The IIT Delhi main building (Photo: Bryn Pinzgauer)
For the 2013 season, the management departments of all the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are considering launching a common admissions web portal that will serve as the single funnel for all the candidate applications to the IITs' MBA programmes.
"We are thinking on the lines of a single portal. The mechanism is in place but the implementation will take some time," said Prof MP Gupta, admissions coordinator of IIT Delhi's Department of Management Studies (DMS). The b-schools of the IITs at Delhi, Roorkee, Chennai, Kharagpur and Bombay were expected to join hands for the common portal, he added.
Apart from asking for standard information such as the candidate's name, age, gender and the Common Admission Test (CAT) score, the portal will have a feature in which candidates will be able to specify their order of preference for the IIT locations.
"We want to project brand IIT and its MBA programmes. The quality of academics and the exposure being offered at the IITs is unique and a lot of research goes into our teaching delivery. The IITs have a certain advantage as they are very research-oriented. Students get an opportunity to interact with professors and researchers from universities across the globe, which in turn helps them land up with summer internships and final placements abroad," Gupta said, explaining the premise for the common portal.
"Having a single portal will simplify the entire process of admissions. It will be a relief to both the IITs and the students as 70-80% of the candidate pool is common among the IITs. The IITs will end up utilising their efforts and resources in an optimum manner," he said. Candidates will benefit as they would be able to apply on a single platform and save time.
"There are also talks within the IIT b-schools of collaborating on a deeper level by also conducting common group discussions and interviews, though nothing concrete has happened in that direction yet," Gupta said. But that might take upto five years to implement, as the b-schools would need to reach a consensus about according weightages to various admission parameters, he added.
"We hope to collaborate with all the b-schools of the IITs for a single admissions portal by next year," said Prof BV Phani, a professor of finance and entrepreneurship at IIT Kanpur's Department of Industrial and Management Engineering on being asked for his b-school's stance on the matter.
"Currently the practice is that the candidates apply separately to each management programme of IITs, where each application costs Rs 1,500. But a single application form through the common online portal will reduce costs considerably for both the IITs and the applicants," he further added.
Phani also said that the IITs were intending to integrate themselves closely enough inside the CAT mechanism to the extent that being government-owned b-schools, they wouldn't have to pay the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) --- the owners of the test --- for access to CAT scores. The IIMs offer CAT-affiliated b-schools a score verification service in exchange for a fee.
A well-placed source from the Shailesh J Mehta School of Management (SJMSoM), IIT Bombay too admitted that they were open to the idea of a single admissions portal.
"We are expecting the integration of the IITs and IIMs to happen with regard to applications. We have already put forward a request to waive off the payment for accessing the candidates' CAT scores and are currently negotiating with them (the IIMs)," he further added.