IIMA PGPX, IIMB EPGP, IIMC PGPEX – Shiv scores a hat-trick

IIMA PGPX IIMB EPGP IIMC PGPEXThe Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) successfully ventured into the world of GMAT based 1-year programs in India by launching IIMA PGPX (IIM Ahmedabad), IIMB EPGP (IIM Bangalore) & IIMC PGPEX (IIM Calcutta). And soon enough the demand for these shorter duration MBA courses shot up. And so did the confusion about Executive MBA in India vs MBA for Executives.
The average GMAT scores, the average work experience and the overall calibre of students who join these one year IIM MBA programs in India demonstrate the quality of these courses. During IIM placements, the average salaries for graduates after completing the MBA program from these IIMs is significantly higher than the conventional 2-year progams in India.
Like thousands of Indian MBA applicants, Shiv Mallya was one of the hopeful Indian IT Male Engineer candidates who set his eyes on the IIMs. The earlier rejections from top 1 year MBA programs wasn’t exactly the best start he could’ve expected to his MBA admissions journey. But he evaluated and analysed what went wrong and took another shot. This time he got admits from…not one, not two, but all 3 IIMs that he applied to. Here’s how he managed to juggle his day-job, deadlines and diapers.

by Shiv Mallya

After almost a decade in the IT industry, I will soon be joining the 1 year Full Time PGPX programme at IIM-Ahmedabad. IIMA PGPX course is ranked 11th in the MBA Ranking by Financial Times.

The last one year has been a roller coaster ride of GMAT preparation, the actual exam, the results, researching the colleges, the deadlines and the essays. This coupled with a new baby girl, who was around 4 months when I wrote my GMAT in December 2011, and ever increasing work responsibilities, the application deadlines seemed short, the number of essays too many and the wait for the short lists too long.

And now in December 2012, almost 15 months since I started the GMAT preparations, everything seems well worth getting into one of the top MBA programmes in India.

I was interested in a strategy/business development oriented role. I knew that a good MBA programme was key to making this switch successfully. I started planning for my GMAT in 2009 but then I got the opportunity to be part of a startup.

It was a difficult decision but I decided to push my MBA plans by another 2 – 3 years to gain the experience of a startup. The main risk was that in another 3 years I would be at the higher end of the age group and my college pool would mostly be smaller keeping my experience in mind. The positive side was that the startup would add an edge to my profile.

After 2 odd years of a successful startup, I started preparing for GMAT. I had an average GMAT score of 680. But I was hoping that coupled with my experience, my profile would be good enough to get into a good MBA programme.

I was looking for a 1 year MBA and I decided to apply to IMD and INSEAD in the April deadline for Jan 2013 start. Unfortunately I got dinged by both the programmes.

So now I was back to square one. I wanted to talk to someone and find out whether my application strategy needed any change. During my research I had read through MBA Crystal Ball’s forums and blogs. I got in touch with Sameer and he suggested I take up the MBA MAP profile evaluation and application strategy option.

I was more interested in the discussions with Sameer regarding my application strategy. This helped me figure out the weakness in my essays and fine tune them for my future applications.

I then applied to IIMA PGPX, IIMB EPGP and IIMC PGPEX. The last round would have been ISB and Singapore Schools. I was shortlisted by all the three. The IIMC and IIMA interviews were in October and IIMB in November.

The IIM MBA interviews were more like a discussion on current affairs, general knowledge, why MBA and post MBA goals. It was not the same for everyone though. There were many people who were queried about their work.

Finally after a nerve-wracking wait I got admitted to IIMA followed by IIMC and IIMB!

Post MBA I want to be in IT Services/Consulting industry albeit in a different role. My choice was between IIMA PGPX and IIMB EPGP. Based on the feedback from the forums, the rankings and discussions with alumni, I chose IIMA PGPX.

One thing that I have realised while going through the application process is that GMAT is not the only parameter for any school but all aspects of your application is considered. A good profile, international experience, extracurricular activities and non-profit experience will surely help you in your quest for a top MBA programme coupled with a balanced GMAT score.

