MBA, one of the most sought after degree by students in India, offers a rapid career growth. The management education makes a student more competitive, enables them to make good decisions, and imbibes leadership qualities in them. After completing the course, an MBA graduate feels more confident and empowered.
With the demand for management education growing, an MBA degree from a top institute carries a lot of weightage. Every year more than two lakh applicants get in the race for admission to the top tier business schools, the selection criteria of which are very tough and entail a national-level examination.
In India, major entrance exams for MBA are Common Admission Test (CAT), Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT) and Management Aptitude Test (MAT). There are also some institute-specific entrance exams, such as FMS for Faculty of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade; Delhi University, JMET for the MBA institutes of the IIMs, NMAT, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai. These entrance exams look for the Quantitative Aptitude, Verbal and Data Interpretation Abilities. It also tests accuracy level of the candidates.
Amongst all the management exams, CAT is one of the respected tests and often considered the toughest hurdle to cross. A high-quality performance in CAT ensures excellent chances of entry into the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and several other top MBA institutes of the country. The level of the paper is generally difficult and the exam is popular for throwing surprises every year.
CAT is an entrance test for would-be managers; hence, it simulates everyday situations a manager has to tackle. The exam also tests much more than one’s skills in the English language and quantitative aptitude. It evaluates one’s managerial capabilities – these include working under pressure, managing time, making decisions and tackling change.
MAT is usually conducted every quarter by the All India Management Association (AIMA). It invites more than 200,000 students annually offering them an opportunity for admission into some 450 management institutes across the country. All institutes participating MAT are either approved by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) or are affiliated to a university. Unlike other aptitude tests, the repeated periodicity of MAT is its selling point. Examinees have to tackle about 200 objective-based questions in two-and-a-half hours, and MAT scores are valid for a year.
XAT, a national level admission test, is conducted by the Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI), Jamshedpur. There are 35 management institutes that select students on the basis of XAT for postgraduate degree programs in management. After clearing the CAT and other MBA institute entrance exams, the next step is Group Discussion and Personal Interview.
With stiff competition being exhibited during MBA entrance exams, it has become more important for candidates to use their best skills. Since the competition is taken by the best available talent from all disciplines, meticulous and long-run preparations are required to get admitted to the programme.
In a move that will cut down the multiple entrance exams that the students are forced to face for admission to management courses across the country, the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has decided to conduct a common admission test from 2012-13. The test will cover admissions to both MBA and postgraduate diploma in management.
The decision to hold a pan-India Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) was taken at the recent executive council meeting of the AICTE, the umbrella body for professional courses. While CMAT will be one of the entrance exams to be held in 2012, the AICTE wants all its colleges and institutes to admit students based on their CMAT scores from 2013
However, the IIMs, which are independent and autonomous B-schools, will continue to conduct CAT. Deemed universities will also hold their individual entrance tests. But admission to 4,000 colleges that offer an MBA and another 500 that run diploma programmes will take place on the basis of the CMAT.