The Rat Race of CAT, JMET and Co

Tue, Sep 14, 2010

Social Issues

The problem with rat race is that, even if you win it, you’re still a rat. Entrance exams for MBA programs across India are no less than a rat race. A rat race of its own kind. What happens in most of the rat races is that the runner knows what he is running for, but here, the runner is remotely aware of the cheese at the end of the race!!

MBA, I don’t know why, is a much hyped course in India. Every year more than three lakh aspirants, with a desire to make it to their dream B-school, write various entrance exams of which CAT, JMET, XAT and FMS are the major ones.  Most of the private colleges make sure that each aspirant fills a separate form for their college (and sometimes different forms for different courses in the same college). These colleges make sure that they keep the deadline of these forms at least a week before the common exam which students take. When asked, the admission committees give reasons of logistics and other “jargons” which they might have learnt in their MBA program. If this was the case, why does IIMs and IIT don’t take this route?  This question still needs an answer.

Even the cost of these forms is sky rocketing. The average cost of the application forms is not less than INR 1500. On an average, an aspirant spends about INR 10,000 on just applying to a carefully chosen group of B schools. This is utterly ridiculous. Why not have a common form for all the colleges, have a common GD PI process and then have a combined ranking system? Perhaps, because if this happens, all the MBA churning factories (read B schools) would be shut!

One of my other concerns is in the system of B school applications itself. Majority of those 3 lakh students who sit for the entrance exam are not clear why they want an MBA degree. MBA is a career enhancing program. Most of the students fail to realize this. They see MBA as a “degree” which would give them fat pay cheques after two years.  Most of the people are not clear which specialization they want, this is perhaps because they don’t even know what is taught in an MBA program. This, according to me, is a sheer waste of resources and talent of our country. One way to make sure that only the “genuinely interested” takes the course is that we have a small preparatory course (which the institute can itself give). After reading the study material, the students can themselves decide which stream they want to do their MBA in, and more importantly, do they even need an MBA or not. At least people who finally make it to B schools are sorted in their thinking and desires from their MBA curriculum.

Management education is a life time investment and should be taken only when one is sure of it. Ideally, that happens when one has worked in industry. This is what happens in US and UK B schools. They stress more on the total work experience and less on the entrance scores (GMAT). If Indian B schools have to compete with their international counterparts then we have to change the way we function. The metric which Indian B schools use to measure an applicant’s calibre (Entrance exam) should be changed to accommodate overall profile evaluation as well. I am sure the talent in Indian students is at par with, if not less than, their international counterparts. But to have a global standard, we should lay more emphasis on evaluation of the skill set of the student. Only then, can our institutes of management education compete with the Harvards and the Whartons of the US or LSB of UK.

Author : Aayush Jain

MBA, IIT Kanpur

(Batch of 2010 – 12)

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One Response to “The Rat Race of CAT, JMET and Co”

  1. Azia Says:

    I’m not easily impressed. . . but that’s ipmrssenig me! :)

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