Testing time for CAT as B-schools line up for GMAT

With more business schools in India accepting GMAT scores and one-year executive and management courses gaining popularity, fewer people are sitting for the CAT. The reason: Common Admission Test (CAT) scores can only be used to apply for a two-year MBA course in India.

But the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores can be used to apply to MBA courses in institutions across the world or even get into the attractive one-year courses on offer by IIMs and B-schools. “The decline (in CAT takers) could be due to candidates being less keen to do two-year MBA courses.

The simultaneous increase in GMAT takers indicates that people with some work experience are opting for executive courses,” said a former IIM professor. It also helps that 112 B-schools now accept GMAT scores as opposed to just 37 in 2008. Around 235 courses in B-schools also now accept GMAT scores. As a result, the number of GMAT takers has increased from 18,929 in 2009 to 22,878 in 2013 – a rise of about 21%. In the same period, the number of people sitting for the CAT has fallen from 2.3 lakh to 1.74 lakh — a fall of nearly 33%. Ashish Bhardwaj, Asia Pacific vice-president of the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) — which manages the GMAT — said: “2013 has been the strongest year ever for GMAT volume in India. This is primarily because of the increase in the acceptance of GMAT scores both worldwide and in India.”

Acknowledging ‘handsome’ interest in executive course, offered only through GMAT, IIM Udaipur director Janat Shah told HT: “I think the increase in the number of GMAT takers in India can be directly related to the growing interest among people with work experience who want to do a one-year management course to hone their skills.” The volatile economic climate, job uncertainty and expense of a two-year MBA course also dissuade many from taking the CAT. “Those who have even 2-3 years work experience look at GMAT as a suitable option.

Also there is the advantage of finishing the course in just one year,” said Gautam Puri, who runs a coaching institute for management. Himanshu, who has given both the CAT and the GMAT said: “The reason why the CAT is losing its numbers is because students are becoming aware of other programmes both globally and in India.” Puri agrees: “Business schools that take GMAT scores offer so much diversity. I have seen a huge increase in the number of students who want to be coached for GMAT.” Dr Lawrence M Rudner, R&D vice-president of GMAC said: “While globally there has been a dip in the number of GMAT test takers, in India it has been very consistent.”


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