- What is FPM?
Fellow Program in Management is a doctoral (Ph.D.) level course at IIMs. Post Graduate level course of IIMs is known as PGP, which you know as MBA. FPM is a four-year program and is actually integrated MBA-PhD course. First two years students go through the PGP course along with some additional advanced courses in their respective areas. Next two years are for pursuing research work. Four-year is the official duration of the program – but as per the requirements, the duration may be extended beyond four years, depending upon the particular IIM. During the third year, students may also avail internship opportunities in companies to work upon live research projects. More details about program structure are provided at the institutes’ websites. For more details about the course at IIM Lucknow,you may visit
- Who should do FPM?
Students/professionals who want to pursue a career in advanced research and academics (including teaching) are the ideal candidates for FPM. The applicant should have high scholastic ability, aptitude for research and excellent analytical skills. He/She should have enough motivation to withstand the rigor of the programme.
- How to get admission into FPM?
A separate form has to be filled for each IIM. The area of specialization must be mentioned at the time of application. You may use CAT/GATE/GMAT/ JRF scores for the qualifying exam. If you are applying through CAT, you have to select the option “FPM” in sections of respective IIMs in the CAT form. After the screening of your FPM form, you will be shortlisted for the interview. For more details, you may refer FPM admission notice in newspapers or on the web (to be listed later).
- What is the difference between FPM and PGP?
The level of Education: PGP (MBA) is PG level, FPM is Ph.D. level.
Duration: PGP 2 yrs, FPM at least 4 yrs (with stipend) and max duration allowed may differ in other IIMs. Specialization: multiple and generic in nature in PGP; In FPM, single-in depth domain expertise is offered. Orientation: Managerial applications in PGP; learning methodologies, pursuing research and development as well as the application for real-life business problems is the focus in FPM. Career Options: Managerial, consultancy, analytics etc for PGP; consultancy, analytics, modeling, research, academics for FPM.
- Do I need to be an MBA for doing FPM?
Not necessary. The course work provides understanding of relevant fields of management. Different areas prefer students from diverse backgrounds to match the area requirement.
- What is the CAT cut-off for FPM?
There is no fixed cut-off for FPM. Selection criteria may differ from IIM to IIM, and from area to area i.e. specialization. What matters more for FPM is – your previous background and its relevance to the area you have applied for. Weightage is also given to the answers you have written in FPM form. If your background doesn’t suit that area or your answers in the FPM form are not satisfactory – in terms of reflecting your interest into FPM and your respective specialization – you may not get a call even if you have good percentile. Hence, it may happen that students get a call at say 90, but not at 95. Sectional cut-off may also matter depending upon the area of specialization. For example, quant-based areas like decision sciences, operations or finance etc, your quant-section cut-off may be considered.
- Is FPM suitable for niche background likes BioTech, Pharma, Law etc.?
Yes, it is. And they can capitalize upon it. For example – Pharma is an evergreen domain and is a process industry like chemicals, paints, and cement. It is very much relevant to operations management and decision sciences. Also Pharma and Bio-Tech involves IPR issues etc, which have relevance into Strategy. Similarly, people from Law background may be suitable for strategy, HR, or PMIR areas etc. These are just explanatory examples. Many niche backgrounds have some special features associated with them which make them special. It is on you – how you can capitalize upon that.
- How to write answers?
SOP is to know your career objectives, and how FPM would help you in achieving those. Research Proposal is to know how much aware you are about your field of interest and scope of research into it. You may provide an overview of the possible research options in that area or sub-domain of the area. This is obvious that as a beginner you may not be able to zero in a specific research problem but if you can give examples, this will add value to your answers.
Suggestion: First make a list of – what strengths your background has offered you, and then find out what FPM program demands. Also, do the vice versa. See what are your career plans, and your expectations from the program; and what FPM can offer you. If you find a match between these things – pick the pen, write-downs the ideas. This will help you in answering questions in the Form, and at the time of interview also. It will also add thrust and confidence into your answers as these are not the crafted ideas; these are drafted ideas – and that too by yourself, not by the guidance of someone else. A similar exercise can also be done for deciding upon what area you should apply for.
