The first sign of dip in CAT (Common Admission Test) application registration emerged in the year 2006, where only 1.91 lakh students appeared for the test. Although the number increased in the following years, the number of students rose to 2.14 lakh applications only. The decline in the registration came into picture again with only 2.05 lakh registrations in 2011. The situation has not improved till date. Currently, the number of registerations received is not more than 2 lakh in 2013.
Though there is a slowdown in the registration for Common Entrance Test, there is no way B-schools are losing their hopes. The Indian economic downturn has raised a wave of concern among the students and educators. However, the educators in B-schools certainly are optimistic and believe that this slowdown will not affect the importance of CAT to enroll in premier B-schools. The students are equally aware about the relevance of CAT to enter a premier B-school. Irrespective of the concerns MBA aspirants have about the economy slowdown, they still know how important it is to go through CAT for admission into a worthy B-school.
CAT preparation is not based solely on theoretical knowledge but is also dependent on an individual's analytical skills and his knowledge of current affairs. So even if a student is not able to crack the entrance, he/she will have gained that level of knowledge which can be used by him/her at a later stage. Being a pre-requisite in any sort of management school, CAT is still an important catalyst for admissions in any top B-school. Though the trend has shown a slight dip in CAT registration this year, it carried a positive sign too. 55 percent registration for CAT was done online, which proved that students are updated about CAT and its importance. With the rise in number of online registrations in its first phase, CAT is still the most popular examination among students.
The economic hold up has surely brought up uncertainty among the MBA aspirants about depleted opportunities in the corporate world. The registration number has gone down to 9.3 percent in comparison to the percentage in 2012. With only 1.94 lakh students enrolling for CAT this year, the decline in the number of job offers have created a buzz in the market. All MBA aspirants have their prime focus on the placements they will get from the management institute. CAT is a national level examination and it is followed by premier B-schools in India. Almost all the top B-schools associated with CAT have the reputation of giving best placement to their students. Therefore, an MBA aspirant clearly knows that CAT is the only means to get into a premier B-school. Economic slowdown has not closed down the hiring process at all. It has become more cautious. Corporates are still looking forward to hiring students from top B-schools as the demand for a good manager will never go down. Therefore, B-schools do not seem to be worried.
The analysis of the industry with its varied opinion on CAT registration slowdown has raised speculation about its relevance but this has not affected the MBA aspirants in selecting the correct path towards their career. Aspirants have become a little careful about enrollment in management courses but that is an individual decision. The application registration number has increased to 29 percent in 2013, in comparison to 23 percent in 2009. This definitely cannot be considered as a bad number. MBA aspirants are still looking forward to get into B-schools and continue to aspire for a career in the corporate world. The registration number may go up and down over coming years, but it will not change the way one qualifies for an entry in a top B-school. Therefore, the focus is again on how a CAT score is still important in ensuring a good career in management. Students who are serious about a career in management are applying for CAT and aspirants still believe that it is the most trusted and a prime requisite to enter a good B-school.