Veritas Prep vs. ManhattanGMAT – Instructor hiring and training


We are often asked to compare and contrast MGMAT to Veritas. The primary difference between ManhattanGMAT and Veritas is that the two organizations have vastly different approaches to Instructor hiring and training. We have several Instructors who have had direct experiences with both companies – their accounts follow below.

“The quality of any business is reflected in its hiring process. Manhattan GMAT’s excellent hiring process is the main reason I decided to work for it rather than for our competitor, Veritas Prep. Before applying to both companies, the only thing I knew was that they both advertised in Craigslist seeking instructors. I soon found out that the similarities end there.

After submitting my resume and GMAT scores to Veritas Prep a young man called me for a phone interview. During our 15 minutes on the phone, he explained that I could be up and teaching in no time, with very little training. I was surprised at the simplicity of the process, and, to be honest, it made me suspicious of the quality of the company. The young man told me that he would speak to the owners of the company and follow up shortly. The next day he emailed me a form letter welcoming me to the company and giving me information on the steps I should take to begin teaching. No interview!

I knew that I wanted a long-term teaching opportunity, but not with a company, such as Veritas Prep, in which an entry-level staffer made hiring assessments and informed the candidates via email.

Now, compare that to my much more professional and personal hiring experience with Manhattan GMAT. After submitting my resume and GMAT scores to the company, someone at the New York headquarters called me to schedule a conference call that would include the three highest level executives at the company: founder Zeke Vanderhoek, CEO Andrew Yang, and Director of Instructor Development Chris Ryan. We had a spirited and informative 45-minute conversation during which it became very obvious that Manhattan GMAT was a special company, superior to its competitors. They explained to me in detail the comprehensive and rigorous 4-month training process. Whereas some people might like the idea of limited training requirements that Veritas presented, I was looking for a challenge that would make me a better educator and a higher-skilled person. Moreover, education, like all businesses, is a competitive enterprise. It is reassuring to know that the Manhattan GMAT training requirement ensures top caliber teachers, not teachers of uncertain quality who might tarnish the company’s reputation by underperforming in the classroom.

Next, believe it or not, Manhattan GMAT flew me to New York for an in-person interview and audition with Zeke, Chris and Andrew, and, they even paid for my lodging at a 4-star Manhattan hotel! I was so impressed. It was clear that Manhattan GMAT would do whatever it takes to 1) attract top talent, and 2) make sure that all accepted applicants make excellent instructors.

The interview was a rather humbling experience for me. During my audition I realized that a high score on the GMAT does not automatically translate to skill as a teacher. And, even though I had had more teaching experience than most applicants, I knew that there were many ways in which I could improve. Thankfully, two days later Andrew called me with the great news: Manhattan GMAT was offering me a position. It was a real high point in my professional life.

My experience as a Manhattan GMAT instructor has been nothing but positive and rewarding. The leadership and administration at Manhattan GMAT is comprised of wonderful, ambitious and helpful people. The students are serious about their education and careers. It is very beneficial to be around such inspiration. As a Manhattan GMAT teacher I learn something new every day and I continually to refine my skills both as an educator and a businessperson.

This fall I am moving to Los Angeles to begin the Peter Stark Producing Program at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. It is tremendously comforting to know that I will be able to support myself through teaching. I hope I am part of the Manhattan GMAT family for a long time to come.” – Dan Patinkin
Shortly after scoring 790 on the GMAT, I applied to teach at two different companies – Veritas and ManhattanGMAT. Both companies offered to hire me, but I ultimately decided to go with ManhattanGMAT. This was not a difficult decision to make, since Manhattan was offering $100/hr, whereas Veritas was offering only $40/hr. But better pay was not the only factor that drew me to ManhattanGMAT. After experiencing the hiring and training processes at the two companies, I felt that ManhattanGMAT seemed better-organized and more professional.

The process at Veritas began when I sent them an e-mail on 6/19 with my resume and my GMAT score. That same week I had a telephone interview with Markus Moberg, one of the co-founders of Veritas. The interview lasted for about an hour. Moberg asked me about my teaching experience, and about how I had prepared for the GMAT. He then explained the pay structure at Veritas. Novice instructors earned $40/hr. Hourly pay increased with experience, so that Senior Instructors earned $50/hr and Master Instructors earned $60/hr. The company had designed this pay structure, he said, in order to give instructors an incentive to stick around. Many employees, he complained, still moved on to other jobs after just a few months with Veritas. At the end of the interview, Moberg told me I sounded good, and that if I promised to read the Veritas textbooks I could start teaching shortly. That same day, I received the following message from one of his colleagues:

Jun 23, 2006 5:27 PM

Subject: Congratulations!

Hi Jadran: I am writing to welcome you aboard as part of the Veritas team! At Markus’s request, I am having a new set of instructor materials sent to you via FedEx on Monday. In addition, I have attached a document that details our instructor levels and provides other valuable information for instructors. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask.

Cheers, Mike Michael Miller

That was easy, I thought. And it was. I received the Veritas textbooks in the mail, and read through them for a couple of weeks. On 7/13 I had a follow-up conversation with Moberg, in which he quizzed me about the books and answered some of my questions about working at Veritas. He said that, because I seemed familiar with the textbooks’ content, I could start teaching right away. Around this time Veritas offered me a private student in Indiana, who wanted to begin his tutoring sessions immediately. I never did do any teaching for Veritas, however, because in the meantime I had signed a non-compete agreement with ManhattanGMAT.

