January 31, 2012


The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is preparing the ground for the launch of its first online Common Management Admissions Test (CMAT), which can act as a key MBA entrance test for AICTE approved management institutes.

Like the process followed by IIMs for its Common Admission Test (CAT), AICTE has asked education technology companies to submit proposals to conduct the exam. According to the tender document, a copy of which is with MBAUniverse.com, AICTE is planning to host the maiden CMAT from 20 February to 28 February, 2012.

This significant move by AICTE follows a bitter spat between AICTE and B-school consortiums like AIMS, EPSI and some private B-schools, who had challenged AICTE’s December 28, 2010 notification. The notification called for sweeping changes in the way B-schools conduct their entrance process and pedagogy.

B-schools had objected to this notification and subsequently approached High Court and Supreme Court for relief. On July 26, 2011 the Supreme Court, while partially vindicating the stance of private B-schools, had allowed AICTE to conduct its own entrance exam.

MBAUniverse.com has accessed the copy of the Supreme Court order which states, “The interim order will not come in the way of All India Council of Technical Education amending its Regulations (AICTE Approval Process Handbook) to introduce All India Entrance Examination of AICTE for 2012-13 in place of State Level Examinations by the respective State Government.”

In preparation for conducting the CMAT, AICTE has issued a circular in leading national dallies, and has released a 36 page tender document calling interested companies to submit proposals for ‘Conducting online Common Management Admission Test 2012 (CMAT 2012).’

According to sources, the AICTE Chairman Dr. S.S. Mantha and his team of advisors on 26 September 2011 had a pre-bid meeting with the potential bidders in New Delhi. More than 30 potential bidders were present at the meeting, which included representatives from top education technology companies, such as Pearson Vue, Prometric, TCS, MeritTrac and Wipro. The last date for receipt of tender offers is 7 October and the date of opening of technical bids is same day.

As per AICTE, CMAT will be a test for all AICTE-approved institutes and “will reduce the stress and financial burden on students.”

National level online test
The AICTE tender document further mentions that the exam is likely to be taken by more than 250,000 candidates across the country. “AICTE will organize/conduct the CMAT with the purpose of selecting suitable students for their post-graduate programmes in management. The test typically lasts for about 3 hours and contains multiple choice questions. CMAT-2012 will be conducted from 20th Feb to 28th Feb 2012, and is expected to be administered to about 250,000 candidates all over India through test centres covering as many venues as required,” mentions the document.

Focus on delivery quality
AICTE has mentioned clearly in the document that the quality of the test will have to be global level. “An equally important phase of online CMAT is the delivery mechanism. A secure and smooth conduct of CMAT not only helps prospective students and AICTE to choose one another, it also maintains and enhances the reputation of the CMAT brand,” mentions the document.

Embracing e-Testing
The move by AICTE to embrace education technology for its first management entrance exam is a move in the right direction. With success of CAT 2010 and NMAT 2011, the future of e-Testing is bright in India.

The Computer Based Entrance Exams — CAT, NMAT, GMAT etc have given candidates various positive options .The traditional pencil-paper exam is a one day affair hence it creates a lot of nervousness among the students. Spread over several weeks, Computer Based Testing (CBT) has become more convenient for the test takers as now the exam date can be chosen whenever candidates feel that they are best prepared for it. These exams have reduced the stress among the candidates.

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. Source mbauniverse