CMAT Emerges as Second Most Popular MBA Entrance Exam in India, Reveals Shiksha’s MBA Outlook Report 2022

New Delhi : InfoEdge (India) Ltd.’s, a leading online platform for college selection in India, has rolled out its annual MBA Outlook Report 2022. This report encompasses every yardstick of college selection and trends among MBA aspirants in India. The survey provides an overview of the most preferred MBA entrance examinations in India, factors to keep in mind when deciding on their preferred colleges, and desired specialisations, among others. 


Every year lakhs of students in India appear for MBA entrance exams, irrespective of their stream of study so far which makes MBA one of the most popular fields of study for postgraduation. When it comes to choosing the right B-school, Covid has shifted MBA aspirants’ priorities. One of the most important findings observed in the MBA Outlook Report 2022 is that MBA candidates are not limited to choosing B-schools in major cities. They are now willing to study MBA in their own state or town rather than relocating to cities beyond their home state during the Covid period.  


The report reveals that following CAT, CMAT has risen to become India’s second most popular MBA entrance exam. Exams, including CAT, MAT, SNAP, NMAT, and IBSAT, were less popular in 2021 than they were in 2020; a decline ranging between 15-50 percent. West and South India saw the most substantial declines in CAT, whereas North and Central India saw the most severe declines in MAT. CMAT is presently more popular among students than MAT, which was not the case in previous years. With the exception of South India, every region saw a large increase in CMAT. Overall preference for XAT, ATMA, and KIITEE MANAGEMENT, on the other hand, has increased by at least 10% in 2021 over 2020. However, preference for UPSEE and APICET has increased by more than 100 percent, although other regional exams have performed similarly, with minor ups and downs over the past year. 


According to the report, more than 65 percent of MBA students prefer classroom learning over online lectures. To fulfil this need, over 60 percent of B-schools are likely to restart offline classes by February 2022. With the reduction in the number of B-School options and the degree of uncertainty, the average number of entrance exams per student has also decreased substantially in 2021 across all parts of India, except for East India. In 2021, 97 percent of students appeared for three entrance exams. This number stood at six exams per student in 2020. In 2021, students in the West (97 percent) and North (94 percent) took up to four entrance exams, whereas in 2020, they took up to five. Surprisingly, East India’s weighted average of entrance exams grew by 17 percent in 2021 over 2020.  


When it comes to the choice of college location, students’ choice for MBA colleges in their home state, towns, and regions increased dramatically when comparing 2020 to 2021. The Covid-19 epidemic may be to blame. When seeking for MBA colleges in 2021, aspirants from East and North India chose large cities such as Delhi, Bengaluru, and Mumbai over their home state or town, whilst aspirants from West and South India selected their home state and/or home town over large cities. Students in Central India, on the other hand, were split between the two options. 



One of the most interesting revelations of the report is that famous western cities, including Pune and Mumbai saw a negative relative lift, whereas Nagpur, Bengaluru, and Surat saw a favourable lift as the preferred MBA destination among aspirants in West India. When comparing 2019 with 2021, Nagpur had a nine-fold increase in preference. In case of preference of MBA colleges among aspirants in the eastern region, Bengaluru and Delhi-NCR continue to be the top choices, while Bhubaneswar outperforms Mumbai and Kolkata. Indore surpassed Pune as the top choice for Central Indian MBA students. Bengaluru and Delhi, on the other hand, had witnessed a year-over-year decrease. Interestingly, students from Central India are increasingly choosing Jaipur and Nagpur as preferred locations to pursue MBA.  


Despite the fact that Delhi-NCR is the most popular student destination in North India, it is losing popularity year on year. Furthermore, students from North India are increasingly choosing Lucknow as a preferred destination for MBA studies. When compared with previous years, aspirants from Southern India choose to study MBA in their home states and cities, as opposed to outside region cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, and Pune. 


Vivek Jain, Chief Business Officer, asserted, “MBA is one of the most sought-after post-graduate programmes among young Indian students. The diversity of specialisation, growing demand for evolved Management roles, and availability of quality institutions, together have made it retain its popularity among students. We have seen how Covid-19 has influenced the way India views and consumes education. We’ve noticed a complete 180-degree shift in how education is delivered, from traditional classrooms to online learning. In the last 20 months, B-Schools around the country appear to have effectively absorbed this transition, which has been fueled by innovation. These B-schools with the correct technology were able to create an environment that allowed students to absorb and apply their education to their benefit. B-schools have redesigned and changed their curricula, even introducing new courses that are relevant to today’s world and the future which is an optimistic move. The fact that students are willing to move across cities to gain the best of education is a positive note that our country is treading towards the right path when it comes to higher education.” 


The MBA Outlook Report 2022 also revealed that student reviews, recruiters and placement matrices, college ratings and reviews accounted for the key decision-making elements when it came to researching and choosing MBA colleges in 2021, as opposed to the earlier trend of choosing colleges on the basis of information categories like fee & scholarship, programs offered by the college, colleges related Q&A and student support services. This was closely followed by a stronger need of the right programmes and industrial training/ internship opportunities offered by the institutions.  


Interaction with current college students, followed by interaction with college alumni, continues to be the most popular way to learn more about colleges. In northern, eastern, and central India, there has been a positive y-o-y increase in interactions with college alumni. When comparing 2021 with 2020 and 2019, interactions with counsellors in search of genuine information for admission-related queries showed a downward trend, particularly in northern and southern India, whereas interactions with student support services showed an upward trend in eastern, northern, and central India. 


MBA in Finance continues to be the top choice for students, as it was previous year. Even while the overall position is unchanged from the previous year, it has lost share in western India and gained share in southern India. In 2021, MBA in Human Resources is now preferred over MBA in Marketing. This is attributable to an increasing preference in western, central, and southern India for HR over Marketing. When compared to the previous year, the popularity of new emerging specialisations such as Entrepreneurship, Agriculture, and Food Business fell marginally in 2021. 


Since 2020, online sources of information ranging from search engines like Google to online college selection and review portals like and others has increased predominantly as opposed to traditional sources. College listing/ranking websites have risen to prominence as important resources for learning about colleges. Students from western, eastern, and northern India are becoming interested in using college listing services. In the last year, the position of word of mouth (family/friends) has improved significantly, while the position of newspapers/magazines has deteriorated. 


Vivek Jain, in this context, opined, “The growing share of online platforms demonstrated impact and changing consumer behaviour due to Covid-19 lockdown. This showed that students rely on these online platforms as a primary source of credible information. In the past two years, more people have accepted online webinars and social media platforms. Shiksha also hosts student counselling webinars on a regular basis, which have assisted in the real-time resolution of problems and questions for over 10,000 students.” 


A drop in placements in 2020 as a result of the pandemic has also been a concern for students considering a B-School. Companies will hunt for the greatest personnel to assist them overcome the epidemic in the future, as markets embrace new ways in the post-Covid age. As a result, MBA aspirants may soon find themselves seizing innovative possibilities to demonstrate their abilities. 


Similar to previous years, the report revealed that value-adds, like placement and internships continued to be the top value-add that students were looking for in an MBA college followed by work experience while studying, quality students, budget for startup, corporate exposure, among others, have gained popularity among MBA aspirants across India.  



Shiksha has more than 2.65 lakh authentic college reviews on its platform with dedicated pages on college admission.  It has been successfully claiming a leading position among the most preferred college selection and review platforms in India for over two decades now. 


Please visit for full report. 

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