According to a recent article in Business Week titled: “GMAT: The MBA Job Seeker’s Best Friend” – it appears that many schools are encouraging students to take the GMAT time and time again. A very eye-opening article by Anne VanderMey, it seems the GMAT is not only important for MBA admittance, but also for job recruiting after graduation.
According to VanderMey, with companies being flooded with resumes due to the recent economic recession, it appears recruiters are using GMAT scores to weed out applicants. This is unusual, as never before has the GMAT taken on such added weight, but it appears for some companies, your score could very well be the factor that gets you an actual interview.
Due to this, professors and career services directors are encouraging students to retake the GMAT time and time again thanks to the tough recruiting climate. VanderMey profiles several schools that are taking this advice seriously and putting it into practice:
- University of Texas’s McCombs School of Business: Stacey Rudnick, director of MBA services is advising recent admits with mediocre GMAT scores to consider retaking the test if they think they can score higher.
- University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business: Mendoza sent a letter to its 2011 class reminding students of the importance of the GMAT when applying to prestigious firms. The school has offered a four-day crash course for students who wish to retake the test. Mendoza’s director of MBA career development claims: “We see a large number of consulting companies, some investment banks and a couple of corporations all looking at both GMAT and undergrad MBA GPAs. These companies are looking for a sustained record of academic excellence.”
- Thunderbird School of Global Management: Kip Harrel, president of the MBA Career Services Council, claims that students’ average GMAT score is a primary factor in deciding where companies choose to recruit.
- Darden School of Business: Jack Oakes, director of career services, claims that he sometimes advises candidates with scores in the mid-600s to retake the test if they are looking to land top-shelf consulting or banking positions.
- Goizueta Business School: Wendy Tsung, executive director of MBA career services, states: “Because the economy is so bad, and there’s so many people applying for positions, companies are looking for different ways to reduce the number of resumes that they go through. Of the reasons to throw out an application – GPA, undergraduate institution, years of work experience – the GMAT is an ‘easy one.’”
As suspected, a person’s quantitative GMAT score does seem to be linked to salary while some GMAT scores appear to be linked to managerial status. However, VanderMey informs us that not every company considers GMAT scores to be important when considering new hires. At the University of Connecticut’s School of Business, for example, the executive director was never even asked for GMAT scores from its student body.
It appears, however, that a high GMAT score simply helps you get your foot in the door for the actual interview. A high score, in general, won’t get you the job of your dreams, but it will get you into speaking with someone face-to-face. VanderMey quotes Mareza Larizadeh, the founder of Doostang, a career networking site popular with MBA students: “The GMAT isn’t going to get you in. But it’s something that can prevent you from getting in the door.”
While it seems the GMAT is becoming important for more than just MBA admittance, VanderMey concludes (along with the above schools) that ultimately, the personal elements of the job search – interviews and references, primarily, will always be more important than test scores.
Recently, our CEO Tracy Yun had an interview with Clear Admit. Ms. Yun is a graduate of Columbia Business School with over 10 years of experience in mergers and acquisitions, and is the only female CEO of a major GMAT test prep company. Here’s what she had to say about why Manhattan Review is a great way to prepare for business school:
• It employs teachers that are better rounded than those at other prep courses. That is, a high GMAT score doesn’t cut it when we hire. Experience, maturity and enthusiasm distinguish Manhattan Review instructors.
• It is meant for people with very little time on their hands, which encompasses most of the population. Fast problem-solving approaches are taught, and the courses are suited to people of all skill levels, whether you’re a math whiz or a math diz.
• We have been selected by prominent institutions such as top business schools and non-profit organizations to pre-MBA training in subjects such as corporate finance and communications skills. Also, because the GMAT is not the only element of the MBA admissions process, we also offer GRE and TOEFL preparation.
• The class sizes are small, fostering a personal learning environment.
• Powerpoint presentations are a thumbs-down here. We believe that it is more dynamic and effective to have a verbal, non-scripted analysis of GMAT problems.
• We host an annual business school event – the MBA Gate, which has been well attended since its launch in 2000. There’s nothing better than offering potential MBA students face-to-face interaction with recruiters and admissions officials.
While she respects her competitors, she believes that Manhattan Review courses offer many things that larger test prep companies do not. With a passion for education and business, coupled with a 99th score on the GMAT and a Columbia MBA degree, Ms. Yun clearly knows what she’s talking about when it comes to GMAT, MBA admissions, and has the creativity to come up with unique strategies. To read more, visit Clear Admit.
Colleges want students that have excellent grades and SAT scores, but these criteria are frequently not the make-or-break factors that influence acceptance, particularly at highly selective schools. Colleges have to work hard to keep or make their good reputations, just like students, and therefore need to choose the right students. Unfortunately, sometimes that means that qualified students don’t get accepted to particular schools – but that does not mean that these students are any less qualified than before they got their thin envelope!
