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Friday, March 24, 2006

GMAT and App Trends - Asia and India - Part 1 of 6

This is part I of 6 in a GMAT Series of score vs background overview.

On a daily basis, I face a whopping amount of e-mail because of the Blog. I interact and try my best to stay up to date with my fellow Bloggers. But compared to 2 years ago when there were less than 20 MBA related Blogs, it's become impossible to stay on top of things. My biggest regret is that I don't always get around to finding out about B-School acceptances. I'm truly happy for all my fellow Bloggers who have received acceptances; especially when the acceptance comes from a school of their strongest desire.

Speaking of a lack of time, staying on top of trends is a real challenge. When I provide feedback to others or provide pointers as to where to find particular information, I try to speak from experience or factual information. The one area that is often difficult to be factual about is the growing trend of Indians that are drastically changing the face of Business School education today. So it was a pleasant surprise to run across some charts that helped me to see appears to going on with GMAT trends and MBA applications.

First of all, take a look at the GMAT trend over the last 3 years: It's turning around as you can see. In January of this year, there were 12,000 GMAT tests taken worldwide. It's still too early to tell yet what the GMAT trend will be for 2006 at this point.



Now take a look at the last 10 years. This one doesn't show a split of the US and non-US numbers, but it's still a good graph to see the trend. The problem with this graph is that it incorrectly reports GMAT number still going down from 2004 to 2005 which is incorrect.



Going back to the non-US numbers, I'd like to show you where the Asian trend is going




A lot of data isn't it? The two most significant conclusions that I got from the two graphs above are:

1) The number of GMAT test takers that took the test in India versus those who are of Indian citizenship is at a 2:1 ratio. My point is that, we might talk about the increasing number of Indians in India who are taking the GMAT, but the reality is that half of them aren't even in India. Many of them are in my backyard here in the U.S.

2) Secondly, of all the Asians in the world, the number of Indians who have taken the GMAT has more than tripled over the last 5 years. In fact, Indians (Globally) have come to dominate the total number of Asian GMAT test takers so much so that the total number of GMAT tests taken by Indians is two times the Chinese who are the next highest ranking group of Asian GMAT test takers.

It's now easy to see why those from India are constantly seeking to find out if their 700 GMAT score is really enough. A 700 score is enough, but the increasing numbers of Indian peers that are competing for the same spots has created such a disillusioned frenzy.

The final bit of data that should interest Asians and Indians is what schools Asians as a whole and Indians are sending their GMAT scores. Note: this doesn't mean that this is these number parallel the actual applications. But these do show what is clearly on the mind of prospectives as to what schools they are seriously considering applying to.

So, if you're Indian, you can now say with 100% accuracy which schools are THE most competitive for Indians and Asians as a whole.





My eyes were opened as to what is really happening in the growing trend of Asian applicants to Business Schools. And I gained more compassion for Indians.

Why the frenzy and why now? I'm leaning towards a conclusion that India is Westernizing very quickly. Perhaps too quickly. It can't be easy to have families pitted against one another because of social jealousy because of the financial bounty that one family has and the other does not. India is a culture of social closeness and traditions; so it's easy to see jealousy(or lack of the sharing of blessings) could become a big issue. I think this quick cultural change to "go, go, go" over "family, family, family" is going to really hurt India. Over the next 10 years, I think that Indians will find that it will become easier and easier to make the decision to not want to go back to the homeland. It's changing fast and the sudden rise of B-School applications is evidence that India is in the middle of an Industrial revolution.

17 Comments:

Blogger Meru SAVARNI said...

One of the reasons why you find that most of these GMAT test takers who are not even in India numbers rising - most of these guys are IT people...who get sent on onsite assignments to US...and these guys develop GMAT / MBA dreams after spending that time in US.

A decade ago there was not that much participation by Indians..and it is indeed closely reflected by the fact that IT industry and Onsite assignments were relatively few. SInce the time these have seen an upswing, numbers in GMAT and MBA have also seen a similar trend.

It's a pity that most of these test takers cannot putup strong enough applications. The number of Indians in US b-schools would otherwise be even much much big.

7:00 AM  
Blogger Dave for MBA said...

It's quite amazing just how many people from India left to work abroad. It's completely changed the landscape of competition at B-Schools. There are many countries who have had similiar "work abroad" options. I'm always fascinated about how or what it is about Indians of all races that has catapulted them into the Business World and B-Schools.

In other words, I think this underlying point is worth understanding because it has the makings of a poignant and insightful series of points for MBA essays. I'd like to see more Indians comment on this point.

A lot of people comment on what they think is happening, but I still haven't seen clear succinct points about the cultural, religious, social or economical reasons why this is happening. Or is this simply about money?

10:18 AM  
Anonymous friendly_indian said...

