B-school Shakeout: Uttar Pradesh MBA entrance test gets only 14,000 applicants for a total of 24,000 seats

The Bara Imambara, Lucknow (Photo: Derek Keats)

In what is a stark indication of the supply inflation of MBA seats in the country, this year’s number of applicants to the state-level MBA entrance exam of Uttar Pradesh is just a little over half of the total number of MBA seats in the state.

According to Gautam Budh Technical University (GBTU), which conducts the Uttar Pradesh State Entrance Examination (UPSEE) for MBA, only 14,000 exam forms have been sold this year against the 24,000 available management programme seats across 300 colleges affiliated to GBTU and Mahamaya Technical University (MTU). The test is scheduled to be held on April 21 and April 28, 2012.

Total management seats in UP: 24,000

Total number of applicants to UPSEE: 14,000

This is not the first time that the number of applicants is less than the number of seats across b-schools in the state. I accept that there is a huge shortfall but this downtrend has been there for the past few years now. Last year also the numbers of UPSEE applicants were less than the seats available in the colleges. The gap has increased this year though, said the deputy co-ordinator of UPSEE, Prof Manish Gaur.

However, he asserted that there had been a similar downtrend in the number of applicants to MBA in other states such as Andhra Pradesh and Maharshtra as well, and that this did not reflect on the condition of any one state or university. The infrastructure in the colleges of Uttar Pradesh is not good compared to other top ranking MBA colleges across the country. This is a major factor responsible for the decrease. Lack of good faculty is yet another factor. The entrance state is now mainly conducted to decide the merit of the students so that they can get admission into the few preferred colleges, explained Gaur.

In fact, the Central Admission Board (CAB), a body of about 20 members constituted by the Government of Uttar Pradesh and headed by the vice chancellor of GBTU had organised a meeting on April 18, 2012 to discuss the reasons behind the continual decline in the applicant pool. The CAB is responsible for controlling and supervising the state entrance examination.

The CAB was able to identify several problems related to the UPSEE itself. It identified that the counselling process which follows after the UPSEE result had become a very cumbersome activity for both applicants and their parents. Often, students were required to stay at these counselling centres till midnight. Moreover, the behaviour of the counselling staff was also observed as a big put-off for the candidates. In the end, the delay in the counselling process had been forcing the students to seek admission into other universities, explained a senior official at Mahamaya Technical University (MTU).

Additionally, the UPSEE too hadn’t been an entirely smooth operation this year. GBTU for the first time will hold the UPSEE as an online test for on April 21 and April 28, 2012. But several students who had paid for the test online have been unable to complete the transaction online due to technical snags. As a result, almost 1,500 students applying for various MBA, MCA and BTech exams did has not received their admit cards as on April 18. The examination authority had then asked these students to reach the nodal centres near their examination centres to collect the admit cards on April 19, April 20 and April 21. The official under the condition of anonymity said that even after the UPSEE exam, only 20 to 25% of the MBA seats were expected to be filled through the counselling route, and that a large number of seats across government-aided and private-unaided institutions will remain vacant this year.

Several colleges affiliated to GBTU and MTU will face a major problem in filling their seats this time. This is a major national-level debate. In fact, the decision of the Supreme Court to cancel admissions through the management quota in technical colleges of Uttar Pradesh is under consideration for appeal again by the state government. Earlier, the management quota had been kept at 15% of the total seats with 5% reservation for NRI students. A decision regarding the management quota should come by June-end and before the UPSEE counselling starts, informed Gaur.

However, Shakti Prakash, director of Greater Noida-based Skyline Institute of Management, a private b-school in Greater Noida sounded upbeat when he said, “Last year after the UPSEE counselling was over, the government allowed direct admission into MBA as a huge number of seats across colleges were vacant. This year too, I believe, the government would take a similar decision to bail us out.”

Last year, this b-school had a capacity of 180 seats but was able to fill only 120 seats even after the government permitted direct admissions into the course.

Earlier, in January 2012, UPSEE authorities had decided to allow acceptance of the Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) scores for 20% of the MBA seats in all affiliated colleges for 2012, which might bring some relief to these colleges in the state.