New IIMs, market revival push up CAT applications

Better placement records last year, promise of new Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and hopes of an economic revival have pushed up the number of applications for this year’s Common Admission Test (CAT), an increase after five years.

While 2008 saw 2.76 lakh applying for the exam, the number of applicants registering for the MBA entrance exam went down in 2009 and 2010. There was a marginal rise in 2011, but numbers dropped again from 2012. In 2014, there were 1.89 lakh applicants but the total candidates who have registered for the exam this year jumped to 2.18 lakh, said IIMAhmedabad which is conducting CAT this year.

Experts say the economic slowdown in 2008 resulted in the drop in the number of applicants. Director of marketing and admissions at Great Lakes Institute of Management in Chennai, Gautam Lakhamraju, said: “MBA applications mir ror the broader economy given that applicants look at the job market before choosing a professional course. Since the 2008 financial crisis due to tighter and uncertain job market, candidates who were not sure of getting into a good institute were not keen to apply for CAT.”

Observers say the promise of new IIMs has also encouraged applicants. The Centre this January had approved the setting up of six new elite B-schools.

“For most aspirants the new IIMs are a confidence boost. Those who used to miss a seat in an IIM by a few ranks will now get into a top management institute,” said former director of IIM-Bengaluru, J Philip. Once these new institutes come up, there will be of 19 IIMs in the country . Each institution has an intake of 140 seats for the MBA programme for which the admissions will be made through CAT.

In addition to new IIMs, better on-campus placement in 2014-15 has given aspirants a boost. “Due to the economic slowdown, the on-campus recruitment in some of the average management institutes was affected. But in the last one year, the economy has started to recover and the result is reflected in better placements,” said director of PSG Institute of Management in Coimbatore, R Nand agopal. “Almost all top institutes recorded 100% placements,” he said.

Coaching institutes too have seen a rise in the number of candidates joining them. Arvind Kumar, director of coaching institute TIME, said: “There is a rise in aspirants joining the centre. There are two sets of aspirants, professionals and students who have completed graduation. Professionals apply only if the market is good.”