Gender Diversity gets a High Rise at IIMsCATKing
The incoming class of 2021 at the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) has set a new gender diversity benchmark for the flagship two-year MBA programme. Most of the leading IIMs — Bangalore, Calcutta, Kozhikode, Indore and Lucknow — have admitted the highest ever number of female students this year.
According to data provided by the country’s premier business schools, IIM Indore has 42% women in its newest batch (199 out of 476), while it’s 37% at IIM Bangalore (165 of 441) and Lucknow (148 of 405). IIM Calcutta has 31% women (152 of 480) and Kozhikode has enrolled 30% women (148 of 497). The exception is top-ranked IIM Ahmedabad, where it’s dipped to 24% (93 of 388) from 26% last year.
This takes the overall percentage of women at the top six IIMs to 33.5%, up from 26% last year. Recruiters are heartened by the trend. “When we find more women in classrooms at B-schools, we get very excited,” said Anu Madgavkar, partner, McKinsey Global Institute. “This is because the so-called ‘glass ceiling’ problem in C-suite and boardrooms actually has its roots far earlier in the talent pipeline.”
Top recruiters like Deloitte say that workforce diversity is the collective responsibility of all stakeholders. “The speed at which the marketplace is evolving makes it a business imperative and collective responsibility to have a gender-balanced workforce,” said SV Nathan, chief talent officer, Deloitte India. Each IIM has its own way of raising gender diversity.
At the shortlisting for our interviews, we have a criterion called gender diversity factor, where we give extra marks to female candidates. This has borne good results for us,” said Himanshu Rai, director, IIM Indore. IIM Kozhikode increased the pre-interview stage weightage for the class to 12 marks, while retaining the importance accorded to academic diversity.
Increased importance of essay writing at the interview stage along with the supernumerary addition of 60 female candidates has also contributed positively to the increase in gender diversity at IIMK,” said Shubhasis Dey, chairperson of admissions at IIM Kozhikode. “Among the diversity of perspectives, gender is one of the most important.”
Improving gender diversity is one of the top missions at the IIMs. “Our efforts are in sync with the decision of IIM-L board to improve diversity in our postgraduate programme classrooms especially with regards to gender,” an IIM Lucknow spokesperson said in an email.
IIM Lucknow has given extra marks for women in order to ensure a healthy gender mix qualifies for admission. IIM Ahmedabad, where the percentage of women has marginally declined, does not have any weightage in place for women candidates.