Hi Dave,

I'm an Indian Software Engineer working in San Jose. I'm 29 and I have a MS in CompSc from the US, and a BS in CompSc from India. To me, applying for an MBA is the logical conclusion of what my mother instilled in me in my young age, which is, a love for education. You see, for most middle class people, education, particularly in engineering, siencne, and business
is more of a survival strategy, first and foremost.(Brother, i' talking about 1.1 billion people, out of which more than half are competing for the limited jobs). As a process of getting educated, (and really my mom wouldnt allow me to settle for anything less thana PhD. But, i got so much bitten by the cold in virginia that i swore i'll either live in San Jose or go back to B'lore and ditched my PhD ideas after my Masters). Anyway, now i feel a void in terms of learning something new. I cant do a PhD now, and the MBA program seems liek something new and interesting that can keep my love for learning continue and who best to learn it from, than the ingenious and masters
of education - The Americans. Plus, my theory is that, If i do go back
to India (i think i will), I dont want to end up as a software dude doing C programming for the rest for my life. U see, in the US, my collegeaue, an American, who I respect very much is aroun 70 years old and he is a hardcore software engineer. he is just a total guru. But, i cant envision such a thing back in India. In India if u are a software engineer after 40, you are doing it 'coz you couldnt do anything else :-) U see where i'm trying to get to ? So, it becomes a social/prestige issue (although i'm the philosophical type and couldnt care too hoots what my neighbor or uncle down the street thinks of me.

Anyway, your blog is jsut amazing bro. You should write a book of your own on this whole MBA application/strategy process. I will definitely buy your book.
regards.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Meru SAVARNI said...

"but I still haven't seen clear succinct points about the cultural, religious, social or economical reasons why this is happening"

It's ALSO about money, NEVER ONLY about money.

Actually, the topic warrants a more elaborate discussion.

I think there are two common factors that run across all these reasons you've mentioned -

1. the irrepressible need for respect, recognition

2. adaptability to surroundings.

I think these two factors make Indians go through all kinds of struggle, hardship to achieve what they have set out to do.

Now when a people given to such skill and value system have to work in an environment (read Indian Political, Social and Economical institutions) that is dysfunctional, free-wheeling and not open to change - it is only natural for them to reach out to other societies/countries where their skills are in demand and their life is comfortable.

Couple with this, the fact that there are a million people waiting in wings to do the same thing - competition is bound to make one constantly wary and hence that much more skillful.

These factors run across all those speheres of life you had mentioned.

1. Cultural - Some people have called it the Brahminical bias in our education - thoughts are considered more important than actions. Achievers are always supposed to focus more and be good at thinking while implementation can happen "somehow". Hence we are selling our minds, our great ideas to people in foreign countries who are good at implementing them. As thought leaders, most Indians are happy to see their work realized and recognized.

2. Religious - I do not personally think there is any religious reason why an INDIAN who would go abroad and make name. There is no better religious, spiritual country than India, for Indians.

But the values of live and let live that every religion of India preaches,must have had some influence in the way many Indians carry their lives, particularly when they live in foreign societies.

3. Social - A rigid class, caste, region, status based hierarchy of the society means that merit is the exclusive prerogative of only a few, who anyway find it to be less usefull for, the other group who have NO INCENTIVE to be meritorious & efficient because of reservations, continues to live at the expense of Indian state's wealth, contributing nothing back.

4. Economical - 50 years of protectionism and socialist mindset has only shackled the brain power of so many hardworking people. 1991 proved a beginning and gave a lot of options to anyone with a mind-based skill. I think most people have utilised those options and went places. A related factor is that those same options do not exist inside India as much as they do outside, which is why so many have gone abroad.

Purely from an MBA application and essay perspective, I think most Indian applicants do not have the luxury of the wide creative career pursuits that most applicants from other cultures do. I think this point was made earlier. Many adcom find our backgrounds, achievements, essays etc. pretty much saying the same thing - i'm an Indian..i have 750+ score 3.5+ GPA, i went to IIT, I was an IT CODE JOCKEY...and so using all the "I"s i've gathered so far - i want to go to another place with an I - IB..

3:35 AM  
Blogger Dave for MBA said...

I'm humbled by the responses. Your guys responses will be read by many and educate quite a few.

My opinion about all this starts with the oppressive Caste system where creating a life for ones family or ones self has four key channels 1) Lucky opportunities 2) Crime 3) Education 4) send a family member out to bring money in.

The level of growth in higher education(IIT etc), the amount of money used for private tutoring to do well in school has hit a huge fruitful result over the last 5-7 years. For 10-15 years, the entire country seems to have done a huge push to get as many kids as possible to get educated as engineers, doctors, lawyers and the like.

The bad side is the amount of judgement that comes from not doing well in school. It must be quite demoralizing for kids who don't do as well.

Anyway, education just seems like a universal equalizer to get opportunities in life that one would not otherwise have. When I was growing up, the talk was always to be a doctor or lawyer as a kid. At some point.