I am looking forward to a busy year at IIM Ahmedabad, learning from world class professors and working with an exceptional peer group from diverse industries.

For the sake of practice, let’s do this.
Inhale deeply. Now say “IIMA PGPX is not IIMA Executive MBA, IIMB EPGP is not IIMB Executive MBA, IIMC PGPEX is not IIMC Executive MBA“. Exhale. For best results, repeat twice before and after each meal.
What would you choose if you had a similar IIM A vs B vs C choice. Our MBA forum has dedicated threads for each of these programs. Join the discussion –> IIMA PGPX Ahmedabad forum, IIMB EPGP Bangalore forum, IIMC PGPEX Calcutta.

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MBA Crystal Ball provides professional Admissions Consulting services. Hire us to improve your chances of getting into the top international universities. Email: info [at] mbacrystalball [dot] com

Sameer Kamat //
Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Connect with me on Google+ | Twitter | Facebook | Linkedin


  1. Karthik says:

    Congrats Shiva for the admit. Can you share your profile with us?

  2. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Karthik: Shiv is taking questions on the forum. Can you please post on his discussion thread –> IIMA PGPX Ahmedabad forum

  3. veronika says:

    I am a prospective candidate for IIMA and have a low GMAT score of 650, I am not in a position to give my GMAT again. My gender is female and I have 8+ years of expereience in banking industry. Do I stand any chance if I apply for IIMA?

    Please revert.


  4. Arnab B says:

    Dear sameer,
    I have got 9 + ex in power sector.Should i go for gmat and enter IIM? Suggest me.What 1st step i should take?

  5. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Veronika: if your experience in banking has been in a non-tech role, then you could use that for differentiation. if you don’t have the option to get the score higher, go ahead and apply.

    @Arnab: You haven’t mentioned what you want to do after graduating. But if you’ve already made up your mind to apply, then the GMAT would be the first step.

  6. sandeep says:

    Dear Sameer,

    What’s a decenet GMAT score to apply with…and will multiple test scores have any affect on your application? I don’t have a great GMAT score… And I have already taken it twice with a score of 600.

  7. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Sandeep: Anything that’s over the median for your target school is good. Schools take the highest score, so multiple attempts don’t matter.

  8. itban says:

    Dear Sameer,
    I am aspirant of exec-MBA from IIM’s. i am having total of 9 years in IT industry IN ERP.I am currently workin for UNO in new york. My acedemics record is not impressive.
    I f I score good in GMAT what is the chances of getting call from IIM’s..


  9. Gaurav says:

    HI Sameer

    I have just taken my GMAT score and inspite of getting a 700+ in all my Mock GMAT’s, I got a score of 640 in my actual GMAT test.

    My Scores in previous Exams are
    Xth – 85%
    X11 – 80% \
    B.E. Production – 59.5%

    I have experience of 11 years in retail industry in India. I am currently working for the past five years as a Business Head of US$ 1.4 million company and handling a team of more than 200 employees.

    Can you please suggest how are my chances at either IIMA, IIMB, ISB, NUS,Insead or IMD for 2015 batch.

    Also will you suggest me taking the GMAT again.


  10. Saurabh Gupta says:

    Hi Samir,

    I am confused and need your help to decide, I want to go for IIM’s executive MBA but not sure of my profile. Can you please suggest if it is worth trying, I have not yet given the GMAT so don’t know how I will perform but I think so can judge my profile assuming an average GMAT score:

    1) Xth : 73% (UP Board)
    2) XIIth : 61% (UP Board)
    3) B.Sc. : 49%
    4) MCA : 70%
    5) 10 yr of experience in IT industry, leading a team of 20+ associates. Handling projects of US multi-million dollar company. Couple of international experience.

    Thanks in advance for you suggestion.


  11. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Itban and @Gaurav: We can’t talk about chances based on what you’ve shared. Check out the MBA MAP if you are serious about getting into a top school.

    @Saurabh: IIMA will be a good fit. Start off with the GMAT and see where it goes.