The type of jobs in the industry you get after FPM may differ from what MBAs get. First thing – in consultancy, generally, it is at senior level if you have rich and relevant prior work experience. Second, FPMs work as domain experts in analytics and research wings of the companies – who can study and understand problems deeply and closely to find suitable solutions.
- What is generally asked in the interview?FPM interview mainly revolves around your academic soundness, work experience, if any, and research aptitude. You are also checked for your perseverance,determination and focus – because FPM is a four-year program, and is demanding in terms of your commitment towards the course requirements. You may also be asked to justify your answers written in FPM form. For FPM program – at every stage – what matters more than anything is the relevance of professional background, attitude and research acumen and how you can use your professional and personal skills for pursuing management research. If it is reflected apparently or subtly that – there is a proper match between your background and requirements of FPM program, your candidacy gets strengthened. Your answers should reflect your keenness for the domain and also, that your background and skill will help you in adding value to your learning and contribution into the domain.
- How much work experience is required for FPM?
There is no fixed rule. Work experience definitely gets good weightage but some IIMs also consider freshers for particular areas. Some areas require a good understanding of company practices and therefore work experience may be more important but – some areas may not emphasize much on work experience, and freshers might also get a chance. But again, I should say there is no fixed rule. For eligibility criteria regarding work experience – you may check institute websites.
- What are the career options after FPM and how it is different from that of PGP?
FPM is meant for training people for research and academics. In academics, fellows find jobs into premier academic institutes like IIMs, MDI, and XLRI etc. In Industry, they can join research wings of companies. Nowadays, almost all companies are concerned about research – to develop better solutions and methods to get competitive advantage. Thus many companies have started their own research wings, like IBM, Deloitte, GE etc. Apart from that, there are so many consultancies which require domain experts for consulting projects.Today is the time for Mass-customization which draws the path for multiple-niche. For such environments, experts are required to handle the nitty-gritty of that particular area. This has increased requirements of Management PhDs in the industry. Because, there is a scarcity of PhDs in India – as a temporary solution, companies are making alliances with premier management institutes to involve their FPM students or Faculties in their projects. The number of Mgmt Institutes is also increasing due to the demand of MBAs, but there is a dearth of management faculties in India. Demand – Supply imbalance exists and it reflects a lot of scope for Mgmt PhDs in the industry and in academics. The type of jobs in an industry you get after FPM may differ from what MBAs get. First thing – in consultancy, generally, it is at senior level if you have rich and relevant prior work experience. Second, FPMs work as domain experts in analytics and research wings of the companies – who can study and understand problems deeply and closely to find suitable solutions.
- What is expected from FPM students?
FPM students are expected to complete course work, pass a comprehensive exam, and then do publication quality research of an international standard.
- What is the level of rigor of the course?
The course is rigorous. It needs a very high quality of academic commitment and integrity. It has stringent requirements at every stage of the programme. Candidates who fail to match the requirements may be asked to leave the programme.
- Where do FPM students get placed?
FPM is oriented towards training students for careers in research. Such training is most highly valued by academic institutions. But leading Indian companies, MNCs, investment banks and consulting firms also value their training for certain positions requiring specialized research skills.
- When are FPM students allowed to take up outside employment ?
Students are allowed to seek employment after making their proposal presentations successfully and when they are likely to defend their final theses in next six months. Students seeking employment prior to their final theses defense are required to take a no-objection certificate from their DAC (Dissertation Advisory Committee) Chairperson.
- How much time does it take to complete FPM?
One is expected to take 4 – 5 years to finish thesis work and receive the degree in the 5th year’s convocation. However, there are students who have completed the programme in 3.5 years. The total maximum allowed time to complete FPM is seven years.
- Do I apply for a specific area or can I choose my area after getting admission?
You can apply to two areas but must mention your first preference in your application. Once a student is admitted to an area, only rarely do we allow the student to change the area.
- Does IIML allow foreign nationals to apply for FPM?
Yes, the eligibility criteria are same. However, foreign nationals do not get financial assistance and they may have to pay tuition fees. Please refer our website/brochure for details.