Applying for a business school is quite daunting and it is hard to know what the admissions committee of a prospective business program wants from you as an applicant. This is an obvious statement but one that has been tackled by Melissa Korn of The Wall Street Journal. Last year, she interviewed Derrick Bolton, Assistant Dean and M.B.A. Admissions Director at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and asked a lot of questions about what he and his colleagues look for in an applicant. We included parts of the interview below as well as highlight some important points to keep in mind.
(The original WSJ interview can be found here.)
WSJ: Do you check out the GMAT score and if it’s below a certain number, put that application aside?
Mr. Bolton: That would rob us of a lot of talent. The GMAT is helpful in terms of understanding how someone can perform in the first year, but that’s one small piece of the overall M.B.A. We [look at candidates] holistically [academic, professional, personal]. That depends on the candidate being authentic with us, which I recognize is hard because it takes a degree of self-confidence to be able to tell your story to total strangers.
- Notice while the GMAT is important, it is not the end-all, be-all; admissions looks at all the things you have demonstrated and see if you are fit for the program.
WSJ: What do applicants worry about too much?
Mr. Bolton: They worry most about scores, they worry about essays. I think they should spend more time thinking about references. They often think about it from the perspective of, ‘I need to pick three references who show different aspects of my personality,’ not from the perspective of, ‘I need to pick three people who are going to be my strongest advocates.’
- Mr. Bolton stresses the importance of your references and what they say. They can support you 110% and are able articulate that well on paper, but if they all say the same thing then it will not count for much. Each reference should be able to tell the admissions committee different reasons why they are rooting for you.
For more expert opinions and advice, contact Manhattan Review today.
Manhattan Review provides its students with topnotch prep courses that will allow students to tackle the challenges found in the GMAT. For young and aspiring entrepreneurs, entry into a top business school is vital to their future success. You have us on your side and quite frankly, our courses are more than capable of pushing you over the top. Assistance like that is valuable and necessary if you want to enter one of the ten toughest business schools in the country:
|School name (state)||Full-time applicants||Full-time acceptances||Full-time acceptance rate||U.S. News rank|
|Stanford University (CA)||6,618||466||7.0%||1|
|Harvard University (MA)||9,134||1,013||11.1%||1|
|University of California—Berkeley (Haas)||3,444||420||12.2%||7|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)||4,490||599||13.3%||4|
|New York University (Stern)||4,416||601||13.6%||11|
|Columbia University (NY)||6,669||1,062||15.9%||8|
|Dartmouth College (Tuck) (NH)||2,744||492||17.9%||9|
|University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)||6,442||1,209||18.8%||3|
|Yale University (CT)||2,823||539||19.1%||10|
|Northwestern University (Kellogg) (IL)||5,305||1,119||21.1%||4|
If the school you were seeking a nod from was not on this list, you can expect a 50-50 chance of getting accepted. While that may seem low to you, it does not beat the extremely low acceptance rates that Stanford University, Harvard University, and UC-Berkley are known for. Manhattan Review’s founder, Prof Dr. Joern Meissner, received his Ph.D in Management Science from Columbia University, which currently boasts an acceptance rate of 15.9%. With this in mind, you can use years of knowledge and prep expertise collected by him and his staff to assist you in preparing for the business world.
Much of the information above can be found in the original U.S. News article here.
For more information on a Free admissions consultation and GMAT preparation, contact Manhattan Review today.
Not everyone studies for the GMAT or approaches it in the same way, so we at Manhattan Review have come up with a list of helpful tips and strategies anyone can use to come out at the top.
- Practice with a time limit
The GMAT is timed so it is best to work problems under a time constraint. In doing so, you will learn how to effectively manage your time. While studying without a time limit is sensible, you cannot hope to accurately gauge how you will perform “under the gun” if your practice sessions do not closely mirror the real thing.
