Tuesday, October 16, 2012

IIM Aspirants: Engineer rush in CAT forces rethink on test

This year 67.6% of the CAT aspirants are from engineering background, an increase of over five percentage points from the 2011 edition. And with a further dip in applicants from disciplines like arts, humanities and medical sciences, the IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) are now taking a relook at the Common Admission Test (CAT) to offer a level playing field to candidates from other disciplines. Of the over 214,000 candidates, more than 144,000 candidates are engineers, whereas candidates from humanities are just 3,404.

"To an extent it's true engineers are at an advantage, but only partly as 50% of the test also has verbal ability. But yes, going by the data and with fewer candidates coming from arts and humanities, efforts are on to take a re-look at CAT," said CAT 2012 convenor SSS Kumar. He refused to give further details. But with the present edition of CAT underway and deliberations is mid-way Kumar refused to give out the details.

This year, of the 214,068 candidates who have registered for the test, 144,760 are engineers, whereas 3,404 are from humanities. Last year, 62.2% candidates were engineers.

Stating that there will be changes in the CAT 2013, the specifics of which will be released later after the decisions are finalized, Director of IIM-Kozhikode, Debashis Chatterjee said efforts are on to get talents from across disciplines. "It's a pity that we are missing out on some of the best talents present among those in humanities. At present, we are answering to the geo-political reality of India, but we are deliberating as to how the test will have to change," said Chatterjee. IIM-Kozhikode is conducting the CAT this year on behalf of the 13 IIMs.

Otherwise, CAT 2012 is much more inclusive with increase in female candidates, SC/ ST and non-creamy OBC and aspirants from agriculture, CA, architecture, pharmacology registering for the test. Another trend this year is a significant increase (43%) of aspirants with two to three years of work experience.

While the general category has registered an increase of 2.2%, the combined increase in the number of registration for non-creamy OBC, SC and ST as against 2011 is 4.7%. "The positive thing about CAT 2012 is that it has become more inclusive with increased participation from the reserved category, female candidates and from other disciplines like agriculture, CA, architecture and pharmacology. The significant 4.2% increase in registration is a positive sentiment despite the gloom. This growth is not a small thing if we put this in context to the 62% decline in interest in MBA programmes in the US," said Chatterjee.

Source: The Times of India, October 16, 2012

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