Updated: Nov 6, 2020
This is one of the most requested posts and hence it will cover in detail all the activities you can indulge yourself in to improve your profile as well as your CV to get into the top B-schools of the country.
The information presented ahead is based on the achievements and CV points of various non-engineers who made it to different IIMs. A collection of these data points helped me bucket them into solid pointers.
Before we get to the pointers, you must look at the CV format that I have shared earlier in this post and understand what do I mean by buckets and how they help in making a good CV.
The points using which you can improve your CV have been categorized into the following buckets:
Internships & Work Experience
Positions of Responsibility
After analyzing 50+ CVs of non-engineers, I've collated the things you can do to boost your profile.
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College Merit Scholarships - The rank holders at institute level are accorded with memorial awards and scholarships that can be added as a CV point.
Most of them are conducted at the school level. They include:
NSTSE - National Level Science Talent Search Examination for students till class 12th.
UIMO - Unified International Mathematics Olympiad for students till class 12th.
UCO - Unified Cyber Olympiad for students till class 10th.
UIEO - Unified International English Olympiad for students till class 10th.
NCO - National Cyber Olympiad for students till class 10th
NSO - National Science Olympiad for students till class 12th.
IMO - International Mathematics Olympiad for students till class 12th.
IEO - International English Olympiad for students till class 12th.
ICO - International Commerce Olympiad for students of classes 11th and 12th.
IGKO - International GK Olympiad for students till class 10th.
BIFO - BSE International Finance Olympiad for classes 9th to 12th.
NTSE - National Talent Search Examination for students of class 10th.
UNSW - Educational Assessment Tests for students till class 12th.
Some of them recognized at the UG level include:
International Scientific Olympiad on Mathematics
South Eastern European Mathematical Olympiad
Mathorcup Global Mathematical Modeling Challenge
Google Summer of Code
Google Code Jam
Apart from these, keep an eye on this website - Scholarships in India. It hosts a lot of Olympiads and Quiz Competitions that are open for college students.
If you've appeared for tests like JEE, CAT, SNAP, XAT, SAT, etc. you can mention their scores.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) provide an opportunity to learn from experts by enrolling for courses (paid or free). It is suggested to take up courses basis your interest.
They include courses like CA, CFA, CS, etc. To read more about their importance, refer this post.
You can take up a project that helps you learn more about your field of interest. Generally, live projects are of these types:
Taken Under Professors - In order to take up a live project under professors, you need to check the faculty pages of your institute and find out which professor is currently researching on the area of your interest. Then, you need to approach them via e-mail and attach a cover letter to work under them.
Taken Under Institutes - Some institutes like IIM Ahmedabad offer students the opportunity to work on live projects under their social innovating wings. Apart from that, there are many international programs conducted like Indo-Dutch Program that offer such an opportunity.
Taken Under Corporate - You may choose to contact a company and work on a project for them. It is similar to doing an internship except the difference that in a live project, your role is more defined and specific to that project only.
Independent Project - You may also take up a project on your own and send the recommendations to the concerned authority. If you receive a positive feedback, you can include it in your CV. I did this for Bombay Stock Exchange and received an LOR from its CEO.
This is another kind of scholastic point you can mention. You may choose to write an independent paper, co-author it or assist a professor with an ongoing research. If it gets published, you can also mention about the credibility and repute of the journal.
INTERNSHIP & WORK EXPERIENCE
Internships of any kind - virtual as well as office. Though, office internships have more value, the kind of work you do during virtual internships can set you apart as well. For internships, I've already written a post on how to get an internship at the undergraduate level.
If at any point you are not able to make a choice between doing an internship and preparing for CAT, read this post. It will help you understand how to make such a trade-off.
Work experience also helps in significantly improving your profile. Now, if you're a fresher, there's nothing to worry about. About 25% of the batch at IIM-A every year is of freshers. In this post, I've shared how work-experience impacts your placements at an IIM.
POSITIONS OF RESPONSIBILITY
Club/Society Member - If you're a member of any club/society of your school/college. If you're the head or the president of the society, that is accounted as a separate CV point.