  12. Gautam says:


    Can someone evaluate my profile. Am targeting the batch of 2016-17. Planning to start preparing for GMAT in a couple of months and take it in Dec-14/Jan-15.

    Class X – 59%
    Class XII – 75%
    Grad – B.COM (H) – 51%
    MBA from a bgrade institute

    Have honest reasons to explain above numbers; but should be given a chance

    Passed All 3 levels of CFA (AIMR)
    Will have passed both levels of FRM (GARP) when I apply next year

    No extra curricular to show now – Have won awards in school (no certificateS) for being good at playing chess, being outstanding in math… Started learning a musical instrument but quit after school

    Although the previous company I worked for didn’t have a policy of giving out awards for good performance or issuing letters of appreciation….it has given me stupendous salary hikes in tough market conditions (my ctc has become about 4 times in the past 4 years- including a job switch) for my good performance…my appraisal letters show “your performance exceeded our expectations” I can produce the docs

    Work ex- (as of now)

    3+ years in an investment consulting firm advising retirement funds (PF/GF/SAF) of multinational corporates on investments and compliance (entailed dealing in bonds)…also providing investment monitoring services to trusts that have outsourced their GF & SAF plans to insurers (investment in institutional ULIPS) – tracking returns, risks, advising on benchmarking, asset allocation and re-balancing etc

    1+ years in a listed company as Sr. Manager – Investor Relations. Happy with my knowledge the management is also using me for fund raising through the NCD route and CPs. By 2016 I should have 6+ years of work ex and should have shown significant progress on work-ex front.

    My question is if I score a 730+ on GMAT, would I stand a chance?

    Hope I’d get a chance to redeem myself.

  13. Gaurav says:

    Hi Samir,

    I want to go for executive MBA from India’s reputed college but m not sure about my profile. Can you please suggest me if it’s worth trying,moreover i have also a phobia of Quants but other sections are unexpectedly very goode assuming an average GMAT score please help me out:

    1) Xth : 60% (ICSE Board)
    2)XIIth : 64% (ISC Board)
    3) B.COM. : 53%
    5) 4 yr of experience in Cement industry in Sales Function, leading a team of 5 executives.got 1 promotion,Handling a Branch with a turnover of 75 crores yearly
    6)1 year of work experience in FMCG Industry after B,com.

    Thanks in advance for you suggestion.

  14. shikha says:

    Hi sameer,
    I am a medical practitioner by experience. I am 33 years of age. I have done my MBBS and then m d in anesthesia. I have about 8 years of work experience as a practicing anesthesiologist as well as experience in teaching m d students as part of faculty. I wish to take up GMAT exam as I would like to be a part of management aspect of health care industry and hopefully become an entrepreneur later. Kindly guide as to which schools executive m b a program should I target for..would the dream for the iims be too far fetched. I have good linguistic and maths skills

  15. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Gautam: Pls post this on our forum where we are doing profile evaluations.

    @Gaurav: Don’t be scare of the GMAT. It uses high school level concepts. The basics aren’t too tough. Beyond that it’s just speed and accuracy, which you can get with practice.

    @shikha: IIMA would be a better fit compared to the other options in India. Start with the GMAT and take it from there.

  16. muthuswamy says:

    Hi Sameer,
    This s for my bro in law..who is mtech from iit bombay gold medalist..(10th-98%,12th-97%,btech-95%),mtech-94%)11 years of IT experience of which 10+yrs abroad and few months in india..consulting sector he s into..companies worked 8years tcs ..3years wipro consulting..now he want to do 1year mba for …pls guide what would be the good gmat score for him to get admission in top b schools in india

  17. Narayani says:

    hi Sameer,
    I have 4 years of experience as a behavioral trainer, of which for 1 year I was into project development, with an engineering graduation in cse. I want to move into managerial roles and my long term goal is to be an Organization Development specialist. is it possible for me to apply for a PGPX program? if so which are the BSchools which would accept my eligibility status?

