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Engineering students still top in cracking CAT (Common Admission Test)

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The Economic Times | By Sreeradha Basu, ET Bureau | 12 January, 2016 |

MUMBAI: Candidates with an engineering background continue to top the Common Admission Test (CAT) to the country’s top management colleges, show latest data from the test’s organiser, Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad.  All the 17 students who scored 100 percentile from the nearly 1.8 lakh who attended CAT 2015 had an engineering degree. This, despite the CAT pattern being changed this year to provide a more even field to candidates from various streams.  According to CAT convenor Tathagata Bandyopadhyay of IIM-A, engineering students generally prepare more seriously for CAT and this many have resulted in them getting higher score this year.  “Many students with an engineering background are bent on pursuing an engineering-MBA combination and prepare accordingly. People from other backgrounds don’t always take the CAT equally seriously. Also, a lot of the best students from streams such as physics, chemistry and English don’t even opt for CAT,” said Bandyopadhyay. “Otherwise, motivated students from other streams can fare just as well.” IIMs’ attempts to create a more diverse classroom have seen the number of women appearing for the test rising 13.8% to 58,270 in 2015. In comparison, the number of male test-takers increased at a much slower pace of 4%.

Among the 17 CAT toppers, there was only one woman. Last year, too, there was only one woman candidate – a BITS Pilani chemical engineering student from New Delhi – among the 16 who topped the test. Overall, 1,814 students scored above 99 percentile while the number of students who got above 95 percentile is 9,003. There are 136 women in the first category and 1,243 in the second. Eight women have scored more than 99.9 percentile.  Among the CAT toppers, fasttrack growth in multinationals seemed to be the career of choice for quite a few, with entrepreneurship an option for the future. Two of them, IIT-Roorkee’s Nishchay Budhiraja and IIT-Bombay’s Chirag Jha, have already landed jobs with Ola and Hindustan Unilever, respectively, but say they will take a call depending on which IIM they get through to. IIMAhmedabad is the preferred choice, though Bangalore and Calcutta are equally coveted.  In fact, deferred admissions, a policy introduced by IIM-Ahmedabad that involves offering guaranteed seats to freshers who agree to get work experience, is an option that toppers with jobs in hand like Jha could opt for. Shounak Chakraborty, a final year electronics student at IIT-Kharagpur, for instance, has already bagged a job as an analyst at Capital One and says he would opt for the deferred admissions option if he manages to get through to IIM-A. “Otherwise, I would like to continue with my job,” said Chakraborty, whose mother is a maths teacher and father, a manager with the Airports Authority of India. This year, around 2.18 lakh students had registered for CAT. This included 41 transgenders, none of whom scored above 90 percentile. – Courtesy


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