- Complete every question
We cannot stress this enough! You will be penalized more for not writing down an answer than you would writing down a wrong one. If you cannot solve/answer a question within a reasonable amount of time – i.e., two minutes – skip it, make note of it, and then move on to the rest. If you have managed your time correctly you should be able to go back and complete any missed questions.
- Focus on the problem at hand
You must not think about a question you had to skip over or the upcoming Integrated Reasoning section or anything else for that matter; focus only on the problem you are currently tackling. This will allow you to think clearly, answer properly, and assist you with pacing.
This is but a small number of strategies to assist you with the GMAT. For more detailed information, contact Manhattan Review today.
While the total volume of people taking the GMAT over the last year fell marginally from the year before, and again from it’s all-time high in 2009, the percentage of those test-takers who were women or from racial minorities grew significantly in the 2010-2011 GMAT season.
Below are some of the most significant shifts in the test taking population from 2011:
The percentage of female test takers increased for the sixth consecutive year to 41%, which is up from 39% just two years earlier. The fastest growing group to mention in the GMAT pipeline is the under 24 year old population, which has exploded since 2007 – reflecting the push for those seeking post-graduate degrees to do so more quickly than in the past, mainly due to the abysmal job market.
These changes reflect the larger trend in higher education for an increasing amount of minority and international students to apply and be accepted to post-graduate programs across the globe.
Obtaining an Masters of Business Administration can provide you with a world of possibilities in you career. As Dave Wilson, president and chief executive officeer of the Graduate Mangement Admissions Council and a 1965 MBA grad from University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, says, ”An MBA opens the door,” ”When you get in there, it gives you a sense of perspective, a balance, a world view that is often different from what you would have had before you took the degree.”
Most student will give credit to the success they have had in the working world, to the material and lesson they learned in business school. Further, business school gives students the opportunity to really find themselves and learn what they are truly passionate about, ultimately translating this passion into a career. Under this pretense, Bloomberg Businessweek has tracked the growth of the top MBA grad of 1991 and examined what an MBA and 20 years of work has done for them. We have copied the five examples that they include below. Their stories show what an MBA can really give and what doors this degree can open.
Then: MIT Sloan School of Management Class of 1991, Seley Scholar, the most distinguished of Sloan’s achievement awards honoring outstanding leadership, professional promise, high academic achievement, and contributions to the school
Now: CEO, Education Dynamics
Tom Anderson graduated from Dartmouth in 1984 with a math degree and a plan to go into medicine. But after speaking to some doctors who expressed regret with their career choices due to the HMO mess that characterized the 1980s, Anderson changed his mind. He took a job teaching high school math for a few years and then joined Paine Webber as a stockbroker. He spent three years at the firm, and in that time he found himself drawn to asset management. But to make the job switch, he was going to need an MBA.
Anderson went out on a limb and applied to only one school: Sloan. “Fortunately I got in,” he says. “I went there expecting to go into asset management, but one of the great things about the top business schools is that you get incredible exposure to a bunch of different companies and different fields in different professions.”
After earning his MBA, Anderson signed on at McKinsey & Co. He worked there for the next decade, moving up the corporate ladder and eventually becoming a partner. He left McKinsey and joined Capital One, where he successfully ran, then sold, one of its medical lending businesses. Then, after taking on a similar role at three other businesses, Anderson gained a reputation as a star CEO in the private equity world.
Anderson now fuels a passion for education as the CEO of Education Dynamics, which aims to help adult learners find the right schools and the right degree. “Sloan was a life-changing experience for me on many dimensions,” he says. “If I could have figured out how to get paid and do that my whole life, I would have been a permanent student.”
Then: University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School Class of 1991, Valedictorian
Now: Co-founder, Real Change Strategies
Martha Blue’s career began in fixed income sales and trading at Goldman Sachs after she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in December 1986 with an accounting degree from the Wharton School. She stayed at Goldman for two years before deciding it wasn’t for her.
