CAT out of the bag- uncertainty remains at IIM !

India’s premier business school, Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and the glitches that happened on its first online CAT (Common Admission Test) has put a lot of aspirants in a state of limbo. While rumours are rife that there is going to be a written re-test in January nothing is clear yet. All seven IIMs had signed a 5-year contract with Prometric to conduct online CAT tests all over the country.

The first three days of the test had problems ranging from server crashing to hours lost in finger-printing and photographing, to a few getting more time for their test while others having PCs crashing mid-way. The fourth day had lesser problems but had its share of problems as well.

A recent update on the CAT website says, “The decision to conduct computerised CAT was taken unanimously by all IIMs. The contract for delivery of computerised CAT was awarded to Prometric, a world leader in computerised test delivery. IIMs were responsible for generating questions for the tests and Prometric was responsible for conducting the test…”

IIM Lucknow director Devi Singh said: “There is a certain level of output that is expected and everything will have to be reviewed. We will evaluate the entire experience of CAT 2009 after all this is over, and if problems pile up, everything concerning the 5-year contract with Prometric will need to come back to the table afresh. We will be professionals,” he said.

The IIMs are India’s pride and the focal point for multi-nationals looking to recruit the crème of the country. So there is a global reputation at stake now for the CAT but to be fair they have never had to deal with any  dent in reputation in the written tests that have been conducted all these years. So mighty is the IIM brand reputation and the national reputation it gives to India that this is an issue that need quick solving.

As for Prometric, after bagging this prestigious order itis now having to do some serious company crisis management of its own. This was the make or break deal, damage limitation should be the way ahead for them. Watch this space for updates on whether they will scrap the online tests all together or plough on with the decisions made.