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MBA Admission Consultants in India: Is the premium pricing worth it?

Written by Sameer Kamat

Admission officers of the top Bschools are changing their perceptions about the good MBA admission consultants and the value they add to the tough admissions process. Read this post –> MBA Admissions Consultants: How the best business schools view them.

The fight for talent is getting tougher and bschools want applicants who have done their research well and can present themselves as mature, knowledgeable & high-potential candidates. The best MBA Admission consultants in India and across the world help applicants put their best foot forward. Many Indian applicants who know that the odds are against them (if you are wondering why, read this post: Indian MBA Applicants more likely to be rejected from top b-schools). For the serious applicants the question isn’t about whether they need a consultant, it’s more about which one would be the best one for them.

For the Indian applicants, premium admissions consulting is a relatively new service. So concerns about quality and pricing frequently come up.

For any product or service (whether it is a flight seat or MBA essay editing), the pricing has to be a function of multiple key factors:


- The cost involved in creating & delivering the product/service

In case of MBA admissions consulting, this cost is primarily related to the calibre of MBA consultants involved. This can be very subjective. What makes a consultant credible? Having an advanced English degree and a GRE vocabulary, having a top MBA degree on the resume, having a great website? Or knowing what bschools look at while evaluating profiles and then using the insight to customise the process for each candidate? There are no standard answers and it can get pretty tricky for applicants who are just starting their research on MBA admission consultants.


- The market perception of the ‘value’ the service provides

This has more to do with what’s at stake (career, 2 years, close to a crore rupees) and what the candidate thinks about the consulting team. A dhinchak website with a foreign address and a smooth talking marketing team (that can give you the impression that Harvard is already laying out the red carpet for you) would be a great way to build a first impression.

But the real value comes not from promises, but from what has been delivered. That’s where word-of-mouth works way better than websites hosting flash movies. You won’t see any Google, Facebook or newspaper advertisements for MBA Crystal Ball services. Most guys who come to us have had friends tell them about their experience with us.


- Demand-supply dynamics

Most teams are more than happy to accept anyone who approaches them irrespective of whether their services will add value (previous point) to their profile. We’ve tried to avoid that model. In many cases, when we aren’t convinced that candidates will get back more than what they paid us, we are upfront about it.

Each year MBA Crystal Ball faces the ‘problem’ of too much demand. The easiest way to fix this issue is to recruit more consultants. Many top MBA alumni (and current students) do approach us to join our consulting team. Unless we are convinced that s/he is more than just a top MBA grad (we are also looking for a genuine desire to help and that goes beyond the additional income), we have been saying a polite No. We do have tie-ups with other like-minded MBA consulting teams in India and abroad who share our philosophy.

If the pricing is kept too high or too low, the operating model is not sustainable in the long run. We’ve been in business for many years and the demand has only grown. Along the journey our capacity constraints have been a bigger deal-breaker than our pricing.


- Should you work with premium MBA consultants?

Pricing is a pretty relative perception. Many who compare MBA Crystal Ball with the traditional players in India (focussing on volumes and GMAT test prep) think we are expensive. Others who have been considering the best consultants globally (who charge $2500 per school), for the quality of support they are getting, they think we are extremely affordable.

Many of our MBA admissions consulting clients have got into the best international bschools with partial and full MBA scholarships. For them, the RoI of the investment in our services (a few thousand rupees) has already yielded postive results (several lakh rupees in MBA scholarships). Many times over. Check out the MBA Crystal Ball reviews page to see what folks have to save about us.

Finally, it’s a judgement call that you need to take based on your perception about what’s at stake and what value you are expecting from the MBA admissions consulting service. We hope to continue working with deserving folks and maintain the balance of quality and pricing.


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Sameer Kamat

About Sameer Kamat

Founder of MBA Crystal Ball | Author of 'Beyond The MBA Hype' | Cambridge MBA Connect with me on Google+ | Twitter @mba_cb


2 Comments

  1. sujita   |  Tuesday, 03 January 2012 at 6:17 pm

    I actually dont believe in consultants

  2. Sameer Kamat   |  Tuesday, 03 January 2012 at 6:30 pm

    A huge majority in India don’t, Sujita. So you have company. :-)

    When I applied to bschools, I didn’t take the help of consultants either. As far as possible it’s best to manage the entire application process independently. The euphoria of getting into a top school without any support or coaching is unbeatable.

    One of the reasons we share so much information, tips and techniques on a regular basis on this blog and on many discussion forums is to empower more folks to get up to speed quickly and manage it on their own. Plus we also spend a whole lot of time and effort behind the scenes helping out folks who we know from the very beginning that they’d never be our clients.

    So, my little request is to you is stick around on this blog as well as the other discussion forums and share your knowledge about the application process with the rest of the applicants who also don’t believe in consultants, so more folks can get into the top schools independently.

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