Blue took a six-month break in Florence, Italy, then returned stateside with a plan to earn her MBA. After spending a weekend in Chapel Hill, N.C., she knew that UNC’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business was her MBA destination. “The school had so much energy and so many people dedicated to making it a world-class program,” Blue says. “It was the most realistic preparation for a work environment you could get at a business school.”
Upon graduating from Kenan-Flagler, Blue spent four years at McKinsey & Co., while trying to decide which industry she could bear spending the next 20 years of her life in. She ultimately settled on the nonprofit sector. After working for a conservation group for a year, she founded Blue Consulting in 1996, which served a mix of for-profit and nonprofit clients. Then, in 2007, she co-founded Real Change Strategies, which only serves nonprofit organizations.
Two decades later, Blue says her MBA was “crucial” to her career development. “It gave me a broad view that I would not otherwise have gotten,” she says.
Then: Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business Class of 1991, Valedictorian
Now: Founder, Bellwood Capital
South African by birth, Peter Ebell earned an engineering degree in 1986 from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He served in the navy for two years after graduation and then found a job at Johannesburg Consolidated Investments, focused on the gold and platinum mining industry.
After a year and a half, Ebell began to wonder what it would take to move up the corporate ladder into a “top job.” It was quickly evident he needed a strong background in finance to get those kinds of positions, so he decided to enroll in a one-year full-time MBA program at Southern Methodist. While there, he became especially impressed with the finance program, specifically the training in derivatives.
Once he obtained his MBA, Ebell returned to South Africa and became an equity analyst, eventually convincing the higher-ups at his firm that derivatives were something important to get involved in. Four years ago he moved back to the U.S. and is now in the process of seeding his own hedge fund, Bellwood Capital, in Massachusetts. “I’m very happy with my career path as it’s turned out,” Ebell says. “I wouldn’t say I learned a lot at Cox. It indicated to me where my interests lay, effectively, and because of that I was able to develop those interests.”
Then: UCLA Anderson School of Management Class of 1991, Edward W. Carter Fellow, awarded to the top 2 percent of each full-time graduating class at Anderson
Now: CEO, Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals
Andrew Grengos graduated from MIT in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering only to find that he didn’t think it would make for an interesting career. He worked for Morgan Stanley for two years before deciding he needed to be more well-rounded, having never taken a business or economics class in his undergraduate studies.
The Australia native looked at graduate schools on the West Coast and settled on Anderson after hearing about its strong finance program. “I truly had these big functional expertise blank spots,” Grengos says. “Knowing those blank spots and filling them, I absolutely think it was very helpful to me.”
After paying for his MBA completely out of pocket, Grengos spent more than six years working for McKinsey & Co., before moving into the biotech industry. He served as the chief business officer and head of corporate strategy for companies such as Chiron, Dynavax Technologies (DVAX), and Amgen (AMGN), before he decided he was ready to try his hand at running a company. He chose Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals based on its work in the neurodegenerative disease space, an area of interest to him because of his father’s bout with Alzheimer’s. “I thought there’d be some good karma spending a chunk of my career working in a place that was trying to help people like my father,” he says.
Then: Georgia Institute of Technology MBA Class of 1991, Student of the Year
Scott Moyer graduated from University of California, Riverside in 1987 with a degree in administrative studies, a “fairly generic degree,” he says, that lacked specificity.
After working for an engineer for a short while, Moyer followed his fiancée to Atlanta and enrolled in Georgia Tech’s full-time MBA program in 1989. He tested out of three of his core MBA courses and was able to take electives with the second-year MBAs. “Many of the (second-year students) were seriously trying to get into a full-time job,” Moyer says. “I figured out early on that if I could get straight A’s my first quarter, that would get me an internship.” And he did, with former Big Five accounting firm Arthur Andersen.
Moyer graduated with his MBA and CPA in 1991 and was hired full-time at Arthur Andersen. He worked there for four years before deciding he wanted to do more consulting work. He later worked with Coca-Cola (KO) and Siemens One (SI), where he became chief financial officer in 2001.
