New Delhi: The US-based Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), which conducts the popular Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), has acquired the entrance test conducted by Mumbai’s Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies.

While GMAT scores are used by business schools worldwide for admitting students, the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have their own Common Admission Test (CAT).

GMAC said the test will be rebranded as NMAT By GMAC and introduced in other emerging nations. The council said its first-ever acquisition will help it strengthen its India focus and provide a possible alternative to CAT.

The council, which said it wants to localize its offering to Indian business schools and tap the domestic market in a big way, did not reveal the value of the acquisition.

The council will also aim to make NMAT a round-the-year test like GMAT and may allow the score to have a better shelf life than just one year.

The acquisition is a first for the 62-year-old GMAC.

“It’s path-breaking... In the history of GMAC, this is the first," said Sangeet Chowfla, global president and chief executive of GMAC.

Chowfla said GMAC sees India as an incredible market, and instead of starting a local test from scratch, they saw a good opportunity in NMAT. “We looked around and thought, instead of starting from scratch, NMAT could be a good starting point... We will develop, stabilize it and make it a much more inclusive test," he said.

Pearson Vue, which was the test delivery partner for NMAT, will continue to work with GMAC.

Rajan Saxena, vice-chancellor of Narsee Monjee, said the institute shares a vision of GMAC and the development would make management programmes accessible to a more diverse pool of candidates.

GMAC said the acquisition will help it create a system that brings more non-engineering and women to business schools, and uses best global practices and technology, besides creating “a transparent exchange of information" between schools and candidates. GMAC said it will also upgrade and professionalize management education entrance in India.

“We will connect Indian talent with Indian opportunities," said Chowfla, the first Indian-origin executive to head GMAC. In an interview last year, Chowfla had told Mint he is looking to localize his offerings in India and one of his goals was to connect Indian students with local business schools.

“Our goal is that we are not just providing connectivity to Indian candidates to schools in the Western world... We can provide our assessment technology to the India environment," he had said.

When asked why he is starting inorganic growth from India, Chowfla said India is “incredibly important for management education across the world. It’s a strong feeder market to business schools around the world. (Indian students’) hunger for quality institutes continues... India is important also as a domestic market to incubate new product and services which will be relevant to other B-schools in other emerging markets," Chowfla said.

He added that the growth of the domestic market beyond IIMs is very much intact in the country and NMAT will give students another option to choose from.

Ashish Bhardwaj, vice-president (Asia Pacific) of GMAC, said the council would reach out to all leading Indian business schools to make NMAT By GMAC more acceptable. Currently, 127 schools accept GMAT scores for admission and GMAC would like if these schools, as well as leading private universities, can adopt NMAT By GMAC as their selection test. India has more than 3,400 management schools.

“We see great opportunity in the Indian management education marketplace, which is one of the most dynamic education markets in the world," said Chowfla. “The NMAT exam furthers GMAC’s mission to help build the study of management education locally, regionally and globally, and to make admissions accessible and successful for more candidates," he said in a separate statement.

M.J. Xavier, executive director of Tamil Nadu-based VIT University, which has agreed to accept the NMAT test for its MBA programmes, said NMAT will “generate multifold opportunities for the aspirants".

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