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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.

Posted on November 28, 2009 by Manhattan Review

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EMBA programs tend to be more flexible than MBA programs in terms of their GMAT requirement.Executive MBA programs tend to draw applicants with a large amount of professional experience. EMBA applicants generally occupy leadership roles in corporations both prior to and following their degrees, thus a different skill set than that tested by the GMAT is seen as applicable. These other skills, some EMBA programs find, are best measured not on the basis of GMAT scores, but on the basis of professional and academic experience.

Only a few EMBA programs have opted to eliminate the requirement completely. Among those are the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler program One MBA, the EMBA program at the University of Michigan, and the EMBA program at the University of Chicago’s GSB. Michigan, for example, offers an optional refresher course for the EMBA students who need quantitative review.

Other EMBA programs have chosen to waive the requirement in certain circumstances. At Duke University’s Fuqua EMBA program, it is not so easy to get a waiver. Waivers are granted in circumstances where a candidate has proven quantitative skills and attained a highly technical MA or PhD. NYU Stern and the Goosewetta Business School at Emery University accept waivers in certain cases.

Other schools like USC tell applicants that the GMAT is highly recommended, but not required. If a candidate’s experience and/or prior training or study do not prove an applicant’s quantitative capacity, the admissions committee might be concerned about their quantitative skill level without the GMAT to attest otherwise.

The main concern expressed among schools that continue to maintain their GMAT requirement is ensuring a standard of quantitative ability. Some EMBA programs that continue to require the GMAT in all cases include the University of Texas McCombs and the University of Pennsylvania Wharton.

Though requirements do seem to be changing, at the moment it’s clear that a good GMAT score is helpful in EMBA programs admissions decisions, especially when there is any concern about a candidate’s quantitative skills.

McCombs at the University of Texas in Austin, the American headquarters for Dell as well as the live music capital of the world, is a business school that is adapting to a global business environment and seeking to be even more competitive in b-school rankings.

Some interesting facts on McCombs:

· Though things are big in Texas, McCombs tries to maintain a feeling of intimacy. Despite the fact that the University of Texas at Austin has well over 50,000 students, the McCombs MBA Program maintains a class size of just 260.

· McCombs is making more of an effort to increase its rank through the recruitment of international students, especially Latin Americans and Europeans.

· The University is also home to a great law school and an excellent public policy school (The LBJ School), and MBA Students can attend classes at these schools while enrolled.

· McCombs has become increasingly a school for those interested working in consulting, marketing and finance sectors.

· McCombs does not insist on work experience. But most accepted students, all but 2%, have at least some experience.

Posted on June 3, 2008 by Manhattan Review

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