THE ALL India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has decided to conduct its single entrance test for the MBA programmes next February. Based on the CAT model, the Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) would be an online test, to be conducted over 15- 20 days.

The test is expected to begin around February 10. The three-hour examination likely to be taken by nearly 2.5 lakh candidates will have multiple- choice questions to assess quantitative and data interpretation, logical reasoning, general awareness and language comprehension.

The AICTE will make it mandatory for all the recognised institutes to admit students only through CMAT in 2013. There are around 4,000 institutes offering MBA and another 500 offering AICTE recognised management diploma. The IIMs, IITs & other Deemed colleges will not come under the purview of CMAT.

CMAT 2012 will be conducted from 20.02.2012 to 28.02.2012.

Impact on Admissions 2012 & other exams?

At the time of filing this report, the immediate-term impact of AICTE CMAT on other management exams of 2012 is unlikely to be very significant. However, there are significant long-term implications of this significant move by AICTE.

The Supreme Court order of July 26, 2011 has already allowed private B-schools to continue with its past year's practices of using CAT, XAT, MAT, ATMA, & JMET exams for their admissions (JMET of IITs has been recently scrapped). So, B-schools have a clear roadmap on how to conduct their admissions 2012. However, for future, the matter is still sub judice in Supreme Court.

AICTE CMAT can be seen as Ministry of HRD's concrete move towards consolidation of MBA exams. With few high quality exams like CAT, AICTE CMAT, and possibly one or two other exams, MBA aspirants will be spared of excessive test-taking stress, and futile expenses.