IBA admission test : revision required

IBA is arguably the most prominent business school of this country. However, in Mohammad Izaz Arefin Mridha’s writing, some important aspects have come up which need to be pondered upon.
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The Institute of Business Administration or IBA of University of Dhaka is unarguably one of the leading business schools in the country. Thanks to its brand image and achievements of past graduates, it still relishes complete monopoly in the corporate job sectors of Bangladesh. Currently, the institute arranges two admission tests (June and December session) per year at the postgraduate level and one (December) at the undergraduate level.

For many students, IBA admission test is a daunting experience. Some even become fearful, hearing the name of this test. Ordinary people often idolise IBA students, thinking that one needs to be super genius to get into IBA. Hence, the demand and stance of an IBA student, once s/he attains IBA tag, among peer groups are understandable.

However, this much honored, in another sense much dreaded, admission test is not beyond any questions and/or criticism. Many believe that the test is more depended on luck than on actual talent or aptitude of a student. Though IBA students and authority claims that the test measures a student’s ability of proper time management, the test is actually full of unpredictability and surprises. The difficulty level of two different questions may not be the same, which means that a student may waste his time answering a difficult question instead of an easier one and that evidently can not be a fair trial for everyone. This excludes IBA admission test from being a standardised test. While top institutes around the world accept scores of standardised tests like GRE/GMAT for admission purposes, IBA just can not ignore this fact and rely on old styles of testing if they really want to find out the real talents from the pool of applicants. Also, a student’s future can not depend entirely on his performance on a single day. IBA needs to arrange more test days each year to ensure that no one loses his precious time of life waiting for another session. To implement this process, IBA may hire testing organisations like ETS/Pearson, Vue etc., which make standardised computer adaptive tests for proper measurement of aptitudes of a candidate if they really want to make the admission system up-to-date.

To encourage the right to information of prospective students and ensure more transparency in the admission process, IBA needs to disclose all the information of admission tests including marks obtained by each student and the cut-off marks in each section for shortlisting candidates for interview. Currently, IBA only publishes the roll numbers of the selected candidates, which creates confusions among candidates. Many people get rejected in the interview multiple times, which is definitely a disheartening experience for them. The institution is required to make a final list of selected candidates showing the marks of both written and oral test, so that no doubt remains in the aspirants’ mind. Being the top business school of the country, it should not have any reasons for being so secretive about its admission procedures.

For the information of the readers, the writer of this article himself was an applicant for the 59th batch of MBA intake of IBA. The admission test was held on 24th November, 2017. The result was published on 6th December, but the writer could not find his roll on the result list. Being shocked, as his exam was excellent as per his expectation, he emailed the MBA Program Office at IBA immediately. Getting no reply from them, he physically went to IBA three days later; but the staffs there denied showing him his marks. Later he said that he would take legal help and that under the Right to Information Act 2009 IBA is bound to provide with the information he is asking for. Later admission office staffs suggested him to make an application to IBA Director, Dr. A. K. M Saiful Majid, which he did on 14th December. After that the writer also sent a legal notice to IBA Director a few days later. But he got no reply whatsoever from the institute’s part until writing this article.

It seems that IBA authority is not cognisant of the people’s right to know. Being a part of an independent and sovereign country where all power belongs to the people, IBA must practice freedom of thought and speech, and people’s access to information. Under section 4 of Right to Information Act 2009, every applicant has the right to know his marks along with others’, and under section 2(b) of the same act IBA is bound to provide that information.

Another shocking aspect is, IBA being the leader in business education, only about 4000 candidates attend the admission test while about 30000 students sit for the Faculty of Business Studies Admission Test, DU. The number is about 7.5 times higher than that of IBA. That means a significant portion of country’s student population still do not have any idea about IBA and its education The institute, for its own betterment and to find out the business acumen from every corner of the country, needs to increase its publicity campaigns and reach out to more potential students.

To conclude, IBA definitely has built a position from which they can brag  their past achievements, and possibly on their future too. But the institute needs to understand that it cannot just keep relishing on its past. The world is moving towards a new direction where everyone will have access to knowledge and information, if IBA does not adapt to the changing environments then it will possibly lose its credibility to the mass people. Luckily, there is still no strong competitor to IBA, but in future it may face tough competition from peer institutions. So it is high time IBA reconsidered its admission policies and other strategies.

Mohammad Izaz Arefin Mridha is a Telecommunication Engineering graduate and currently a freelancer.

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