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Less competition for CAT aspirants this year

September 30, 2013 10:30 IST

Less competition for CAT aspirants this year

M Saraswathy & Kalpana Pathak

Registrations for the Common Admission Test 2013 have dropped by 9.3 per cent against last year. Experts blame it on poor placement records and lack of interest among aspirants to join the newer IIMs. 

Your ticket to the coveted Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) this year could be easier, comparatively, given the drop in the number of candidates registering for Common Admission Test (CAT) 2013.

While in 2011, there were 68 aspirants for one seat at an IIM, the figure has now dropped to 58 candidates a seat.

Registrations for CAT 2013 have seen a 9.3 per cent drop.

The total number of applicants stood at 1.94 lakh this year, compared with 2.14 lakh last year.

This would mean that a prospective IIM candidate would have fewer number of people to compete against, for a seat in one of the 13 IIMs.

This, in comparison, to 2010, where the competition ratio was 1:101, which was down from 1:125 in 2009.

The ratio of admissions to CAT applicants in 2008 was 1:153, meaning 153 candidates were vying one seat in an IIM.

There were two reasons for the good tidings: Fewer students taking the CAT and the number of seats at IIMs having increased.

In 2008, 276,000 aspirants appeared for CAT for 1,800 seats in IIMs.

The number reduced to 247,000 in 2009 for 1,950 seats and 220,000 (approximately) for 2,180 seats.

However, experts point that there would still be stiff competition.

Gautam Puri, vice-chairman and managing director, CL Educate, said though the number of applicants have come down, the competition would still be intense.

“Only the students who are unlikely to make it to the top institutes have backed out. We still have the top 40,000 students competing for the top 25 management institutes, including IIMs and others. Hence, the level of competition is still high,” said Puri.

CAT, which is the common test for admission to the IIMs and several other non-IIM business schools, has a ratio of 1:20, wherein almost 1.2 lakh candidates have applied for 10,000 seats.

"It is a consolidated pool and the ratio of the number of applicants to total seats is also good. Hence, this year's exam would be more competitive and having a consolidated pool of candidates is a positive development,” said Rohit Kapoor, convenor of CAT 2013 and chairperson, admissions at Indian Institute of Management, Indore.

“Not so impressive placements at b-schools has had an impact on the number of students registering for the CAT. Also, students are not sure about seeking admission to the new IIMs,” said a senior official from an MBA training institute in Mumbai.

More than 160 B-schools accept CAT scores to admit students.

Industry experts pointed out that with a bad job market and high fee structure in IIMs, the students are instead looking for careers in non-management fields.

A senior education sector official pointed out that students would now prefer to get into courses where not just competition is lower, but there is a guarantee of getting their return on investment in education.

“The drop in registrations reflect that the credibility of CAT and that of the IIMs is at stake. With new IIMs in place, the IIM brand is losing sheen. Usually, it is only IIM A, B and C that students compete for. Many students who get admission into other IIMs prefer going to the other top 25 B-schools,” said a faculty member from an MBA training institute in Delhi.

In comparison to the IIMs, the ratio of seats to students is largely in the range of 1:10 in US Ivy League schools.

Image: For representational purposes only
Photographs: M Wadekar/Careers360