The result of the Common Admission Test (CAT) was released in January and this year too, engineers have grabbed the top position. Out of 11 candidates who scored 100 percentile, all are BE/ B Tech students. Keeping the past years’ data in mind, the result does not come as a surprise.
“A total of 55 per cent of candidates having engineering background within the complete set of candidates applied for CAT 2018, out of which 82 per cent candidates scored 90 percentile and above,” said CAT convener Sumanta Basu.
In 2017, about 20 candidates scored an overall 100 percentiles with only three non-engineers. In 2016, all top scorers were male engineers while in 2015, 1.79 lakh candidates appeared in CAT of which 1.12 lakh were BE/ BTech students.
Most non-engineers complain that the exam pattern is engineer-friendly. Snehalata Mitra, a B Com student, appeared for CAT and could not crack it. “I found quantitative aptitude and DILR sections tough. English was, however, easier. But engineers have an upper hand over us as they are acquainted with these subjects,” said Mitra who feels that the exam authority should tone down the difficulty level for non-engineering candidates.
IIM-Calcutta alumnus Sumanta Basu said questions demand more fundamental knowledge and hence difficult to crack using commonly known techniques. “CAT focuses on evaluating the competency level needed for managerial decision-making and questions are designed accordingly. It does not favour any stream.”
Though Basu believes IIMs are not biased, a data shows in the last year, 87 per cent students of the 2018-20 PGP batch of IIM Calcutta are from the engineering background. “The percentage of engineers was 87 per cent in 2018-20 PGP batch of IIM-Calcutta and this may be because engineer applicants are higher than any other stream,” he said.
India has 20 IIMs that admits as many as 4,000 students into their flagship two-year management programmes. While from past a decade, IIMs are trying to break this myth by enrolling candidates from a diverse background, engineers still dominate the seats.
Arks Srinivasan, national head, Career Launcher cited engineering students are in an advantage as they are good in mathematics and solving problems. Besides, they are quite adept with handling the competitive examinations.
CAT 2018 topper Rickshesh Manchanda, an IIT-Delhi student, said right from class 11, they are put into a habit of appearing for mock tests. This boosts their confidence level. Moreover, the projects given to them while they are pursuing B Tech demand research and self-preparation. “We have to finish projects on our own and therefore, we get autonomy. This makes us independent and helps in self-studies,” he said.
Basu explains the students have to crack tough examinations like JEE on the national level and other state entrance examinations and therefore have the ability to face any competition, “Not only in CAT, the success rate of engineers cracking other competitive examinations are higher than students from another background,” said the IIM-Calcutta professor.
Though the last year, paper conducted by IIM-Lucknow was simpler (as per the candidates), however, the percentage of students from the engineering background who cracked the CAT was higher than that of 2017. “Last year, 87.5 per cent students were from the engineering background in the MBA classes, which was 85 per cent in 2017, and 89 per cent in 2016,” said an official from IIM-Lucknow.