A Paradise for MBA Aspirants
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While I am penning this article, we have witnessed CAT 2006 as well as IIFT 2006. Call it a coincidence or call it the trend, the patterns of both these newspapers were starkly different from that during the previous years. CAT came out with an even reduced question inventory to be handled by the students and flaunted the long term thumb rule of ‘four options per question’. IIFT, on the other hand, changed loyalty to multiple options type of questions, which made the paper very-very difficult altogether. These pattern changes were accompanied by changes in the nature of questions asked, brining the students to their knees – literally.
Why B-Schools are so hell bent on experimenting with the test pattern? Have they found some loopholes in their previous selection patterns, which they thought of plugging-in with the help of throwing surprises? Or, it is just a rat-race; every one is trying to act smarter than the other? Here we explore answers to some of these critical questions.
With boom in the job market and the signals received from various quarters about astounding growth in the Indian Economy, B schools are finding them to be in the seventh paradise. On one hand, rising manpower requirement from corporate world has reduced their burden to continuously hunt for companies to place their students. On the other hand, the increasing number of MBA aspirants has helped them in feeding their capacity with enough talents. This is the golden time for anyone who is into running of a B School (much similar to what was the situation 10 years back for Engineering Institutions), where one finds oneself in a very strong position to manipulate the equations in one’s favor.
There were 2 lakh participants in CAT 2006, a whopping 33% increase from previous year’s figures. In comparison, the seats in IIMs have changed to minimal, and there looms the chance of OBC quota coming into picture, which will further reduce the seats available to the open category students (which forms the majority of students appearing in CAT). This is only going to widen the demand-supply gap in the system with hardly any tangible increase coming in the number of seats available with top B Schools.
This has left the examiner pondering over about how to filter the talent which appears in numerous entrance examinations. And the best thing they found is experimenting with the pattern. With around 150 questions at their disposal in a typical examination, the examiner is left with lots of choices to play around with the pattern. In the recent past, CAT took the initiative in this direction (CAT being the most sought after exam, this was possible for them), but this year, other lesser sought after examinations seem to have taken the clue. The dramatic change in the pattern of IIFT was one such instance, and more are seen in the store. If you ask me plainly, my advice to the students will be – “be prepared for anything but usual".
Ironically, the changes in pattern have nothing to do with the quality of students selected to these B Schools. If we look from the industry’s point of view, there have not been any complaints about the analytical skills of the students coming out of B schools. There have been some reservations about the maturity level of the young managers, which can best be addressed by the curriculum designed by the B-School rather by tampering with MBA entrance examinations. Moreover, the changes introduced in the entrance examination off late have no perceptible impact on the level of maturity of the students who are going to join the B-Schools. This led me to conclude that the changes in patterns of various entrance examinations are no way related to what industry demands from these B-Schools.
If we look at the impact of these changes on the overall recruitment system, we are to come across some very disappointing facts. Some of them are discussed herein:
This might lead to deterioration in the quality of input which is coming into the B School. The real test of a candidate in such exams is not about ‘how much they know’, but about ‘how they overall plan their studies and then implement it under real examination situations’. With an inconsistent pattern, the students might develop a tendency not to plan and go for whatever comes. I do not believe we are going to have great managers coming out of this system if they believe that planning is worthless and life is all about randomly picked, arbitrarily thrown circumstances. I see the students with real quality will be a sufferer and mediocre ones will be a gainer under the situation.
What can we do to improve the situation? With their strong hold on the recruitment process (with literally no answerability to the public in general), it seems very little can be done but to be a part of the system and play the game according to rules set by the B-Schools. Or, we can stand up to this and raise our voices (as I am doing through this article). Please remember, even the Olympics and World Cups are played with pre-agreed basic rules-of-games and participants are expected to come prepared and win. Why, then, the B school recruitment should be such an unpredictable thing.
I hope this article falls not to deaf years, but to some serious, considerate minds, who, in turn, will take some remedial measures, otherwise, we are sure to witness a sudden change in scenario like what happened to Engineering Institutions, who could not formulate a standard policy for recruitment and ultimately deteriorated to the level where they need to allow anybody to take up their seats if they wish to go full-house during a particular academic season.
And if the current boom in the job market is going to sustain, we need a system of recruitment which is standardized and predictable in nature, permitting the talent the make up its mind if it would like to go through a particular testing pattern or not. And if ‘yes’ is the answer, it also knows what it has to do to become successful at it. Because life is not all that unpredictable.
COMMENTS BY URPERCENTILE SUBSCRIBERS ON THIS ARTICLE :
From: "nikhil rai"
From : David JayaPrakash J
Hi, ‘Expect the Unexpected’- that is what the CAT is all about. And people who aspire to crack the CAT prepare well. There is always an edge over other students who have not prepared however tough the questions are. So as Mr. Nagesh says the planning should be good enough so as to tackle the CAT under the most unpredictable circumstances.
Thanks and regards,
|A Paradise for MBA Aspirants|