If one were to take a look at the list of students clearing the IPMAT (Integrated Programme in Management Aptitude Test) over the recent seasons, one will come across a substantial proportion of students who are from the PCM (Physics Chemistry Mathematics) background. First of all, we need to understand why does this happen. There is a clear timeline to it. Most of the students who dream of a seat at the IPM tend be those from commerce stream. But to the contrary, most who aim for a seat at an IIM, via the CAT route, tend to be science students, specifically engineers.
This situation invariably means that those who want to do an engineering, do make plans for a career in management right from the outset. In school, a significant proportion of engineering aspirants haven’t even heard of the IPM as an option. But once they come to hear of it, through career seminars or the like, many lap up at the opportunity. The IPM route gives them a straight shot at an MBA from an IIM, rather than the more circuitous route via the CAT. There is also, as of now, greater amount of competition in the latter. Since one has to dabble in management anyway, better to get trained for five years in it, rather than only the two.
There are also some extraneous, uncontrollable factors that lead to this situation arising. One is that a vast majority of students who are eligible, are encouraged to take up science in class XII. The general perception, perhaps rightly, is of more opportunities if one takes up wither the PCM or PCB (Physics Chemistry Biology) combinations. Thus, a lot of the brightest minds, who could have done theoretically equally or even better in the Humanities or Commerce, end up with a PCM tag in Plus 2. A lot feel attracted to the subjects, perhaps because they liked these till 10th. But the same subjects in class XI and XII are a different ball game.
Many struggle at the senior secondary level. This leads them to the IPM path. Due to the rigour that many of them show for pursuing the JEE (Joint Entrance Examination), they are already in line with the concept of entrance exams. This is in stark contrast to the commerce or humanities students whose primary targets are in doing well in class XII Boards. Science students think less of the Boards, more for entrances, so the IMPAT is just one more of them. They are this, psychologically better attuned to cracking such papers. Due to their success, at least till 10th in Math, the IPMAT paper also appears quite attractive to them.
Math and the related Logical Reasoning suit these PCM pupils quite well. While a lot of the students, end up realizing their potential with the IPMAT quite late, after sitting for the JEE, some get this insight earlier. Now, with the JEE scheduled twice a year, students can make up their minds quicker. In case of a relatively poor showing in the January JEE, these students can quickly shift towards the IPMAT studies. They now have ample time to make a dash for this exam. For these students, Verbal Ability and subsequently their General Awareness plus Soft Skills become extremely crucial.
Due to many of the JEE aspirants’ natural edge with math as discussed above, it is in English that many are found wanting. That section becomes like a game- changer or a tie- breaker even. This is akin to several IIT grads acing the Quants section of CAT, but somehow struggling to clear the Verbal section. General Knowledge will soon be required if, and assuming the student gets shortlisted for the interview and WAT (Written Ability Test) process. He/ she will also need to hone the soft skills part to sail through these rounds, as spoken language, body language, articulation and career clarity are of top importance now.
So overall, we see that IPM is indeed a highly lucrative career option that JEE students must especially go for. One part in Quants they would already be fairly strong in, but now they will need to persevere on the Verbal part. Even though the competition and awareness regarding the IPMAT is increasing each year, it is still much less than that of the JEE or later the CAT. Even after attempting IPMAT, one does not need to close off the options for the JEE or other such exams. The final decision may be made on a weighted plank, depending on which is the best college the student makes it to, from across the course categories.