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.
Older and more experienced candidates have different needs and desires from an MBA. Deciding whether or not to pursue an MBA involves conscious self-evaluation for all candidates and especially for experienced or older ones.
· You should take account of your personal goals. Do you want a family? What kind of life will satisfy you? Who is dependent on you and how can you best help them?
· You will want to analyze your professional goals. Where do you want to be in five years? Would you like to manage people or do you prefer fewer managerial responsibilities?
· It is important to evaluate your financial goals. What kind of salary do you desire? How will an MBA help you achieve it? How will you finance your education? Are you comfortable with educational loans? Can you sacrifice two years of salary in the present? When is your educational investment likely to begin to pay off? Can you wait that long?
The preceding questions may assist you in your evaluation of whether it’s too late for you or necessary for you to begin an MBA. However, it is possible to delve even further into whether an MBA will take you where you want to go. In terms of professional change, determine more precisely where you like to be. What sector, position and even corporation would you like to be working for? Also, in economic terms, where would you like to be? An MBA generally increases earning potential, but consider also where you are now and whether the degree will improve your earnings potential and worth. Recognize, in your evaluation, that an MBA may initially be an economic setback and the salary will start to pay off later down the line. Evaluate statistics on earning averages after completing an MBA at particular institutions.
At the end of the day, after evaluating all the statistics of earnings and worth, your interests in terms of professional growth and flexibility, and your personal desires, success comes down to individuals and what they make happen. It is up to you to determine whether the MBA is the right means to assist you in achieving your desired ends. Companies often claim that they do not privilege an MBA over someone with experience in the field. In both arenas, individuals learn, grow, and improve. Companies hire individuals who have been successful in the past.
An MBA, especially one later in one’s career, is most useful to individuals who would like to change sectors or positions. For example, individuals who seek to move from banking to consulting, or into management positions (in fact, these people often find their MBA most satisfying). The MBA is also useful to individuals who want to rapidly learn and attain skills needed for different positions.
In addition to the two-year MBA program, the other options to consider for individuals later in their careers are the more flexible means of attaining an MBA including online, part-time, and executive MBA programs.
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