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GMAT vs CAT for Applying to Leading Indian B-schools

“Should I do an MBA from India or abroad? If I choose India, then should I go for the CAT or the GMAT? Which test will provide me the better opportunity? Which test will help me get access to the best MBA programs?”… the list to such questions that come up in the minds of most of the Indian MBA aspirants is endless. Most of them have to go through this unpleasant quandary.

Let’s analyze in brief the two moot questions one by one — (1) “MBA in India or abroad?” and (2) “CAT or GMAT?”

1: MBA from India or Abroad

The cost involved in pursuing MBA abroad is usually higher than that involved in pursuing MBA in India. The estimated overall expense for doing an MBA abroad is about Rs. 35 lakh to 50 lakh whereas it is about Rs. 15 lakh to 40 lakh if you do it from a leading B-school in India. This includes tuition fees too. We must keep in mind that the average salary on offer abroad may, however, be higher than that on offer in India. Also, reckon that there are several financing options available for meeting your overseas study expenses. Still, one may have one’s own other compelling reasons to study in India. In the end, it’s a personal choice.

2: CAT or GMAT for applying to Indian B-school

The GMAT has a few advantages over the CAT. Here is a quick comparison.


Administered only once in a year Offered on demand year-round. You can take it 5 times in a rolling year with an interval of 16 days between two tests. Maximum number of attempts in a lifetime is eight.
No rescheduling of the test You can reschedule the test.
Unable to select the section order You can select the section order and can devise a strategy based on your strengths.
High-level Quant skills required You do not need to be a Math wizard to score well on the Quant section.
Score valid for only 1 year Score valid for 5 years
You can only apply to IIMs and other Indian B-schools. Accepted by more than 7,000 programs at approximately 2,300 graduate business schools worldwide. This includes some leading Indian B-schools too.
The number of applicants is three times more than the applications applied for GMAT. This implies an intense competition Comparatively, the fewer number of applicants and thus lesser competition and a higher chance of success.
Admission process is heavily based on your scores. Schools do not know anything about you until you appear for the interview. Admission process revolves around your overall development and Schools know about you through your essays even before the interview.


Now, it is up to you whether you want to take the GMAT or the CAT.

According to a recent report from the GMAC, more than 100 schools across India accept GMAT scores. Out of these, here are the 40 leading Indian b-schools where you can apply for their full-time flagship programs using your GMAT Scores:

  • Indian School of Business
  • IBS (ICFAI Business School)
  • SP Jain Institute of Management & Research
  • PSG Institute of Management Coimbatore
  • Great Lakes Institute of Management
  • ITM Business School
  • IMT Ghaziabad
  • Universal Business School
  • International Management Institute (IMI)
  • ISBR Business School
  • BITS Pilani
  • Alliance University
  • J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research
  • Schulich School of Business
  • A. Pai Management Institute
  • Woxsen School of Business
  • XIM Bhubaneshwar
  • MYRA School of Business
  • IFIM Business School
  • VIT University
  • Goa Institute of Management
  • SRM University
  • FORE School of Management
  • Thapar University
  • Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management
  • Athena School of Business
  • GITAM Hyderabad
  • Amity University
  • Munjal University
  • SDA Bocconi Asia Center
  • Indian School of Business and Finance
  • Welingkar Institute of Management
  • National Institute of Securities Markets
  • Bennett  University
  • BSE Institute Ltd
  • Shiv Nadar University
  • National Institute of Financial Management (NIFM)
  • Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA)
  • Apeejay School of Management


Several IIMs such as the Indian Institute of Management, Ranchi, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Lucknow, Indore, Kozhikode, Nagpur, Raipur, Rohtak, Shillong, Tiruchirappali, Udaipur, and Visakhapatnam also accept GMAT scores.

You need to register on in order to find the program which suits your profile and preferences. You will also be able to find the match rate along with the list of schools. You will be able to see better results if you complete your profile with your background and aspirations.

You can avail of the “School Search” service on and get a better match by providing details such as Years of Experience, Your location, Target / Actual Score, and your preferences such as Where you want to go, Focus (Area of Study), Preferred Class Style, Desired Program Type (Executive/Full-time/Part-time), Years available to complete degree, and your Desired Degree (MBA/Master’s/PhD / Doctoral etc.).



GMAT is a test recognized by AICTE for all PGDM and PGCM courses conducted by the respective State Governments for all institutions other than minority institutions across India.

For a more detailed comparison between CAT and GMAT, please read our blog here.

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