I, The Absolute

Grade non-disclosure policy

Posted by itheabsolute on August 25, 2005

Is status quo the best thing? ISB had a grade non-disclosure policy during its first year. What it means is that the school and the students will not disclose the grades to the recruiters. The fact that the students have been picked up through a rigorous selection process, that the curriculum at the school is quite demanding and that the school has reputation and ethics not to give pass grade to someone who has flunked just to be able to place the guy, should be reason enough for the recruiters to come and pick up students. Of course, subject to interview process.

ISB has a disclosure policy now, but limited to letting students report their grades to recruiters. ISB will not release our grades to recruiters. Without our permission, that is. Now, some of the students have been trying to bring the topic of non-disclosure for debate so that we as a student body can decide which system is better. There are arguments on both sides. Nothing is right or wrong. But one system will foster a particular milieu on the campus; the other will foster a different set of experiences. Since there is enough student diversity, people will have different views and preferences. But in the overall interest of not only the current batch but the coming batches, a debate is essential. Efforts made by one of the colleagues are not being encouraged. Let the term exams pass, I will also do my mite in trying to generate a debate.

All those well known b-schools have non-disclosure policy. The point is they take students with work experience and mind you those who have already succeeded and proven their mettle back at work. Using a yardstick of grades alone is a wrong way of going about. This is the logic these schools use. Yet all the major companies go to these schools for recruitment.

The problem here is Indian education system. IIMs take freshers. What better way to judge freshers than to look at their grades. The entire recruitment scenario in India is geared up to picking up guys from these management schools where most of them are freshers. In fact, Mckinseys and BCGs of the world deviate from their global policies to suit Indian education system. Given these, bringing about a change in our – be it the students or recruiters – orientation towards grades is difficult.

Starting a debate, however, should not be.

PS: If anyone has any points to add for or against, please drop a comment.

8 Responses to “Grade non-disclosure policy”

  1. Spew said

    Grade non-disclosure: Its an interesting idea, but as someone pointed out, there will spring up other ways of filtering, and these may not be as transparent.

    Overall, though i do think the placement process is over-rated. If you have the experience and the degree, you can approach your dream company and industry on your own. Its only when you lack clarity, you plump for B-school recruiting industries and then mold yourself into what you think they need. Not an optimal process. Overall, given clarity in knowing what you are good at and what you want to do, you bring down competition to manageable levels and reduce stress. Grades become just sign posts.

  2. hi indranil, anonymous, class of 2005, ktean, sobee, sundeep

    thanks for posting ur views. i hope we will be able to debate and arrive at some consensus. these points will surely be of great help in reaching some consensus.

    i believe in the wisdom of the crowds. if more people choose X over Y, then surely there will merit in X



  3. sundeep tibrewal said

    Grade Non-disclosure:


    1. You study and work hard for the learning not the grades since it is not linked with placement any more.

    2. In doing so one is not lost in the details of the course and miss out on the big picture…. If too much information is stuffed into the brain, how much is retained anyways ?

    3.Self motivation is one of the best form of motivations… So with grades no longer linked with placements, one would need to be highly motivated to “learn well” for the whole one year. If one scores low for whatever reason the person will still not be demotivated for the subsequent courses (since grades not related to placement)…. So due this the “overall learning” for most of the students will be higher.The syndrome “I have low grades, so best jobs not for me, so why study !” will take a backseat…

    4.With this policy, there will be an uncertainity as to the placement selection process.. “Don’t know what they might ask ? ” will lead to better preparation ! Hence better learning.


    1.Headache for recruiting companies: On what basis do they select students ? Selection process becomes more difficult and longer.

    2.Top notch, high peforming students (the ‘sharks’ as you call them) may feel its unfair to them. Why did/should they slog without getting any mileage out of it.

    3.Around 20-25 % students of the batch may just chill out and take it easy since grades don’t matter much. Again this is just an assumption. ISB has a great admission process so this % may be much lower.

    4.The stress level during the year will be lower. Hence, the overall stress handling capacity of the students at the end of the year will be lower.

    At a personal level, I am a proponent for the grade non-disclosure policy for the sake of “better learning” !! The onus should be on the recruiters to find the “best fit” for the organization who may not always be the person with the high grades !

  4. sobee said

    Hey Vijay…

    I think it is driven by company and we have a least part to play in it. Being a very good company and he decides when he enters the campus. Is that any one of you will argue if Mckinsey or BCG is asking for it else they decide to walk out?… I don’t we will do so. Here the buyer’s power is more compared to suppliers in case of tier 1 companies.

  5. Ketan said

    Assume a company which gives importance to grades. So I just wonder what’s stopping it from asking a student’s grade during interview process (I believe its hard at this level for someone to fake his/her grades..or may be not)?

    And I think the grade non-disclosure policy is relevant only during slump periods when companies dont have much reqs open and they are unwilling to hire. It might matter then for a school to have such a policy so that a company just dont reject a candidate due to low grades…During such a period a company may want only to take toppers from all B-schools (an absolute no hassel criterion to filter out students)… During a boom period (like current one) its immaterial at least from the school point of view. In current boom period, ISB placom knows that everyone will get recruited in the best of companies, with best of roles. In the long run grades are immaterial and i believe everyone in ISB is mature enough to know this…

  6. ISB Class of 2005 said

    ISB is still a little bit away from a non-disclosure policy. If not for grades, a McKinsey will short-list based on whether the person is an IIT-ian or CA rank holder. Grades at least give a chance for the other bright guys. That is the reality in India now. Once, ISB is established and McKinsey matures :), it can be thought about. In 4-5 years, maybe.

  7. Anonymous said

    This comes from a b-school passout and currently in one of the top consulting firms.
    let me begin by saying, we all love to have a world without competition. where we can all just keep moving up without slitting each other’s throats. but, the sad reality is that at every level, you’ve got to prove yourself. repeatedly. no entitlements in life. nothing ever comes on a platter. whether it is moving up within a firm. or whether as a leader of a firm/co, you have to defend your turf. and infringe upon others. thats the reality. in such a scenario, grades become a way of measuring the individual’s ability to deal with competition. it is not so much a measure of intellect as it is a measure of drive and hunger – key abilties to succeed in the ultra competetive world of consulting and i-banking. thats the reason most consulting and i-banking firms insist on grades.

  8. Indranil said

    Hi Vijay, I feel that the grade non-disclosure policy helps to promote a relaxed atmosphere where everyone can focus on cooperation and learning instead of competing against each other for grades.

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