Tuesday, December 30, 2014 at 9am

Improved Chances for IIM Admission in 2015: MBA News

IIM admissions

A calculation made by The Hindu Business Line has found that Indian MBA applicants who received their CAT results (Common Admission Test) this weekend are likely to stand a far greater chance of being admitted to one of the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) in 2015 than in preceding years.

IIM admission rates are among the most competitive in global higher education, with the top-ranked IIM Ahmedabad, for instance, admitting only one in 400 applicants. The new predicted IIM admission rate of 2.5% of test takers hardly indicates a throwing open of the floodgates, but is a vast increase on previous years’ figures for those receiving their CAT results. For instance, those matriculating at an IIM in 2010 accounted for 1.4% of test takers. The figure has gradually been creeping up, standing at 1.5% in 2011 and 2012, 1.9% in 2013 and finally 2% in 2014.

Why is IIM admission becoming (slightly) less competitive?

The reasons for this apparent steady decline in selectiveness are twofold. On the one hand, we see an increase in the number of places available at IIMs – certainly a positive trend in light of the country’s ongoing problems with a lack of quality provision – largely though the creation of new institutions (though IIMs enjoy extremely high rates of employment, perhaps it’s worth adding the caveat that a name alone does not guarantee anything – indeed, in terms of their global standing, the IIMs were among the biggest losers in this year’s QS Global 200 business school rankings). It is unclear how many places will be available, but the introduction of up to six new institutions may result in the total increasing to as many as 4,100, compared to 3,335 for 2014 starters – though it is unlikely that it will be quite as large a leap as this.

The second reason, which will perhaps be more troubling for administrators, is a declining number of CAT takers. The CAT is the standard examination for IIM admission, but is only accepted at a handful of other (domestic) institutions. Whether this decline is due to the increasing appeal of alternative private institutions (such as the Indian School of Business) or the continued enthusiasm of Indian MBA students for GMAT-necessitating international study, the drop is significant enough to warrant concern (although, again, it hardly seems likely that the schools will struggle to fill their places). A pool of 186,000 received test results for 2010 IIM admission, rising to a high 192,000 for 2012 starters, but falling abruptly the following the year and continuing to decline since, to a low of 168,000 this year.

While perhaps it would be premature to label this as any sort of crisis, it does seem that questions need to be asked of Indian business education. The release of CAT results this weekend was marred by technical glitches which prevented takers from accessing their scores. 

Mansoor is a contributor to and former editor of TopMBA.com. He is a higher and business education specialist, who has been published in media outlets around the world. He studied English literature at BA and MA level and has a background in consumer journalism.

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