So you have made up your mind to go for an MBA. Good for you! But the first hurdle many of you will face, just like I did, will be to decide what kind of a course will you be willing to opt for to begin your preparations for entrance examinations. A vital thing to keep in mind here is that not every kind of course is appropriate for every kind of aspirant. It is imperative that you understand the purpose and the benefits of each kind of program, whilst also comprehending what might not work for you. Here in this post, I will try to explain each of them individually, based on certain parameters:
Quality of Education
Needless to say, your teachers and mentors play a cardinal role in your preparation of the exams. I have had the fortune of being acquainted to aspirants who could not score more than 80%ile in mock tests, but ended up scoring 95+ in CAT. Almost every single one of them would attribute their success to their mentors.
An aspirant would definitely have the advantage of a personal touch when he/she enrols for a classroom course. Added to this would be the study material you would get. But one caveat here is that not all branches of all coaching institutions have excellent mentors. Speaking from personal experience, big giants in the CAT coaching industry tend to keep the best teachers in metropolitans, where the number of aspirants enrolled is more, and hence they have a better hand at business. So it would be most preferable to do some research regarding the institution, and especially the branch, that you are thinking of joining. Read online reviews, check out the profiles of the teachers, and if possible, talk to someone who has been an ex-student of that branch. This will help you in the best way possible.
Coming to online classes, you will definitely get some of the best study material, in the form of videos, problem books, their solutions and lecture notes; similar to what you would be getting in a classroom coaching. The study material is prepared by the best faculty of the institution. But you would feel the lack of personalization. If you have a weakness, which you would like to be remedied, or a strength, which you would like to be strengthened further, you will have to do it on your own. Personal guidance will be tough to find. And so it is highly recommended that you go for online classes only and only if you are not able to attend a classroom course due to any reason.
Test Series is for those aspirants who are well aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and know what to focus on and what to ignore. Such candidates are usually those who have had prior experience of preparation of the exam. Another disadvantage is the absence of any kind of study material, which can hit you hard if you don't have some beforehand.
The mock tests provided should be the same for all kinds of courses mentioned above. Do check with the institution about this positively. Some branches invite you to give the tests at the respective centres itself, so as to simulate a similar environment of examination. That is absolutely beneficial for all who can attain it, but it is by no means a necessity. And so the quality of mocks should not be a point of consideration when deciding your mode of preparation.
The WAT (Writing Ability Test), GD (Group Discussion) and PI (Personal Interview can be integral to your journey to your dream MBA college. A person with a comparatively poor percentile can still achieve his/her goal if the second stage of the entrance procedure is sailed through smoothly. The inverse is also true. Undoubtedly, WAT-GD-PI sessions are important to think of when making a choice about the mode of preparation.
Classroom coaching will be the most advantageous in this parameter. After your written exams are over, you are provided with the opportunity of attending group discussion sessions with your peers, which are organised by the coaching centre itself. The mentors prepare you for interviews as well, solely focussing on your background and profile. This is followed by multiple mock interviews. It really provides an edge over students who have their first GD or PI in the college admission process itself. Also, you can get your mock WATs checked by your mentor.
This level of preparation is missing in online classes. You are definitely provided with tips and tricks on how to present yourself in a GD, how to put forward your points, how to initiate and conclude and the answers to common questions asked in a PI. But all this is very general. You will have to tailor your answers and replies according to your profile on your own.
Aspirants enrolling for Test Series need to look for other sources of knowledge to enhance their GD-PI skills. I repeat, this part of the preparation is not to be overlooked, so please stay as alert as possible.
Classroom coaching requires you to go to classrooms at definite timings. This helps you build a routine, and the classroom classes ensure that you are definitely present for studying a certain number of hours in a day in a week, depending upon whether you choose the weekend or the weekday program. What you do in class is entirely upto you! For aspirants who think they lack the will to study as of that moment, or those who are unsure about their time management abilities, classroom coaching can provide a wonderful start.
But I have some many aspirants find classroom coaching too quick-paced, while others complain that the classes cover the syllabi quite slowly. This varies from person to person, and so I would like you to talk to your coaching head about this before admission, but only after due introspection. Attending demo classes can also help. Freshers, freelancers or people who have flexible work hours at work are the ones who tend to make the most out of classroom coaching.
Online classes bestow a way out to people who are unable to attend classroom coaching due to timing problems. People who have a rigid and heavy work schedule and aspirants who live in remote places and have to suffer the loss of time and money to reach the nearest centre find this concept most beneficial. You are powered with the opportunity to study at your own pace, at your own comfortable time, be it early in the morning or late in the night.
Test Series include mostly mock tests, and all mock tests are conducted at a stipulated time for all the aspirants of an institution, irrespective of the mode of education they have chosen. The tests remain accessible for a certain window of days, and within one or two days, the results are declared.
Lucky are those who find a friend to see them through their preparation. A classroom is an ideal place to find such a companion. Who knows, you may find a peer in your teacher! It gets significantly easier to resolve your doubts, learn new concepts and battle through the boring chapters. You can get your performance analysed by your peers, learn from their strengths and help yourself to a better percentile. Many a times a sense of healthy competition with a peer or a group of classmates starts flourishing, which can be highly propitious, if kept from turning toxic.
Aspirants who opt for online classes and test series will be left devoid of this privilege. Some people prefer studying alone, and might benefit more without classroom coaching, but an extra set of eyes never hurt anyone.
Finally, we have the cost to consider while choosing amongst the options. Now while this may not be a factor as important as the aforementioned ones, we still must keep it in mind, for it can surely act as a parameter when comparing between two institutions. One thing I would like to emphasise on here is the fact that more cost is never a guarantee of better quality. Just because you pay more to an institution doesn't imply that you will be getting the best teachers or study materials. You will have to be smart enough to be the judge of that.
Classroom coaching will empty your pockets the most. A classroom course from a reputed institution will cost you no less than ₹60k, irrespective of the time you are joining for. Scholarships can help with this exorbitant fee, but seldom have I met people who are able to avail those scholarships. Also centre in metropolitan cities charge more for the same program when compared to a centre in a semi-urban area.
Online coaching, understandably, costs significantly less than the option of classroom. It depends upon the institute you have opted for, but that is generally the case. I urge you to explore the websites for prices of all the options. Rest assured, the charges for online classes are same, no matter wherever you avail the opportunity.
Test series, needless to say, cost the least. If you are going for test series, it will be better for you to buy the package from more than one institute, as it will cost almost nothing when compared to the other two alternatives, and will hand you much more practice.
This is the complete analysis of the conundrum you all will probably face. Be wise to choose which one is best for you. All the best!
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