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Updated: June 6, 2013 14:32 IST

Why students no longer pursue CAT doggedly

Vasudha Venugopal
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Focus on campus placements, lack of peer learning culture seen as reasons

“In the MBA class I go to, most of the students are software employees,” says Nancy Paul, a final-year student of an engineering college. “Ten of us started preparing for CAT (Common Admission Test) a year ago but then as campus placements classes began, this took a backseat. Moreover, how many good B-schools actually admit fresh graduates,” she wonders.

Her views mirror those of many college students and reflect in the low number of candidates in the State taking competitive higher education examinations, particularly CAT – the entrance to 13 IIMs and over 150 business schools across the country. The highest number of aspirants comes from New Delhi (60,000), while Bangalore (around 21,200) and Mumbai come close, followed by Hyderabad and Pune. Chennai lags behind with only about 13,500 having registered.

Perseverance and peer learning are vital in cracking CAT but the environment for both is lacking here as colleges focus on training students for campus interviews and students in turn look for getting into companies, say experts.

Fewer incentives

“Few colleges educate students about the other career options or even boast about its alumnus making it to the IIMs,” says Ananthraman Mani, a city-based entrepreneur and an IIM- Bangalore alumnus. Also, with companies' eligibility criteria coming down, it has become very easy for an engineering student to get placed from the campus in a company that has an office in Chennai. He/ she sees fewer incentives for toiling hard for CAT then, he adds.

But even before the surge in jobs in the software sector, the number of students taking nationwide management entrances in Chennai was never that significant. “We have many people who willingly take to Chartered Accountancy here but the idea of an MBA as an important and lucrative pursuit is yet to gain prominence,” says Jayaram K. Iyer, Associate Professor (Marketing), Loyola Institute of Business Administration. “Even the language on our campus is Hindi,” he adds.

“The proportion of employees in the software industry who belong to this part of the country is more. That shows that the pattern here is to focus on jobs after graduation,” feels L.S. Ganesh, professor, Department of Management Studies, IIT- Madras.

Students, however express different concerns. “There are only around three reputed B-schools in Tamil Nadu. The rising fee structure and the difficulty in convincing families to let you go far away discourage students who have already spent a lot for a B-Tech degree in a self financed college,” says Sujatha Gunasekaran, who was preparing for CAT till she got placed with a IT major. Richa Prakash, an IT employee from Mumbai, a B-school aspirant, feels that the cosmopolitan exposure that one looks forward to in an IIM is not a priority for many here, and the coaching too lacks rigour.

However, Prof. Iyer says that mobility may not be that big an issue since students from the State have always been known to go abroad for pursuing technical education. “Ability to communicate may affect our students while those from the northern and western parts of the country gain an edge on this front. Thus, we now get students from Lucknow and Ludhiana but not from Coimbatore or Madurai.”

Other paths

Another factor, according to A. Venkatesh, an MBA trainer, could be the across-the-board decline in the number of students taking CAT as the test is no longer the only way to get into reputed colleges. “Students are considering other options too. They realise that finance and telecom, large recruiters of MBA professionals can be dicey fields, and this unrest does not go well with people, particularly from this part of the country. Many here opt for GMAT that provides opportunities in reputed colleges in Asia and western countries or go for correspondence MBAs from reputed institutes.”

However, the floating population of software employees from Chennai taking the test in cities they are working and vice-versa does not reflect in the numbers and this needs to be considered to get a clear idea about changing trends, says Mr. Mani.

Keywords: CATMBA admission


Vasudha VenugopalJune 28, 2012

sir, This is with reference to article showing the downward trend in pursuing CAT exam in tamilnadu. Parents andstudents are more interested in getting campus offers to get quick money to settle their educational loans and to settle in their married life. They are no longer interested in pursuit of knowledge and higher goals in life. Once the the theory of demand and supply works out, MBAs may also lose their charm, once every third person is an MBA. compared to this kind of mindset in tamilnadu,. parents from higher errata of society from western and northern parts of india, prefer their children be given higher education and they spend long years to get quality education. our educational pattern in south also is also encouraging communication skill which is a must for viva interview in CAT , since most of the schools do not encourage such types of exposure to their students, instead they concentrate on cramming the portions of subject to get 101% yours venkataraman

from:  Venkataraman .R
Posted on: Nov 3, 2011 at 06:15 IST

Coaching centers and a series of MBA colleges deteriorated the quality of aspirants.. First they promise the quality education and after if becomes just a delusion.. many of students instead of learning in India planning to fly abroad .. Is the quality of education in India that much poor or what ?? Thousands of colleges are there offering miscellany .. actually the criteria of admitting students in good colleges are getting tougher therefore aspirants decides international or let there aspirations aside.. where we are lagging behind ?? giving chances for other countries which is ours actually..its an irony for INDIAN EDUCATION SYSTEM ..

from:  Anuj Nema
Posted on: Nov 3, 2011 at 02:04 IST

I feel the real factors that student in TN pursue MBA abroad than in india is because of the language and cultural differences. Thats why most of the northern (+UP/Bihar) and western states have more number of students get into IITs and IIMs. Most of them who got into IIMs and IITs outside TN will feel alienated unless they get into that culture/language very fast. I really doubt on the effectiveness of this CAT exams now a days than GMAT. I also feel most of the nation-wide entrance exams are in pattern that only suites the northern states, so students from TN may find difficult to adapt to that.

from:  dhana
Posted on: Nov 2, 2011 at 17:50 IST
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