GMAT – An Indicator of Success Among PhDs in Business

Posted on May 6, 2008 | Filed in Admissions, GMAT, MBA

Another recent study conducted by GMAC examined the accuracy or validity of the GMAT as an indicator of success in PhD programs in management.

The need for such a study arises from the increased pressure to know whether or not standardized tests are useful indicators of success. Tests, such as the SAT, have recently been under a great deal of scrutiny. Accusations have been made by parents and the media that the SAT in particular privileges certain groups of students. The GMAT, not unlike other standardized tests, has recently been under pressure to demonstrate whether it is indeed a factor that should be granted so much weight in graduate management educational admissions decisions.

The recent study based on data provided by US PhD programs and PhD students themselves indicates overall that the GMAT is a useful predictor of first-year success in PhD programs. Data even suggests a greater correlation between first-year success and GMAT results than first-year success and undergraduate grade point average. The study of the performance of non-native English speakers on the GMAT, in particular, the Verbal and Writing Assessment sections of the test, display a clear association between scores and success in their programs.

These results are helpful in acknowledging the usefulness of the GMAT as an indicator of success to admissions committees. However, the results are not conclusive. Further inquiries into correlations between success and GMAT are necessary. As the GMAC maintains, these results in the study are relevant only to PhD students in management programs, a unique and small subgroup of GMAT test takers.

The above discussions are based on the GMAC research report written by Kara O. Siegert, “Predicting Success in Graduate Management Doctoral Programs,” as of 12 July 2007.

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