The hiring and training process at ManhattanGMAT was long and arduous “ the polar opposite of what I had experienced at Veritas. The first round was a phone interview with Zeke Vanderhoek, the founder of the company. This was much like my Veritas interview, but it was only a first step. The next round took place at a hotel in my city, and began with a face-to-face interview with Zeke. What impressed me about this second round was that Zeke did not simply rely on standard interview questions to see whether I could teach. Instead, he asked me to demonstrate my teaching ability. First I had to give him a short lecture on a subject unrelated to the GMAT (I chose the philosophy of Descartes). Then I had to explain to him several hard GMAT problems that I had not seen before. Lastly, I was put in a room with five other job candidates and asked to explain yet another GMAT problem “ this time to a class consisting of my competitors.

The majority of candidates did not make it through this application process, but I survived. Yet I was hardly out of the woods. The next step “ or set of steps “ was ManhattanGMAT’s notoriously time-consuming training process. I had to attend a full nine-week ManhattanGMAT course, doing all of the homework required of a regular student. I also had to have regular meetings with a teaching coach, whose job was to mentor me and monitor my progress. And I had to complete a Reaction Document, a multi-page discussion of all of the company’s instructional materials. Finally, when I had completed this training, I had yet another interview with Zeke. Only then “ nearly three months after I had my first interview with him “ was I cleared to teach a class.

At times it felt like the ManhattanGMAT application and training process was simply over-the-top “ how many hoops did these people want me to jump through? On the other hand, I knew that I was learning a tremendous amount “ both about the art of teaching and about the subject matter of the GMAT. When I teach classes or tutor private students today, I like knowing that the training I received from ManhattanGMAT has made me a much stronger instructor than I would have been if I had accepted the offer from Veritas. – Jadran Lee

They Pulled Me Back In

I first took the GMAT in 2002, as I was planning to apply for admission to business schools to enroll full-time in the fall of 2003. At the time, I was working as a strategy consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers and was spending a lot of my free time researching business schools, applications, etc. During one of those searches, I happened to come across an online advertisement for VeritasPrep. They were looking for potential instructors for their GMAT classes, and were interested in speaking to people who had scored 750 and above on their GMAT.

Since I knew that going to b-school was on the horizon, I figured that the possibility of some extra ca$h in my pocket was not a bad thing. So, I sent an email to the leadership team at Veritas, based on an address that I had found on the Veritas website. Within a day or so, I received an e-mail response back and was asked if I’d be interested in a phone conversation. Within the next week, I had participated in a 20-minute phone conversation, had been sent employment paperwork, had received a few FedEx boxes worth of class materials, and had been assigned to my first class.

Yes all that happened that quickly. In retrospect, I wonder if either:

A. I was that impressive, or

B. It wasn’t all that challenging to get the Veritas seal of approval.

So, for the next 18 months or so, I taught a mixture of classroom-setting and private tutoring for Veritas. But, when I moved down to Durham to enroll at Fuqua, my relationship with Veritas came to an end because the company did not have any operations planned at that time for the Triangle area “ and I wasn’t incredibly disappointed by that fact. I felt that the classes were designed in a way that made me feel very robotic and made me question if I was truly providing a lot of value to the students. And I still always reflected on my interview process and didn’t feel any real allegiance/connection to the organization.

Over the next few years, I spent some time working with another test prep company, Powerscore, with whom I had a strikingly similar (and disappointing) experience, and was forced to consider the idea that maybe I wasn’t cut out for GMAT instruction, because I really hadn’t enjoyed the experiences I had gone through.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I was contacted by ManhattanGMAT via the LinkedIn service in early 2007. They were interested in expanding into the Philadelphia area, and wanted to know if I’d be interested in working for them. By this point, I was now several years into my post b-school career and was pretty sure that I’d already learned my lesson about the glamour (or lack thereof) associated with GMAT instruction. But, I’m willing to give anybody a chance.

I knew it was going to be a different experience when they suggested that I come up to New York for an afternoon of interviews “ Wow! Actually meet them in person! What a crazy idea! After spending about an hour meeting with the leadership team (including founder and CEO), I was brought into a live classroom setting and asked to walk the class through a sample problem. A few days later, after receiving the good news that I had passed the first round of interviews, then I needed to make a big decision. Did I want to go through over 100+ hours of unpaid training to qualify to teach for ManhattanGMAT.

Yes read that again. 100 PLUS hours of UNPAID training! With no guarantee that you definitely wind up teaching upon finishing the training.

In a strange way, that huge commitment actually made me feel more excited about embarking on the journey. Clearly, here was a company that is committed to instructor training and also interested in retaining its employees on a long-term basis, based on the company’s incentive and bonus structure.

After letting them know that I was ready to go for it “ I began attending a 9-session class as an observer, working through countless hours of sample problems and teaching techniques, partnering with my training coordinator, and preparing for my final evaluation. Oh yeah “ the final evaluation. Two+ hours of teaching sample problems to a room-full of ManhattanGMAT’s leadership team “ knowing that my performance (and future employment) hung in the balance. Luckily (and thankfully) I passed and have been working with ManhattanGMAT ever since.

So, what have I learned? And why am I working with ManhattanGMAT? Well, sometimes, the third time is a charm. And more importantly, sometimes you have to work through a few bad apples to get to the good one. I’ve been incredibly impressed with the knowledge of my colleagues, the content of the curriculum, and the future opportunities that exist at ManhattanGMAT. I definitely encourage anyone who is interested in becoming a master of the GMAT and increasing their chances for admission into business school to take a look at what we have to offer and see how it might help you. – Brian Lange

Essentially the same account has been provided to us by over a dozen current and former Veritas Instructors. The prospects for retroactive improvement aren’t good either; in our experience it would be nearly impossible to implement training across an already-hired group of Instructors in 70 different locations (which Veritas currently maintains).

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