Well, this is a special post. Sameer is the founder of MBA Crystal Ball, the company that assists Indian applicants applying for MBA. Initially, I thought they are ISB-specific but later on interacting with Sameer over email and knowing about him, I realized they are lot more., So here is a short introduction of Sameer and about his initiative, MBA Crystal Ball. Hope you guys love reading about some cool guys and their initiatives. I wish Sameer and the whole MBA Crystal Ball team a very best of Luck in their initiative.
I’m a Cambridge MBA grad (got a double scholarship there) working in the area of Mergers & Acquisitions and Strategy Consulting. I’ll be moving out of the corporate world to focus full time on my MBA consulting intiative. My pre-MBA experience was in IT. So it was the usual IT/Male/Indian story with all the big challenges that come with such a profile.
While working on my MBA application I struggled a lot in terms getting access to the right data, the right process, the right approach. And there was very little I could do about it then as everyone in the media was hyping up the MBA without talking about the other side of the story. So it was difficult to build a complete picture of what I was getting into. The professionals (the real good ones that I was aware of) active in this field were all located outside India and their sky high fees made it impractical to even consider hiring them for help. So I went about the process the hard way, like most Indian candidates still do.
I thought it was unfair that Indian candidates, despite the potential, were not able to approach the extremely competitive international admissions in the right manner, while others who were earning in dollars could approach experts and strengthen their application further.
So I started MBA Crystal Ball to make it a level playing field as far as possible for at least the guys we work with. Most of the candidates we work with have excellent credentials (many IITians and those with fantastic corporate experience). But they also have a big huge question marks about the approach as they just don’t know how and what to present in their applications. Our undergrad education doesn’t train us to address the introspective (almost philosophical) topics that Bschools ask for.
We have been able to reach out to many Indian candidates out there and make a positive difference to their efforts (several success stories and testimonials). But we know there are many more who can benefit. So that’s our focus for now.
The vision for MBA Crystal Ball is to see many more deserving Indians the opportunities that currently seem out of reach. As I keep saying, Indians have spent a very long time in technical roles within India and outside. It’s time for us to start moving up the value chain – in business roles and in the board rooms. Deeper down, I also hope some of them will come back to India, if not immediately after graduation, then after a few years. It’ll be good if they can divert some of the efforts to stimulate our own economy.
Short profile overview of MBA Crystal Ball:
- On the highly competitive Businessweek forums (where new consultants come and disappear overnight), we are currently the most popular non-American team. The USP of our advisory posts tends to be the level of detail we get into for each candidate. For regular (read commercially driven) consultants, it becomes impractical to devote so much time for free advice.
- In an area where clients usually shy away from admitting any relationship with the consulting team, many of our clients (friends now, actually) have been pretty vocal about their thoughts: http://www.facebook.com/pages/MBA-Crystal-Ball/119871008039664 So we haven’t spent a single paisa on paid advertising. Most of it happens by word-of-mouth.
- MCB might be the only Indian admissions consulting team to have its products sold by international consultants. Usually it works the other way around, bigger International teams sell their products to us. Apart from our partnerships in the US, we recently tied up with a leading consulting team in Russia. http://www.mbaconsult.ru/ru/Partners_News/detail.php?ID=515744
- We recently got interviewed by a top international MBA focussed site as they were working on an article about international consultants who are making a splash in a niche industry. But for reasons that aren’t entirely clear to me (and I’ve resisted the temptation to read between the lines) the article got shelved at the last minute. Btw, it was a very well-written article by a US-based journalist who’s been writing for the best known business magazines.
Disclaimer: I have personally not used their service. Just that my interactions with Sameer have been very good that I agreed to promote them through my blog.