MBA Admission: Dates, Eligibility, Exams and Top Colleges

  • By Aashruti Bhadoria
  • 20 December 2021
MBA Admission: Dates, Eligibility, Exams and Top Colleges

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So, you wish to pursue an MBA for that X-factor which sets you apart from your peers and you are looking through scores of articles on the internet, like many others. If you were looking for a one-stop guide which answers all your queries, and then some more, you are at the right place.

Master of Business Administration or MBA degree is a two-year post-graduate program that is offered in a variety of specialisations. India's best MBA colleges accept admissions on the basis of the nationwide MBA entrance exams, which are held throughout the year. Those who are interested may pursue an MBA in various learning modes - regular, online or distance education.

While an MBA is a 2-year degree course available only in colleges affiliated with universities, some autonomous institutes offer a Post Graduate Diploma in Management or PGDM program, a 1-year course. Most management colleges in India shortlist candidates for MBA admission on the basis of what they score in the MBA entrance exams, the group discussion and their personal interview. 

As of now, the country's premier MBA colleges, like the IIMs, MDI, XLRI, SPJIMR, IIFT, IMT and FMS DU, have initiated the admission procedure for the 2023 batch. Additionally, the registration process for top MBA entrance examinations such as CAT, XAT, SNAP, IIFT and NMAT by GMAC for the next academic session has commenced online.

MBA Admission 

MBA admissions are currently taking place in numerous B-schools across India. Students can choose from various government and private institutions in all the states of India.

Please note that even if you score a 99 percentile in the CAT entrance exam, the best way to ensure that your career path has an edge over others is by ensuring that you choose the right B-school. Keep reading for some detailed insight about MBA admission, including the admission schedule, eligibility criteria and more.

Eligibility criteria for MBA admission

The MBA eligibility criteria take into account multiple factors such as your academic details and the marks you scored during graduation, apart from what you scored during the entrance exam. If you wish to take admissions to a reputable college offering an MBA program, you have to fulfil the following criteria:

  • You must possess a Bachelor's degree in any discipline from a recognised university or institute.
  • Even if you are in your final year of graduation, you are eligible to apply for MBA provided you submit the required paperwork at the time of admission.
  • A minimum of 50% during graduation is necessary for candidates from the open category. If you belong to a reserved category, the minimum percentage required during graduation is 45%.
  • You should have a valid score from any university, state or national-level entrance examination.

Entrance exams for MBA admission 

Admissions into any B-school typically happen through an entrance exam or an MBA admission test. This exam can be any of the following types:

  • National Level Entrance Test, which is conducted by top management schools on behalf of other colleges. For eg.: CAT, CMAT, MAT or ATMA
  • State Level Entrance Test, which is held by a state-level testing body or the state's top B-school at the behest of other participant colleges from that state. For eg.: MAH-CET, KMAT, OJEE, TANCET or APICET
  • Some B-schools conduct tests for entrance into their own MBA programme. At times, these scores can be counted as a qualifying criterion by a different management school. For eg.: IIFT, XAT, NMAT, SNAP, and IBSAT
  • Tests conducted by a university for entrance to MBA programs being offered by colleges that are affiliated with it. eg: KIITEE, HPU MAT

MBA admission process 

Across every college/ institute in India, admission into the MBA program is carried out by shortlisting candidates on the basis of an entrance exam, which is followed by a group discussion and personal interviews. Outlined below are the different phases during the MBA admission process

  • Phase 1: Candidates appear in an MBA entrance exam that may be conducted at a state, university or national level.
  • Phase 2: Candidates are shortlisted on the basis of the marks they secured in the entrance exam, their academic profile as well as their work experience.
  • Phase 3: All candidates undergo a WAT/GD/PI and other relevant personality assessment tests.
  • Phase 4: The final list for MBA admission is compiled after due consideration of a candidate's performance in all three phases.

MBA admission: Key national-level entrance exams and application deadlines

Provided below is the schedule of top national-level entrance examinations along with the last date to apply for admission to different MBA colleges. Though most of the exams are to be conducted in 2023, there are a few exams that will be conducted in 2024 since their deadline for 2023 is already passed. 

