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MBA Without CAT: Top CAT Exam Alternatives in 2024 

June 14, 2024 - 4:16
MBA Without CAT: Top CAT Exam Alternatives in 2024 

The Common Admission Test (CAT) is a gateway for many aspiring MBAs in India. CAT isn’t the only criteria to an MBA degree there are universities that give importance to merit of a canddiadate than on any competitive exam score.The Amrita AHEAD programs aligns with the needs of the MBA aspirants to get into their specified specialisation with the fulfilment of a basic criteria of education that is solely based on merit of the candidate. This article explores alternative entrance exams and explores the possibility of securing an MBA seat without the CAT with help of a well organiswed table for easy access .This article also delves into the various MBA programs in Amrita AHEAD that does not require  a CAT score for admission. 

The CAT is a computer-based aptitude test used for MBA admissions at IIMs and other top B-schools in India. It assesses a candidate’s quantitative ability, verbal reasoning, data interpretation, and logical reasoning skills. Scoring well on the CAT increases your chances of admission into a top-tier MBA program.It’s a highly competitive exam conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) for admission to their prestigious MBA programs in varios B schools across the country  

There’s no minimum percentage requirement for the CAT exam. However, most IIMs expect candidates to have a Bachelor’s degree from a recognized university with a decent academic record. Additionally, some IIMs have work experience requirements for specific programs. 

Yes, the CAT exam is primarily used for MBA admissions. However, some institutes might consider CAT scores for other management programs like a Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM). 

The CAT exam is divided into three sections: 

  • Quantitative Ability (QA): This section tests your mathematical skills, including algebra, geometry, arithmetic, and data sufficiency. 
  • Verbal Reasoning & Reading Comprehension (VARC): This section assesses your reading comprehension, vocabulary, and critical reasoning abilities. 
  • Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation (LRDI): This section evaluates your problem-solving and analytical skills through data analysis and logical reasoning questions. 

Absolutely! The good news is that several esteemed B-schools offer MBA programs without requiring a CAT score. Here are your options: 

  • Alternative Entrance Exams: Many B-schools conduct their own entrance exams for MBA admissions. These exams might have a similar syllabus to the CAT but with varying weightage for each section. Popular alternatives include: 
  • XAT (Xavier Aptitude Test): Conducted by XLRI Jamshedpur, XAT is another well-regarded exam for MBA admissions in India. 
  • GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test): A global exam accepted by many top B-schools worldwide, including some IIMs for their Executive MBA programs. 
  • CMAT (Common Management Admission Test): A national-level entrance exam for MBA admissions at various B-schools across India. 
  • MAT (Management Aptitude Test): Conducted by the All India Management Association (AIMA), MAT is another popular option for MBA admissions. 
  • Institute-Specific Exams: Several B-schools conduct their own entrance exams for their specific MBA programs. 
  • Direct Admission: Some B-schools like Amrita AHEAD, Amrita University offers direct MBA admissions based on your academic record, work experience, achievements, and sometimes a group discussion and/or interview process. 

There’s no single “best” college for an MBA without the CAT. The ideal college depends on your academic background, work experience, career goals, and preferred specialization.  

Amrita AHEAD  provides various MBA pograms  that doesn’t require any CAT score for admission,Amrita AHEAD MBA Programs includes 

  • MBA (Elective: General Management): Gain a well-rounded understanding of core business functions like marketing, finance, and operations with Amrita AHEAD MBA in General Management . This versatile option prepares you for leadership roles across various industries. 
  • MBA (Elective: Artificial Intelligence): Dive deep into the world of AI and its applications in business with  Amrita AHEAD MBA in AI. Learn how to leverage AI for tasks like marketing automation, data analysis, and strategic decision-making. 
  • MBA (Elective: International Finance and Accounting): Master the intricacies of global financial markets and accounting practices  Amrita AHEAD MBA in International Finance and Accounting. This specialization equips you for success in international business ventures and multinational corporations. 
  • MBA (Elective: Marketing): Hone your skills in crafting compelling marketing strategies, understanding consumer behavior, and navigating the ever-evolving marketing landscape Amrita AHEAD MBA in Marketing
  • MBA (Elective: Finance): Develop a strong foundation in financial analysis, investment management, and risk assessment Amrita AHEAD MBA in Finance. This path prepares you for careers in investment banking, corporate finance, and financial consulting. 
  • MBA (Elective: Operations): Optimize business processes and ensure smooth production with a focus on Amrita AHEAD MBA in Operations Management. This specialization equips you to manage supply chains, logistics, and quality control procedures. 
  • MBA (Elective: Human Resources): Become an expert in attracting, developing, and retaining top talent  Amrita AHEAD MBA in Human Resources. This elective equips you for roles in HR management, employee relations, and talent acquisition. 

The application deadlines for MBA programs vary depending on the B-school and entrance exam. Most applications for the 2024 batch would likely have closed by now (May 2024). However, some institutes might have extended deadlines or rolling admissions. It’s recommended to check the specific B-school website for the latest application dates for the upcoming academic year. 

The table provides a quick overview of top MBA entrance exams in India besides the CAT. It highlights the exam name, who conducts it, the general focus area of the exam (content or format), and which B-schools typically accept these scores. 

Exam Name 

Administered By 


Popular For 

XAT (Xavier Aptitude Test) 

XLRI Jamshedpur 

Broader Syllabus (Decision Making, Essay Writing) 

SPJIMR, MDI Gurgaon 

CMAT (Common Management Admission Test) 

National Testing Agency (NTA) 

Similar to CAT (QA, VA, LR, DI) 

AICTE-approved B-schools 

MAT (Management Aptitude Test) 

All India Management Association (AIMA) 

Multiple Testing Windows 

Widely Accepted (may have lower weightage compared to CAT/XAT) 

IIFT MBA (IB) Entrance Exam 

Indian Institute of Foreign Trade 

International Business 

MBA (International Business) aspirants 

SNAP (Symbiosis National Aptitude Test) 

Symbiosis International University (SIU) 

SIU Affiliated B-Schools 

MBA programs at various SIU institutes 


Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) 

Global Exam (accepted by some Indian B-schools) 

NMIMS Mumbai (MBA programs) 


Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA) 

Rural Management 

MBA in Rural Management 

The CAT is a competitive exam, but it’s not the only path to an MBA. Numerous B-schools offer excellent MBA programs through alternative entrance exams or direct admissions. Consider your strengths, weaknesses, and career aspirations when choosing the right path. Research B-schools that align with your goals and explore their admission requirements. Remember, a well-rounded profile with strong academics, relevant work experience, and a clear vision for your future can help you secure an MBA seat even without the CAT. 

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