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India's IIM-A, the World's Toughest B-School to Get Into

Testing into the top B-school is tougher than getting into Stanford
Not even 1 percent of applicants were admitted to India’s top business school last year
Not even 1 percent of applicants were admitted to India’s top business school last yearPhoto illustration by Darren Braun for Bloomberg Businessweek

Find the acceptance rates for MBA programs at Stanford University (7 percent) and Harvard University (13 percent) terrifying? Here’s a bit of perspective: Not even 1 percent of applicants were admitted to India’s top business school last year.

The Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad (IIM-A) offered spots to only 0.25 percent of applicants for the 2012-14 academic years. Entry is based heavily on their performance in India’s Common Admission Test, or CAT. Applicants who were admitted to the school and also took the U.S.-based GMAT bested business students the world over: The minimum GMAT score for students in IIM-A’s postgraduate program in management, equivalent to a two-year MBA program, was 770, compared with an average score of 730 at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, according to data reported by 200 global B-schools to QS Quacquarelli Symonds, a London-based researcher. (Stanford is the most selective U.S. MBA program, according to Bloomberg Businessweek data.) “Competition in India is so intense. So many kids have outstanding grades,” says QS Quacquarelli Symonds founder Nunzio Quacquarelli. “The application to acceptance rate probably makes [IIM-A] the most competitive business school in the world.”