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Don’t ‘outsource’ to MBA Admission Consultants

The operative word out there is ‘outsource’, as you might have realised. Work with the best MBA admission consultants by all means if you think that’s in your interest. But don’t treat it like outsourcing. MBA admissions consulting in India is still a new (grey) field. So Indian MBA applicants (and some consultants as well) aren’t aware of how the process works. Or rather, how it should work.

For applicants to GMAT based international MBA programs abroad, the rationale to approach MBA admissions consulting teams varies. For those who have done their background research on how MBA consultants work, there is less of a disconnect. If you are among those, you are less likely to be disappointed. Whether you work with the best MBA admissions consultant in Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, New York, California, Jhumri Talaiyya or any other city, the basic rules of the game don’t change.

It’s the other category of MBA applicants that are more likely to get a liberal dose of heart-burn after working with MBA consultants.

We value and respect the confidentiality of folks who approach us. But in the interest of educating the wider community of MBA applicants from India, we are sharing a few stories.

Why you shouldn’t outsource to MBA Admission Consultants

We get approached by many Indians settled abroad and doing well for themselves. One such candidate got in touch when most of the MBA application deadlines where just around the corner. He admitted that he was looking for help desperately as he hadn’t done much of the background work on his own. He said he didn’t have the time, so he was reaching out to the best MBA admission consultants in India and abroad to see who’d be able to get his rocking boat to the shore safely.

I explained to him that there’s hardly any time left for us to tackle things in a structured and indepth manner. He insisted and also kept harping on the fact that he personally wouldn’t have enough time to work with the MBA consultant as he had a super busy work schedule. So he’d expect the MBA application consultant to do everything needed to get him in. Money wasn’t the problem and he was willing to shell out whatever it took to get the job done.

After giving him the basic gyan on why that is unethical, how bschools have rejected MBA applications for plagiarism and unfair practices (e.g. MBA consultants writing on behalf of applicants), I thought he’d be more aware of why what he was asking for wasn’t in his best interest.

I’m not sure how much of that actually registered. His mind was already buzzing with creative ideas on how he could meet the deadlines for multiple business schools. He said he was willing to hire four MBA consulting teams so they could work in parallel on multiple bschool applications on his behalf.

General theory wasn’t being effective here. So I tried giving him an analogy to drive home the point. Told him he could get 1 wife to deliver a child in 9 months, but he was trying to get nine wives pregnant simultaneously hoping they’ll deliver in a month.

I don’t think he was in a position to appreciate my fantastic (?) and ill-timed sense of humour. He probably had other high priority things on his mind. Like hunting for another MBA consultant who wouldn’t ask so many questions and would just shut up, take the money and do the job.

This isn’t an isolated case. There was another international call we got (do we see a trend?) which was even more bizarre. The guy who called us said all he could provide was a presentation file and he expected the MBA admission consultant to create a nice, impressive application pack to get him into a top international MBA program. The bizarre part was that he wasn’t even applying to bschools. His busy boss had ‘outsourced’ the job to him to get him into a top MBA. And the subordinate was in turn outsourcing it to the MBA admissions consulting team.

Haillah! Outsourcing within outsourcing! The creators of Inception never, er, dreamt how their concept would be abused in the real world.

This time I skipped the gyan session on ethics, professionalism, practicality yada yada. Considering the degrees of separation between the wisdom provider and the intended recipient, it probably would’ve never reached the super-busy boss anyway.

But I would still like to end this post with a little gyan, as the long-time readers of this blog (irrespective of whether they end up working with us or managing applications independently) are way better than those who randomly approach a ton of admissions purely based on an internet search.

Don’t approach MBA application consultants

– When you don’t have the time
– When there’s no sense of ‘ownership’ for the essays, recos, resume
– When you have not done the basic research about how MBA admissions work
– When you can end up with post-MBA goals you don’t believe in

For everything else, there’s Mastercard you have the some of the best MBA consultants at thy service from Yum Bee Yay Crystal Ball…provided you’ve done your homework first.

How can you get the best from MBA admission consultants

Don’t leave the work at 20% and expect the MBA admissions consultant to bring it up to 100%.

Instead, do what you can do on your own and only then bring the consultant into the picture to make the application better than 100%. Get external perspectives to find holes and inconsistencies in your MBA essays and then work towards fixing them.

That’s the real value you’d get from the money you spend on expert, not by making them do what you could’ve done anyway.

Collaborate, don’t outsource.

Read these related articles:
Is hiring an MBA admissions consultant worth it?
Select an MBA admissions consultants based on these ranking factors
Experienced MBA consultant vs friends, for MBA admissions

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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

5 thoughts on “Don’t ‘outsource’ to MBA Admission Consultants”

  1. Well Said Sameerji. The point should be taken by aspirants seriously. One who is not willing to take responsibility for his career/admissions then why a consultant should. Good message. Keep sharing more. Thank you.

  2. hello Sameer Sir

    I am a big fan of your magnum opus “beyond the MBA hype” though i have not yet completed the book.

    I majored B-tech in civil engineering from Harcourt Butler Technological Institute, Kanpur in 2007 pass out batch. At our time, HBTI Kanpur was the top institute of Uttar Pradesh Technical University, now it has become autonomous university. I got 68.38% overall aggregate marks in B-tech. When I am converting the above marks as per conversion table given on MBA.Com, it hardly yields 1.9 GPA which is equivalent to Fail or lowest passing grade, however i was in top 5 students in my B-tech class. The topper of my class was at 74% marks. I don’t know whether i m misinterpreting the table or the standards of foreign universities are that much high. The fact shattered the dream of getting admission in top five B-schools.

    My other details are:

    10th: 65.5%(UP Board)
    12th: 60.2%(UP Board)
    B-tech: 68.38%(UPTU)

    Last Gmat score:

    overall: 660,
    IR : 5,
    AWA: 4.5

    Experience: 8 years In Engineers India Ltd (Navratna PSU)

    Extracurricular activity: I am a Poet and have written number of poems and performed at stage during college life as well as in my company. I got some prizes for the same as well. I got 1st prize in debate competition, 2nd prize in essay writing competition in vigilance week program organized in EIL. I am an active volunteer in Aam Admi Party from the start of struggle against corruption, till date. (i don’t know how much all these will affect my application).

    I am planning to give one more attempt and striving for raising my score above 720, just to compensate low GPA.

    could you please suggest me:

    1) Is the profile is good enough, if combined with 720+ score for admissions in top 10 B-schools.
    2) What else should i do to improve my profile for top B-schools.

  3. Hi Sameer,

    My husband has got offer letter from SP Jain mumbai and IIM-L. If we go by ranking of both B schools then they are almost at par. IIM tag makes it more alluring. Please suggest which one should he go for.

  4. Well written, Sameer. This kind of Outsourcing of responsibility happens everywhere. I have had people outsourcing their risks to me without understanding that I can help them in many ways, however, managing risk is every manager’s responsibility .


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