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This review is for ISB
Program Full Time MBA
Class of 2014
Broadly, for an IIM (err...Indian IT Male) the realization point for the need of a higher education normally kicks in after entering the plateau phase of career i.e around 5-8 years of work-ex. Those who plan their career path well in advance, pardon my generalization.
The most sought after option at that point is an "MBA". But the dilemma is to choose the right program. Talking to peers, aspirants following are few of the common questions I've come across:
1. Opportunity cost: have a car loan, housing loan, recently married (or getting there soon) etc etc..which program offers a lower opportunity cost to cover for there?
2. Am I too Old: How would I feel like when I get into a program where all my classmates are at least 5-6 yrs younger than me? Will I have the necessary peer-learning benefits?
3. Post-MBA Location: I am looking for a brighter career in India Or I want to get back to a India after my stint abroad. Which program offers the best opportunities for the same?
4. Alumni network: I want a thriving Alumni community which I can bank on for my career moves (apart from seeking matrimonial help or selling my cat).
5.ROI: How fast can I recover every penny I am going to put into the program? How lucrative are the placement options?
6. Learning: How good is the pedagogy and how relevant is it to the current economy. Will I learn more real world stuff and about cutting edge research done around the world?
Indian School of Business scores a perfect 10 in all of the above questions. It offers a 1 yr Full time program which means lower opportunity cost and faster post-MBA earning prospects. While many prestigious B-schools in India have started offering 1Yr MBAs off late, ISB has been running this flagship program for over a decade now. The mix of resident faculty and visiting professors provide you an unparalleled learning experience with strong technical foundation as well as deep research insights.
The class also offers a highly competitive atmosphere due to the bright minds sitting next to you. So if you are someone who flourishes under stress, you will be in the right mix.
Every admitted class is a diverse mix of students from various experience ranges. On one hand around 20% of the class is below 3Yrs of work experience and on the other early 10% of class is having more than 8 years of work experience. This makes your study groups, class rooms and project teams diverse from an experience perspective. The school needs to improve a lot in terms of attracting students of other nationalities though. However it’s the same problem with rest of the MBA programs run in India.
With the ever rising Rupee-Dollar gap the fee structure of ISB is at the sweet spot offering you an international quality MBA at half the cost. Nevertheless about a quarter of the class can choose to go on an international exchange to any of the 40 odd partner schools around the world.
The placement avenues at the school are one of the best in India. ISB is the most preferred recruitment hub alongside the top IIMs for corporates in India. At times the focus on placement takes a toll on the focus on learning - something which can be managed by the student herself.
Tie ups with local government and technical institutes have opened up startup opportunities for those with an entrepreneurial mindset.
The curriculum is pretty intensive and you need to hit the ground running from day 1.
ISB provides option to choose from a wide list of electives through a bidding system and competition is stiff when it comes to most sought after courses and professors.
It is better to brush up basics as the school suggests in its admission kit. This would save you a lot of teething problem during transition from corporate to college life.
Most of the professors are amazing and you can extract more from them by engaging with them to learn about their research areas.
Overall BSchool experience (4.0)
Schools contribution (5.0)
Classmates rating (4.0)
Curriculum, Classes, Professors
Career opportunities provided by school
Student body, diversity
Specialization in a particular area (e.g. Finance, Consulting, Healthcare, etc)
I bumped into e-gmat (through some posts in GC) very late in my preparation cycle. I had only 1 month left for the actual GMAT and my verbal was stuck at 32-33 even after months of studying. I had completed MGMAT SC and improved my accuracy to 75% in SC but that was not sufficient. I realized that most of the times the main killer of my verbal score was RC. Sometimes I scored as pathetic as 25%. e-gmat was about to start the beta trial of their RC course and I thought there could be nothing better than trying this out. I had already tried other courses such as Kaplan, MGMAT for RC and found them a bit unsuitable for my style of study since I am not a voracious reader and hence always struggled to comprehend a long or unfamiliar passage.
Thus I went ahead and volunteered for the beta trial. The kick off session was interesting as Rajat mentioned about the pedagogy of the course and how it has been split into Concept files, Application files, Practice files. I found that quite interesting as it resembled the structure of some tutorial companies in India who conduct courses for Engineering and medical entrance exams. Belonging to a typical Engineering aspirant (common in India), I had already experienced this format and hence was comfortable in following the RC course of e-gmat.
I could see the improvement after the first week itself. RC passage was no longer scary to me and my accuracy started to improve. By the time of reaching last week before my actual test, I was confidently scoring 70-80% in RC and my verbal score in mock CATs ranged from 35-41. On the actual test I managed to score 38 in verbal and was really comfortable even in answering the last RC passage (by the time you reach there you are almost dry of energy and the anxiety to view the score dominates the senses).
