In Response:

July 7, 2009

This is in response to Sophie’s comment on my post “Getting what I paid for.”

In my opinion, the coaching did have an important impact on my preparations: It helped me maintain a certain momentum. Knowing that I would have to be in class every weekend answering questions and competing with fellow classmates meant that I would make sure I was well prepared through the week. I did find the momentum slacking significantly immediately after the end of coaching. With no weekend targets to keep up with, that was natural. It’s only now beginning to climb up.

Further, in addition to giving me a momentum, coaching also provided me with an immense moral support. Knowing that I had help, and knowing that I could get stuck somewhere and be cleared by the faculty was a great moral booster. So, while I still rue not learning the tips/tricks/short-cuts at coaching, it wasn’t a totally wasted affair.

Though it certainly was not the ‘complete package’ as I might have expected it to be at one point.

Just a hunch.

July 6, 2009

The following is merely a hunch:

I’m an international applicant, and coming from a media/legal background means that I’m not part of the mainstream IT/Engineering pool which dominates the total applicant pool from India. In such a scenario, how do I judge the competitiveness of my profile? A few thoughts:

[Note: Profile excludes GPA and GMAT scores, but includes work experience, industry and country]

For those applying from within the US, international exposure, among other things, is of high importance. Is international experience as important for an international applicant? I think that international experience is necessary for bringing a diverse range of opinion to the table. An international applicant already brings with him that ‘other’ viewpoint, so the necessity is diluted.

As far as applicant pool is concerned, who are my real competitors? I doubt if it is the entire pool of applicants. My hunch is that the adcoms look at sub-pools – Total Applicants > Indian Applicants > Male/Female > Resident/Non-resident > Engineering/IT /Consultancy/Legal/Media/etc. – to determine their choices. So my real competitors will be the Indian applicants, and further in that group, the non-Engineering/IT pool.

I cannot not point out the differences in work culture that exists between the US and India, or for that matter any two countries (or even industry). As such, what would be the factor that would equate us to one another? How would the adcoms create the ‘level-playing-field’ to judge the applicants? Honestly, I don’t think there is such a thing called the ‘universal-level-playing-field’ in the minds of the adcoms. They are obviously (and hopefully) aware of the glaring differences within the pools and know that a one-size-fits-all policy will not work. This is where (and why) I believe the adcoms will create the sub-fields – small level-playing-fields for small groups of applicants who are relatively similarly profiled.

      So, the rarer one is, the better his chances?

      Getting what I paid for.

      July 1, 2009

      As a corporate lawyer, my work timings are pretty much at par with those of my professional brethren in New York, London or Hong Kong. Taking a scheduled coaching for GMAT therefore is one of the more demanding of tasks I’ve had to endure during the past few months. Fitting in the meetings, seminars, conferences, appearances, dinner parties, luncheon parties, not to mention work with the coaching schedule was easy. Really, if I can pile in seven, why not one more? But I had to pay a price. In order that I am able to attend the coaching at the time suitable for me, I had to compromise. It seemed like a good deal – INR 17k and flexible timings during the weekends – but the relatively low price tag ought to have raised more red-flags that it did. When others were charging INR 25k-32k (fixed timings), going in to a 17k institute with flexible timings appears a very good bet. After all, GMAT is kid’s stuff, right? Wrong. My trainers apparently thought that GMAT tests only basics and taught me just that – basics, and left out the hints, short-cuts, way-outs, tricks, tactics etc from the syllabus. Those I now have to learn by myself.