Treat this year`s 10 percent slump in CAT applications as a silver lining, experts tell Prachi Rege. "When the going gets bad, it’s time to get going," they say. As you are busy trying your best to crack the CAT, reports on the slump in the number of applicants taking the MBA entrance test, are making rounds. But experts believe that this slump in numbers can be taken as an opportunity to excel well in the exam and get an entry into the B-school of your choice.
"This year, approximately 1. 94 lakh have signed up for the CAT as compared to the 2.14 lakh that applied last year," explains Kamlesh Sajnani, managing director, IMS. However, there is a difference in the number of people who sign up for the test and those who actually appear for it. "Out of the 2.14 lakh last year only 1.84 lakh took the test. Considering a 20 per cent drop out, let us assume that this year around 1. 70 lakh students will take the test," adds Sajnani.
According to Sajnani,this is a fantastic advantage for students who would want to make it to the best B-school in the country. Considering the low numbers, Sajnani believes that the chances of making it to the top 50 B-schools are higher.
For Vijay K Jha, senior vice president, Career Launcher Educate Ltd, the dip in the number of applicants seems to be a rationalisation of statistics. "Out of the thousands of B-schools that spring up every year only a few hundered are genuine in quality of education they deliver. Over 2000 B-schools have also shut shops in the last four years. So the less number of applicants competing for a few 100 good management insittutes is a good sign," he opines.
Both experts, agree that in 2008-2009 the number of applications was the highest—2. 75 lakh to be precise. "Since during this period both the global and local economy witnessed a downturn, professionals and undergraduates decided to get themselves trained in management skills," says Sajnani. Jha agrees with Sajnani on the reason behind the increase in number of applicants in 2008-09, adding that he doesn`t think that the numbers have fluctuated considerably.
Experts believe that CAT is an examination that tests your concentration and accuracy. "Strategy is must while solving questions. I am sure most students have devised a strategy. They must stick to the same," says Jha. "Don`t treat B-schools as placement agencies. A good school is essential for earning the MBA degree that trains you for management roles," advises Sajnani.
The Number Game
1) The number of women candidates has been increasing steadily over past two years and is 29 per cent
2) Candidates with two or more years of work experience, registering for CAT, has risen to 16 per cent
3) Candidates with little to no work experience have declined to 66 per cent
4) Maharashtra had the highest number of CAT registrations, followed by Uttar Pradesh and Delhi
5) Technology/engineering backgrounds comprising 70 per cent of candidates, an increase of 6 per cent from last year