A file photo of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. Photo: Raj K. Raj/HT
New Delhi: Around 18% of those who registered to appear for the Common Admission Test (CAT) that serves as a gateway to elite Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and scores of leading B-Schools in the country chose not to do so, test organizer IIM Ahmedabad said Monday.
The jury is out on the reason for this—the possibilities include an extension that simply saw non-serious candidates apply, an erosion in the brand of IIMs thanks to new ones, and the emergence of more lucrative (and time-bound) opportunities especially in start-ups. The 18% compares with around 14% last year. All told, in 2015 (for admission in 2016), 218,664 registered and 179,602 appeared for the examination.
An IIM professor who asked not to be named said the extension of the registration widow saw non-serious candidates applying.
According to IIM Ahmedabad, the total number of registrations for CAT was 183,032 on 20 September when the original deadline for registration ended. IIM-A extended the deadline for five more days. That took the registration number to a five-year high. “If you see the original registration (183,032) before extension and the number of students who finally appeared (179,602), then you realize that the IIMs have to be careful while chasing numbers,” the professor added.
He also said that the increase in the number of IIMs from six in 2007 to 19 now has not helped the brand much.
Ulhas Vairagkar, an alumnus of IIM-A, said the large number of no-shows may also be because the test was conducted on a single day in 2015. Previous editions had a window that spanned days.
The IIMs’ effort to increase diversity, though, seems to have paid off, with the number of women candidates increasing by around 2 percentage points to around 32%. “More women sitting for CAT or entering IIMs is always good. IIMs themselves are promoting it. I believe co-ed education is always better and, second, it’s easier to place girl students in jobs as companies are now trying to correct the gender ratio,” said Vairagkar, who is also the founder-mentor at the Vanguard Business School, Bengaluru.
This may also mark the first time IIMs are tracking transgenders, a blow for gender equality. In 2015, 41 transgenders appeared for CAT, IIM-A said.
IIM-A said the total number of students in the 100th percentile was 17, of which only one is a woman. There are 1,814 students in the 99th, of which 136 are women. And there are 9,003 in the 95th of which 1,243 are women.