The demand for professional higher education courses in the State is definitely on a slow, but steady rise. So say the numbers at least. The number of students who took the TANCET (Tamil Nadu Common Entrance Test) on Saturday and Sunday - went up by 10,000 this year. The test determines entry to MBA, MCA, ME, M. Tech and M. Arch courses in institutions across the State

There are nearly 150 MBA seats, 120 MCA and over 70 M.E. and M. Tech seats in Anna University alone, and a considerable number of seats in self financed colleges too.

Nearly 1, 10,000 students took the exam this year, and the number has been increasing by 10 -12 per cent every year, said TANCET secretary G Nagarajan. About 59,000 students on Saturday took the test for admission to MBA, while the rest took the exam for M.E, M. Tech, M. Arch and M. Plan courses on Sunday.

Many students who attempted the exam to get into M.E. and M. Tech courses found the paper very theoretical. M. Manoj, who studies in a self-financed college here, said his paper (mechanical stream) had over 70 per cent theoretical questions, which was a disappointment. “I expected more problem sums but it was mainly theory,” he said. The test is preferred by many who don't land a job in placements because of arrears or lack of communication skills, he added. “ An M.E. degree can get us a job in Core Company that never visits our campus,” he added.

As for the MBA, the TANCET paper has a unique section, Analysis of Business Situations, which expects the candidate to analyse and evaluate case studies. “No other B-school paper has this section. This year, the questions in the section were really tough,” said R. Mahendran, who took the test. Also, this is first time TANCET had pure mathematics questions from class XI and class XII. “Most B-school tests are restricted to general aptitude alone. This shows the difficulty level of TANCET – MBA is also going up,” explained T. Raghunath, course director, Triumphant Institute of Management Education.

MCA aspirants had expected the number of applicants to be low as this year, the AICTE had insisted that only those who studied mathematics as a core subject for class XII can aspire for an MCA degree. “MCA students in most colleges were paid salaries on par with or even more than B. Tech students. I thought getting the degree will help me get an IT job but I found out I am not eligible,” said Harshita V, a biology student.Nearly, 45 per cent of the students who register for the Tamil Nadu Common Entrance Test (TANCET) aim for a management degree, while only about 15 per cent apply for an MCA course. The increase in the number of students opting for MBA courses in Anna University and self-financed colleges is also because most B-schools have hiked their fees in the last few years, feel some students.

“I need to spend only about Rs. 80,000 in Anna University or just Rs. 3 Lakh in self financed college. In a B-school, it could go up to Rs.10 lakh,” said Vijay Prabhakar, an MBA student of Anna University. For those keen on a family business or job, a post-graduate degree though TANCET is ideal because many have spent at least 4 lakh for an engineering degree here, he said.

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Vasudha VenugopalJune 28, 2012