Brownies in the CATastrophe

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December 8th, 2009 Kalpana Pathak

A day before the common admission test (CAT) began, the IIMs came up with a disclaimer to avoid instances of cheating during the 10-day exam. If flouted, the individual would attract imprisonment for a term of up to three years and fine of up to Rs 200,000, the disclaimer said.

When I spoke to an official from one of the MBA test preparing institutes on this, he remarked, “This is the only time for us to get publicity and the IIMs have spoiled it all by coming up with the disclaimer.”

Little did he realize that what would follow the next day would ensure record publicity for his institute and similar other institutes, without any spend on advertising.

Ten days on, the CAT controversy refuses to die down. The disastrous start to the computer-based CAT has helped everyone in the business of MBA. Of course IIMs and Prometric remain an exception.

The swiftness these MBA test-preparing institutes exhibited in cashing in on the mistake of IIMs and Prometric, talks how well they have mastered the art of promoting themselves (an IIM director had once said that these institutes feed on the IIM brand). Their public relation officer/agencies kept feeding the media with an hour by hour account on the failure of the test labs by sending text messages on the mobile phones and shooting emails.

The IIMs and Prometric on the other hand came on record only on the third day of the fiasco to admit their failure. Considering the gravity of the situation, IIMs should have been the first ones to send out a communication to the press. May be they can emulate the model followed by their international counterparts on this.

Last year when I spoke one of the IIM directors, he candidly remarked, “IIMs do not need publicity. They are just too sought after.” Agreed. But a crisis management policy in place could have saved the day for these ‘too sought after institutes’. The fact that IIMs are planning a case study on CAT 2009 fiasco, might throw some light on the importance of having an effective communication management in place.

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4 Responses to “Brownies in the CATastrophe”

  1. Malvika Says:

    Those(read IIMs) who can`t do,teach!..

  2. Smart Alec Says:

    Sahil, of course the IIMs goofed up. And of course the goof up speaks poorly about an institute that failed to ensure smooth management in its own backyard, while telling everyone else how to manage their buslinesses. But you must have a very fertile imagination to believe that ISB is anywhere near any of the IIMs leave alone the big ones as Ahmedabad, Bangalore or Calcutta

  3. Archana Says:

    Absolutely! Totally agree with u! p.s- The disclaimer of not discussing the paper was probably the biggest joke of the exam! Very nicely written

  4. Sahil Says:

    Indian basically had no option previously which made IIMs ‘too sought after institutes’ . But now,they are getting a tough fight from a new born instt. ISB, which has got far better standards than these ‘‘too sought after institutes’. The day is near when these ‘too sought after institutes’ will become a thing of past.The complete admin system in IIMs is dominated by bureaucrats, which is displayed by the utter failure of CAT 2009.


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