Registrations for the Common Admission Test 2014 (CAT 2014), which is the entrance test for admission into the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and other premier business schools (B-schools) in India, have come down to a new low, although the number of seats in the IIMs have increased. Around 1,89,759 candidates have registered for CAT 2014 so far. Around 1.94 lakh candidates had registered for the examination last year, which was also a seven-year low, down by around 33% compared to 2008.
Candidates aspiring to appear for CAT 2014 can also apply for the six new IIMs (outside the existing 13), which are expected to be set up in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.
According to academic experts, the CAT examination needs better promotion. Only a handful of non-IIM B-schools accept CAT scores to grant admission at present. Around 90 non-IIM B-schools are expected to utilize CAT scores for admission this year, compared to around 150 just a few years ago. CAT authorities need to have a relook at the “contemporary” aspect of the examination. The number of IIM aspirants remains constant while the number of CAT test-takers is coming down. Moreover, the newer IIMs need to carve a niche for themselves to attract students. If not, students will vie for other premier B-schools which do not use CAT scores for admissions, the experts added.
The CAT registration figures do not conform to the Global Management Admission Council (GMAC) 2014 Applications Trends survey published earlier this year. As per the survey, for two consecutive years, a majority of two-year full-time Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs worldwide witnessed increasing or constant application rates. Moreover, in 2014, around 61% of B-schools in the world offering two-year degree programs saw increase in applications, which itself is an increase from 50% schools in 2013. The India-specific data for 2014 is not available at present. However, the rate of increase in the overall number of the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) examinees from India during 2010-2013 is 25%. At the same time, the total number of CAT examinees has dipped by 7.35% from a total of 2.04 lakh in CAT 2010. The most number of GMAT examinations conducted in India was in 2013. Overall, 22,878 candidates appeared for test from India in the year 2013, in comparison with 22,310 one year back and 18,321 in 2010.
There is also a growing trend among MBA aspirants to join good B-schools overseas, if they do not gain entry into a top-notch Indian B-school through CAT scores. The attraction for overseas MBA degrees often make them compromise on the quality of the institute as well. As per the GMAC survey, since the year 2012 most of the growth of two-year full-time MBA programs in institutes based in the United States (US) is due to increased admission of overseas students. In 2014, around 65% of MBA programs in the US have received more applications from international students, which is a rise from 56% in 2013 and 41% in 2012. The largest chunk of foreign students in US is from China and India, according to reports.
The online registration and application submission process of CAT 2014 will be reopened from 00.00 hours to 23.59 hours on Friday, October 10, 2014, as a one-day extension has been granted by IIM Indore due to numerous requests from aspirants regarding the same. IIM Indore is the conducting body of CAT 2014. The registration process had started on Wednesday, August 6 and was scheduled to continue for 56 days till 11.59 pm on Tuesday, September 30, 2014. However, the registrations were temporarily suspended from 8 pm on Sunday, September 28 to 11 am on Monday, September 29, 2014. The disruption was due to the scheduled site maintenance activities. The examination will be conducted on Sunday, November 16 and Saturday, November 22, 2014 (forenoon and afternoon sessions on both days).
Source: The Economic Times