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Dr Tathagata Bandyopadhyay is Common Admission Test (CAT) Convenor for 2015. Though a formal notification for CAT 2015 is expected by IIM Ahmedabad, the organizing institution for CAT 2015, in the last week of July only, Dr Bandyopadhyay is readying crucial changes in CAT exam scheme this year, including a 1-day test window to ‘enhance operational efficiency’ of the exam.[Click here to Get Complete CAT Correspondence Preparation Package]
In this interview with Careers360, the IIM-A professor shares his plans of turning the premier MBA entrance exam into a single-day test. Along this, he indicates to a likely change in the exam pattern of CAT, the gateway to prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) and over 150 top B-schools in India. Dr Bandyopadhyay also shares his broad perspective towards current market equation and demand for good managers. He also speaks on expected pattern changes and ‘rationaliztion of weights assigned to different components of the test.”
Careers360: When is the CAT 2015 application process announcement expected?
Dr Tathagata Bandyopadhyay: The official CAT 2015 notification will be released on July 26th.
Careers360: How many IIMs will conduct admission through CAT 2015? What is the approximate number of seats with the IIMs through CAT 2015?
Dr Tathagata Bandyopadhyay: At present we have 13 IIMs and 6 more in the pipeline. It is expected that all the operational IIMs will conduct admission through CAT 2015.
Since there are quite a few new IIMs that have been set up in the recent past, it would be difficult to give any number in terms of the total seats that would be available to applicants in IIMs. For example, Nagpur is going to have 60 seats, which would be an addition to the number of seats as compared to 2014.
Careers360: How will be the CAT exam pattern this year?
Dr Tathagata Bandyopadhyay: Every year we review CAT and make certain changes- both operational and content. For CAT 2015, at an operational level, we are planning to have it on a single-day in two-sessions rather than on two-days in four sessions like last year.
Careers360: What is the thought process behind making it a single-day test?
Dr Tathagata Bandyopadhyay: This will help in enhancing operational efficiency and quality of the test content.
Careers360: So, will there be more exam centers this year?
Dr Tathagata Bandyopadhyay: Yes. In order to increase accessibility, the number of cities where CAT will be held is increased to 115 this year from last year's 99. We are also trying to accommodate the female candidates in centres near the city areas as far as possible so that the travel for them could be reduced.
Careers360: Are you also planning change in test pattern? If yes, why?
Dr Tathagata Bandyopadhyay: Regarding the content part, one of our concerns is, score in Quant dominates the percentile rank in CAT. As a consequence it brings in skewness to the selection process towards a particular set of candidates from a particular background. This year we intend to address it by making some changes in the test content and also by rationalizing weights assigned to different components of the test.
This we hope will create a level-playing field for all candidates, no matter what educational background they come from, and will remove skewness to a large extent that we referred to above. We believe such a move will help us identify candidates from varied backgrounds who will become future leaders in their chosen profession. Such a move will also help IIMs bring in greater diversity in the classrooms and will go a long way in enriching the learning experience.
Careers360: CAT is the most prestigious MBA entrance exam for top B-schools in India. Still, the number of applicants has been coming down. How big is this challenge for you this year?
Dr Tathagata Bandyopadhyay: Although in the past few years we have seen the number of applicants at a decline, there was a slight improvement last year. This year, we expect to improve further. Applications to CAT depend upon various macroeconomic factors. This year the economy seems to be on an upturn and with a good job market, we expect a rise in the number of applications.
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