Economic downturn pushes up demand for MBA seats

Laiqh A. Khan

Only 1,581 seats left vacant this year

Graduates take up MBA for want of jobs

Bangalore: The economic slowdown and its adverse impact on the job scenario appears to have forced many graduates to flock to business schools in the State if the upswing in demand for MBA seats this year is any indication.

Vice-Chancellor of Visvesvaraya Technological University H.P. Khincha, who heads the Central Post Graduate Admission Committee (CPAC) that selects candidates for government quota seats in B schools in Karnataka, told The Hindu that there was a “tremendous surge” in the number of applications for MBA seats.

Mr. Khincha attributed the good response for MBA seats this year partly to the financial crisis gripping the industry and the resultant freeze in employment options for graduates.

“Clearly, one of the reasons is the employment scenario arising out of global economic slowdown. The other reason could be the rise in the number of graduates passing out of colleges in the normal course,” he said.

According to VTU Registrar K.V.A. Balaji, who is Member-Secretary of CPAC, the number of vacant seats after the conclusion of the counselling session for 2009-10 was 1,581 as against over 5,000 seats left vacant the previous academic year.

Mr. Balaji said CPAC could fill only 4,853 seats out of 9,905 seats on offer during 2008-09. “For the academic year 2009-10, we have managed to fill in 7,387 seats out of 8,968 available across 198 institutions in the State leaving only 1,581 seats vacant,” he said.

Mr. Balaji endorsed Mr. Khincha’s views on the heightened demand for MBA seats to “drying up of jobs in the wake of economic slowdown”. Apart from graduates, who have not been able to get a job in view of the employment freeze in most companies, several laid off employees, both from India and abroad, were believed to have queued up for a seat in the B-schools in the State.

CPAC is a body constituted by the State Government to hold the Post Graduate Common Entrance Test (PGCET) to fill government quota seats for MBA apart from MCA, ME, M.Tech and M.Arch courses.

“Last year, the managements of private colleges offering MBA course had surrendered more than the mandatory quota of 50 per cent to the CPAC to be filled up because of poor demand. This year many managements preferred to fill their quota of seats on their own as there was a rise in demand. Hence, the number of seats available for selection by PGCET dipped to 8,968 this year from 9,905 last year,” Mr. Balaji said.

Almost all seats in reputed institutions, particularly the ones attached to engineering colleges, had been filled up this year. “The few that have been left unfilled are invariably the ones in colleges that are not in demand,” he said.

Mr. Khincha said the response for post graduate engineering seats — ME, M.Tech and M.Arch — was very good this time with all the full-time seats taken. “Out of the 4,400 seats, 400 were vacant. And all the 400 vacant seats are for part-time courses,” he added.

Last year, out of 3,596 post graduate engineering seats, 2,056 had been filled. Similarly, 1,478 MCA seats had been filled out of the available 3,528.