It’s the general rule in any competitive industry. Build an aura of secrecy around your offerings and charge a premium to interested people who approach you. Product based companies in electronics, computers, hi-technology, manufacturing and almost all other fields do it. So do those in the service industry. The best management consulting firms, for instance, have their own internal frameworks designed to tackle specific business problems. So it’s in the best interest of MBA admissions consultants to do the same, right?
To be fair, having trade secrets is a necessity to stay in almost any kind of business. Without having a USP (Unique Selling Proposition), most businesses would collapse in the long run. So it makes sense to keep all your cards to yourself.
At MBA Crystal Ball, our philosophy is a little different. We think it is important to keep some cards to ourselves, but not all.
Sometimes we get a pat on the back from MBA aspirants who have been long time readers of our blogs –
‘I really liked the transparent and no-nonsense manner in which you guys share MBA admissions advice on the website. But why do you reveal so much? Doesn’t it negatively affect your business?’
Here’s the answer.
We are a for-profit business. There are no big parent companies backing or sponsoring us. If I don’t have the money to pay my consulting team (and myself), I’d have to shut shop and head back to the cosy corporate world with guaranteed salaries and a predictable career. So yes, there’s no doubt that we need the money.
But the motivation for us goes beyond money (always tough to believe that line, na?). Apart from making money, we’d also like to level out the playing field for Indian MBA applicants.
The capacity of our small, boutique team fills up each year. With that we earn enough to put food on the table and save some for a rainy day. Beyond that there’s no point in ‘hoarding’ our knowledge and experience. So we do the next best thing. We share it.
Everything we reveal on our blog and forums is done free of cost. Part of it works in marketing our services. Most of it doesn’t.
Compared to the 80% of the Indian applicants who are groping in the dark, we hope that long-time readers of MBA Crystal Ball will graduate to the more evolved 20% group. i.e. they’ll hopefully move to the sophisticated group that knows more than just the basic rules of the MBA admissions game.
By knowing the principles and strategies (on writing MBA essays, recommendations & tackling MBA interviews) that we share on this site, we hope you are able to become better and stronger applicants than those who are relying purely on MBA rankings and subjective inputs of friends / relatives / colleagues to form crucial career decisions.
Of course, what we do on online has its limitations. Websites are more of a broadcast medium, meant for a one-to-many communication. Even on our forums where we have 1-on-1 interactions and provide high-level directions, we can’t get into the nitty-gritties for individual profiles. So we still retain the edge of personalized counselling.
Which is why, from the 20% group, 2% might decide to work with us and we are able to significantly influence their odds of getting into the top bschools.
Compared to the selectivity standards for Indian applicants (read –> this article to know the percentage), the conversion rate for folks who have worked with MBA Crystal Ball has been substantially higher. And the MBA scholarship deals have been sweeter too, than going in purely with a high GMAT score.
But we realise there are personal, financial reasons for many Indian applicants (and logistical & capacity constraints for us) due of which the number of people we work with each year will not go up exponentially any time soon.
For all such folks who can’t afford professional services, we hope you still find value in the knowledge that we share on our site.
During your MBA journey, if you have found the content on this site useful, do come back and give back to the desi MBA applicant community. If you have managed to achieve success in any sphere – cracking the GMAT, getting a top bschool admit or moving into your dream job – please take some time to share your experiences on our blog or forum.
When our (formal or informal) association ends and you move on to more exciting things in life, just remember this one lesson:
Hoarding knowledge and experience is never a good long-term strategy. So share freely.
P.S. This funda doesn’t apply to your financial resources. Stick to knowledge and exprerience for now.