Updates below with details from Apurv Pandit of PagalGuy

Pardon the pun, but this is probably the “killer application” for online education websites in India. Old favorite PagalGuy.com and Sequoia Capital funded born-again-as-an-education-portal Minglebox have launched platforms that allows students to apply to multiple MBA colleges online.

For long, the problem for students in India – and the country’s schools and colleges churn out hundreds of thousands of them every year- has been keeping track of dates for college applications, filling out demand drafts, waiting for application forms, and hoping that their application is received before the last date of submission is over. Different colleges make forms available at different banks, and process of application often varies. While some sites have kept students updated on important dates through email alerts, the tedious process of application was never adequately addressed.

MingleBox’s Application Service: Digitized Forms

What MingleBox has done well, is not just digitized and replicated the entire form online, but also integrated the application with the students profile, so many fields are filled in automatically. A screenshot of an application form when I tried it out. Students also only need to click on specific segments in order to fill out the details. Students can also save applications online, as well as download a PDF version.

PagalGuy’s Application Service: One Click Application

PagalGuy, on the other hand, doesn’t replicate the form online. Instead, it requires students to first to fill out a standard form, including details like mobile number and home phone number. Then students are just have to search for colleges and apply with just one click: there’s no interim step where a form is displayed. It’s quick, simple, and an email is sent with a confirmation of the application. Students can also check their status online.
Ps: I applied to a college while trying this out…now I wish I hadn’t given my mobile number.

Update: Speaking with MediaNama, Apurv Pandit of PagalGuy.com said that they generate revenues from two sources: there’s a small commission once the student applies to the college, and the other is a pay-for-performance model where they’re paid a commission once a student is accepted into a college. There’s a demand supply mismatch in the market, which they’re trying to address: colleges below top 50-60 list find that applications are, on an average 1.5 times the number of seats available, and they find it difficult to sell all the the seats in any admission year. Application forms aren’t a source of revenue for them, since they have to give huge discounts in order to sell the applications.

For them, filling seats matters more. “We found out while doing ad sales for the last few years. They’re going to fairs, and spending crores. They’ve been working with lead generation sites, and the output is is not something they’re happy with. Also in many fairs, have 20-30 colleges, which isn’t big enough. Also, in the lead generation model, it’s almost akin to telemarketing calls, which has a negative impact, and there hasn’t been much success. So the two problems to solve are : discovery and receiving credible applications,” Pandit said

The deal that PagalGuy has worked out is as follows: the student has to buy the application form will be bought only if he/she’s been invited for the Group Discussion and Personal Interview (GD-PI). At the back end, the college representative will log in, look up the form and invite applications. Only once the student gets a notification will they have to buy using a payment gateway. According to Pandit, “If the student gets an admission after the GD-PI, we get a commission. This might look like a model that education consultants to, but we’re not recommending any colleges; it’s a neutral platform. Consultants tend to push students to certain colleges. it’s a pay for performance model.” PagalGuy also intends to replicate this process offline, with education fairs in Delhi and Bangalore. it’s a fairly controlled admission process.

Note: we’ll update once we have more information from MingleBox as well

[MingleBox Press Release]