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Breaking the five-year stagnancy in application numbers, CAT surprised all MBA stakeholders this year with more than 10 per cent (about 20,000) increase in final registrations for the coveted MBA entrance exam. This also brought a much needed relief to the IIM system which had been troubled over falling numbers in last 3-4 years.
With just about 1,38,000 registrations till a couple of days prior to the closure of original deadline for registrations did not only force IIMs to look for alternatives and extend registration window by 5 days, but also fuelled speculation about worst-ever turnout for CAT 2015. The final outcome, however, was pleasantly surprising for CAT conducting institute, IIM-Ahmedabad, with a total of 2,18,664 applications, the highest number in last 5 years and 11% more than CAT 2014 application number.
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With the factors like lowering applications and vacant seats at B-schools indicated an impending MBA slowdown over last 3-4 years, the increased number of CAT application for 2016 academic year has allayed any such possibilities.
But what are the factors which led to this sudden increase in application numbers? Careers360 spoke to MBA experts on the possible reasons behind the surge in CAT 2015 application numbers.
Positive sentiments in economy instilling hope amongst candidates:
The experts believe that the improving economy is the main reason behind the increased number of CAT 2015 applicants. The better placement reports from top B-school campuses are also an indicating factor. “In last couple of years, Indian economy has improved a lot. The placement data of the top B-schools are also an indicative factor on the increase in numbers,” says Gautam Puri, Vice Chairman, Career Launcher. Sharing similar views, Sandeep Manudhane, Chairman, PT Education says, “There is optimism about the economy. The growth reflected in major sectors has resulted in the increased number of jobs. I believe this factor has definitely prompted students to go for MBA or PGDM.”
The table below brings to you the average salary comparison of the past 3 years and the percentage increase of the top B-schools.
Average Salary 2013 (in Rs. LPA)
Average Salary 2014 (Rs. LPA)
Average Salary 2015 (Rs. LPA)
(source: IIM Rohtak official placement report)
16 (Median Salary)
DMS, IIT Delhi
VGSOM, IIT Kharagpur
More chance to secure admission in IIMs
The increase in the number of IIMs and subsequently the number of seats in the IIM system is believed to be another reason for the rise in number of applications. Vinayak Kudva, Product Head, IMS mentions, “With the increase in the number of IIMs, there is more chance for the aspirants to qualify for a coveted seat in the system.” The six new IIMs have started functioning with an average of 60 seats each. This year, the number of seats might increase to 120 in all the new IIMs, hence even better chances are there for MBA aspirants to enter IIMs. Moreover, with the closing down of low rung B-schools, MBA education space is going through a phase of consolidation. “Last year, as many as 147 B-schools were closed down by AICTE as they failed to deliver what they had committed. This also means that the serious students can choose from the higher strata of B-schools,” states Ark Srinivas, CEO, VistaMind Education and Director, Vanguard Business School, Bangalore.
The following infograph will bring to you the number of IIM seats which has increased over the years.
New CAT pattern conducive for students from all background:
Since CAT 2015 comes with a new test pattern with a rational approach towards candidates from all academic disciplines, experts believe that this test strategy has brought comfort for students from non-engineering background also.
While stating the reason behind the pattern change, the CAT Convenor had indicated the reason to bring more diversity in the classroom. “This year IIMs have introduced massive changes in the pattern in order to make it more convenient for the students from non-engineering backgrounds. This includes the introduction of calculator. Non-MCQs, which do not carry negative marking to name a few. Such changes might have encouraged many students to apply for the test,” shares Kudva.
3 – Quantitative Ability, Verbal and Reading Comprehension and Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
2 – Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation, Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning
Number of Questions
Quantitative Ability – 34
Verbal and Reading Comprehension – 34
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning - 32
Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation – 50 (34 + 16)
Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning – 50 (34 + 16)
1 hour for each section
No sectional time limit. Candidates free to switch between sections
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs), Non-MCQs
On Screen basic calculator will be provided
Calculator usage not allowed
No negative marking for non-MCQs
1 day, 2 slots
2 days, 4 slots
Single day testing brings more time to prepare for CAT:
Till last year, CAT was held in multiple-days window, starting from mid-October to mid-November. CAT 2015, however, is scheduled in two-shift single-day window on November 29. This gives a breather to the aspirants in terms of preparation and planning the strategy. “This year, with the delayed test date in November end, aspirants have got an extra month for preparation. Moreover, with the engineering college placements concluding in September, aspirants are getting around 2 months for preparation. Unlike past years, when the aspirants thought about waiting for a whole year to take the test,” Arks says.
The following table brings to you the CAT 2015 exam dates of the past 3 years.
October 11 to November 6, 2012
October 16 to November 11, 2013
November 16 and November 22, 2014
November 29, 2015
Extension in application deadline:
Last but not the least, the 5-day extension in the application window of CAT 2015 has definitely played an important role in increasing the CAT application numbers. As per the data shared by IIM Ahmedabad, the conducting body for CAT 2015, the total number of applications received till September 20, the original deadline was 1,83,032. Within 5 days, the number reached to 2,18,664, which means a total of 35,632 candidates have registered for CAT during the extended window. “The extension of the application deadline did play an important role. Those who were apprehensive about registering took this as an opportunity and applied,” shares Srinivas.
Note the registration numbers before and after the extension window.
CAT 2015 surprises with 2.18 lakh applications; Allays fears of MBA slowdown
Stay tuned to bschool.careers360.com for more news and analysis on CAT and other MBA entrance exams.
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