Fest Coordinator - If you're a member of the organizing committee (OC) of any fest, it is considered to be a valuable CV point. You can also mention the budget of the fest.
Event Organizer - If there's any event being organized around you, be it academic or otherwise and you were assisting in its planning or organizing, you can add it to your CV.
Placement Coordinator - This is one of the most respected points in the CV. To know more about how to join the Placement Cell of your college, read this post.
Campus Ambassador - If you were the face of your college in any event/fest/company's promotional stunt, you can add it to your PORs.
Volunteer - If you helped an NGO by organizing any event for them or assisted them in their objective, it's a POR of volunteering. For example, conducting a blood donation camp.
Student Union - Any member of student union during college can add his/her position as a part of the union as a CV point.
Head Boy/Head Girl - Similarly, any responsibility accorded to you during school can come here.
Case Study Competitions
Institute Level Case Study Competitions - Undergrad colleges in Delhi University as well as IITs often organize case study competitions. The best way to stay updated about them is to follow pages like DU Updates, where such information is readily shared.
Eptitude - organized various case study competitions all across the Delhi in different DU colleges.
Management Case Study Competitions - These are organized by different B-schools as a part of their management fests. For example, IIM Ahmedabad conducts Armageddon as a part of TRBS, the management fest of IIM Ahmedabad. To keep a track of these, follow pages like Inside IIM and D2C
Microsoft Compudon - is a competition organized for students between the age of 13-22 to test their skills with MS Office tools. It is often added by students as a CV point.
Corporate Competitions - In India, D2C hosts most of them. Internationally, you can visit Student Competitions to know more about the ones that are open for Indian students.
Mock Stocks - They are one of the most valued club events often conducted by the commerce and finance societies of different colleges. To participate, follow the finance/commerce club pages of different undergrad colleges and also pages like DU Updates as mentioned earlier.
IPL Bidding - On the similar lines as Mock Stocks, IPL Bidding is also conducted by commerce and finance clubs, sometimes also by the Placement Cells (Avenues, KMC used to conduct it).
Ad Mads - A type of marketing event conducted by various undergrad colleges.
Start-Up Ideas - A lot of colleges conduct funding events for budding start-up ideas.
If you've presented your idea independently or as a part of any institute in any exhibition, it can be added. For example, National Level Science Exhibitions, Start-Up Fairs, etc.
Tournaments - If you've played matches at the institute, district, regional, state, national or international levels. It is good to add either a variety of sports or a lot of points about one single sport only.
Event Organization - You could have organized a sports event to show your enthusiasm.
Quizzing - If you participated in a sports quiz and won, it can come here.
Online Gaming - A lot of students write about their performance in e-gaming and e-battles.
This can include dance, music, fine-arts, dramatics, etc. Most often the points are presented as follows:
Competitions - For example, a music instrumental competition that you participated in.
Performances - If you played or performed on a stage that is renowned. For example, during a corporate event or during a musical festival or during a cultural festival.
Olympiads - There are many fine-arts Olympiads conducted. For example, National Creativity Olympiad. The excellence can also be demonstrated by showing your knowledge.
In an earlier post, I've shared why this bucket is important. This may include:
Volunteer Experience - If you volunteered for any social activity organized around you, that can be a part of this bucket. For example, a drive to donate clothes to the poor can be an example.
Social Event Coordination - If there was a social event organized as a part of your college/office and you were a part of the organization committee, it can come here. For example, Enactus events.
Internship in a Help Group - If there's a group for blood donation and you're a member of the group or you have interned there, you can put it in this bucket.
Assistance in CSR Activity - If you're employed by a company and have contributed in the CSR initiatives of the firm, you can write them in this bucket.
Teaching/Training Help - If you've voluntarily taught or trained others, especially from economically backward families, it can be a part of the social bucket.
If you pursue something as a hobby, you can mention its achievements here. For example, I used to write on Quora and was named the Top Writer 2018. So, I included this point. If you blog or have a YT channel, you can definitely put the statistics up here. Read this post on how to develop a hobby.
Hope this gives an idea. In order to learn more about IIM interviews, click here.