The aspiration to secure a management degree from a foreign university is no longer restricted to students from Indian metros. An increasing number of students from smaller cities, too, want to live and learn on campuses abroad.
This is reflected in the growing number of applicants from Tier-II cities in India for the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), the selection criteria for management programs offered at more than 2,000 business schools across the globe.
“In the last two years, there has been more than a 10% growth in GMAT test takers from non-metro markets in India,” said Ashish Bhardwaj, regional director, South Asia, Graduate Management Admis-sion Council (GMAC), which conducts the GMAT.
To address the growth, GMAC recently set up a test centre in Indore and is working towards setting up test centres in Coimbatore, Vishakhapatnam, Nagpur and Lucknow this year.
Smaller cities such as Ghaziabad, Coimbatore, Navi Mumbai and Vishakhapatnam witnessed a growth of more than 35% in the number of GMAT takers in the past three years. Others such as Trichy, Jamshedpur, Dehradun, Mysore and Ranchi witnessed a growth of more than 20% in the same period.
Even foreign education consultants are seeing more candidates from smaller cities approaching them. “In the past two years, I have had candidates from Indore, Raipur and Kolhapur. While the aspiration to go abroad always existed in smaller cities, economic prosperity has now made the dream possible. Many small cities have become industrial hubs,” said Prathiba Jain, education consultant, Eduaborad Consulting. “Also, earlier parents from small cities were afraid to send their children abroad, but now with greater exposure as well as international schools being established in Tier-II cities, the mindset has changed.”