With CAT notification out yesterday, the bugle has been blown for 2018 admissions into B-schools. As the countdown kick-starts, one common question being asked by aspirants, parents and B-School administrators is "MBA Aspirant pool: What changes can be envisioned for the year"?
Before we come to answering this question, it is important to have a look at some factors which play an important role.
1) Indian IT industry job scenario: Hardly a month ago, the newspapers were splashed with the IT sector layoffs. With automation playing a big role, the entry level jobs are continuously going down.
WHAT IT MEANS:
a) Engineering campus hirings are likely to come down, and so the number of students considering MBA as a Career Option immediately after passing out is expected to go up.
b) The feeling of uncertainty among young IT professionals ( 0-2 years experience) is going up, and hence their chances of considering MBA as a Career Option is likely to go up.
2) Engineering Seats going Vacant: The admission scenario for last two years has been dismal for engineering colleges across the country, which shows increasing disenchantment with the engineering degree. However, the talks with various academic administrators, leaders, and students also reveal that BBA admissions have seen a record surge.
WHAT IT MEANS:
a) With MBA as a natural higher study option for BBA students, they are bound to have a positive impact on the aspirant pool.
3) Recent Government Initiatives & 2019 Election: Demonetization and GST roll-out might have caused a blip in the Indian economy, but in long run- they are expected to help GDP growth by few points. This will definitely mean more jobs. Add to it, the general elections of 2019-and the general public expectation is loosening of government purse strings in the coming years. Last but not the least, with the present government commitment towards job creation, expecting some more policy support is not entirely misplaced.
WHAT IT MEANS:
a) With the present market not being great for undergraduate students, and future scenario promising ACCHE DIN, the best strategy is to build competencies and preparing oneself to surf when the wave comes. This, once again-will contribute to the increase in MBA Aspirant pool.
Does it mean that number of CAT/XAT/IIFT/NMAT/SNAP aspirants will increase this year? NOT NECESSARILY YES. The increase, if at all, will be on the lower side. But then, it is also pertinent to understand two cycles of admission. While the first indicator is the number of students filling the form, the other more critical but subtle indicator is the number of students accepting the final admission offer.
The movement of wait lists across B-Schools for the 2017 batch was an indicator. In almost all top B-Schools, the wait list movement was much lower compared to 2016 numbers. So, to sum up, and putting my bet "While the overall aspirant number may see a little increase or remain plateau, the percentage of students accepting final admission offer will see a definite rise".
For aspirants, it means tougher competition, while for B-Schools, it certainly is a good news.
About the Author: Subrat has been the Lead reaseacher for NHRDN B-School ranking survey for last 4 year. He is a Serial CAT taker. He has trained more than 20,000 students and professionals.