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Can a B.Sc Student Get into an IIM? Saumya Srivastava Shares Her Inspiring Story!

Thinking of getting into an IIM after B.Sc? Is it possible, can someone from the Science Background, especially Zoology, Botany, Chemistry make it to an IIM? Here's an inspiring story brought to us by Saumya Srivastava, who is all set to join IIM Jammu in 2020.

IIM Jammu

In Saumya's Words:


I am Saumya Srivastava from Lucknow. I have pursued a Bachelor's in Science(ZBC) from Isabella Thoburn College, University of Lucknow and completed my schooling from Delhi Public School, Lucknow. I was a gold medal recipient at DPS Lucknow, and have had a consistent academic track record. Also I have been actively involved in a lot of committees and activities in and out of college, the details of which I have added to my LinkedIn profile (shared ahead). My hobbies include reading, singing and painting.

CAT 2019 was my second attempt (74.42 in my first attempt) and I scored 91.92 percentile. I had calls from all third generation IIMs, and also IIM Shillong, from where I was, unfortunately again, rejected. Besides that, I had calls and converts from IMI Delhi, IMT Ghaziabad, FORE SM, GLIM Chennai and XIMB.

My Journey

Let It Unfold!

When I was in school, I decided that I would like to be a biology student. Back then, as is the case even today, I was fascinated by this subject. How detailed, how rational and at the same time, full of exceptions! Mostly people relate it with the hefty taxonomy or the mighty physiology but in reality, there is nothing more intriguing than genetics - the existence of the human DNA, the variation in life forms and not to forget mentioning - Darwin's theory of evolution.

But back then, as I like to call it, I was not a well-informed person. After 12th standard, I followed the crowd - I took an year off and prepared for NEET. 5 hours of coaching classes and no less than 4 hours of self-study each day, all of this to ultimately result in failure. Despite the effort, I was not able to secure a good enough rank. That was my first face off with failure. With all that frustration, guilt and anger of having "wasted" one year of my academic journey, it was difficult to not be disheartened about it.

After a whole year of dreaming of and wanting to be a medical student, I ended up being a B.Sc student at a local college in my city. Yes, I was moving ahead in terms of where destiny wanted to take me but on the inside, I was not happy. Watching my friends and batch mates at better colleges would only help me lower my self-esteem further. I eventually lost interest in my subject too. It had started to feel like a burden, like I will get nowhere in life if I continued to be despaired. What next? Nothing much. I continued with my classes. I prepared for my examinations with half a heart, wishing it would get over as soon as possible.

But now when I look back, I realize that those 3 years at college, my unsolicited meet with failure, turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Why? Because I did achieve a lot.

First, I have had my lesson - failure is inevitable. If you do not fail, you do not appreciate what it is like to succeed.

Secondly, I was able to identify myself in the true sense. Back in school, I did not view myself as more than a studious girl. It was in college that after getting involved in so many events and activities, I finally realized that I am more than what the books have taught me.

Thirdly, I am a better informed person now. Having interacted with so many different-minded people, coming from different backgrounds and wanting to reach to different places, all of this has helped me shape my perspective and decisions in a broader sense.

Fourth, I have become more optimistic. I view failures as challenges, not obstacles.

And the list goes on. The latest addition to this list is making it to an IIM. A biology graduate, with no prior work experience, among hundreds of engineers and commerce graduates. What brought me here? My willingness to learn and explore.

Being a non-engineer (and a biology student), scoring a decent percentile in CAT was not easy. However, I was certain that I will not give up this time and here I am, looking forward to a new experience altogether at Indian Institute of Management, Jammu.

From all the admission offers, I chose to join IIM Jammu. Many aspirants hesitate on joining a 'baby IIM' but I view it as the perfect opportunity to witness the growth of an educational institute, learning what I might not be able to experience in a well established institution.

I will let it unfold. I will fail again, as I will succeed. But I will continue to follow my instincts, make unconventional decisions and tell everyone who thinks that things that are falling apart, "You can and you will."

Note: As elated I am to write this post, I would be more than happy if I could help non-engineer aspirants prepare for their MBA journey. Feel free to reach out on LinkedIn.


There are so many things one can learn from Saumya's journey but the one that stood out the most for me was how she looked at the bright side of joining IIM Jammu and making the best out of the opportunity she has got. I feel a lot of us fail to appreciate that. Kudos to you Saumya on your achievement and thank you a million times for taking out the time to share your story!

If you have a story too, do share it in the Contribute Section of the blog.

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