Haha I found this on someone's blog. I don't know how much of it is true but it's just interesting to me. http://www.xanga.com/victorc/454399368/ ... umers.html
I woke up at dawn last Friday to get ready to take an early morning GMAT exam. I was somewhat nervous because at $250 a pop I don't want to take this thing too many times. There is only one Pearson test center in all of Dallas where you can take this exam and the people that run this place stick to their written procedures like they're in charge of prison security at Guantanamo.
First thing they tell me is to show them my passport since I'm not a citizen. If you take the GMAT in a foreign country only your passport is accepted as a valid ID. OK, no problem. A bit picky but I had been forewarned.
Then, comes the surprise of the day.
"Sir, we have a problem with your registration." No way, what's the problem?
"Your name is not quite accurate." What do you mean?
"Well, our computer says Ichiro Suzuki is registered to take the GMAT but your passport says you are Suzuki Ichiro." What the... I calmly explain to her that I'm of Asian Pacific origin and it's the convention of countries in that part of the world to list lastnames first in official documents. I was happy to educate her on this.
"Well, I'm sorry. It is in the official, written instructions of GMAT that the names on the registration and the ID have to be identical." I'm starting to get nervous at this point. Are you telling me that there isn't a test center in China or Japan or Hongkong? Is everyone at those test centers simply turned away? Can I show you my driver's license to prove to you I am who I am?
"No, the passport must match your registration exactly." She actually calls some national GMAT test administrator for confirmation and gets the OK to NOT let me take the exam!
That's it. Just like that, they kick me out and pocket the fee.
I'm completely baffled at this point. I'm thinking if this is happening in a test center that's screening B School applicants, possibly the future leaders of America, then this is a country in actual decline.
I jump on the phone when I get back to work and call the GMAT customer service. An Indian woman called "Sandra" on the other end puts me on hold for 10 mins to talk to her supervisor.
"There's no way around it. Those are the rules: the names must match." Well then, what do you suggest?? Believe it or not I would actually still like to pay you money to take the exam.
Another 10min hold.
"Well, you need to change the name on your passport." Are you serious?! Should I denounce my ethnicity while I'm at it? Can I speak to your supervisor?
"OK, you can register with us by flipping your lastname and firstname in order to match your passport." Well, won't that cause me problems in the future when B Schools try to match my applications with my scores?
She starts on a long winded non-answer in an Indian accent. She basically said "Too bad you Asian fool! Who asked you to have Chinaman name like that??" When I ask to speak with a manager and try to find out where she's located, she hesitates and says "Our corporate headquarters is in blah blah, Minnesota."
Fine, I called corporate headquarters in MN. The lady who picks up the phone and her boss have never heard of such a problem! Her solution: "Write in to firstname.lastname@example.org
and we'll look into it. Expect a response in 4-5 business days. Meanwhile, DO NOT register to take the exam again. We'll pocket your $ and kick you out again." Mr webmaster actually replies to me to say that the issue has in fact been escalated to the top. Still, 4-5 business days.
This is exactly why monopolies are bad for the consumers. They become fat and unresponsive. They become like a bureaucracy and can't deal with the most basic customer service problems.
To make a long story short, a couple more hours on the phone and many emails later I was finally able to elicit an email response from Pearson's customer service people stating that they are aware of this issue. Inverting of names is no problem. So I re-registered and took the exam the following week.
The same lady who kicked me out last time, upon seeing the email, had to back down but this is what she said "I'm glad you went up the chain of command and got them to make an exception for you. I promise, this is the first time an exception like that has been made. You lucky Chinaman!"
OK, she didn't say that last thing but I know she was thinking it.