Nothing ‘Common’ about the CAT

Why run the Rat Race when you can run the CAT Race?

The cat is out of the bag! CAT results for 2016 were declared on 9 January. As per data, the top 20 performers who scored 100 percentile are male engineers. But this hardly comes as a surprise as, for at least the past three years, all 100 percentile scorers have been men from the engineering background, with the exception of one female engineer scoring a centum in one of those years.

However, what is dispiriting is that in spite of recognising the need to promote diversity in Indian B-schools, the trend of male engineers getting admission to premium institutions still remains unbroken.  Earlier last year, the administration redesigned the test pattern to create a level playing field for applicants across all streams. But clearly, either their efforts were insincere or there still exists a lacuna in the entire system.

The disparity that prevails in the process of selection for a management degree in India is so heartbreaking that on becoming aware of it, I quickly abandoned my plans of pursuing MBA in India, and started planning for higher studies abroad.

I am a student of commerce. Like many others from my field, my decision to study economics and commerce at the graduation level was guided by my intention to pursue MBA and eventually find a place for myself in the corporate world. I chose commerce over engineering not because I was incapable of pursuing science, but because at the time, this path seemed only natural.

But at that tender age, how was I to know how paradoxical the Indian formal education system is! At one end, we laud our growth and progress by quoting the decline in the number of students opting for science and engineering, and the parallel increase in the number of students taking up commerce and humanities instead; at the other end, our society still rewards science students in the form of relatively lower cut offs for admission to degree courses and a clear edge in major entrance exams.

Indeed, it is rather ironical that there is nothing ‘common’ about the Common Aptitude Test (CAT). Ideally, it should be a test which gives an equal opportunity to students from all academic backgrounds to secure a seat in a management school. But what it actually does is give the science takers an edge over others and confer them with an opportunity to study in elite B-schools on the basis of past training.

This is extremely problematic at the macro-level, let alone the micro-level, of the individual. Disenchanted, MBA aspirants then choose to pursue their degrees overseas, eventually securing work and settling down there. The brain drain causes a dent to the country’s potential human resource and hurts India’s intentions of achieving supremacy as a global economic powerhouse.

My grouse as a commerce student is simple. Our education is devised to equip us with the knowledge and temperament of a corporate professional. Yet, when it comes to the CAT Race, the science students overtake us. Not because we’re any less; but because we’re running a race to win, but somewhere along the course, the rules change, swinging it in favour of another category of contenders. Patently unfair! Is anybody listening?

Kriti Sharma
kritis@dubeat.com

Image Credits: DU Beat



Kriti Sharma is studying BCom (Hons) at Hansraj College. She has a myriad interests, writing being just one of them. A debater, a scholar, a fashionista, she is more of an outdoors person who likes to run 6-8 km a day, just to clear her head. She is an ‘Army Brat’, but an unlikely one. Reading a book by lantern light in a tent by the banks of river Indus after a hard day’s trek in the mountains is her idea of bliss. She wants to be an investment banker but admits that writing lets her escape into a world of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.


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