The millions of parents in India merely want the best for their kids and it seems that education has become the primary channel for parents to push their kids to do well in. It's no different from Korea, China or Korea. In fact, these are the top three Asians groups who comprise the thsoe who have taken the most GMAT's. As a Korean, I think this is a big reason why I relate to Indians well. I understand the struggle and the talk talk talk from family and parents who push children to do well in school in order to have a lucrative career.

8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi!

Where did you get the data from?

Daniel

1:46 AM  
Blogger Dave for MBA said...

Anonymous. The data came directly from GMAC.com. You can go there yourself and download the data for free. This info is freely available. I just took the time the time to go through it, pull info that I thought was relevant and post it.

5:38 AM  
Blogger Amateur Blogger said...

Interesting statistic to note is that score reporting, among Indians, is highest to the Indian School of Business.

For this chunk of people, it's not the American dream pulling them, it's the desire for education, resulting from one or more of the factors already discussed.

However, based on my interactions with a lot of prospective applicants to ISB, for most of them that is the only school they apply to.

Therefore, although it rightfully contributes to the number of Indians desiring a business education, it skews the number of Indians craving a foreign MBA.

3:22 PM  
Blogger Dave for MBA said...

Amateur Blogger,
Not sure if your comment was agreeing or disagreeing with a particular point. You seem to draw a conclusion from your interactions with ISB's. Perhaps in your circle of people... nevertheless, these are comprehensive numbers reported from GMAC. Therefore, I really doubt anything could be said against these numbers. Let's be careful about how we compare opinion vs fact. If this is an incorrect conclusion on my part about what you're saying, then please explain for other readers. As I've said before, I'm not trying to be right or wrong here. I want myself and all the readers of any Blog entry to clearly see what is the truth.

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not contesting the numbers themselves. I'm just using additional information to interpret them a little differently.

I look at Table 7 and see that ISB is the school that most test takers in India send their scores to.

Like you said "these do show what is clearly on the mind of prospectives as to what schools they are seriously considering applying to."

All I'm saying is that although the number of Indians who want a business education has gone up significantly, not all of them wish to pursue their MBA outside India.

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The increase in applications to Indian B-Schools like the ISB [which recieved around 3000 applications this year] is 46% CAGR [from the GMAC data] while the increase in the applications to global B-Schools by Indians have increased at 7% CAGR [again from the GMAC data]. If the trend were to continue, [there are now 7 programs in India which accepts only the GMAT score compared to just an ISB 3 years back] the number of Indian GMAT takers applying to Indian schools will overtake the global applications from India by the year 2009.

The IIMs have not increased the seats in the last 10 years, while the number of applicants have increased from around 50k to 2 lac. Logically, good candidates will look at programs like ISB, which accepts the GMAT score pushing the Indian GMAT test taker number.

One more piece of data which might be of help. The IIMs accepts the CAT score, but if you are an Non-Resident-Indian, it accepts the GMAT score. Therefore if an Indian abroad wishes to go for any top Indian MBA program will necessarily have to take the GMAT.

There would be social, cultural impact on the increase of GMAT applicants of Indian citizenship but I think the real reason something else!

2:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One main reason for this trend is lack of options for the experienced professionals for MBA in India. IIM's and other top tier schools usually have lot of competition from freshers w.r.t entrance scores. And Executive MBA is'nt widespread yet.

10:32 PM  
Blogger Amey Purandare said...

Great data. I was looking for just the kind of data. Amey

11:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A little late to be commenting, but here is my 2 cents anyway. I am an Indian engineer working in the US, thinking about an MBA and here's why I think Indians in the US tend to gravitate towards an MBA. The typical Indian engineer has a number of cultural differences from a typical American engineer. For instance, he is not comfortable in a bar, does not enjoy talking about football or baseball, and has a sense of humor that is just different. These tend to arrest his career progress beyond a certain point. For these reasons, it is not very common for an Indian engineer to be able to talk his way to the top. The MBA is seen as a shortcut, or a way to compensate. There are a number of Indians who do not match the above stereotype, but I honestly admit that I do and that is why I want an MBA.

9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another thing that should not be ignored as well is the numbers. It is my belief that IQ distributions are the same in all countries of the world. So, the top 1% of Indians would be of a similar quality as the top 1% of Frenchmen or Chinese. But since India has a billion people, that top 1% of people is 10 million people. Thus the competition among Indians at business schools is often tougher.
Meanwhile, thanks Daveformba for the original post. This information is exactly what I was looking for.

9:47 PM  
Blogger Abhishek said...

for all types of MBA notes & projects & help visit www.itbugs.co.in

7:02 PM  
Blogger david said...

love to see this discussion! It’s great to see you all working through the issues and also, it’s great to see recommendations for testing. In the end, it’s what your actual users do and prefer that should be your biggest driver in making these decisions.


online markiting

3:21 AM  

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