Colleges want specific and unique individuals to attend their schools, not walking transcripts! But since colleges probably won’t come looking for you (you’re probably not worried about being accepted to college if they are!), you need to find your special niche yourself.
Remember, even when you get accepted to the school of your dreams, no college acceptance letter guarantees a good education, a good job, or a happy life. Even if you make it to Harvard, there’s no guarantee that your life will be perfect.
Who Gets Accepted?
Today, more students than ever are applying for highly selective colleges; more students overall are planning on attending college after high school, and more successful students are seeking diplomas from big-name schools. This means that many highly-qualified candidates are rejected from the most selective schools. Can you believe…
- Students with perfect SAT scores
- Winners of famous, private scholarships
… all can get rejected from the most selective (and even less selective!) schools?
The Game Plan:
How can you increase your odds of acceptance into a school that is not only prestigious, but that will give you the best shot at an exemplary education? Research colleges thoroughly; sometimes colleges are just looking for someone very specific – an oboe player for the orchestra, a star quarterback for the football team, a speaker of Korean to help improve the language department, or a student council star to take over campus government.
Use your Interview to find out whether your specific skill set is particularly desired by a specific school. Your interview is not only a great way to make a good impression on the admissions officers, but also the easiest way to find out about the kind of students that each college needs. Come prepared, and don’t be afraid to ask very frank questions about the student body. It will not harm your chances; in fact, your serious interest in finding the best match for you can only reflect positively on your application.
Manhattan Review is proud to announce an industry-first ground-breaking MBA Application Boot Camp. The goal of the boot camp is to help students prepare for every aspect of the MBA Application process. It will also give them the right guidance they need in polishing up their MBA Applications.
The entire admissions process can be overwhelming, especially for young business professionals with full schedules. But with customized guidance, they can navigate successfully from writing their application essays to deciding what school to finally attend.
Manhattan Review will host boot camps on a monthly or bi-monthly basis in New York, London, and Real-Time Online. Students can register for a 2-day weekend Crash Boot Camp or a week-long Intensive Boot Camp. Participants will learn all the strategies, go through practice interviews and start essay drafting after the weekend crash boot camp. Students will complete the essential parts of all applications for three schools of their top choice after the week-long intensive boot camp.
MBA Application Boot Camp will feature programs led by top admissions experts who will share with prospective MBA students their over 12 years of admissions experience. The boot camp will address several topics including Career Goal-setting, Career Planning, Application Strategy Formulation, Preparation for Great Interviews, Crafting of Persuasive Essays, and Solicitation of Effective Recommendation Letters. The boot camp will also provide additional application guidance, such as advice on scholarship or loan applications and strategies on dealing with waitlist, deferral, re-application and dual-degree programs.
MBA Application Boot Camps – Details
-Crash Courses (Selected Cities & Online; 8-Hour One 2-day Weekend)
Cost: Regular – USD500; Promotional – USD450; MR Students – USD400
All attendees receive 20% off Admissions Consulting (AC) services subsequently; 25% off AC and GMAT at the same time subsequently.
-Intensive Courses (Selected Cities; 28-Hour One Week; 3-School Elite Pack Included after the course for complete end-to-end guidance)
Cost: Regular – USD5000; Promotional – USD4500; MR Students – USD4000
More details and registration can be found at our MBA Admissions section.
At most top MBA programs, interviews are a required and important part of the application. Even where they are not required, they are generally recommended by admissions staff.
The interview offers admissions committees the opportunity to access a candidate’s ability to verbally communicate who they are. They see a candidate’s charm, beyond their written expression and their ability to think on their feet. Overall, a candidate should aim to behave in a manner that encourages conversation and open discussion. However, this requires practice. A few guidelines are the following:
· Aim for consistency with the written application. Candidates should be sure to review essay questions prior to the interview and make responses align with their written responses.
· Research the school. You may even want to have knowledgeable questions in mind for the interviewer related to the school’s program.
· If you tend to be nervous in interview situations, find a way to relax yourself.
· Be honest!
· Be prepared especially to explain your weaknesses and make them strengths. Avoid using the old, “I’m a perfectionist line.”
· Support your answers with examples.
In practice sessions with friends or co-workers or individually (ideally still aloud), practice the following themes:
College and (Graduate education if applicable). Why did you attend the college you did? What was your experience like? How were your classes? Which ones in particular stand out? What were your college extracurricular activities?
Job. Why did you choose the job(s) you chose?
MBA. Why? Why now? Why at ___? Where else did you apply? What is your top choice? Where would you like to work in short and long term? What curriculum methods interest you?
