Here is my interpretation of one of Samba’s various bursts of inspiration. An abstract idea whose viability, logistics, implementation etc. need to be worked out.
We know that a lot of effort goes into the preparation for these competitive exams; out of which only the top 2% or so make it in to IITs, IIMs etc. Out of say every 100 candidates that takes each exam, 2 of them actually make it in, and so, in some sense, their efforts are not wasted. And I will assume that around 40 of them just took it up as a part of their regular path, and weren’t really serious about them. These numbers can be inaccurate; but bear with me.
The real wasted effort lies in those 50 of them, who actually put in a lot of effort, and out of them, there are at least 10 of them who almost as good as the 2 of them that get in, but just cannot make it in because the number of seats are limited. Now, the question is: can this effort be harnessed to do something good? something profitable? Can the exam structure or the interview structure be changed to do this?
One concrete implementation of this idea. The top few percentile people from CAT are called in for a GD/PI stage, where they are put against each other, and are evaluated for managerial potential, stress, ability to think on their feet etc. One idea is to divide them into chunks, and assign them to random villages in the rural heartland of India. Their job is to stay in these villages for a week (along with an official from the IIMs), and involve themselves in some constructive activity. Call this a real case study as opposed to the arm-chair variety that gets done right now.
This suggestion is not all that preposterous for few reasons
– Candidates are quite serious about their admissions and an IIM admit is a great incentive.
– Its more realistic than an arm-chair case study because real results can be evaluated giving better candidates to these institutes.
– The candidates are smart and some real work that might be useful to these villages can be carried out.
– As CAT filtering has already been carried out, we have a more manageable number of people.
Of course, all these details, and the basic idea itself are up for debate, and thats why the posting 🙂 The rationale behind this thinking is to somehow harness the efforts and the incentives that are a part of this big circus.
Any ideas? problems? possibilities?