX
Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, New Campus, IMDC Block
Vastrapur, Ahmedabad – 380015, India
Tel: +91-79-6632 4450 / Fax: +91-79-6632 4447
Time to phone Monday to Friday: 9:15 am to 12:45 pm and 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm only.
(Please note: IST = GMT+5:30)
Email: pgpxquery@iima.ac.in
Web: http://www.iima.ac.in/pgpx

Fees & other expenses?

What is the estimated cost for the entire program for a foreign student? 
For PGPX 2016-17 batch, the fee will be announced before admission offers are made. Currently PGPX fee is Rs. 24.0 lakhs (~ USD 37,400/- as per exchange rate on 7 May 2015.)

What is the cost of living for the duration of the programme? PGPX fee is usually a packaged/bundled fee which includes, for every student, tuition, books and course materials, library, computing and network charges, placement, alumni, international immersion, and boarding and lodging charges for the period of stay on the campus. However no fee/part of fee is refunded if any student chooses not to consume/utilise any facility. The food includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, for those students staying in Married Students Housing (MSH) food charges are not included in the programme Fee. Utilities such as electricity, telephone, laundry, etc. are additional and to be paid as per usage charges. Service tax, as applicable, is additional.

Are there other costs to be taken into consideration? If yes what? Students have to pay caution money of Indian Rs. 35000/- for single accommodation and Rs. 70000/- for MSH to be paid before you arrive at the campus. (Approximately equivalent to US$ 546 or 1100 respectively based on exchange rates prevailing on May 7, 2015.) This non-interest bearing caution money will be returned within 3 months after the completion of the programme, adjusting for pending recoveries on account of utilities and other services or infrastructure (if any).

Are there any job opportunities on campus that can be pursued while the programme is on, to lower the overall cost impact? No. However spouses of PGPX participants are encouraged to apply and work in the campus on any temporary assignments if available.

What are the financial support options available to students?

What are the scholarship options available for the students? There are no scholarships associated with the Programme Fee. However on completion of the programme, following awards have been given in the past:
  • The ITEC Scholarship for Non-Indian participants from ITEC Partner Countries.
  • Gold Medal for the top ranked student.
  • The top 5% (including the Gold Medallist as mentioned above) will receive a certificate and a cash award Rs. 20000/- each.
  • Arun Duggal award of All Round Excellence for PGPX Student instituted by Mr Arun Duggal based on the criteria such as Academic Excellence, Leadership Qualities, Extracurricular Activities and Popularity. The award is a Certificate and Cash Prize of Rs. 50,000/-
  • The Rising Star Award of Academic Merit for PGPX Students which is sponsored by the Shapoorji Pallonji group. This is given to the batch topper. The Award consists of a Plaque/Certificate and Cash Prize of Rs. 1,00,000/-
  • PGPX Social Outreach Award instituted by Group H of PGPX IV (2009-10 Batch) is given to an individual or to a group of maximum 2 persons. The award is a Certificate and a Cash Prize of Rs. 100000/- (given individually or shared among two persons.)
What are the criteria for determining scholarship applications? There are no scholarships associated with the Programme Fee. However The PGPX at IIMA has been empaneled in the Govt. of India’s 50 year old scholarship scheme of the ‘Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation’ (ITEC) Scholarship programme as well as the Special Commonwealth Africa Assistance Programme (SCAAP) and Technical Cooperation Scheme of Colombo Plan (TCS of Colombo Plan) under which candidate who are citizen of  162 Partner Countries would be eligible for full scholarship from the Department of Programme Administration (DPA), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Govt. of India. The partner countries include countries from Asia, Africa, East Europe and Latin America. International participants who qualify and are admitted to the scholarship courses would be eligible for a return air-fare, full programme fee, monthly subsistence allowance, a stationery allowance and allowance for traveling in India.

What are the options of availing a loan? Normally many nationalised and private banks are interested in offering students loans. Upto Rs. 30 lakh loan is available without collateral for IIMA’s PGPX candidates.

What is the amount of loan that a student is eligible for and what are the documents required? State Bank of India gives collateral free loan of up to Rs. 30 lakh and Central Bank gives up to Rs. 25 lakh. Please click here for the details of loan schemes from banks available for PGPX. For exact details, please contact the bank/s directly since the interest rates change from time to time. International students, apart from their own banking sources, can approach bank branches of Indian banks in their countries.

At what rate of interest is the loan available? What is the date from which loan repayment begins? What is the maximum period in which a loan is to be repaid? Please click here for the details of loan schemes from banks available for PGPX. For exact details, please contact the bank/s directly since the interest rates change from time to time.

Does the Institute/School help in getting loan?

Institute only helps in connecting the selected applicants with the bank. Upon proper submission of necessary documents and verification, loan will be granted by the bank. However, the decision is purely at the discretion of the bank.

How many intakes in a year and when? There is only one intake/batch in a year. The programme starts in April and ends in the following March.

Size of the intake? Our aim is to take 85 students per intake/batch.

What is the % of foreign students in an average class/intake? The course is open to participants from all countries. So far the number of foreign (those with non-Indian passports/citizenships) students have varied from 1 to 10 in the various batches. We have another 8 – 12 Indian citizens with permanent residencies in foreign countries. However more than half the batch comes from foreign locations.

What are the specializations available? Since this is a general management programme preparing the students for top management the focus is on leadership positions, strategic training and general management. The programme, however, offers a wide selection of elective courses for those wanting to pick up skills in a particular area.

What % of the batch finds jobs within 3 months of graduation? What is the mean starting salary of a class after graduation? What are the key sectors represented in recruiters for this programme? Our audited placement data is put up on our website as per the Indian Placement Reporting Standards. (IPRS.) Please note that since the placement season lasts up-to June end, the audited placement report for batch passing out in 2015 will be put-up by Aug 2015.