CAT 2013 First Slot: Candidates Upbeat About Reduced Competition for IIM Seats

The last time there were close to 1.94 lakh registrants for the Common Admission Test (CAT), the total number of IIM seats on offer was less than 1,500. That was 2006. Seven years later, about the same number will vie for 3,335 seats, more than twice those many.

No wonder then, that many candidates who turned up for the first day, first slot of CAT 2013 today were quite optimistic about the odds doubly working in their favour.

Suraj, taking the test at a center at All India Institute of Local Self-Government, Andheri, Mumbai said, “I was happy to hear that the overall CAT registrations have come down as this might increase my chances of getting into an IIM.”

“It’s good for the students and bad for the IIMs,” said Aditya Shinde, a BMS student.

The reduced competition has perhaps helped in part to water down the pessimism surrounding the economy, in particular the lacklustre post-MBA job availability at most IIMs and leading business schools of the country. Candidates were either betting on an improved economy in 2016 by the time they graduate with an MBA, or looking to just take the CAT for now and decide about actually joining a school later.

Gajendra S, 29, who dabbled in Engineering earlier has just become a B.Com graduate. He was at the Vikhroli centre and taking CAT for the second time. He said that the IIMs were his only career option. Having taken the CAT before, he said that the current economic slowdown did not affect him as it would be almost three years by the time he graduates, when things would hopefully have improved. He was looking to join IIM Indore’s Mumbai campus, for which the cut-offs have been lower.

At Borivali, Mumbai, Shivang Jain, a working professional on his second CAT attempt said, “I am not too worried about the placement scenario. Students in good colleges are still getting placed. I have some colleges in mind and will do an MBA only if I get through them.”

The first and the last slots of the CAT traditionally have the lowest turnouts (about 2% each of the total registrations). This explained the general absence of large crowds at the centers this morning. The most participated-in slots are usually the penultimate ones.

(Inputs by Shashank Venkat, Sanjit Oberai and Lajwanti D’Souza)