A recovering serial CFO, Moyer now works as a director at PricewaterhouseCoopers overseeing consulting projects. “I wouldn’t be anywhere if I hadn’t gone back to get an MBA,” Moyer says. “I was drifting in the wind trying to figure out what I wanted to do, and going to Tech made it very easy for me to focus on an area of expertise.”
- It’s a 4-hour Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) that can be taken at any one of many test centers around the world 5 or 6 days a week.
- You may take the GMAT only once every 31 days and no more than five times within any 12-month period.
- This policy applies even if you cancel your score within that time period, and all of your scores and cancellations within the last five years will be reported to the institutions you designate as score recipients.
- It’s made up of three sections, the first being the Analytical Writing Assessment, or AWA.
- The good news is that there are only two questions in this section, the bad news is that they’re both essays.
- One question asks you to analyze an issue, the other asks that you analyze an argument.
- You are given thirty minutes to answer each question.
- Your score on this question will range anywhere from a 0 to 6 (in increments of .5), and this section won’t have any affect on any other GMAT score.
- After finishing the AWA, the next section you’ll encounter will be the Math section.
- There are 37 questions in this section, and about four of them will be trial questions which won’t count towards your actual score.
- You’ll have seventy-five minutes to answer an assortment of Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency questions.
- Your score will range anywhere from 0-60, with a mean score of 35/45th percentile.
- When you’re done with the Math section, you’re going to move into the last section: Verbal.
- There are 41 questions in this section, and just like with the Math section, you’ll be given 75 minutes to answer all of them and four questions will be trial questions that won’t be counted towards your actual score.
- There are three different kinds of question in this section: Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction, and Reading Comprehension.
- Your possible score will range anywhere from 0-60, with a mean score of about 27.3/46%.
- In total, you’ll be given four hours to complete the GMAT and your overall score will range anywhere from 200-800.
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In face of the increased competition from GRE, administered by the ETS, and the changes in admissions processes preferred by business school worldwide, Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) has decided to add a new section, Integrated Reasoning, to its challenging Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). This new section of the exam is designed to test advanced reasoning skills and is separately scored from the total 800 score of verbal and quantitative sections. It is to launch in the 10th edition of the GMAT on June 4, 2012, less than two years away from now.
In spring 2010, GMAC piloted the new section with current MBA students and plans to pilot it again with thousands of students this fall.
GMAC states: “The new section will replace one of the two writing sections currently on the exam. It will be scored separately and have a new audio component for some questions. The test’s current verbal and math sections will remain unchanged.” The new changes in the exam are the following:
- Test takers will need to interpret charts, graphs, and spreadsheets, and answer interactive questions that will test their analytical skills.
- Test takers will be asked to analyze information, draw out conclusions and determine relationships between data points.
- Test takers will wear headphones while taking this portion of the test. The use of headphones is a new feature that will help schools assess students’ auditory learning style.
- Rather than just multiple-choice questions, test takers will drag-and-drop data points, as well, as write mini-essays.
GMAC has released a sample question similar to questions that will appear on the new test. Students are asked to look at a table that sorts like a spreadsheet and detail the number of passengers and airline movements at 21 airports around the world. They are then presented with a list of statements about the information in the table and asked to determine which of the statements are true based on the data in the spreadsheet. Other exercises include using the same table to evaluate the reason for or likelihood of certain outcomes, or to use the table to determine where other airports rank. Some other possible questions may be to determine a country’s plans for a road. This would include looking at maps and government data.
Below is a sample question with the data tables and charts test takers will see in the new version of the GMAT. To view the data table and graph click on the link below!
1. Of the models with Gasoline Engine Type, the model with the greatest ratio of City MPG to Highway MPG is also the model with the greatest difference between Highway MPG and City MPG.
2. The minimum City MPG for a Toyota make is less than the maximum City MPG for a Volkswagen make.
3. A model chosen at random from those models with a Highway MPG greater than 30 miles per gallon has a 50% chance of being a Toyota.