  18. Raghavan says:

    hi Sameer,
    I Have 9 years of experience in quality assurance being a production engineering by education. however I am not in a managerial role, am a senior executive currently, and do not have any international work experience. do I stand a chance to do pgpx in iims? or any other Bschools for that matter. I have already started preparing for GMat but there is a cloud of doubt around my eligibility. hoping to hear from you

  19. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Muthu: There’s no absolute answer to that question. Ask him to aim for 800, like everyone else does. And then whatever score he gets, we accept and move on to the other facets of the application.

    @Narayani: The work experience would be on the lower side for PGPX. You could look at ISB.

    @Raghavan: Tough to talk about chances on the blog, but there’s nothing that eliminates you from the race.

  20. Kautilya says:

    Hi Sameer,
    I am working as an Assistant Manager in SBI. My total Banking Experience in 3.5 years. Prior to that i have retail industry experience of 2 years as a product designer/buyer/category handler in textiles. My education details are as under:
    Graduation: NIFT New Delhi with CGPA 7.05
    12th: 86.88 (qualified for 5th Indian Astrophysics Olympiad)
    10th: 88.88
    8th: 97.60
    My Extra-curriculars have been fairly decent like, Inter-College Chess Champion, and winner of Photography competition conducted by SBI, etc.
    I am taking GMAT this december. Should I be aspiring for PGPX at IIMs considering this profile? If yes, then what minimum score must I get.

  21. Danny says:

    Hi sameer,

    I am working as senior consultant in flipkart i hv 3 years of work experience m planing to
    Do pgpex after 5 years of work experience
    I want to know whether am eligible to do pgpex
    Degree (BCA)=49%
    Can you please suggest me if i cn take up gmat exam
    And am i eligible to do pgpex
    Please m looking forward for your reply
    It will help me a lot

  22. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Kautilya: You’d be closer to the ISB kind of profiles than PGPX.

    @Danny: For eligibility criteria, best to refer to the official sites. Nothing stops you from taking the GMAT though.

  23. pankaj says:

    Hi Sameer,

    I have 3+ experience in IT industry. I want to do MBA but I am not sure which 1 should i choose..regular MBA or executive MBA. The only reason for doing MBA is that I have low package in IT.

    Thanks in Advance….

  24. Babu M says:

    Hi Sameer,

    I am Indian IT male with 9 years of experience(mainly product development).
    (one of your Linked in Contacts! :))

    IT -9 years of total experience in 3 reputed MNCs
    EC:various activities but nothing deeper.
    GMAT-failed thrice with low scores but good model exam scrores (need to appear again based on your response)

    Could you please let me know whether I have any chance for IIMA PGPX, IIMC EPGP and IIMB EPGP.

    Thanks in Advance,
    Babu M.

  25. Raj says:

    Hi Sameer,

    Hope you are doing good. I am Indian IT (Core Banking Product ) male with 8 years of experience – This includes 5 years of International Onsite Banking experience. My USP is that I am attached to Banking Technology (Products) and would want to pursue MBA ,so that I can move to Banking CIO/CTO roles in future. I am currently planning to work for a international Bank in UAE (as outsource candidate) to widen my prospects. My GMAT score is 690.

    Could you please let me know whether I have any chance for IIMA PGPX, IIMC EPGP and IIMB EPGP?


  26. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Pankaj: On the ‘Regular MBA’ vs ‘Executive MBA’ point, you’ve got the terminology wrong. GMAT MBA would be a better fit for your experince.

    @Babu and Raj: Sorry, guys. We can’t talk about chances here.

  27. Girish says:

    Hi Sameer, I have worked in pharma sales for 3 years and 3 years in Direct Selling industry as a Product trainer manager…now working as zone manager in another direct selling company ..my educational qualification is 10th -65% ,12th- 55% , graduation-59%……..what are my chances to get in PGPX IIMA

  28. Subhankar says:

    Hi Sameer Da,

    i have already done 2 years fulltime regular MBA, and now having an work experience of 4 and a half years. Need to excel in my life. What to do now?

