India has more than 3500 b-schools which offer post graduate programmes in management. Annually, over three lakh MBA aspirants vie for admission to these management programmes.
The admission processes in b-schools, however, vary depending on multiple factors including their academic quality, Return on Investment (RoI) etc. This is also the precise reason for each b-school following separate admission criteria. Nevertheless, an MBA entrance exam remains the first stage of admission process for almost all management institutes. On the basis of the entrance exam scores, b-schools filter candidates for second stage of admission process which comprises Group Discussions, Personal Interview, Writing Ability Test, Group Activities etc.
MBA admission: A complicated process
But, in the absence of a single regulatory authority for management education, multiple entrance tests exist for admission to MBA/PGDM and other similar programmes in India. While a few b-schools stick to their own entrance test, many b-schools accept scores of multiple entrance exams for selecting students for their second stage of admission processes.
For example, Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have their own entrance test called Common Admission Test (CAT). Similarly, Xavier Institute of Management, Jamshedpur has Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT). However, CAT is accepted by many other PGDM institutes like IMT Ghaziabad, MDI Gurgaon and XAT is accepted by many Xavier Group of Institutions which also accept scores of other entrance exams.
Added to these two entrance exams which remain in the ‘must appear’ list of MBA aspirants, there are many other national-level entrance tests including Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) conducted by National Testing Agency (NTA), NMAT by GMAC, Management Aptitude Test (MAT) conducted by AIMA.
Then, there are University-level tests like IBSAT conducted by ICFAI, Symbiosis National Aptitude Test (SNAP) conducted by Symbiosis International, and others. Different states also have their own entrance exams.
Thus, the list of MBA entrance tests counts more than 100 entrance exams. Needless to say, such an admission scenario makes MBA admission process not only complicated for MBA aspirants, but it also becomes confusing for them to select right entrance tests for themselves.
So, can there be a single entrance exam replacing all the existing entrance exams for MBA admission? Does the single exam fit into the requirement of different B-schools? What are the advantage and disadvantage of a single entrance exam for MBA?
Here, we analyse the pros and cons of the single entrance exam for MBA admission in India.
Single MBA entrance Tests – Pros
- Convenience to MBA Aspirants
A single entrance exam may bring a lot of convenience to MBA aspirants. It will save them from the physical stress that they undergo during the exam season where they are required to travel to different exam cities to appear for the entrance tests. Also, it will free them from the multiple exam stress which burdens them during the exam season. A single entrance idea may bring a lot of mental and physical relief to MBA aspirants
- Eases financial burden
At present, candidates fill multiple entrance application forms for exploring MBA admission opportunities. As each MBA entrance test carry an application fee of about Rs 2000, the application fee for an MBA aspirant, if he/she fills around 10 applications, goes up to Rs 20000. If average travel cost of Rs 2000 for each of the entrance exam is added to this, the total cost of appearing in the entrance exams will go above Rs 50000.
A single entrance exam will unburden students of this significant pre-admission cost.
- End of counselling hassles
The single entrance exam will also help in streamlining the admission process as candidates will be admitted on the basis of one score across management colleges in India. It will also help in ending colleges’ dependency on multiple entrance test scores for selecting or filtering candidates for next stage of selection process. Selection of candidates on the basis of single entrance exam will also help MBA colleges to streamline their counselling and begin their academic session on time.
- Uniformity in entrance preparation
The MBA entrance exams demand a lot of dedication and hard work on preparation front. A centralized exam would surely help in significantly reducing exam pressure on them. Though, majority of MBA entrance exams including CAT and XAT have a similar paper pattern, aspirants are required to prepare according to precise exam patterns to score well in those exams. This also requires them to buy a lot of preparation material.
A single entrance exam will allow students to focus their energy on preparing for a single management test instead of multiple tests. This will help them prepare better and ease their preparation strategy. Students can focus and concentrate on their preparation as they have to follow only one syllabus in place of multiple syllabus various exams.
Also, they will understand the importance of exam as they will get one opportunity to proof their talents by securing good marks and rank.
- Uniformity and transparency in evaluation
Once there will be a single entrance exam across the country, candidates would be able to observe a higher level of transparency in the admission process. Students would also be evaluated on an equal parameter instead of multiple yardsticks.
Single MBA entrance test – Cons
- Generic Testing for specific MBAs:
MBA is about learning how to enhance one’s analytical leadership ability. Therefore, management exams are mostly designed to evaluate candidates’ ability through case study based questions, data interpretation and analytical analysis of situations.
However, a few MBA programmes that are sector or domain specific require a specific tilt of mind which can’t be tested through a uniform test.
- Single opportunity may result in loss of opportunities
A single entrance exam may result in loss of opportunities for those who fail to perform on the single test day for whatever reason. Since there will be no other testing opportunity in a single-test scenario, one bad performance in that particular exam may end the hope for admission in a given academic session. Multiple exams present opportunities to aspirants to analyse and improve their performance in subsequent exams.
While a single admission test might bring both physical and financial ease for aspirants and may also help in streamlining academic sessions for b-schools. The concept of single entrance exam is increasingly becoming popular with majority stakeholders supporting single entrance tests like NEET for MBBS/BDS programmes.
Thus, the single entrance exam for MBA appears to be a viable option except for a few niche MBA courses. Still, this problem for specific MBA programmes can also be addressed by specific tests that can be followed by single entrance test.