India is fast waking up to the fact that even in these gloomy times with the world economies in a downward spiral, an MBA is sure-shot passport to a sound and secure future. Capitalizing on this trend is the City Beautiful, Chandigarh, which has emerged as the favourite destination for students wanting to see their names on a 6-digit paycheck!
Owing to its locational advantage, Chandigarh attracts students from the neighbouring states of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and, of course, Punjab. In 1998, the number of candidates appearing for the benchmark CAT of the IIM’s from Chandigarh was a mere 1,800. However, current estimates indicate that around 13,000 students appeared for CAT 2009 from the city, a seven-fold increase in the span of just a decade. Affirming this trend, Hirdesh Madan, Country Head-North for Bulls Eye, said “we started operations in Chandigarh with just 80 students in 1998 and today we cater to more than 3000 students in Chandigarh alone.”
Apart from its status as one of the premier cities of North India, Chandigarh also offers students great connectivity and mobility with their home states. The city boasts of a vibrant economy and a bustling social life and yet, has relatively lower living costs in comparison to cities like New Delhi. The infrastructural facilities are well developed with a reliable public transport network- ode public pace and affordable avenues for entertainment. Students have a host of housing options to choose from, ranging from hostels to paying guest accommodations to the ubiquitous barsaatis. Add to that the availability of a range of hygienic and affordable eateries and you have a veritable student’s paradise.
Chandigarh has the dual advantage of offering the academic and cultural benefits that come from being home to an esteemed university and its subsidiary colleges as also tremendous industry exposure by virtue of its flourishing markets. Punjab University provides the intellectual foundation which can be tested in the peripheral industrial hubs of Baddi Ludhiana, Mohall and of course, Chandigarh itself.
Till recently, industry insiders were fearful that the ongoing economic recession in the US and its corresponding effects on the Indian economy would prove to be a dampener for the MBA coaching boom in Chandigarh.
However, casting aside the apprehensions of even the most sceptical, the city has added to its student strength with more than 5,000 students enrolled for this year’s round of MBA entrance exams.
Affirming this trend, Hirdesh Madan, Country Head-North for Bulls Eye, says that the strength of students is likely to move further up in the years to come. “With CAT becoming online & with the economic recovery we expect a larger volume of students to seek professional counseling and coaching rather than relying on traditional sources of preparation. Computer-based teaching methodologies and systems are the need of the hour and one can afford to overlook them only at one’s own peril.”
For Madan, an online CAT is just another link in the natural progression of things. Bulls Eye, the regional market leader with almost 60 % of the market share, has been delivering its content through standardized, computer-based systems for the last 6 years. The astounding success stories of their students in exams ranging from the domestic CAT, XAT and the JMET to the international GRE and GMAT provide ample testimony of their prowess in the arena, be it based on paper or on computers.
So even as the country gets ready to select its next generation of future managers, Chandigarh gears up for another influx of eager young minds yearning to carve a niche in the field of business. And the saga continues.