Few interesting points I found about this course are:
1. Illustrative and well paced narration: The course flows smoothly and is divided into several sub topics such as: Reading Strategies, Main point, Inference, Detail Concept, and Structure Concept which eventually covers all kinds of questions possible in RC. So targeted focus on each area helps in understanding how to tackle all types of RC questions.
2. Audio Visual tutorial: As I mentioned already, I found reading through hundreds of pages on how to answer RC questions or how to read RC passage was not my cup of tea. Rather the audio visual aid used in e-gmat had a lasting impact on me till the test day and I was able to remember how should I tackle the RC passage and question.
3. Generating interest in the passage: The course focuses more on generating an interest on the topic of the passage by setting short goals of summarizing a small paragraph or few lines after you read through, predict what the author could write next etc. This helps in getting involved in the passage and no topic would appear dry afterwards.
4. Lots of practice material: I found e-gmat contains a decent number of practice passages from every walk of life (after OG 12 edition of course) and the passage analysis of each of these passages certainly wires the brain on how to read the passage in the actual test.
5. Short tutorials: All the files in this course was relatively short, lasting to a maximum of 20-30 minutes. This ensures you are not yawning midway and are able to follow what you are studying.
Since the course is still in its inception and will be released soon, I see more improvement coming into the course and thus would recommend the non-native and not voracious readers to gain most from this course, which makes reading a passage more fun than a struggle.
I took my GMAT at Pearson VUE, Hyderabad India on March 26th 2012. Prior to the test I never gave a thought about how a test center could affect GMAT score. After all its only a test center. But I was proved wrong. Let me tell you how.
I was scheduled for the test at 9AM slot. I arrived at the test center(which is centrally located and has easy accessibility) well before 8:30AM. The staff at the center are very courteous and explained all rules to me. Also they have put few Lord Ganesha Idols on the welcome desk (to help those who seek some divine intervention :) ).
The test center is right next to the busy SP Road which is noisy due the traffic on the road. Though the building is acoustic and cuts down most of the noise, still some disturbance was there and that distracted me a lot. I requested for a pair of earplugs and the proctor was prompt in handing over that to me.
Overall the proctor was attentive and didn't waste any time whenever I raised my hand for any kind of assistance. Hence full marks to the staff present at the test center.
The only problem which affected me most was a technical glitch, which was definitely out of the staff's scope. The test started with a 40 minutes delay and this delay pumped up my blood pressure and a fear of rescheduling the test was looming. Hence in the end when the test started I was a bit high on the adrenaline.
Overall the test center was comfortable with clearly marked seats, deposit lockers, clean restrooms and drinking water facility. But don't forget to carry an jacket with you since the AC is very cold over there and it all depends on the comfort level of all other test takers.
Hence I would rate the test center as follows:
1-best .... 5-worst
Connectivity to the test center: 1
misc facilities: 2
Staff at the test center: 1
My struggle in the verbal section was clearly visible from my first GMAT score and subsequent practice tests. Many of the forum members kept on mentioning that SC is an area where improvement is quick and it can save a lot of time if you master tricks of solving SC questions. And I wondered how? If my SC basics are poor how am I going to achieve this? I sat for couple of months to build up my grammar basics by following Wren&Martin. But frankly speaking I was getting slow day by day in solving SC questions.
That's when I heard about e-gmat from gmat club members and signed up for a free SC course and OG solutions. Upon accessing the course I found that the approach was totally different. Here instead of identifying grammar bits and pieces, the emphasis was on to understand what the author is implying to say. Now that was something unusual for an Indian student. We are always taught to target the pain points and identify the faults. So my earlier approach was in line to my past experience. With the new methodology adopted by Mr. Sadana and his team, learning became fun. Instead of trying to apply all grammar rules, I practiced to peep into the author's mind and that straight away alerted me to where the problem lies in the sentence. With the long sentences it helped a lot since I saved more time in re-reading the entire sentence in the 5 answer choices.
The idea of application files and concept files is also equally innovative and helps grasp the crux of the SC approach easily. With the several practice sentences and their detailed analysis by the instructor, the mind automatically gets wired to dissect a SC question during practice and during test.
All this helped me in bringing down my timing from around 2 minutes to 80-90 secs. Just imagine 7 minutes of extra time in verbal section will do wonders for you in RC questions towards the end.
It not only helped me improve my SC accuracy but also gave me some additional time to spend on the last RC question. The result was evident. From a dismal score of 26 in Verbal I could improve to 38 in my final attempt. I am sure if I had taken this course a little bit earlier, I could have easily improved another 2-3 points. Since then I suggested some of my friends about this course and few of them registered for it as well. This appreciation from my friends led me to write this review with a view that it will help many more non-native speakers to get the right verbal coaching. You would soon hear from on of them who has recently scored a 42 in verbal. Now that's an impressive score for any non-native.