The number of applicants for the Common Admission Test (CAT) 2010 – required for admission to the Indian Institutes of Management and 155 other business schools in India – has dropped by almost 15 per cent this year.
“The economic slowdown of the past two years has affected placements in the non-IIM institutes drastically. This has probably discouraged people from applying. Even some IIMs had to extend their placement days from three to seven to place all students,” said Himanshu Rai, CAT 2010, convenor.
This year, 2.06 lakh vouchers have been sold, compared to 2.42 lakh last year. In 2009, when 2.17 lakh candidates had taken the exam, there was a drop in the number of aspirants, from 2.46 lakh to 2.42 lakh.
Fewer applicants, coupled with the increase in the number of IIM seats, will cut competition to get into these B-schools. Two new IIMs, at Ranchi and Rohtak, will add 60 seats each to the pool.
Rai said if the economy improves and placements are better this year, it will be reflected in the number of aspirants next year. “In 2008, there was a huge jump in the number of aspirants to 2.7 lakh. In 2000, barely 50,000 candidates took the CAT.”
The slowdown seems to have kept aspirants away from CAT. “I wanted to take the test but don’t want to quit my job at this stage because I’m not too sure what I will land up with” said Ankush Mehta (24), who works at a bank in Mumbai.