Life ain’t easy, is it? Like they say…we all come into this world – naked, hungry and crying…and then it gets worse.
The B-school story isn’t too different. It’s a complex decision for most of us coming from middle class backgrounds. For a top-school, you are looking at an outflow of $100K+ (30 – 70 lakhs cost for MBA programs from the top bschools is quite normal). And then there are the costs associated with relocation, visa…and now this growing trend in India – MBA admission consultants for the top ranking MBA programs. When everyone managed their own apps, it was still ok. Now, when my competitor has got a dhinchak MBA consultant helping him out with his apps, you can’t but feel jittery about it.
And to complicate matters, consultants come in all varieties.
– The bulk deal (people willing to do unlimited schools for Rs 15,000)
– The upgraders (CAT coaching institutions wanting a piece of the growing international MBA pie)
– The part-timers (top-school grads testing the waters, but holding on to their day-jobs while trying to figure out a business model that works)
– The serious ones (fantastic quality, great track record, but obscenely priced services out of reach for most Indian applicants)
It’s a call, you’ve gotta take, based on multiple parameters – the quality of people working with you on your apps (and not some unknown face working behind the scene on something so critical), their credibility, the track record (are there a considerable number of success stories) and of course the cost involved.
One big factor to keep in mind – Trust. If you get the feeling that the guy or the team working with you on one of the most important decisions of your life is in it just for the money, run in the opposite direction. You have a genuine desire to get into the best school that you possibly can. There has to be a genuine desire on the part of your advisor as well.
How can you judge that? Well, for starters check out how involved the consultant has been in responding to candidate queries (irrespective of whether this advice is free or paid).
– Are they providing superficial answers and MBA advice or do they immerse themselves into your world to provide practical and credible MBA advice (even if they aren’t getting paid for it)?
– Are they going by the book and giving your standard template answers or do they really know more than you do about the MBA industry and what Admission committees (Adcoms) are looking for in MBA applicants?
– Have they been successful in the real world out there (academically and professionally) or is this just bookish knowledge that they are passing on to you?
– Are their testimonials genuine and honest? Cooking up and pasting flattering feedback on websites is pretty easy.
– How many of their candidates are willing to reveal their identities and not be ashamed of being associated with this team?
An MBA admission consultant can be your most important advisor, mentor and friend in this challenging journey. Spend time and effort in doing your homework and you will not regret your decision.
Read this related post on MBA consultants ranking review.