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# Indians

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30 Mar 2012, 06:42
Hi guys,

first of all, this thread has absolutely nothing to do with racism or anything related!

I just really wondered why Indians are so good at maths? Is it their school system? Is it a gene which only Indians have? I really doubt it!
Most of the good quant scores are achieved by Indians and I really wonder why we don't see more Indians the the world wide job market yet? (I know there are more and more coming) Has something changed during the last 15 years? Is it really just because of India's new wealth? How can I and all others not-Indians stay competetive?

I hope some Indians tell me their little secrets

Cheers, Lars
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30 Mar 2012, 07:37
1
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It has a lot to do with the structure of primary and secondary schooling.
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30 Mar 2012, 11:56
Impenetrable wrote:
I hope some Indians tell me their little secrets

Hey Lars, Don't mind buddy if somebody or some community is good in something. Everybody in this world has some or other advantage over others. The native english speakers has an advantage in Verbal, so the overall gets compensated there.
As far as seeing more Indians in the world wide job market, i think the best analysis can be done by some globalized Stats company with a world wide survey rather than you and me predicting sitting on our comfy couch in front of our computer screens...
Moreover, a good score in quant or GMAT won't necessarily land a person in a very high position..
I second Mohater that in our primary and secondary education system, Maths is given more weight-age than any other subjects.
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30 Mar 2012, 16:29
Oh, that's interesting. I did not expect the school system to be the reason. Doas anyone have time to tell me more about the school system, what is so different about it? I am extremely interested in that!

Thanks a lot!
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30 Mar 2012, 23:03
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Expert's post
hey,
I think its not just the school system here.
Thing is India has a very weird education system.
I personally have been hating it for the last 22 years of my existence.
Here hyper competition would push you to your limits to make you a mediocre engineer even if you had an awesome scope in history/literature/civics(you get the drift)
And since mostly people have succumbed to this pressure, they end up being pretty good at maths(which is my opinion is just practice and nothing else).
And GMAT maths is really easy mostly.
If you check out the level of maths tested in the bschool entrance here, you would faint(so would I).
Regards
Souvik
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04 Apr 2012, 12:38
Although, I am not an Indian I can share my story. I am from Bangladesh. Since Bangladesh and India are neighbors we may share some common patterns.

The Education System
In Bangladesh the education system was point based. That means if a student get 100 in math and 50 in English, the average would be 75 points. 75% average means the student obtained "star points". But you can easily see the flaw in this.

This problem is now fixed. All our education system now has either a 5 point or 4 point GPA system, in which all subjects matter.

Moreover, until a student is in college his extra curricular activities don't count. So almost everyone are encouraged to do well in math, biology etc. But no focus is given to anything else. For this reason, the number of diversified Bangladeshi is a bit difficult to find.

The Cultural Bias
Since Bangladesh is a very densely populated country, the competition in every aspect of life is very tough. Arguably, the competition to get into a primary school is tougher than the competition to get into an elite college in the US. So what people do to get their kids into a good school? They train their child for one to two years before the test exam.

Moreover, if you want to be successful in Bangladesh, both socially and economically, be an Engineer or a Doctor. If you are anything else, you are pretty much doomed.

The Abundance of Technical Institute and Future Goal
I found that the policy maker in India has been trying to improve the Engineering core for long time now. Which is evident in number of Engineering schools in India.

However, this point is just my speculation about Indian policy and does not apply to Bangladesh. Bangladesh realized this only recently and trying to increase the number of universities. But, it's already late.

There could be other reasons. Moreover, some of the reasons I mentioned about Bangladesh, may not apply to India. In any case, I think it will provide some help to understand why some of the countries are doing better than other. (I am not implying that Bangladesh is doing better than some other countries though. )
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04 Apr 2012, 15:38
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interesting.

i have studied in India and US. I have friends from China, know a bit about their education.

while i agree with souvik that I hate the hyper-competitive atmosphere in Asian schools (when i was a kid, i thought that was normal), i don't see it wrong.
its purely a market driven solution. if you knew that the only jobs in future were in engineering and medicine, that your life is bound for nowhere in life sciences or the arts, then it is only normal that you study those subjects in college. after all, college is meant to give you the skills and knowledge for a career.

in response to the OP, kids aim for this career path really early, say in grade 4 or 5 and neglect everything else to focus on science and maths. peer pressure, parents, teachers, mentors everyone pushes you towards that. fortunately the boom in indian services industry and overall economy proved that this works (getting the relatively higher paying job) and hence drove more into the same path.

here in US, focus of education is holistic development. which is great. but, where it falls short is allowing for higher education without a clear career goal in mind. for example, in India, if you were to change your major from CS to History, you will have to lose a year and start over. changing major within engineering is allowed in rare circumstances, but no later than freshman year.

having said all this, an average Indian might be slightly better in basic maths, but not necessarily any better than someone elsewhere in the world who REALLY pursues the maths or sciences.
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04 Apr 2012, 16:27
udvranto wrote:
Moreover, if you want to be successful in Bangladesh, both socially and economically, be an Engineer or a Doctor. If you are anything else, you are pretty much doomed.

