The number of applicants for Common Admission Test (CAT) has increased this year, after a steady fall for past two years. There were 2, 14, 068 applicants this year. If one looks at the profiles of the CAT aspirants this year, it reveals an interesting trend. While candidates from engineering discipline continue to dominate (about 67 per cent of the applicants), their percentage has declined to some extent, paving way for more candidates from agriculture and architecture background.
However, the number of candidates appearing from Humanities stream has dropped from 3,780 last year to 3,404 this year. About 17,000 applicants have two to three years’ working experience.
This reflects a trend that more working professionals are gradually seeking management degrees for career growth and development. It is needless to say that there is a need for a wider talent pool across disciplines and industry requires best minds. Today, there is an increasing dependence on innovation and requirement for managers with diverse knowledge-base.
In this respect, there is a concern that predominance of aspirants from engineering background would come in the way of diversifying the talent-pool. Therefore, premier B-schools are now planning to bring about some changes in the CAT to ensure a broad-based representation. It is also being felt gradually that the CAT score is not the only indicator of managerial potential. There are many other significant aspects of managerial aptitude that are not adequately captured by CAT.
In many cases, candidates having a low CAT score have shown exceptionally bright managerial potential during personal interviews. There is also a poor connection between CAT score and academic performance of a student in the PGDM programme. The recruiters hardly look at the CAT score while recruiting for their organisations.
Although CAT score ensures entry into top-line business schools and IIMs, it does not necessarily measure academic worth of the students. The top-line B Schools often give weightage to other skill-sets like analytical reasoning, decision making skills, problem-solving attitude, creativity, communications and other positive attributes of the student.
At FORE we take into consideration some abilities which are essentially not captured in a CAT kind of an examination. Aspects such as leadership abilities, communication skills, creativity and responsiveness to the environment are taken into account in our selection process.
As a result candidates who are strong in these abilities have a better chance to get selected. Our attempt is to make our selection process more comprehensive and balanced rather than giving too much of weightage to any particular criteria like CAT.The weightage given to CAT score is only 40% while rest of the 60% weightage is distributed in terms of academic performance, work experience, communication skills and other personal attributes.
We strongly believe that a lot of non-engineering background students do have immense potential for management positions.
FORE has a fairly objective and robust admission policy, which is being followed for the past couple of years to ensure that fair opportunity is provided to potential candidates to prove their merit. The admission policy of FORE encourages diversity to a great extent. Our present batch is highly diverse in terms of place of residence, gender, academic background, and work experience. We take students from different regions of the country and from various streams.
Last year, we received applications from 26 states of India and the batch we finally selected had 29 percent female representation which is much higher than some of the IIMs. We have students from science and humanities background, from medical sciences, and also from the armed forces background. This makes FORE different from other B-Schools in terms of seeking talent in a more scientific manner and ensuring that candidates with right aptitudes are selected and groomed as future managers.
The article is written by:
Prof. Sanghamitra Buddhapriya, Executive Chairperson–Admissions, FORE School of Management, New Delhi.