Indian business schools have been allowed to admit students on the basis of the globally recognized graduate management aptitude test (GMAT), a move that will help these schools attract more overseas aspirants.
Fewer than 4,000 foreign students are currently getting enrolled across all disciplines of higher education in India every year, according to the government data. But business schools in particular are keen to increase the number to make classrooms more diverse, improve their global rankings and gain international accreditations.
The 13 Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), the country’s best-known business schools, recently decided to hold roadshows to attract foreign students. In the first week of November, the HRD ministry also gave them formal permission to improve their brand image internationally so that more foreign students join them.
Being able to admit students on the basis of GMAT, which is recognized in more than 110 countries, will now make it easier for India’s 3,000-plus business schools to draw international students, education officials and experts said.
“We all know the credibility of GMAT,” said H. Chaturvedi, director of the Greater Noida-based Birla Institute of Management and Technology. “Our schools’ diversity index is poor, and this works as a stumbling block whenever we apply for international accreditation. This will now be taken care of.”
The decision is part of the HRD ministry-controlled regulator All India Council for Technical Education’s (AICTE) efforts to simplify the admission process for business schools.
Various business schools earlier used to carry out their own tests, making the process opaque. This year AICTE announced to prohibit the practice, and asked all business schools to select students on the basis of the common admission test (CAT) conducted by the IIMs; management aptitude test conducted by the All India Management Association; Xavier Aptitude Test conducted by XLRI, Jamshedpur; the joint management entrance test (JMET) conducted by the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs); and a national test conducted by the AICTE.
The IITs scrapped JMET in August and decided to use CAT as their basis for admission to management courses.
“Since JMET has been discontinued, the same shall be replaced by GMAT,” reads a revised notification on the AICTE website.
The Graduate Management Aptitude Council, which conducts GMAT, welcomed the step. “The government accepting us as one of the exams for admitting students in recognized business schools in India will help the sector get foreign students. This is a sweet crucial step in the direction of internationalising management colleges,” said Ashish Bhardwaj, the council’s regional director for South Asia.
He said the council gave a presentation to AICTE on the merits of GMAT. “Now, one door has opened and here it depends on Indian B-schools on how much they position themselves as effective brands. Singapore and Hong Kong have positioned them as great destinations, similarly, India needs to collectively position itself as an education destination.”
Bhardwaj said he expects African, West Asian and South Asian students will soon show interest in Indian business schools, “Our job is to connect students with opportunities,” he said, adding that the council won’t tweak the examination format to suit Indian candidates.