CAT exams most popular but cumbersome, survey shows

CAT exams most popular but cumbersome, survey shows

 The Common Admission Test (CAT) to the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) remains the most popular choice for the bulk of MBA aspirants, even though they find such exams both cumbersome and expensive.

These were some of the findings of the first-ever online survey of MBA aspirants, conducted by, a New Delhi-based website.

It quizzed 445 aspirants in November 2013, who took CAT 2014 exams to the IIMs. The results are expected to be declared Tuesday.

"The survey brings out key insights which will help business schools and policy makers address concerns and initiate reforms," Amit Agnihotri, chairman,, told IANS here.

Almost half the MBA aspirants relied on B-Schools' websites as the most credible sources of information. was the second most preferred source for 29.3 percent, the survey said.

The aspirants sought greater transparency on placement track record, besides reduced fees and a regulatory body to oversee management education, according to the survey.

The respondents said they wanted to pursue MBA for boosting knowledge and skills while more than 65 percent wanted it for a better salary.

Delhi remains the most preferred destination for MBA education (27 percent), followed by Bangalore (25.4 percent), Mumbai (18.3 percent) and Ahmedabad (11.3 percent), according to the survey.

More than half the respondents said they spent around Rs.10,000 on preparing for MBA entrance exams. The respondents included those who favoured lowering the application fee to less than Rs.500.

But a staggering 94 percent still preferred CAT as their first choice, even though more than 10 MBA exams are held by various business schools every year, for admissions.
More than 66 percent preferred XAT (Xavier Admission Test), with the third and fourth places going to NMAT (Narsee Monjee Management Aptitude Test) at 45.8 percent, and SNAP (Symbiosis National Aptitude Test (SNAP), at 44.4 percent.

Admission tests by the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) came fifth, being preferred by 34.7 percent. IIFT is an autonomous business school established by the government of India in 1963.

Respondents suggested that the 140 B-schools which accept CAT results for admission, should let applicants apply to a B-school after they secure CAT scores in January.

For instance, some B-schools like the Management Development Institute (MDI) Gurgaon and SP Jain close their application process in December itself, before CAT results are announced, necessitating wasteful expenditure.

Respondents selected B-schools on the basis of their placement history, corporate linkages, position of B-Schools in various rankings and government approvals and faculty, rather than specialisations offered or location. has categorised six types on MBA institutions in India: IIMs and IIT B-schools; 300 autonomous PG Diploma in Management (PGDM); government/ministry promoted MBA institutes like IIFT; private university MBAs; public university departments (centre and state); and independent schools like ISB.

The country has 500 stand-alone B-schools, PG Diploma in Management (PGDM) programmes; and nearly 3,000 MBA departments, offering 350,000 seats in a year.
"Regulation, policy and accreditation is a key challenge for Indian B-schools. Faculty shortage was also escalating the crisis," said Jagdish Sheth, professor of marketing at Emory University, US, and author of 73 management books.

"The curriculum on branding taught today has become irrelevant as what is needed is grounding in social media and digital marketing but the faculty has no clue about these subjects," added Sheth.

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