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The GMAT edge

An executive MBA course helps one to pursue his/her goal without having to compromise on existing careers. Photo: Special Arrangement

An executive MBA course helps one to pursue his/her goal without having to compromise on existing careers. Photo: Special Arrangement  

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Though CAT has ruled the roost, more B-Schools are now veering towards GMAT. A conversation with CrackVerbal CEO Arun Jagannathan.

Students poring over word lists, burning the midnight oil while trying to figure out the ever-elusive quants, endless cups of coffee to combat the soporific effect of words and numbers — it is a scene that is played out every year, when GMAT and CAT are around the corner, and MBA aspirants are feverishly working their way into their coveted B-schools. Coaching centres overflow with students, while several thousand hopefuls wait anxiously to be accepted into the plethora of new coaching centres that have mushroomed in various cities, over the years, with the promise of being radically different and revolutionising scores.

In a country where more than two lakh people attempt the GMAT and GRE and some candidates are given the slip by the scores when the margin for error is miniscule, questions constantly arise about what skills can aid aspirants in achieving the perfect scores. Is it necessary to focus on numbers or does the need to brush up and add to one’s existing repertoire of words, take precedence? Is the premise important, or the manner in which an argument is constructed? Enter, Arun Jagannathan, the CEO of CrackVerbal.

Verbals

Though a graduate in science and a post graduate in computer science, it was tackling the verbal woes of Indian students that caught Arun’s fancy. While working in the IT industry, he used to mentor aspirants on popular online discussion forums. The entrepreneurial bug eventually caught up with him and he started CrackVerbal in 2011.

What sets CrackVerbal apart is the importance that is given to the faculty. “Over the years, the faculty has become the most common denominator,” says Arun. “Books and other study material are available, however, people compromise on the most important aspect that entails coaching — the teacher.” He explains how, at CrackVerbal, efforts are made to ensure that the teachers are well qualified. “A classroom isn’t just a place for dispensing knowledge about Math, English or other subjects; it is also responsible for inspiring minds and helping students achieve their academic goal,” he says.

Arun also elaborates on the sudden boom in the number of people opting for executive MBAs. “Many people come from the tech sector and later realise that they want to pursue an MBA. As a result, the pyramid grows broader at the base as more people move towards career progression,” explains Arun. “Another factor is that initially, students had the freedom to pursue what they wanted. However, they lacked perspective. Now, the reverse is closer to the truth. Nonetheless, a majority of time is spent in office despite which many do not want to give up their dreams. The duration for an executive MBA course is one year and consequently, people find it easier to pursue their goal without having to compromise on their existing careers.”

Student friendly

Arun also points out why at CrackVerbal, the focus is on GMAT rather than CAT and throws light on why, in a country where CAT has ruled the roost for many years, more B-schools are veering towards GMAT. “One of the main reasons for the rising popularity of GMAT is that the scores are constant as opposed to CAT scores that vary each time a student attempts the tests. For instance, a student might have scored 70 percentile in his first attempt. Wanting to do better, he might have gone ahead with the same preparation and attempted the exam a second time. However, there might be a drastic difference in the scores, the second time. This is not the case with GMAT.”

Arun further adds how GMAT scores are also deemed more student friendly as there is flexibility in cancellation of scores. Added to it is the advantage where a student can take up the test again, a mere two weeks later, instead of waiting for a whole year.

How does CrackVerbal deal with the issues that students face? “We realised that Indian students struggle to ace standardised tests such as GMAT and GRE, as most of the training courses for these tests are designed for Americans,” explains Arun. “However, the problems that a non-native speaker of English might face are different. Thus, we have taken care to design the course from scratch to ensure adequate advantage for Indian students.”

What started off as a two-day workshop now has more than 2,000 students to its credit.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2018 7:38:33 PM | http://www.thehindu.com/features/education/college-and-university/the-gmat-edge/article7927423.ece