Only one out of every 175 students who take the Common Admission Test will make it to the Indian Institutes of Management this year. The logic, note experts, is simple. Around 300,000 students are slated to appear for CAT this November.
Only 4,000 to 5,000 get an interview call going by the last few years' data. However, there are only 1,700 seats (last year, it was 1,500) for the next two-year management programme (2009-11), which warrants further elimination.
Despite such slim chances, industry players believe more students will try to crack CAT as the job situation is not at its best. The increase in the number of students taking the CAT exam this year will be around 20 per cent over last year when an estimated 250,000 students appeared for the exam.
"We believe more students will appear for CAT this year considering the slowdown and the fact that jobs will be at a premium. We had seen a similar situation in 2001, when there was an almost 100 per cent jump in the number of students appearing for CAT," said Shiv Kumar, director, Career Launcher, an MBA test-preparing institute.
CAT is a gateway to getting admission to IIMs and other leading B-schools. There are 116 non-IIM institutions, which will use CAT 2008 scores. These management institutes offer 13,000-15,000 seats.
"A large number of people who take CAT are from the IT industry, which is maturing. As the growth rate slows, people understand that technical skills alone will not help," said Jaideep Singh Chaudhary, product manager CAT, TIME.