I feel a trifle sad writing this piece. It is a reaction to the piece Veranda Learning Acquires TIME for Rs.287 crores. I am happy for the promoters of TIME CAT coaching, who have been devoted to the cause of education for several decades. Any rewards they get are well deserved.
At the same time, despite their having been a worthy competitor, I feel a little sad because TIME is the one CAT Coaching I’ve had respect for. We, at MBAGuru, have always aimed at ensuring significantly better learning experience for our students as compared to TIME, at significantly lower prices than TIME. This simple guiding principle allowed us to take decisions in a very consistent way. Our ADAPTIVE prep, with sharp focus on individual students, was a deliberate contrast to their focus on big numbers.
3 Positives for TIME
1. TIME has been an institute focused on academics & it has had a stable, able academic team.
2. The founders were passionate about the business, as is usually the case.
3. Despite their forays into several other services, their main focus remained MBA/CAT prep.
These 3 factors meant that students generally had a good experience at TIME and the word of mouth was strong year-after-year. Now, they have been acquired by a company that is rapidly expanding after having started barely 2 years ago. A company that’s engaged in over a dozen services already. A company that is mainly focused on online education. In my view, the acquisition will test all the 3 positives mentioned above. This has nothing to do with the competence or intent – just a different vision perhaps.
How we think
If you, a student, view your career as something critical enough that needs specialist guidance, you are more likely to opt for a specialist rather than a generalist. Just like you are unlikely to prefer a general physician if your heart needs critical care! That is one reason we have kept our focus laser sharp only on MBA Prep/CAT Coaching at MBAGuru.
Over the last 2-3 years, we too had several buyout offers – some juicier than we could have imagined – mainly from online players flush with capital they had raised recently. But we didn’t even consider any of those. Why?
We are doing what we want, the way we want, with the team we have built with people we love to work with, while making an impact on our students, for whom we exist! What more could we ask for 🙂 The day we lose any of these, we will wind down graciously.
I still remember in how classy a manner Agrawal Classes shut down their ops in the early 90s after they had been the No.1 for JEE prep for years. They took care of their team, and their students, and went out when people were still asking “why” and not “why not”!
About the author: Deekshant has sleep-walked through several 100 and 99.9 %iles in practically every section of the CAT. That he is a cricket fan and he writes okay is evident from most of his posts. 1000s of our students swear that he can motivate almost anyone to double his/her percentile through very simple yet powerful inputs. And that’s why every MBAGuru student has direct access to him via mail and Telegram. Oddly, he somehow also finds the time to write songs professionally. And yes … almost missed this … he is an alumnus of IIT Delhi & IIM Cal