This was prob true 20 years ago. It's just easier to be good at math than anything else because math is objective. Given how incredibly bad the Bangladeshi educational system is, most Bangladeshis do better in math they're not exactly being taught anything else.
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Jerome: *$&#(*%&(*#%& Last edited by FatRiverPuff on 04 Apr 2012, 16:33, edited 1 time in total. Manager Joined: 17 Aug 2011 Posts: 131 Location: United States (IL) Concentration: Technology, Entrepreneurship GMAT 1: 550 Q47 V20 GPA: 3.74 WE: Information Technology (Computer Software) Followers: 6 Kudos [?]: 82 [0], given: 50 Re: Indians [#permalink] ### Show Tags 04 Apr 2012, 16:32 Sorry, I overstated a bit, I guess. Obviously, non engineers and doctors are not literally "doomed". But it closely reflects the mindset of the people there. _________________ Kudos is the best way to say Thank you. Manager Joined: 21 Sep 2008 Posts: 196 Concentration: Strategy, Economics GMAT Date: 07-17-2015 GPA: 3.57 Followers: 5 Kudos [?]: 8 [0], given: 18 Re: Indians [#permalink] ### Show Tags 04 Apr 2012, 16:34 udvranto wrote: Sorry, I overstated a bit, I guess. Obviously, non engineers and doctors are not literally "doomed". But it closely reflects the mindset of the people there. edited -- I just read what you said and thought "bah, ki murubbi" _________________ Life with the GMAT: Jerome: Ben, c'est 20 secondes de plus qu'hier sur le meme parcours! C'etait bien le meme parcours la, non?! Gigi: Mais t'enerve pas, Jerome, je crois que t'as accroche une porte. Jerome: *$&#(*%&(*#%&

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04 Apr 2012, 16:40
BTW, there is an Indian movie on this very subject, called "3 Idiots". The movie depicts the struggle of 3 students in an Indian engineering school. Two of them were forced into the school, although they always wanted to study something else. It will probably give an insight of the situation in Indian education. However, it may be a bit exaggerated to make it funny.
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04 Apr 2012, 16:41
So, FatRiverPuff, are you from Bangladesh?!!!
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04 Apr 2012, 16:44
udvranto wrote:
So, FatRiverPuff, are you from Bangladesh?!!!

Yes, if you're in Dhaka, you can teach me math over the next 48 hours bc I can't find a BUET guy anywhere. I'm taking the exam on Saturday. IT Bangla is beyond joghonno.
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Jerome: *$&#(*%&(*#%& Manager Joined: 21 Sep 2008 Posts: 196 Concentration: Strategy, Economics GMAT Date: 07-17-2015 GPA: 3.57 Followers: 5 Kudos [?]: 8 [0], given: 18 Re: Indians [#permalink] ### Show Tags 04 Apr 2012, 16:48 udvranto wrote: BTW, there is an Indian movie on this very subject, called "3 Idiots". The movie depicts the struggle of 3 students in an Indian engineering school. Two of them were forced into the school, although they always wanted to study something else. It will probably give an insight of the situation in Indian education. However, it may be a bit exaggerated to make it funny. I wonder how the photographer and the guy who jumps out of Virus's window even got in because aren't the entrance exams insanely hard?! I liked how Rancho pointed out the engineer + MBA phenomenon though. _________________ Life with the GMAT: Jerome: Ben, c'est 20 secondes de plus qu'hier sur le meme parcours! C'etait bien le meme parcours la, non?! Gigi: Mais t'enerve pas, Jerome, je crois que t'as accroche une porte. Jerome: *$&#(*%&(*#%&

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25 Apr 2012, 22:15
Yeap dear you are right that the Indians are intelligent in Math. But the way inside Indians school are not much broad to do more and more opportunity for their students.
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11 May 2012, 14:07
In my opinion, Indian students really excel in math , physics , and computer science. This is the reason why there are so many great Indian engineering and software companies. However, I believe the Indian system somehow neglects leadership development and "personality" development. This is why you don`t see many Indian CEOs worldwide.
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12 May 2012, 18:46
Yes, Indian students excel in Math, and there are a number of factors responsible for that. First, it is the education system. Since elementary school, Indian kids are aware that if they fail in any subject (including Math) they will lose one year. So they have no choice but to do their best . Second, Indian parents ( especially middle class )have only one goal in life- provide their kids higher education , and ' higher education' mostly means making them engineers and doctors , and they ingrain this in the minds of their kids from an early stage. In order to realize their dreams of educating their kids, Indian parents not only pay exorbitant fee for sending their kids to the best private schools, but also push their kids to attend private tuition ( mainly Math and Science subjects)after school. Therefore, it is this consistent practice which hones their Math skills. Lastly, since Indian kids have to face stiff competition due to too many kids competing for limited seats in prestigious colleges, they know they have to outshine others to get there.
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13 May 2012, 13:40
IMO, the main reason is not schooling but the undergrad education, where there is only one option engineering, its do or die situation. Once through engineering, GMAT Quant will always be a cakewalk.
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14 May 2012, 00:25
AbhiJ wrote:
IMO, the main reason is not schooling but the undergrad education, where there is only one option engineering, its do or die situation. Once through engineering, GMAT Quant will always be a cakewalk.

I agree with AbhiJ.

If you analyze the pool of applicant applying for MBA, 90% of the students are engineers.

As per generalized Indian schooling system, one chooses science stream post 10th to qualify for engineering stream, during 11th and 12th year the students of science stream are heavily exposed to maths and quantitative subjects, and then at engineering again the student goes through four years of studies in quantitative subjects.

So, ideally the reason for higher GMAT from Indian pool is not that "Indians are too great at mathematics (Indians could be marginally be better), but the students who take GMAT are too good at Quant".

I wish to clarify that above mentioned comments are not at all personal to anyone
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15 Jun 2012, 05:00
I think that for the most part the idea that Indians are good at math is inaccurate. A small percentage of Indians do go abroad (usually these are the bright kids anyway) and I think this may be the reason why so many people think that Indians are generally good at math. I mean, I'm Indian and I think I'm about average. But there is a certain truth about the schooling system; it is very science focused (you won't find too many high schools with drama or jazz band!)
Re: Indians   [#permalink] 15 Jun 2012, 05:00

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