Far from it, actually. We are still a CAT obsessed nation (another post coming up on this topic). We are talking about the Common Admission Test for entry into the IIMs. The biggest market for Indian candidates is still the domestic Indian management scene. But the profile of the typical Indian MBA candidate aiming for the top Indian MBA programs is very different from the international MBA aspirant from India. The MBA Mock Application Process parameters considered by the top business schools abroad are also very different. Which in turn means the whole consulting approach needs to be customised for the international business school admissions process.
However the bigger players with a huge footprint in the CAT market don’t really get it. The cookie-cutter approach adopted for candidates with low-to-nil experience (where the emphasis is more on the standardised exams) cannot be extrapolated for international schools.
Many candidates who come to us share unpleasant memories of how their ‘consultant’ knew far less than the candidate, used a template to answer questions, was at a loss for explanations/justifications when the candidates’ queries went just a little beyond the norms. The essay editing was little more than language polishing and in many cases the structure, grammar and presentation left much to be desired. The factory mentality permeates the MBA preparation industry. How else can you expand across the country rapidly and have a huge army of service delivery people (we refuse to acknowledge them as ‘experts’ or ‘consultants’)? The big draw for them is the low price they can offer. It also reflects in the compensation their consultants get. But you’ve heard the saying, right? ‘If you throw peanuts, you will get…‘ Ahem…you know the rest.
MBA admissions consulting in India or abroad cannot be a commoditised service. Don’t take this post at face-value, do your own research. Talk to guys who’ve gone through the process with these bigger factories. If they got into the schools of their choice, find out if it was because of or in spite of their ‘consultants’.
Rather than engaging the wrong MBA consulting team, you might be better off managing the application process on your own.