General. Tell us about yourself, according to your resume. Where do you see yourself in five years? Why do you leave the house each day? What is your opinion on random business issues (ethics, current markets)? How would people describe you, including friends, co-workers, and supervisors? Describe your style of leadership, your approach to ethical questions. Describe your strengths and weaknesses. Rate yourself in terms of motivation, teamwork, organization, loyalty, work ethic. If money was not a worry, what would you do?
Step 4: Application Components
Although there are many components to the application, the following are common concerns of applicants and admissions committee members.
· Essay. Overall, tell your story honestly and with humanity while always answering the question. Describe your teamwork successes and work both in and out of the workplace.
· GMAT. Take a practice test and assess your scores against the ranges of your target schools. If your score is not up to par, consider a professional test preparation course. Give yourself adequate time to reach your target score and practice.
· Interview. Interviews are generally relaxed, but it’s recommended that you practice prior to your interview. Review your application, the school’s website, and come ready to have a good conversation. Avoid extreme wordiness, shyness, and poor eye contact, which all can come across as poor preparedness.
Step 5: Choosing Your School
· Consider attending the weekends for admitted students, which will give you a chance to meet admitted students and might help you decide on a school.
· You also may consider getting in touch with current students, faculty members and admissions staff.
· Reassess location benefits, reputation and your goals.
Step 6: Summer Before School
Take advantage of the opportunity to get to know members of your class at local events or online forums. In addition, if you’re in need of preparation consider taking refresher courses. Some students also take this opportunity to travel or visit friends and family, as school and work may not allow for extended trips or visits in the near future.
Step 7: Getting a Job
The process varies according to the school and your interests. Generally, if you are interested in a field that is typical of students in your program, you will find that the business school has its own process you can follow as soon as 1-3 months after you begin your study. If you are interested in an atypical path, you might have to do additional legwork on your own in terms of making contacts and getting interviews. Yet, each school will help you perfect cover letters and resumes and tailor them to the jobs you want.
October has arrived. If you are considering applying for an MBA program in the fall of 2009, now is a good time to begin the process. It’s certainly not too late. You’ll still be likely to be ready to apply in rounds 1 or 2, which offer a pretty good chance of acceptance.
Order of Attack
1. GMAT PREPARATION
Preparation can last anywhere from 1-6 months, but 2 months usually is an adequate prep period. Though study can be done individually, taking a course or seeking out private tutoring provides disciplined structure and guidance for your study.
Take the GMAT as soon as you feel ready. If you take it by end of October, you should have the needed time to retake the GMAT (including an additional 1 month prep) if your score is not what you desired.
3. RESEARCH SCHOOLS
During preparation, look into different MBA programs. Look at them from as many angles as possible, including ranking, conversations with current students and alumni, correspondence with admissions officers and visits to campuses. Ultimately, select a range of schools you’d like to apply to. The most important criteria to use in determining where to apply is: What places are best suited to your personality, professional and academic history and goals? There are a variety of recommendations as to how many schools to apply to. Some say as few as 3, others as many as 8 or 10. Ultimately, you want to have some options, so lean toward more rather than less, and be sure to include safety schools. You may consider seeking advise from an admissions consultant to determine where it might be best to apply.
Ask for recommendations as early as possible, giving each recommender ample time to complete the forms on time.
5. APPROACH APPLICATIONS
The entire process and especially the application involve a great deal of self-evaluation. In this stage it will be most important that you recognize your strengths and weaknesses, and determine how you will express these in your applications. This will also be important in your interview. It is generally recommended that the application show your true self. There is no need to conceal mistakes; the incorporation of constructive explanations for faults, mistakes, or minuses will allow the admissions committee to develop a clear perception of who you really are. Admissions officers especially dislike fakeness and falsehood in applications.
Essays too require evaluation and most importantly they require time, time not only to write, but time to think as well. It is recommended that you spend between 50 and 100 hours on your essays, depending on the number of schools you apply to. Admissions advisors recommend that you devote your energy in particular to making sure each application explains why you want to attend particular programs.
6. INTERVIEW (Should occur as early as possible)
Interviews require preparation. Reviewing your application and practicing interviewing skills with a friend or co-worker is useful. Also, some individuals try to interview as early as possible at a local school and use this interview to test their skills, as well as to inform themselves of answers or approaches that seem to work, and those that do not. And, as your parents or friends have said to you time and again, be yourself and relax.
- Pace It to Ace It – Test Taking Tips for the SAT
- Specialized Business MS Degrees on the Rise
- Three ways to ace your MBA Admission interview through proper prep
- Applying for an M.B.A.: Reading Between the Lines
- The Ten Toughest Business Schools to Enter
- Basic Strategies to Conquer the GMAT
- The Profile of the 2011 GMAT Test Taker Demonstrates Growing Diversity.
- Business School Scholarship Application Advice
- The Changing Face of Executive MBA programs
- Business School Reapplication: To do, or not to do?