  29. sathik says:

    hi sameer
    i have very less mark in 10th and 12th
    10th =52.3%
    if i elligable for iim
    if i get more than 90 above in cad exam if they will select me or not
    please tell that

  30. Pragya Sharma says:

    Hi Sameer,

    I am an advertising professional, a copywriter with 7.5 years of work ex.
    I have got through IIM A pgpx, IIM B EPGP & ISB Mohali Campus.

    I am confused as to which course is best suited for a person with my kind of profile.
    Was wondering if you could help.

  31. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Subhankar: Starting off with ‘what’ you want to excel in (before tackling the ‘how’ part), would be a good way to break the ice.

    @Pragya: I’d vote for IIMA PGPX.

  32. Sayantani says:

    Hi Sameer,

    I am working in the Steel Industry for 6.5 years now in Research and Control Lab. with a background in Metallurgical Engg. I have got through ISB and IIM C PGPEX.
    I am not being able to decide which will be a better fit for my profile. Looking forward to your suggestion.

  33. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Sayantini: As you’d be applying in 2015 (when you’d have 7+ yrs experience), one year MBA at IIMs would be a better fit.

  34. Manish says:

    I am having 10+ years of experience in IT. For me the opportunity cost of doing one year PGP is not worth it. There is a risk of landing on the same salary level or even less going by average placement stats. Which is the best program which awards MBA part time in India?

  35. Deveer says:


    I currently have 12 years of experience in IT including both Development and testing. I have been involved mostly in the services industry all through. I am planning for 1 year full time course. I am not clear if the prep should start with GMAT or a CAT/XAT. I am mostly interested in Indian schools and not looking for international schools. I am sure that by the time I would get into any school, I would have around 13-14 years of experience. What would be the best option?


  36. Amit Kumar says:


    My profile is as below. Let me know if i am good to apply for IIM A,B,C, ISB, XLRI.

    GMAT: 680
    Experience: 10 years
    International Experience: 4-5 years.
    Sector: IT development, consulting, management
    class 10th: 75%
    class 12th: 67%
    Graduation: 70%

    Any inputs on how to go about from here would be appreciated.

  37. MBA seek says:

    Hi Sameer,

    Is it worth to apply for IIM A at 660 GMAT SCORE. Total Experience- 5 years+

  38. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Manish: You could consider an Executive MBA from IIM

    @Deveer: For 1 year MBA programs at IIM, you’d need a GMAT score.

    @Amit: The first 3 in the list would fit your profile better.

    @MBA Seek: I saw your email too with the additional details. Keep in mind that your score is 50 points below the average for their program. While it’s ok to apply (since they’ve encouraged you to), I’d have to disagree with them about the score being competitive.

  39. Ganeshan S says:

    Hi Sameer ,

    I am having total IT Experience of 6+ Years without any international experience .

    Throughout my academics i have a consistent percentage of 65% and I would want to do PGPX taking up a GMAT soon .

    My dream is to get into IIMA , IIM-B PGPX and ISB .

    Which as per you will suit my profile ?

    Pls suggest .

    Ganeshan S

  40. Pranjal says:

    Hi Sameer

    My GMAT score is 660.


    9 years experience in pre-sales,market research and project management
    Kindly let me know if i can give a try for IIM Kolkata,IIM Indore and IIM Bangalore year executive MBA.

  41. ab says:

    Hi Sameer…
    I’m an MBA from an ordinary B-School with 16 years of experience. Around 4 years of which is in International Business in EAC countries. Currently handling a regional profile in a not-so-big company. Throughout first class in studies… Solid references from previous professional and academic superiors.

    1. How are my chances for PGPX
    2. Post PGPX career development
    3. Average GMAT score required to get through…

    Thanks and regards,

  42. Animesh Misra says:

    Hello Sameer ,
    I am Pharma Graduate, having over 3 years of experience in pharma sales profile. Currently working in Area Manager profile . But now I am determined to complete my next level studies to grow in my Career. So my question is that should I go for regular pharma MBA course or PGPEX 1 year MBA IIM. Which would be beneficial for my self .

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