MBA entrance exam schedule


Registration window

Entrance exam date

CAT 2023

First week of August 2023

November 26, 2023 (Tentative)

NMAT 2023

August 1 - October 12, 2023

October 10 to December 19, 2023

SNAP 2023

First week of August - Last week of  November, 2023

December 9, 17, 22,  2023

MAT 2023

  • PBT: August 29, 2023 (Last Date)
  • CBT 1:  September 12, 2023
  • CBT 2: Not Available 
  • IBT: September 13, 2023 (Last date)
  • PBT: September 3, 2023 
  • CBT 1: September 17, 2023
  • CBT 2: Not Available 
  • IBT: September 2,9,10,16, 2023 (Last date)

IIFT 2023

September 2023 (Tentative)

December 10, 2023 (Tentative)

CMAT 2024

Second week of February 2024

April-May 2024

XAT 2024

July 15, 2023

January 7, 2024 (Tentative)

MBA admissions: Schedule for college applications

Candidates can check in the tables provided below for the opening and closing dates of the top colleges to apply for MBA admission. The data has been compiled on the basis of which colleges are accepting the marks you obtain from various entrance exams such as CAT 2023, XAT 2024, SNAP 2023, NMAT by GMAC.

Top IIMs accepting CAT (2023) score for MBA admission 

IIM Ahmedabad

IIM Bangalore

IIM Calcutta

IIM Lucknow

IIM Indore

IIM Kozhikode

IIM Shillong

IIM Raipur

IIM Ranchi

IIM Rohtak

IIM Kashipur

IIM Trichy

IIM Jammu

IIM Udaipur

IIM Amritsar

IIM Bodh Gaya

IIM Nagpur

IIM Sambalpur

IIM Sirmaur

IIM Visakhapatnam

Top colleges (apart from IIMs) accepting CAT scores for direct admission in MBA

Provided below are the cut-offs and application window for MBA admission in the top B-schools in India for the 2023 session.

College / Institute


MDI Gurgaon


IIT Delhi

IIT Bombay

IIT Kharagpur

IIT Madras


FMS Delhi


SPJIMR, Mumbai


XIMB, Bhubaneswar


IMT Ghaziabad


NITIE Mumbai


IMI New Delhi


TAPMI Manipal


Great Lakes Chennai


MBA admission schedule for colleges and institutes accepting XAT score

College / Institute


XLRI Jamshedpur


XIM Bhubaneswar


IMT Ghaziabad




XIME Bangalore


MBA admission schedule for colleges and institutes accepting SNAP (2023) score

College / Institute








SIBM Bangalore


SIBM Hyderabad


SIOM Nashik


MBA admission schedule for colleges and institutes accepting NMAT by GMAC (2023) score

College / Institute


NMIMS Mumbai


VIT Vellore


SOIL Gurgaon


SDA Bocconi Asia Centre, Mumbai


FAQs - MBA Admission

What is the minimum score/ percentile required in CAT if I want to get admission to one of the IIMs?

It ultimately depends on the candidate's profile. However, as per the trend we have been witnessing in the past, the minimum percentile range to receive a GD/ PI call from IIMs is 95+ percentile.

What is the eligibility criteria to pursue an MBA?

Candidates must possess a bachelor's degree in any discipline with at least 50% marks at graduation to pursue an MBA. Admission into the program is granted on the basis of your scores on any one of the entrance tests.

Please note, institutes/ colleges have their own policies and the marks of some entrance exams won't be accepted by certain entities.

What is the difference between an MBA and a PGDM?

The primary difference between the two is that an MBA is a degree course that is offered only by colleges affiliated with universities, whereas a PGDM is a diploma course which is offered by autonomous institutes.

Is appearing for the CAT exam necessary for an MBA?

No, there are different entrance exams if you would like to pursue an MBA. However, IIMs only accept CAT scores. IIMs do not provide direct admission or accept the marks of other entrance exams.

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