Those who think the Indian Institutes of Management's Common Admission Test (CAT) is skewed towards graduates in certain disciplines may take heart from the fact that "efforts are on" to review it.
The premier institutes are re-looking at the CAT, said IIM Kozhikode officials at a press conference in New Delhi.
“It's at the drawing board stage. It would be premature to talk about this now. At the appropriate time, the directors will talk about it,” said SSS Kumar, CAT 2012 convenor and associate professor, IIM Kozhikode.
The officials said IIMs “are taking baby steps to bring more diversity” in class. One example of the diversifying student profile is an IIM-K student who is 50 years old and has worked in the banking sector for 30 years.
As the pool of CAT applicants grew by 4.2% this year as compared to the last, so did the number of applications from women (8.6% rise), non-creamy-other backward classes (17.3%), scheduled castes (5%), scheduled tribes (7.4%) as well as those with two to three years’ work experience (43%). The majority of candidates, however, still have no more than six months’ work experience.
In countries such as the United States, MBA candidates’' average age and number of years (five-plus) of experience is much higher. In India, most contenders (66.6%) are fresh out of college. The data above suggests this trend is changing.
On the downslide are registrations from doctors – 566 in 2011 vs 486 this year- and those with BBA or BBM degrees – 19,311 last year and 17,062 this time.
Asked about their description of an ideal MBA student and future manager, IIM-K director Debashis Chatterjee said a person who is required to manage any organisation must have some broad-based competencies. “How do you relate to people? How to make decisions under pressure? How do you connect with people at an emotional level? How do you align resources in way that minimises costs?” He added that in the future, managers would need to have ecological sensitivity as well.
Kumar said that they essentially look for good humans. “If you are a good human being, you'll certainly make good manager material.”
Debashis Chatterjee, director, Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode
Advises a well-thought out approach to pursuing an MBA and relevant career.
He gives some tips for aspirants:
* You should be completely focused on the work at hand. Give full attention to the test
* Think, after clearing the test, how are you going to contribute to your chosen field. What's the unique contribution you can make to it? What makes you distinct?
* Consistently practise the CAT. Take mock tests. Practise with other people so that you can benchmark your performance against others
* Read two-three newspapers at least; especially go through the editorials. Read for good language. Know what the big issues facing the nation are
* You can come for an MBA from any field. This (test) is field-neutral
* Prepare for six months before CAT
* You may or may not go for coaching classes to prepare for the test. You may form you own self-help group