The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) might have seen a rise in the number of students registering for its Common Management Admission Test (CMAT), but B-schools are a worried lot. With around 1,90,000 students registering for CMAT so far and 3,75,000 seats available, B-schools say they may be staring at almost empty classrooms this year, too.
B-schools in Maharashtra have written to the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE) seeking permission to admit students from other national tests, including Management Aptitude Test (MAT), Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT) and AIMS Test for Management (ATMA), etc. Sixteen states have so far replaced their respective common entrance tests with CMAT for admission to B-schools.
"We have requested the DTE to allow us to draw students from other national level tests till CMAT becomes more popular. Maharashtra has around 45,000 management seats and we need students to fill these up," said Apoorva Palkar, director, Sinhgad Institute of Management and Computer Application, Pune. Palkar is also chairperson of ATMA, run by the Association of Indian Management Schools, which has over 600 B-schools as its members.
"Actually, it is the students who select the institutes. So, there will always be a mismatch, and seat occupancy at B-schools will be a concern. Talks are on with the DTE and we hope some resolution will come our way soon," said Kavita Laghate, director, Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies.
AICTE says, registrations for CMAT have jumped nearly three times since last year. CMAT is held twice a year and each student gets two chances to sit for the test. AICTE says students who have exhausted both their chances can use the best score for admissions.
"We have seen an increase in registrations this time. However, there could be duplication with some students registering again this year. We have advertised heavily, and despite this if students are unaware of CMAT and if state governments tell us they would want another round of CMAT, we are open to that," said the chief coordinator of CMAT, AICTE.
The chief coordinator added that as admissions for MBA goes on till August-September in most of the states, AICTE is open to extending any other opportunity to students.
B-schools say their interest at this point is filling up maximum number of seats. If students are not appearing the test, AICTE and states need to spread awareness about the same.
"Many students are not aware whether the state test has been replaced with CMAT. AICTE and the state is not doing their bit in spreading the word about CMAT. And, when these seats go vacant, they will blame it on management education not being a hot subject, which is not the case," said Sai Kumar, centre director, TIME, Mumbai.
In 2012, over 180 B-schools shut shop in India, while another 160 are expected to down shutters this year, according to a paper by ASSOCHAM. The paper reveals that since 2009, recruitments at campuses have gone down by 40 per cent in 2012, and the biggest reason for it is the mushrooming of Tier-II and Tier-III management education institutes.