Over the next two weeks, over 2 lakh management aspirants will appear for the Common Admissions Test (CAT), the gateway to the country’s reputable B-schools, including the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). For the second time in a row, IIM-Indore is convening the exam.
Rishikesha T Krishnan, director, IIM-Indore, spoke to HT Education in Kozhikode, Kerala, while attending the PanIIM World Conference. Excerpts:
The number of CAT candidates has been dipping steadily over the past few years…
The numbers this year are almost the same as of last year, hovering over the 2 lakh mark. This is fine, considering the number of seats available at the IIMs. A larger candidate pool would mean fewer students would get selected; with more career options available, students are choosing alternative options now.
Six new IIMs are coming up, even while the existing newer IIMs are struggling with infrastructure, faculty and placements. Do you think we need more IIMs?
For a country of our size and economic aspiration, we do need many high-quality institutes. Our main challenge with the new institutes is to bring them up to par in the shortest possible time — historically, it takes about 15 years; this needs to be brought down to 10.
With more doctoral programmes, we will be able to choose more qualified faculty members.
Also, the government is being strict with states where new IIMs are coming up, asking them to show how much land and infrastructure they can provide before allowing them to begin work. That should help.
What are the highlights of the 13-point agenda for IIMs set by the HRD ministry?
Two points are particularly significant. HRD minister Smriti Irani has emphasised academic collaborations between IITs, IIMs and other centrally funded institutions. Better networking will help balance individual strengths and weaknesses.
Secondly, the forum will look into how IIMs can contribute more to national agenda, such as the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ campaigns. We will identify our strengths and make a plan to contribute effectively to the agenda.