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India loses steam in GMAT

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December 08, 2004 09:08 IST

GMAT performance of Indian students wanting a place in top business schools abroad is nothing to write home about as they are being outstripped by peers from across the globe -- even by students from the strife-torn Gaza Strip in West Asia.  Some Indian management experts say complacency could be a reason for this.

While the demand for Indian managers and IT professionals has been witnessing a steady growth overseas, Indian students are falling short of expectations at the GMAT hurdle in comparison to students from at least 15 other countries, a report by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), US, has revealed.

It said that GMAT candidates from India reported total mean scores much less than students from the developed countries like the UK, Australia and Canada.

Not just this, the report said that over the past five years, Indian students lost the battle even to students from small countries like Bermuda, Uruguay or from the disturbed Gaza Strip. They now rank 16th on the list.

The only silver lining is that Indian GMAT candidates have been consistently faring better than their US counterparts, if that is any consolation.

They bettered the Americans in 2003. Candidates from the US have a total mean score of 524. The data for 2004 is yet to be compiled by GMAC, which conducts the GMAT worldwide.

Leading the pack are the Chinese, who have been fetching the highest GMAT scores for the past five years, proving their undisputed superiority over candidates from any other country, said the report.

The Dean of the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), Indira Parikh, sees the revelation as startling.

She has a piece of advice for Indian students: They should increase their speed in responding to questions as those from other countries like China have developed the habit of answering questions faster than the Indians do.

"There is also another reason for such poor results in spite of the fact that Indian students do fairly well in overseas B-schools -- they are more comfortable in responding to questions in text format rather than in the objective format. Also, Indian students are still not habituated to responding questions during online examinations. This is an important issue and needs to be addressed urgently if their performance is to be improved in international examinations like the GMAT," Parikh told Business Standard on Tuesday, reacting to the GMAC report.

For the GMAT 2002-2003, the total mean score of Chinese students was 593 against 587 fetched by Australian students, who shared the second spot with those from New Zealand and the United Kingdom, both reporting an identical total.

Students from Bermuda reported a total mean score of 585 to be placed third and were closely followed by students from Belgium who reported a total mean score of 584.

According to the report, a total mean score of 556 saw Indian students failing to get a slot among the top 10. Students from the Gaza Strip with a total mean score of 570 stayed ahead of the Indians to share position with North Korea.

Students from Romania returned a total mean score of 571 and Singapore candidates' total mean score was 568. Students from Uruguay, who appeared for GMAT last year, reported a total mean score of 563 with Canadian students scrolling 560.

A senior member of the Indian Management Association fell in line with the findings of the report. He said: "While the performance of the Indian management students in international entrance examinations is slipping every year, the Chinese students are doing better. The reason for the poor performance is, perhaps, a little bit of complacency has crept in.  They are also spending less time working on dummy questions."

In the 1998-99 GMAT, the total mean score by Indian students was 566, which dropped to 563 the next year, and in 2003, it came down to 556.

In comparison, the total mean score of the Chinese during 2001-02 was 592 and in 2002-03, it rose to 593. There are also differences in performance among students from North Korea and South Korea.

Candidates from the Communist North reported a total mean score of 587 last year while students from South Korea fetched 554. Russian students' total mean score in 2002-03 was 540 while Germans had 545 to show for themselves, added the GMAC report.
Joydeep Ray in Ahmedabad