4. The median carbon footprint for all models is greater than the mode carbon footprint for all models.
5. The standard deviation of the Highway MPG values for all BMW models is lower than the standard deviation of the Highway MPG values for all Toyota models.
Integrated Reasoning Answers: Statements 1 and 4 are FALSE; Statements 2, 3, and 5 are TRUE.
Why the new changes? These changes are due to the evolving trends seen in business school classrooms. This is a way to distinguish between those students who will adapt well in the classroom rather than just score a high score on the GMAT, making it easier for business schools to select who to be admitted. This new change is welcomed with great enthusiasm by business schools. GMAC created the section after b-school faculty members expressed a preference for proof that students could read, synthesize and reason well from a set of data within a limited amount of time without relevant in-depth knowledge and any memorization.
The addition of 30-minute Integrated Reasoning in replacement of one of the Analytical Writing Assessment sections is the biggest change to GMAT since it became a computer-adaptive test in the late 1990s. Other recent year changes occurred in 2006 after the switch over of the test administration from the ETS to Pearson. However those changes are more in rules and format, less in content.
Some students may fear that with this new section added to the GMAT, their score may not be as high than with the old exam. Fear not. GMAC is planning outreach and educational programs for business school faculty and students. These programs will include information sessions and details on the new tests.
To get a better sense on the new integrated reasoning section click on the title below:
We at Manhattan Review wholeheartedly support such a constructive change on the GMAT and are prepared to incorporate the teaching of the new section into our curriculum. We strongly feel that without changing the existing verbal and math questions and one of the writing sections, the new Integrated Reasoning section will make the test much improved and effective while minimizing implementation costs. A win-win solution for all parties involved! However, this new section does seem to put more emphasis on extensive data analysis, which might be a challenge for students who are not used to seeing a large amount of data in a spreadsheet format.
The GMAT ToolKit, a leading mobile GMAT Prep application developed by GMAT Club, has just been featured by Apple® on its “What’s Hot” list. The iPhone® app is part of an ongoing project by GMAT Club to bring high-quality design and execution into the mobile test prep space. The ToolKit was originally released several months ago and has since undergone 3 updates to include additional features requested by users.
Today, the app is no longer a simple GMAT Timer, but a leading GMAT prep tool that includes:
- QUESTION SETS – application comes preinstalled with 111 Hard Quant questions and also includes an option to download free additional SC questions from the GMAT Club forum.
- FORUM – direct access to GMAT Club’s forum using enhanced navigation features.
- BOOKS – a must-have grader/error/time log for Official GMAC books
- TIMER – the most sophisticated GMAT Timer specifically designed for GMAT preparation.
- IDIOMS – an adaptive system to test your knowledge of 240 idioms.
- VOICES – save prep time by getting recommendations from over 78,000 GMAT Club members.
- MATH – detailed review of Absolute Value, Triangles, Circles, Coordinate Geometry, Standard Deviation and Probability.
- RESOURCES – links to the most important topics in the GMAT and MBA community.
- NEWS – receive 2 GMAT questions daily with our “Question of the Day” tool, use the embedded RSS Reader to manage your own feeds and stay current on the latest GMAT and MBA news.
- Just in case this is not impressive enough, new features and improvements are already on the roadmap for another update in 2-4 weeks, which owners of the app will receive for free.
The latest version of the GMAT ToolKit will enable users to easily add custom content and questions to their iPhone or iPod Touch, significantly expanding test preparation options and moving beyond traditional learning styles. For additional screenshots, to learn more about this iPhone App, or to leave a comment, please visit: GMAT ToolKit for Apple iPhone dedicated page.
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John Beer has taught English composition and literature to undergraduates for over eight years. His writing has appeared in numerous periodicals, including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Review, Review of Contemporary Fiction, Time Out Chicago, and the Village Voice. He is a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy and social thought at the University of Chicago and holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a BA from Princeton. John also takes the GMAT on a periodic basis to stay abreast of the latest GMAT changes. He consistently scored 780’s on the GMAT.
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