The numbers of girl candidates may have stabilised for now, but going forward there is scope for an increase, said professor Debashis Chatterjee, director, IIM-Kozhikode. “Thirty-five per cent could be one glass ceiling till it is broken with newer initiatives. Offering diverse MBA programmes could be one such move. For instance, our two-year MBA programme in Liberal Arts & Management started this year has over 60% girls in the classroom. On the contrary, girls’ enrollment in MBA finance, also launched this year, was just 20%,” said Chatterjee. “Our main selection pool right now is from the engineering profile, which anyway has more boys than girls. But MBA should be made attractive for women from other streams as well,” he added.
Professor Himanshu Rai, director, IIM-Indore, said that the numbers can be attributed to several socio-economic factors too. “It may rise when the literacy rate increases, particularly for women. It will also rise if the number of women pursuing higher education go up. It will increase with changes in the social fabric of our society,” said Rai.
This year, to follow the Covid-19 social distancing norms, CAT organisers reduced the duration of the paper by an hour to conduct the exams in three sessions, instead of two. Close to 2.3 lakh candidates will take the exam in 159 cities across the country on Sunday. Students are a little anxious about giving the exams in the pandemic, said coaching class mentor Hemang Panchmatia. “Students have doubts over the self declaration form on Covid, use of masks and gloves,” he said. A Mumbai based student said that the IIMs are taking care of all the Covid-related precautions at the centre, but he is not sure if he will be allowed to use the local trains on Sunday. “There is no clarity on the same and therefore, we are planning to take a cab, which is an expensive affair,” said another student from Borivali, who got a centre at Boisar.
Rai, also the director of the CAT 2020 organising institute, said that students should plan their commute well and reach the centres early. “This is merely the culmination of the hard work out in the last several months. Focus on what is in your hands, wear mask and maintain social distance,” he advised students.