Writing about yourself is the hardest thing you shall ever have done. Just the very thought makes my forehead frown and my stomach grumble and my hands itching to do anything but write (or type as the case may be). But unfortunately most B-schools set quite a store by what we think of ourselves and leave these interesting questions in the application forms that need to be answered. How would you rate yourself on versatility? Adversities faced in life? Responsibilities shouldered? And each application wants them just a little differently. So here I am now pulling my hair out trying to look at my CV and figure out where the hell the answers are hidden and how best to write them. Ultimately it will just come down to forcing myself to stick my butt to a chair for 3 straight hours and thrashing out the stuff cringing at every loftily written phrase and neatly glossy paragraph but alas it must be done for only then do the gates to these hallowed halls open to us.
While we are on the subject, I’ll take a step back and talk about all the other things these erstwhile institutes have us do. I’ll begin with the application fees shall I? It is anywhere between Rs. 950 and 1650 for entrance exams. Some institutes are kind enough to not charge additional fees to apply to the college but there are others where you will end up paying anywhere between Rs. 950 and 1650 over and above the entrance exam fees to fill out the application form for the institute. I wonder if anyone has ever studied what this means financially for the institute? With the number of students applying for their post graduation courses to B-schools increasing by the year, the corresponding increase in expenditure borne by the institute would only marginally increase. Many of these institutes do not even print their admission brochures any more, preferring instead to have downloadable PDF versions, very commendable of them and I am all for making the earth a greener place but that still leaves us with a lot of unaccounted for money! I can understand the reason for placing a fee on admissions as adding value to the process ensuring students who apply are actually serious about studying in the particular institute. But unfortunately it does not work like that anymore, students who can afford it (and some who can’t!) are all filling out the endless forms for every exam and application form. The simplest solution I would say is to reduce the application fees to a minimal amount and instead design every application form (as opposed to only a handful who currently follow this procedure) with qualitative essay type question which will actually cull out the serious students from the ‘also rans’. Of course entrance exams as method of elimination shall have to continue, without them managing logistics would be a nightmare, but application procedures should be better thought through.
Speaking of application procedures, having filled out my share of forms, I have come to believe that very few institutes actually have a clear cut vision of what they want in an applying candidates and design their forms accordingly while in others there are mostly run of the mill fields with very little scope for expressing individuality. And lets not even get started with the poor quality of online platforms that are used that some have and of course each has a different requirement of the kind of browser required and acceptable bank credit/ debit/ online payment options. I think that that effectively summarizes the pains of all MBA aspirants in the present day. However lets not forget that after all this, there still remains the little matter of actually taking the tests, speaking up at the GDs and acing the PIs. All the best all!