A CATastrophe ?

The Common Admission Test (CAT) has encountered a whopping drop of 27% in number of applications this year,so much so that the IIMs have extended the last date of application to October 11th from October 1st.The CAT has generally seen a steady rise of 10% in applications in previous years,with the last few years seeing a very healthy 20-25% rise.But according to the IIMs , the number has dropped to around 2.00 lac this year so far,from 2.76 lac applications last year.But as the applications are still ongoing,IIM directors feel that it is hard to predict where the number might end.

?As of now, the number of candidates registered for CAT has crossed 2 lakh. To provide exact figure at this point is difficult but this may be due to bank holidays because of which candidates could not purchase vouchers required for registration. Also, it is hard to guess if the number of candidates appearing for CAT this year will be above last year,? said CAT convener and IIM-A faculty, Satish Deodhar.

The initial glitches that applicants faced ,with not being able to edit the form etc have also added to the reduced number this year.But those problems have been taken care of by IIMs and Prometric, the testing and assessment services provider for computer-based CAT this year.

But with the recent economic slowdown some experts still feel that the number of applicants this year might not exceed that of last year.

?One reason may be that candidates from upcountry regions and small towns are not keen on taking computer-based CAT, or are aspiring for institutes that are not necessarily the best or admit students through CAT. A large number may have felt discouraged to pursue MBA after seeing last year’s placements scenario,? said Career Launcher director Shiva Kumar.

?The latest placement scenario may have led to a number of CAT aspirants defer their plan to join a B-School , as institutes apart from top-ranking ones were the worst hit in terms of placement due to recessionary economy ,? said TIME Bangalore director Ajay Arora.

The CAT 2009 is scheduled to take place from November 28th to December 7th 2009 across 32 different cities in 15 different centers.

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